One of the most successful partnerships in endurance racing in recent years is entering the next round. ROWE RACING and BMW M Motorsport have extended their collaboration by several years and will be focussing on the GT World Challenge Europe with the 24 Hours of Spa (1st/2nd July) and the ADAC 24h Nürburgring (20th/21st May). Since the partnership began back in the 2016 season, the team from St. Ingbert has won both 24‑hour classics once and achieved three second places with BMW M Motorsport. In their eighth year of working together, ROWE RACING and BMW M Motorsport are eager to continue this success story and start their bid to win the title in the Endurance Cup of GT World Challenge Europe, the GT series with the highest number of participants in Europe. A total of eleven BMW M works drivers will take the steering wheels of the team’s two BMW M4 GT3s in 2023. New to the driver squad are returnee Maxime Martin and his fellow Belgian Dries Vanthoor.
“In the BMW M4 GT3’s second season our clear objective is to do battle for the big wins and titles – and ROWE RACING has an important part to play in this,” says Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport. “With their experience in the iconic 24 hour races in particular, the team is always a favourite to win. Our joint successes at Spa-Francorchamps in 2016 and at the Nürburgring in 2020 have proven this. I am looking forward to racing together in the 2023 season, which will hopefully see us have many reasons to celebrate.”
Like last year, ROWE RACING will be contesting the GT World Challenge Europe with two cars. The #98 BMW M4 GT3 will have two‑time DTM champion Marco Wittmann of Germany, Austria’s Philipp Eng and Britain’s Nick Yelloly at the wheel. All three drivers have been representing ROWE RACING for many years. Philipp Eng was part of the winning crew at the 24 Hours of Spa in the first year with BMW back in 2016. Nick Yelloly won the 24h race at the Nürburgring in 2020. ROWE RACING is also opting for continuity in the second BMW M4 GT3 for the GT World Challenge Europe. Like in 2022, the former BMW Junior Team comprising Britain’s Dan Harper, Germany’s Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen of the USA will be sharing the car with the new number 998, with which ROWE RACING finished in second place at Spa in 2019. In addition to the highlight at Spa, the Endurance Cup calendar also includes the races at Monza, Italy (23rd April), Le Castellet in the South of France (3rd June), a home event at the Nürburgring (30th July), and in the Catalonian metropolis of Barcelona (1st October).
A newcomer and an old acquaintance are joining the team at the Nürburgring‑Nordschleife this season. After a break of five years, Maxime Martin is returning to ROWE RACING. The Belgian enjoyed victory alongside Philipp Eng at Spa in 2016. His last appearance for the St. Ingbert team to date was in the then Blancpain GT Series, the precursor to the GT World Challenge Europe, in Barcelona on 1st October 2017. His fellow countryman Dries Vanthoor is contesting his first season as a BMW M works driver after making the move from Audi. The 24‑year‑old is the younger brother of Laurens Vanthoor, who won at Spa with ROWE RACING in 2020, and won the “Eifel Marathon” at the Nürburgring for the second time last year, with the previous victory being in 2019. This season sees the two Belgians share the cockpit of the #98 with Marco Wittmann and current DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde of South Africa, who finished together at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring second overall in 2021.
The #99 BMW M4 GT3 will take on the “Green Hell” with the same driver quartet as last year. Brazil’s Augusto Farfus (2010), Connor de Phillippi of the USA (2017) and Nick Yelloly (2020) have all won the endurance classic before and would love to help Philipp Eng join the elite list of winners at the Nürburgring as well. In preparation for the “Eifel Marathon”, ROWE RACING will contest the first three races of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) season on 18th March, 1st April and 15th April.
Hans-Peter Naundorf (Team Principal ROWE RACING): “ROWE RACING and BMW M Motorsport have been a winning combination for seven years now. An important piece of the puzzle in this success is continuity, which is why it is great for both parties that we are able to continue this partnership. Many thanks to Andreas Roos and customer racing boss Björn Lellmann for the trust placed in us. We want to go on the attack in the GT World Challenge Europe this year, since with this series the SRO presents a huge starting field at the highest sporting level and spectacular races at some of the most well-known racetracks in Europe. All six of the drivers representing us in the GT World Challenge Europe are familiar with both the car and the team, and we have also scheduled extensive test drives for between the races. For the Nordschleife, returnee Maxime Martin and Dries Vanthoor provide us with two more outstanding drivers.”