ROWE Racing wins the season opener of the Nürburgring Endurance Series in the BMW M4 GT3.

Nurburgring. Perfect start to the season for ROWE Racing: BMW M works drivers Dries Vanthoor and Maxime Martin (both BEL) won the opening race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series in the #99 BMW M4 GT3. After four hours of exciting racing, Vanthoor crossed the checkered flag with a lead of 6.5 seconds. The BMW Junior Team finished fifth #44 BMW M4 GT3 of the BMW M Team RMG. The number 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport car started from pole position but had to retire shortly before the end.

A total of five BMW M4 GT3s started at the 68th ADAC Westfalenfahrt on the Nordschleife. In addition to the winning vehicle, ROWE Racing also fielded the BMW M4 GT3 with starting number 98. This car had started from third on the grid but was unable to complete the full race distance as the two drivers, Vanthoor and Martin, were concentrating on the better-placed drivers #99 Automobile. The other drivers from ROWE Racing are in action this weekend in Sebring (USA) at the 12-hour race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Starting from ninth place, the members of the BMW Junior Team and BMW M works driver Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) got into the field after a slight collision and finally crossed the finish line in fifth place. Jakub Giermaziak (POL) secured pole position for Walkenhorst Motorsport. However, his teammate Andy Soucek (ESP) lost several positions at the start. The #34 The BMW M4 GT3 was in fifth place until just before the end of the race, but then had to retire. BMW M works drivers Jake Dennis (GBR) and Thomas Neubauer (FRA) shared driving duties in the #35 Automobile. They finished 39th after technical problems.

The new BMW M4 GT4 also started the season with a win. FK Performance Motorsport and the trio of Michael Schrey, Thorsten Wolter and Nick Wüstenhagen (all GER) triumphed in the SP10 class.

Comments on the race:

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport):
“Congratulations to the entire crew on this fantastic start to the season on the Nordschleife and the great work in the winter preparations! Congratulations also to Maxime Martin and Dries Vanthoor, who clinched victory in their first outing with the BMW M4 GT3 in the NLS. The BMW Junior Team also started the season with a good result. And then there was the pole position for Walkenhorst Motorsport – let’s hope we can continue like this until the 24-hour race.”

Hans-Peter Naundorf (Team Principal ROWE Racing): “I can swap “Welcome to the team” for “Welcome to the podium, Dries and Maxime!” Both had a great start in our team. The race was the perfect start to the season, even if it was closer than it might have looked. The track had a lot of crashes and code 60 phases, making it tiring and demanding. But both drivers did a perfect job and we don’t have a single scratch on the cars. Since we only had two riders at the track today, we had to decide whether we could just catch up on the win. We decided to go on the offensive, after one and a half stints we put everything on one card – the better-placed car – and won the race #98 out of the race. The success shows that we made the right decision.”

Maxime Martin (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing, 1st place):
“This is a dream result. For both of us it was the first time in the BMW M4 GT3 on the Nordschleife. Dries is brand new at BMW M Motorsport, I’m returning. There were only two of us in two cars – and we still won in the end. That’s perfect!”

Dries Vanthoor (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing, 1st place):
“Everything was new here for Maxime and me, but the car is great on the Nordschleife. I’m curious to see how things will fare in the 24-hour race. The Audi behind me was pretty strong. I then pushed hard and tried to get away from it on the last lap. With a bit of luck, thanks to some traffic, I was able to open up a larger gap.”


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