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Road to Le Mans: BMW M works drivers Valentino Rossi and Max Hesse celebrate victories at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Two victories for the BMW M Team WRT and the BMW M4 GT3 in the supporting programme, an impressive overall presence of BMW M and the first GT3 triumph for Valentino Rossi (ITA). Although the premiere of the BMW M Hybrid V8 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) is not on the agenda until 2024, BMW M was already an emphatic part of the event at several levels this year at the 100-year anniversary of the world's most famous endurance race.

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Hailey Philander
BMW Group

Le Mans. Two victories for the BMW M Team WRT and the BMW M4 GT3 in the supporting programme, an impressive overall presence of BMW M and the first GT3 triumph for Valentino Rossi (ITA). Although the premiere of the BMW M Hybrid V8 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) is not on the agenda until 2024, BMW M was already an emphatic part of the event at several levels this year at the 100-year anniversary of the world's most famous endurance race.

 

On the racetrack, BMW M Team WRT competed with BMW M works drivers Valentino Rossi and Max Hesse (GER) in the Road to Le Mans support races, which are part of the Michelin Le Mans Cup. On Thursday, the victory went to Hesse and his team-mate Tim Whale (GBR). Rossi shared the cockpit of the #46 BMW M4 GT3 in the two 55-minute races with Jérôme Policand (FRA). The duo had reason to celebrate on Friday when Rossi perfected his first GT3 triumph with an overtaking manoeuvre on the penultimate lap. Hesse and Whale completed the WRT one-two as runners-up.

 

For BMW M Team WRT, it was the first deployment for BMW M Motorsport at Le Mans, before the BMW M Hybrid V8 premieres in the top class in 2024. This season, the team is entering two LMP2 cars in the 24-hour race for the last time. A third BMW M4 GT3 was fielded in the Road to Le Mans races by the GMB Motorsport team. The drivers Roland and Kristian Poulsen (both DEN) finished in seventh and fifteenth places.

 

Marking the occasion of the 100-year anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one historic BMW race car will go around the track on demo laps at the weekend – the BMW V12 LMR, with which BMW M Motorsport claimed overall victory in 1999. Also on view are the legendary BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons, which caused a sensation at Le Mans in 1975 and 2010. A preview of next year is provided by the BMW M Hybrid V8 show car, which shares the paddock space with the BMW M production model BMW XM.

 

Reactions to the Road to Le Mans races:

 

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “We had super successful days here with our BMW M4 GT3 together with WRT in the Road to Le Mans races. It was also the first BMW race appearance for several years at Le Mans. With the victory in the first race and the one-two in the second race, we are of course very satisfied. To see Valentino Rossi together with Jérôme Policand as well as Max Hesse and Tim Whale on top of the podium is simply incredible. We hope to be able to build on these successes next year. This was a first step. Many thanks, of course, for the commitment to the whole team, the drivers and the crew of BMW M Motorsport. They gave our BMW M4 GT3 a great Le Mans debut.”

 

Valentino Rossi (#46 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team WRT): “We are very happy because we won. It was the first victory together with BMW, and it was also a great experience to come here to prepare for next year’s 24-hour race. We had a strong pace since yesterday morning and in qualifying but we were a bit unlucky in the first race so we wanted to go for the podium in the second race. Jérôme had a very good first stint, and at the end of the day we were able to win. I had a good pace and was able to do some good overtakes. We are very, very happy.”

 

Max Hesse (#31 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team WRT): “We are of course very happy. On Thursday we already had a great race. WRT did a perfect job at the pit stop. We chose the right strategy. It was a great honour to be able to drive here. Being here for the first time was very, very cool for me and it was nice to learn, because there was not so much pressure and you could drive many laps. We are really happy with first and second place. Congratulations of course also to our team-mates on the victory on Friday.”

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