Sch­nitzer’s Charly Lamm re­tires

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - GARY WATKINS

A chap­ter of mo­tor rac­ing his­tory will come to a close at the end of this sea­son. Charly Lamm is to hand over the tiller of Sch­nitzer Mo­tor­sport af­ter a golden ca­reer as team man­ager of an op­er­a­tion that can rightly be called the great­est tour­ing car squad of all time.

Lamm, who turns 64 next year, is too mod­est to agree with the propo­si­tion that he was the ar­chi­tect of Sch­nitzer’s suc­cesses with BMW across the ev­er­chang­ing tour­ing car land­scape over a span of 40 years, not to men­tion its achieve­ments in sportscar rac­ing. But it was un­der his watch as team man­ager that it racked up ma­jor tin-top ti­tles all over the world, won the Spa 24 Hours four times and tri­umphed in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Sch­nitzer’s first ma­jor cham­pi­onship suc­cess came with a small side-op­er­a­tion headed by Lamm when he was still a stu­dent 40 years ago. He ran the Sch­nitzer BMW 320i, in which Har­ald Ertl claimed the Ger­man DRM ti­tle (below), while on a work place­ment with the team as part of his in­dus­trial engi­neer­ing stud­ies at Mu­nich Univer­sity.

Lamm brought a new at­ten­tion to de­tail to tour­ing car rac­ing be­fore and af­ter he joined the fam­ily team – which had been founded by his half-broth­ers Her­bert and Josef Sch­nitzer – full-time in 1981. Sch­nitzer’s or­gan­i­sa­tion and its prow­ess in the pits of­ten made the dif­fer­ence in the Group A era of the Euro­pean Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship in the 1980s. It would win the se­ries known sim­ply as the ETC three times, as well as the orig­i­nal, one-off World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship spawned by it with Roberto Ravaglia in ’87.

Now, he reck­ons, it’s time to step back. “There comes a time in life where you have to be a lit­tle bit more calm,” he says. “I’ve been driven my whole life by the rhythm of pre­par­ing for the next race or test. It’s been fas­ci­nat­ing, but maybe my drive is go­ing down a lit­tle bit. I don’t want to be go­ing to the next race just to tick it off.”

And the big­gest suc­cess of a ca­reer with Sch­nitzer that be­gan af­ter he was handed tim­ing du­ties by the team while still at school? “The race of my mo­tor rac­ing life has to be Le Mans ’99,” he says. “We didn’t get so many chances to win there, but the rep­u­ta­tion of that race makes it an amaz­ing re­sult.”

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