Motorsport

ROWE RACING HEADS INTO THE ADAC 24H NÜRBURGRING WITH A CLEAR GOAL: ONE STEP HIGHER THAN LAST TIME

Seven BMW M works drivers face the “Green Hell” challenge in two BMW M4 GT3s / “Eifel Marathon” is also part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge for the first time.

St. Ingbert, 27th May 2024 – ROWE RACING has set a very simple yet challenging goal for the 52nd edition of the ADAC 24h Nürburgring this coming weekend. The team from St. Ingbert aims to finish just one place better than last year at the season highlight on the Nordschleife. This would mean a second overall victory following the triumph in 2020 and another step onto the top podium at what is arguably the world’s toughest endurance race on the 25.378 kilometre combination of the legendary Nordschleife and the Grand Prix Track, after finishing second in 2021 and 2023.

To achieve this goal, ROWE RACING, together with partner BMW M Motorsport, is relying on two BMW M4 GT3s and a top class line up of drivers, this time consisting of seven BMW M works drivers. A special role this year is assigned to Augusto Farfus, who in 2010 became the first, and so far only, Brazilian to win the ride through the “Green Hell”. “Gustl” will compete in both of the teams cars this year, meaning double the work but also double the chance of success.

In the #98 BMW M4 GT3, Augusto Farfus shares the cockpit with the two time German DTM champion Marco Wittmann, who after the Spa victory in 2023 finally wants to land at the very front at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring, and the Belgian Maxime Martin, who were second together in this car in 2023. This driver crew is completed by one of two new additions at BMW M Motorsport and ROWE RACING, the Swiss Raffaele Marciello, who has so far finished third twice in the “Eifel Marathon” in 2021 and 2023 – each time behind the #98 BMW M4 GT3 of ROWE RACING.

In the #99 BMW M4 GT3, Augusto Farfus supports the 2022 DTM champion, Sheldon van der Linde from South Africa, and the Belgian Dries Vanthoor, who have switched cars within the team after driving from 31st on the grid to second place in the #98 in 2023, along with Maxime Martin and Marco Wittmann. The driver quartet for car #99 is rounded off by the second new addition, Dutchman Robin Frijns who has already won the ADAC 24h Nürburgring in 2022, among others with the since twice winner Dries Vanthoor.

For partner and record winner BMW M Motorsport, a victory would be the 21st success in the Eifel region. “There is probably no racetrack that is as closely linked to the history of BMW M Motorsport as the Nordschleife. After finishing second last year, our goal now is to continue the success story of 20 victories at the 24h Nürburgring. The preparation time was quite short this year. However, we were able to do a lot of important work during tests and the qualifiers, and our teams are real Nordschleife specialists. In addition, we have a strong line up of our BMW M works drivers, which combines a lot of experience in this special race and very good speed in the BMW M4 GT3. If we now also have the necessary racing luck, we have very good chances,” said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport.

For the first time in their long history, the ADAC 24h Nürburgring is also part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. After the first race of this global association of legendary endurance classics at Bathurst, Australia, BMW is in third place in the manufacturers’ standings, with Raffaele Marciello and Maxime Martin in fourth place among the drivers.

The proceedings at the 52nd edition of the ADAC 24h Nürburgring get underway on Thursday afternoon (30th May) with the 105 minute first qualifying session from 13:00 to 14.45. The 3.5 hour second qualifying session follows in the evening from 20:00 to 23:30. On Friday (31st May), the 75 minute third qualifying session from 13:30 to 14:45 comes first. The excitement really begins on Friday at 17:30 in the two part Top Qualifying. In the first round of this individual time trial with two timed laps, both ROWE RACING cars aim to secure one of the five remaining spots for the Top Qualifying 2, which takes place immediately after a short break. Then, the final starting positions will be contested, and the prestigious pole position, along with the Glickenhaus Trophy awarded for it since 2016, will be given. In 2021, Nick Yelloly secured the pole position for ROWE RACING for the first time, and in 2022, Augusto Farfus managed to make it to the front row as the second fastest.

Saturday (1st June) 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 (2nd June), 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 X.

Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “The 24h Nürburgring is the first major highlight of the season. It is commendable that this race is also part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge for the first time, which now really includes legendary tracks that befit such a series. This year at the Nürburgring, we aim to climb one step higher on the podium than last time. That is our big goal, which we have worked towards for twelve months. The Balance of Performance for the weekend is moving in the right direction, but we hope that the ADAC officials will continue to keep an eye on the shifts that occur and whether the desired changes actually take place. So far, in our view, the steps are still a bit too small, and there are still question marks behind the performance of some cars and manufacturers. In the preparation, there were some imbalances, which are also reflected in which cars already have their places in the Top Qualifying secured.”

Marco Wittmann (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “The anticipation for the 24h Nürburgring is high, even though this year in the preparation we could only race in the 24h Qualifiers, where we at least stood on the podium. Since we were also able to use some test days, we are still relatively well prepared and looking forward to the weekend. The first hurdle is to get into the Top Qualifying. Since both cars are not yet qualified for that, it always brings some pressure for the team even before the race start, even though the start position is not the most crucial thing. If you look at where we drove to second place on the podium last year, it shows that it’s extremely important to make no mistakes in the race and to have a good pace. Then you can finish very far ahead. That is clearly our goal. I have been on the podium as second and third in the past years, but personally, the victory has always been missing. To stand at the very top is my goal and my claim for this year. That ROWE RACING is a strong team has been proved by the team in endurance races several times. Therefore, we can go into this race weekend with healthy self confidence, and hope for a good mood among the fans, as always at the Nürburgring, and for nice weather for everyone.”

Raffaele Marciello (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “I’m really looking forward to my first 24-hours at the Nürburgring with BMW M and ROWE RACING. We had a good preparation so I feel ready. I have a strong team and very strong teammates. It’s a race I have never won. So I hope the year it will be right here. For sure it will not be easy but we will work hard to achieve our goals.”

Augusto Farfus (#98 und #99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “It’s one of the coolest weekends of the year, the hardest 24 hours of the planet. Doing two cars is something very intense. I think, even if this year all the preparations being done differently as in the previous years with all the races and events, that we are on top of the games. So let’s hope to execute a good race. I’m very thankful to BMW M and ROWE RACING to give me the opportunity to drive two cars.”

Sheldon van der Linde (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING): “I’m very much looking forward to the 24 hour race. I’m competing there for the fourth year with ROWE RACING and we have a very exciting line-up with Robin and Dries and then being joined by Augusto, who will be on both cars, so a lot of experience on the Nordschleife. I’m feeling very confident that we can get a strong result. I finished third and second a few times on the Nürburgring and I would like to tick that one off the bucket list and I feel like this could be the year for it.”

CALENDAR 24-HOUR RACES
01.06.2024: ADAC 24h Nürburgring
29.06.2024: 24 Hours of Spa

Published by: Rowe Racing

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