Bring on the highlight of the season at the Nordschleife! ROWE RACING is heading into the 51st edition of the ADAC 24h Nürburgring this coming weekend with plenty of confidence and high hopes after a mighty warm‑up. With two wins, two second places and two pole positions in the first four races of the year in the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) and the GT World Challenge Europe, the team from St. Ingbert had a brilliant start to 2023 so have high hopes for the endurance classic at the “Green Hell”. The ambitious goal is the second overall victory after 2020 on the 25.378‑kilometre combination of the legendary Nordschleife and the Grand Prix track, which drivers and experts regard as the most beautiful and most difficult racetrack in the world.
Third on the grid and the opening win in the first NLS race, pole position and second place in NLS 3, and then the amazing performance with pole position and the one-two result at the GTWC season start at Monza is ROWE RACING’s impressive haul to date in 2023. It goes without saying that no one in the team would mind this run continuing at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring, where ROWE RACING, in addition to the 2020 victory, also celebrated two second places in 2017 and 2021, as well as two third places in 2013 and 2014.
In addition to the BMW M4 GT3, which has already proved its suitability for the Nordschleife in an impressive manner this year, ROWE RACING is relying on eight experienced BMW M works drivers who are more than capable of winning, including a newcomer and a returnee. Belgium’s Dries Vanthoor, one of last year’s defending champions, will be making his 24‑hour debut for the St. Ingbert team. Representing Audi in 2022, he won the ADAC 24h Nürburgring for the second time after his victory in 2019 but has now swapped the #1 for ROWE RACING’s #98. He will be sharing the cockpit of this BMW M4 GT3 with the current DTM champion, Sheldon van der Linde of South Africa, and two‑time German DTM title holder Marco Wittmann, both of whom finished second in the ‘Eifel Marathon’ with the team from St. Ingbert in 2021. The fourth member is returnee Maxime Martin of Belgium, a familiar face at ROWE RACING. He was part of the winning trio in the victory at the 24 Hours of Spa in 2016.
The driver squad in the #99 sister crew is unchanged from last year – and Austria’s Philipp Eng, who enjoyed success in Spa alongside Maxime Martin in 2016, is the only driver of the quartet without a victory at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring in their list of wins. It therefore comes as no surprise that his team-mates Augusto Farfus of Brazil (2010 winner), Connor de Phillippi of the USA (2017 winner) and Britain’s Nick Yelloly, who was part of the victorious ROWE RACING crew of 2020, will be doing their very best to ensure that Philipp Eng is also able to add his name to the list of renowned winners of the iconic race.
For partner and record winner BMW M Motorsport, a win would make it the 21st victory in the Eifel region. “This season is packed with one highlight after another for BMW M Motorsport. However, the Nürburgring 24 Hours is always a very special event. The challenge is greater than anywhere else, but at the same time the atmosphere is probably more intoxicating than at any other racetrack. BMW M Motorsport has an illustrious history on the Nordschleife, to which we are determined to add a new chapter this year with the BMW M4 GT3,” said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport.
The proceedings at the 51st edition of the ADAC 24h Nürburgring get underway on Thursday afternoon (Ascension Day, 18th May) with the 105‑minute first qualifying session from 13.15 to 15.00. The 3.5‑hour second qualifying session follows in the evening from 20.00 to 23.30. On Friday (19th May), first up is the 75‑minute third qualifying session from 13.30 to 14.45. ROWE RACING can use all three of these sessions to tune their two cars for the top qualifying session and the race. The #98 BMW M4 GT3 has already secured its spot in the first heat of the top qualifying session, starting at 17.50. Five cars from that heat will make it into the final second heat of the top qualifying session, where they will complete two fast laps to do battle for the prestigious pole position and the Glickenhaus Trophy that has been awarded for this achievement since 2016. The #99 BMW M4 GT3 qualified for this first showdown of the weekend through previous appearances this year. Nick Yelloly claimed pole position for ROWE RACING for the first time in 2021, Augusto Farfus put the #99 BMW M4 GT3 on the first row of the grid in second place in 2022.
Saturday (20th May) begins with the formation lap at 15:40, before the race gets underway at 16:00. The whole race, which finishes at around 16:00 on Sunday (21st May), will be broadcast live on television by NITRO and can also be watched via livestream on the organiser’s homepage. In addition, fans of ROWE RACING can get up close and personal with the team on its social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “ROWE RACING’s commitment and the team’s own aspiration is to always be capable of winning at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring. We have reiterated these ambitions with the performances so far this season. With two wins, three podiums and two pole positions in four races, we have enjoyed huge success thus far, and are eager to build on this at the first major highlight of the season. I hope that our drivers have already learned the hard way this year, as it doesn’t take much to get in your own way at the Nordschleife. So, our main goal is to avoid making any mistakes. The whole team and the drivers have worked incredibly hard, we have never been better prepared as a team. Which is why I think that we are in with a chance of doing well. Our cars are capable of winning, and our driver squads are some of the best in the field. Having finished on the front row twice in the last two years, we want to achieve that again this year, so that – like we did recently for our one-two victory in the GT World Challenge Europe at Monza – we are able to control the racing action from the front right from the very start.”
Maxime Martin (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “I am really looking forward to the big race. The 24h Nürburgring is one of the most important races of the year. I am really looking forward to it. For sure we had great success at the beginning of the season with a victory and a podium in the NLS races. But we all know that the big one is the most important one. I am really pleased to be back with BMW M for this year especially for this race and I am looking forward to trying to win it with ROWE RACING.”
Philipp Eng (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “I am very happy that we are competing up with a very experienced and well‑versed team. We drivers know each other very well from the IMSA series, as well as many GT3 races. ROWE RACING is extremely experienced on the Nordschleife and has almost always been in contention with at least one car in the 24h Nürburgring. Although preparations have not been ideal for our car, I really hope that we can get the win. I think the BMW M4 GT3 has earned that, as has everyone in the team and at BMW M Motorsport.”