MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: BMW Group Munich. When Nick Catsburg (NED) crossed the finish line in the # 99 BMW M6 GT3 shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, the cheers knew no bounds. Together with ROWE Racing and his teammates Alexander Sims and Nick Yelloly (both GBR), Catsburg had just won the Nordschleife crime thriller 24h Nürburgring (GER). It was the first victory for ROWE Racing in this 24-hour race. And for the record winner BMW this was a very special triumph: The 20th overall victory came exactly in the anniversary year. A few days have now passed, but the emotions are still great. 1970 – 2010 – 2020: At the very first edition of the 24-hour race in 1970, the overall winner was BMW. BMW Team Schnitzer achieved its 19th and, for the time being, last overall victory in 2010. After that, BMW had to wait a long time for the long-awaited next and 20th overall victory, even if the BMW teams finished the race in second place on the podium four times in the following years. It almost seemed as if racing fate had come up with this special plan in exactly the same way: the 20th overall victory should appropriately come in 2020, for the 50th anniversary of the 24-hour race, 50 years after the first and ten years after the last Triumph.
“We will remember the moment of crossing the finish line for a very long time,” says BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “We had to wait ten years for this victory, even if the BMW teams took second place on the podium four times in the past few years, just as close as possible. The fact that we finished right at the top of the podium in the anniversary year makes the victory even more special. ROWE Racing made perfect use of the potential of the BMW M6 GT3 in extremely difficult conditions with a flawless race and the right strategic decisions at the right time. It was an outstanding performance and overall team effort, rewarded with the long-awaited victory. “
For ROWE Racing team boss Hans-Peter Naundorf, too, this success is of particular importance. In 2017, the team missed overall victory on the Nordschleife in a dramatic final by just 29.418 seconds. The race was difficult in 2018 and 2019, but this year the tide turned. “With all the factors that made the race so special this year, the history of BMW, the longing wish of all of us to finally win this race, and all the joint efforts, this success is something very, very special”, says Naundorf. “In all these years we have always put the most energy and the greatest hopes into this race and, especially in the last two years, we have experienced bitter disappointments with early retirements. It is a great satisfaction to have achieved this success – especially because this year it was the toughest 24h race in recent history. And in the end we were simply ‘tougher than the rest’. “
It was the ROWE Racing team that secured the first 24-hour victory for the BMW M6 GT3 at Spa-Francorchamps in 2016. According to Naundorf, these two successes cannot be compared: “In Spa our success in 2016 was a surprise for everyone, at the Nürburgring we have always been a favorite for years and we knew we could do it ourselves. Therefore, after all the preparations and intensive years, a much larger knot has now burst. In Spa we unexpectedly won directly in the first year with a brand new car. Now, after five years, the BMW M6 GT3 is steadfast, everything has been sorted out. In this situation, all the smallest screws have to be set correctly, the right drivers have to sit in the car and then the god of racing ensures these conditions in which only the very best get through without errors. Conquering the Nordschleife is the toughest thing I’ve been able to do in my 25 years of racing life. “
According to Naundorf, the long running time and the many kilometers it has already completed on the Nordschleife benefit the BMW M6 GT3: “The car is incredibly stable if you know how to use it correctly. There are no more construction sites, all BMW vehicles have rolled like clockwork. ”How strong the BMW M6 GT3 was on the Nordschleife this year underlines the fact that not only did the overall victory go to the BMW M6 GT3, but four of the five vehicles used reached the finish line without incident, including three in the top 4. Third place on the podium went to BMW Team Schnitzer, while the number 98 car from ROWE Racing was fourth.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.