Fantastic comeback by ROWE RACING at the “Eifel Marathon”: The #98 BMW M4 GT3 from the St. Ingbert team drove from 31st on the grid to the podium in the 51st edition of the ADAC 24h Nürburgring. Second place means the third podium for ROWE RACING at the endurance classic in four years after the victory in 2020 and second place in 2021. For the sister #99 car the race ended prematurely after a collision while lapping at night.
ROWE RACING made a significant contribution to the show that 235,000 fans experienced at the Nürburgring over the weekend. The #98 BMW M4 GT3 started the race from 31st position after a slip in the top qualifying on Friday evening. However, the two DTM champions Marco Wittmann from Germany, as the first‑stint driver and Sheldon van der Linde from South Africa, who together finished second in this car in 2021, fought their way continuously and almost unstoppably forward with the two Belgians Maxime Martin and Dries Vanthoor and soon emerged in the leading group.
During the night and especially after sunrise on Sunday, the four BMW M works drivers were the only ones who could keep up with the leading, and later winning, Ferrari. After the lead repeatedly switched between these two vehicles due to different pit strategies, Dries Vanthoor went onto the track as the closing driver 44 minutes before the finish. The Belgian, who won the race the previous year, reduced the gap to 26.911 seconds and like the winning car, also set a new distance record for the race with 162 laps and 4,111.236 kilometres. That’s three laps more than the previous record races in 2014 and 2022.
“That was an eventful 24h race for us. Second place with the #98 BMW M4 GT3 of ROWE RACING is a fantastic result. Congratulations and a big thank you to everyone! Our drivers did a flawless job and worked their way into the leading group from outside the top 30,“ said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport.
The race did not go so well for the #99 BMW M4 GT3, however. Starting driver Austrian Philipp Eng, Connor de Phillippi from the USA, Brazilian Augusto Farfus, and Briton Nick Yelloly started the “Eifel Marathon” from 11th position and were also in the mix at the front for a long time. However, after a collision while lapping a slower vehicle, the BMW M works driver quartet had to retire prematurely.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “For us, the top priority is always to be capable of winning here – and we were precisely that! We were always in contention for the podium. The challenge we faced was not easy, but everyone involved did a super job. We don’t know what we could have done better. The drivers, particularly in the race, did a flawless job. You cannot but admire the ability to come through from 31st on the grid to finish runner‑up, and to be in contention for the win for so long. That is a really great effort. My team feels like a champion. It is a real honour to stand on the podium here. That cannot be taken for granted. And a hearty congratulations to our two former drivers, Nick and Earl, on their victory.”
Maxime Martin (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “All in all, we had a strong race and, given our starting position, that is a good result. The team did a perfect job with the strategy. We were fast and consistent. However, I am also pleased for Frikadelli Racing. Klaus and the whole team deserved it. We can be happy with ourselves.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “Simply getting through this race without any major issues or incidents is a very good performance. We saw a lot of crashes, particularly during the night. We wanted to survive that phase without any issues – and we managed that. We were just lacking a little bit of pace that would have allowed us to push for victory. However, we still produced a flawless race.”
Dries Vanthoor (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “That was not an easy race. We gave it everything and were ultimately rewarded with second place. Everyone did a fantastic job. A lot happened in the race, and the traffic was very difficult at times. Thank you to ROWE RACING and everyone at BMW M. We’ll go again next year.”
Marco Wittmann (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “We can be extremely proud of ourselves. To challenge for victory from the back row of our starting row, is a very good team effort. That goes for both the team and us drivers. Not once did we make contact with another car. Although we did not quite have the pace to take victory, we can be happy on the whole.”
Connor de Phillippi (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “The 24h Nürburgring was an eventful one this year. Unfortunately, in the early morning there was light contact with a slower car that made a sudden movement on the straight and ended our race for the #99 crew. The team deserved a podium result and I’m sorry to have not achieved that this year for them. Hopefully next year we will have more luck on our side. Congratulations to our sister car on the podium finish.”