Björn Lellmann, Head of Customer Racing at BMW M Motorsport:
“Last weekend, BMW M Motorsport teams were in action in Europe, Asia
and North America. The biggest success was the win for BMW M Team
Studie with the BMW M4 GT3 in the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT
Championship. I would like to congratulate everyone involved and am
also glad that Nissan driver Tsugio Matsuda did not suffer any serious
injuries in his crash, which looked a bad one. The same obviously goes
for Robert Megennis after his spectacular crash in the Turner
Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 in Detroit. Even with all the sporting ambition,
health is always the most important thing, and it is good to see how
safe GT cars are nowadays. I was also very pleased with the other
successes and podiums in real racing, but also virtual racing.
Congratulations to all the teams and drivers!”
Japanese Super GT Championship: Victory for BMW M Team Studie.
BMW M Team Studie claimed its first win of the season with the BMW M4
GT3 in the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT Championship. Seiji
Ara and Masataka Yanagida (both JPN) were deemed the winners of the
450km race at Suzuka (JPN) after the race was suspended following a
big crash on lap 59 of 77 in which the Nissan of Tsugio Matsuda (JPN)
took off in the fast 130R corner and smashed into the safety fences.
The driver was taken to hospital, but survived the crash without any
major injuries. BMW M Team Studie opted for an early pit stop in the
race, which meant they were leading when the race was stopped prematurely.
GT4 European Series: BMW M4 GT4 on the podium.
The GT4 European Series held two races at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le
Castellet (FRA) last weekend. On Sunday, the Hofor Racing by Bonk
Motorsport started from pole position with the BMW M4 GT4. Gabriele
Piana (ITA) and Michael Schrey (GER) then held their ground well in
the chaotic closing stages, as heavy rain started to fall. They
finished runner-up to earn a spot on the podium. Berkay Besler (TUR)
and Tom Edgar (GBR) launched a spectacular comeback on wet tyres in
the final few laps, battling their way back to fourth place. However,
the Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport duo was subsequently handed a
43-second penalty and relegated to 15th place. On Saturday,
Besler and Edgar were the best-placed BMW pairing in seventh. Piana
and Schrey came home twelfth in race one.
GT4 Scandinavia racers also formed part of the race, which featured a
field of over 50 starters. They included Victor Bouveng and Joakim
Walde (both SWE) from the M-Bilar Racing team, who took victory in the
Pro-Am class on Saturday in the #298 BMW M4 GT4. They finished third
in their class on Sunday.
Detroit hosts the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge was at the street circuit in
Detroit (USA) on Saturday for a 100-minute race, which ended with a
top-ten result and a scary moment for Turner Motorsport. Cameron
Lawrence and Robert Megennis (both USA) had secured pole position in
qualifying with the #95 BMW M4 GT4, but crashed out of the race
spectacularly. Megennis ploughed into the back of a rival under
braking, took off and skidded over the roof of the other car and into
the safety fence. Fortunately, neither driver was hurt. The second
Turner duo of Robby Foley and Vincent Barletta (both USA) came home
ninth in the #96 car. The #43 BMW M4 GT4 of Stephen Cameron Racing,
with Sean Quinlan and Greg Liefooghe (both USA) at the wheel, finished 17th.
Sim racing: Busy weekend on different platforms.
There was plenty going on last weekend – not only on the real
racetrack, but also in the world of virtual racing. As part of the
race weekend in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS
(GTWC) at Le Castellet (FRA), SRO staged two big live events – with
cause for celebration in both for BMW drivers and teams. On Friday,
the professional racing drivers in the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series
battled it out for points towards the real team standings in the GTWC.
BMW M works drivers Neil Verhagen (USA) and Dries Vanthoor (BEL)
achieved precisely that superbly. In front of a big crowd in the
Fanatec Arena in the paddock, Verhagen took victory for the ROWE
Racing team in a virtual BMW M4 GT3. Vanthoor, representing BMW M Team
WRT, finished third. Calan Williams (AUS), at the wheel of the Gold
Cup car for the WRT team, won the sim race in his class. The BMW
drivers were coached by professional sim racers Arthur Kammerer and
Gregor Schill (both GER), who then got down to business themselves in
the SRO Esports Sim Pro Series on Saturday. Representing BMW M Team
BS+COMPETITION, they also performed strongly in the virtual BMW M4 GT3
on the Assetto Corsa Competizione simulation platform. Kammerer was
particularly impressive, finishing runner-up to secure a place on the
podium. Schill also showed good pace, but was unable to take full
advantage of that speed in the race. He came home eighth.
On Sunday, the BMW M SIM Cup held its fifth round at the Watkins Glen
circuit on the iRacing platform. Some of the best sim racers in the
world went head-to-head in two classes in the virtual BMW M Hybrid V8
and BMW M4 GT3. Victory in the GTP class went to the Team Apex Racing
Academy, which benefitted from the retirement of other leading teams.
They included the URANO eSports crew, which has dominated the season
so far. In the GT3 class, favourites Team Redline performed flawlessly
on their way to another win.
The third sim racing highlight of the weekend was the live event for
the major of the ESL R1 Spring Season on the Rennsport platform, which
took place in Munich (GER). It represented the highlight of the
inaugural season in the lucrative new racing series, in which the BMW
M4 GT3 was one of four virtual cars available to the best teams in the
world. At the end of the two-day event, BMW SIM Team Redline
celebrated overall victory in the Team competition. Nils Naujoks (GER)
was at the wheel for BMW M Team BS+COMPETITION in Munich, but was
unable to challenge for the overall win. He was supported by BMW M
works driver and BS+COMPETITION team captain Bruno Spengler (CAN).
GT Cup Championship: Jesse Krohn makes a guest appearance.
BMW M works driver Jesse Krohn (FIN) was in action last weekend as a
guest starter for the Century Motorsport team in the GT Cup
Championship at Snetterton (GBR). Krohn was supporting British GT
driver Darren Leung (GBR) – not only in the four races, but also by
using his wealth of experience to help his fellow driver and the team
to better understand the BMW M4 GT3. At the end of the weekend, the
duo of Krohn and Leung had two third-places and two fifth-places to
BTCC: Podium for Adam Morgan at Thruxton.
The BMW drivers may only have claimed one podium in the three races
at the fourth race weekend of this season’s British Touring Car
Championship (BTCC), but they recorded many other strong results. Adam
Morgan (GBR) celebrated on the rostrum after finishing runner-up in
race three for Team BMW, having previously had to settle for
13th and 12th in the opening two races. His
team-mate Colin Turkington (GBR) had two sixth-places and one fourth
in his BMW 330e M Sport. The third driver in the team, Stephen Jelley
(GBR), could do no better than 16th, 17th and
19th. Jake Hill (GBR) from the Laser Tools Racing with MB
Motorsport enjoyed a much better weekend, finishing fourth in two
races and tenth in the other.