BMW M Motorsport teams are once again in action all over the world in 2021. They are challenging for race wins and titles with the BMW M6 GT3, the BMW M4 GT4, the BMW M2 CS Racing, and other BMW M Motorsport race cars. Our BMW M Motorsport News allows us to give you a regular overview of the race action in various championships around the world and any success enjoyed by the BMW M Motorsport teams.
Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe: Walkenhorst Motorsport’s battle for the podium remains unrewarded.
The second endurance race of the season in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS took place last weekend. The six-hour, 1000-kilometre race was hosted by the “Circuit Paul Ricard” in Le Castellet (FRA). The Walkenhorst Motorsport team was battling for a podium finish with both BMW M6 GT3s, but their strong performances went unrewarded in the end. Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Marco Wittmann (GER) and David Pittard (GBR) were at the wheel of the #34 BMW M6 GT3. Martin Tomczyk, Timo Glock (both GER) and Thomas Neubauer (FRA) shared driving duties in the #35 car.
Starting from fifth and 13th on the grid, Pittard and Tomczyk were both able to put the BMW M6 GT3s on course for the podium early on as they moved into second and third places. The #35 fell back later on, while Wittmann and van der Linde kept the #34 in the top three until the final hour of the race, battling for the lead after a full-course yellow phase. However, a collision with another car around 50 minutes before the end meant that they lost time during repairs and also dropped down through the field. After six hours of racing, the #34 BMW M6 GT3 crossed the line in eighth place, with the #35 car right behind in ninth position.
The Boutsen Ginion Racing team finished seventh in the Pro-Am class with the #10 BMW M6 GT3. The car was driven by Karim Ojjeh (KSA), Jens Liebhauser and Jens Klingmann (both GER).
The next endurance race in the series is the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) on 31st July/1st August.
Reactions to the race at Paul Ricard.
Sheldon van der Linde: “It was a very good weekend for us and positive in terms of raw pace and speed from Friday onwards. We always had a good car from the first free practice on. In the race, David and Marco did a great job, and we were always in the top-three. Then the car seemed to have lost some pace, but I defended second place as long as I could. At the end of my first stint I had a very light contact, which was just enough to lift the bonnet up. So we had to box a bit earlier for our mandatory pit stop for tyres and fuel, and obviously I had to wait a bit longer to repair the bonnet. That kind of destroyed our hopes for the podium. But we were still able to score some points and it’s a very good pace to build on for Spa. Walkenhorst Motorsport have shown in the past that they are able to win that race, so I think we have a strong package to go there, and that gives me a lot of confidence.”
Marco Wittmann: “Of course, it’s a disappointing way for it to end, when you’ve been on track for a podium finish for the whole race and then fall back to eighth after a collision like that 50 minutes before the end. Nonetheless our pace was good for the whole weekend, which allows us to be optimistic about the 24h hour race in Spa. We can build on that. We will definitely not bury our heads in the sand and will come back stronger.”
Martin Tomczyk: “Starting from 13th on the grid was not ideal, but overall we were pretty confident about our race performance. I did the first two stints and moved up from 13th to second place. Unfortunately, we then started to encounter some problems. Thomas Neubauer struggled a bit with the setup, but was able to consistently hold on to fifth place. The door latch unfortunately stopped working during the changeover to Timo Glock and he had to make an extra pit stop for us to fix the door. Of course, that cost us more time and we fell back after that. It didn’t finish as we had expected, as our racing pace was definitely better than the result itself. However, we are still confident that there will be a race in which our form will be reflected in the result it deserves. But that is racing.”
Timo Glock: “As far as I’m concerned, Martin produced the performance of the race, driving a crazy opening double stint to move the car up from 13th to second place. He did a super job. Thomas was also consistently in the top five. However, the door did not close properly when I got in during the pit stop, so we had to come back into the pits during a full-course yellow, and that cost us a bit of time. But I had problems in my first stint with no balance and no grip on the tyres. I don’t know what caused that. My second stint was then a bit better. I was satisfied with my qualifying performance over one lap, but I still have to learn about the race distance. Thanks to the team for doing such a great job without any errors over the whole weekend. I had a lot of fun.”
IMSA series: Another record win for Bill Auberlen in Mid-Ohio.
Tumultuous celebrations in the Turner Motorsport team: Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley (both USA) proved unbeatable in the #96 BMW M6 GT3 at the third race of the season in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship (IMSA series) in Mid-Ohio (USA). They celebrated victory in the GTD class after 2 hours and 40 minutes of racing. This enabled Auberlen to improve his impressive, unique record in the IMSA series as he recorded his 63rd win. Foley had moved up quickly to second place from the start and then took the lead after an early pit stop. After 69 laps he handed over to Auberlen, who claimed victory by crossing the finishing line nearly three seconds clear after 111 laps. “The BMW M6 GT3 is back where it belongs – in the winner’s circle,” stated Auberlen. “We had some bad luck in the last race at Sebring, but Robby and I are back in the points and we’re moving forward.”
One day earlier Turner Motorsport had secured fifth place in the Mid-Ohio race in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with the #96 BMW M4 GT4, driven by Foley and Vincent Barletta (USA). Auberlen and Dillon Machavern (USA) suffered some bad luck in the #95 car: they were struck by a rival car and had to retire early.
ADAC GT Masters: Schubert Motorsport starts the season with a podium.
The season-opener in the ADAC GT Masters took place in Oschersleben (GER) in mid-May – and the Schubert Motorsport team celebrated a podium result in its home race. After just missing out on the podium with a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s race, Nick Yelloly (GBR) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) secured second place on Sunday in the #10 BMW M6 GT3. The weekend was dominated by changeable and tricky weather conditions. Strategy became the key to success as rain alternated with dry periods. Schubert Motorsport got it absolutely right. After second place in Sunday’s race, Yelloly commented: “The race was very exciting. Switching to slicks was the right decision, although it was a bit slippery to start with. The team and I are delighted with the good result and we hope that we can put on another good performance at the Red Bull Ring.” The second round of the season in the ADAC GT Masters will take place from 11th to 13th June in Spielberg, Austria.
ADAC GT4 Germany: two races, two wins for Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport.
The Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport team could not have made a more successful start to the 2021 season in the ADAC GT4 Germany. At the opener, held in mid-May in Oschersleben (GER), Gabriele Piana (ITA) and Michael Schrey (GER) claimed first place in both races in their #2 BMW M4 GT4. In race one on Saturday last season’s runners-up started from pole position and chalked up a start to finish win under difficult weather conditions. “Winning here is a great feeling. There’s no better way to start a season. We realised after qualifying that we have put a superb package together,” said Piana afterwards. In Sunday’s race Piana and Schrey moved up from fourth on the grid. They crossed the line in second place but were later classified as winners after the car ahead of them was disqualified. The win for Piana/Schrey in Sunday’s race is still a provisional result as the decision is being appealed.
Charlie Martin (GBR) and Sandra van der Sloot (NED) in the Driverse team’s #12 BMW M4 GT4 also secured third place in the Trophy standings in Sunday’s race. The team is cooperating with Sorg Rennsport in the ADAC GT4 Germany.
British GT Championship: Century Motorsport celebrates one-two result with the BMW M4 GT4.
The Century Motorsport team enjoyed a perfect season-opener in the British GT Championship – with pole position and a one-two result in the GT4 class. The first event of the season took place on 22nd and 23rd May in Brands Hatch (GBR). Gus Burton and Will Burns (both GBR) showed that they are a force to be reckoned with, recording the best time in qualifying in the #57 BMW M4 GT4. The pair did not let multiple safety car phases during the race put them off, celebrating victory after 73 race laps. Their team-mates, Andrew Gordon-Colebrook and Chris Salkled (both GBR), completed the success in the #9 BMW M4 GT4, claiming second place in the GT4 class and victory in the Pro-Am category. “To come away with a one-two is just amazing and a true reflection of the effort everyone has put in during the off season,” said Nathan Freke, Century Motorsport Team Manager. “The new EVO BMW M4 GT4s worked faultlessly and are clearly a force to be reckoned with. I’d like to thank BMW M Motorsport for the continued support and to congratulate the drivers on their superb performances all weekend.”
Italian GT Championship: BMW Team Italia starts the endurance racing season.
The first sprint races of the season in the Italian GT Championship had taken place in early May, and three weeks later BMW Team Italia was in Pergusa (ITA) to compete in the first endurance race of the year. The regular drivers in the #7 BMW M6 GT3, Stefano Comandini (ITA) and Marius Zug (GER), were supported by BMW works driver Bruno Spengler (CAN) as the team’s third driver. The trio secured pole position in qualifying on Saturday. However, they were forced to retire early from the race. Their team-mates, Nicola Neri, Giuseppe Fascicolo (both ITA) and Alfred Nilsson (SWE), claimed victory in the GT4 AM class with the #215 BMW M4 GT4.
Super Taikyu: success for BMW Team Studie in Fuji.
The Japanese Super Taikyu race series visited Fuji (JPN) from 21st to 23rd May and the 24-hour race at the circuit near Tokyo (JPN) proved to be extremely successful for BMW Team Studie. In the ST-Z class the #20 BMW M4 GT4 from SS/YZ Racing with Studie secured an outstanding second place. Driving duties were shared between Tomohide Yamaguchi, Seiji Ara, Yuya Sakamoto (all JPN) and João Paulo de Oliveira (BRA). In the ST-1 class BMW Team Studie claimed third place with the #8 BMW M2 CS Racing. Takayuki Kinoshita, Takayuki Oi, Tomohiko Sunako, Hiroki Yamada and Takashi Kochi (all JPN) were at the wheel of this car. The 24-hour race also marked the racing debut for the BMW M2 CS Racing in Asia.
BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Benelux: thrilling action in the first races of the season.
The 2021 season in the BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Benelux began with two events in May, providing thrilling racing action with some intensive duels. Three races took place on each weekend: two 30-minute races and a 55-minute race with a mandatory pit stop. The season-opening event took place in Zolder (BEL). Victory in the first races in the new series went to Stienes Longin (BEL) and Sam Dejonghe (BEL), who triumphed twice.
The second round of the season followed two weeks later in Zandvoort (NED). Longin won race one, while Giovanni Scamardi (ITA) celebrated his first victories of the season in the second and third races.
After the first two events of the season, Scamardi tops the overall standings in the Pro class with 76 points. The third round in the BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Benelux will take place on 9th and 10th July in Spa-Francorchamps (BEL).