BMW poised to break its jinx

Autosport (UK) - - PIT + PADDOCK - JAMES NEW­BOLD

BMW en­ters this week­end’s Nur­bur­gring 24 Hours in­tent upon end­ing a bar­ren run dat­ing back to its last vic­tory in 2010. Its M6 is a proven win­ner in 24-hour races just across the border at Spa, where it pre­vailed in 2016 and 2018, but it hasn’t even car­ried any­one to the podium at the Nur­bur­gring 24 since it took sec­ond po­si­tion amid the chaotic wet fin­ish of 2017.

The M6 may be one of the old­est workssup­ported GT3 cars around – it has been in ser­vice since 2016 – but in this year’s NLS prac­tice races on the Nord­schleife it has won two of the four, with Mercedes tak­ing the other two, while Audi took a 1-2 in the six-hour warm-up race.

Bri­ton David Pit­tard and Dane Mikkel Jensen claimed the first race of the year for Walken­horst Mo­tor­sport’s M6 af­ter the Mercedes of Maro En­gel and Pa­trick Assen­heimer was pinged for a fi­nal stop that was too short. Af­ter the new Haupt Rac­ing Team (es­sen­tially the key staff of Black Fal­con un­der a dif­fer­ent name) won both races of NLS’S dou­ble-header, the Rowe Rac­ing BMW of Nicky Cats­burg and Stef Dus­sel­dorp tri­umphed in race four. So is this the week­end when BMW’S hoodoo in the 24 Hours comes to an end?

Against the raft of Mercedes and Audi en­tries in the top SP9 class (Porsche has with­drawn its Man­they car and will not send sev­eral of its fac­tory driv­ers in­volved at Le Mans over COVID con­cerns), BMW has four po­ten­tial race-win­ning M6 GT3 line-ups. There are two Rowe en­tries (one driven by Brits Alexan­der Sims and Nick Yel­loly), there’s the Walken­horst ma­chine fea­tur­ing Pit­tard, while Sch­nitzer has en­tered a car for Au­gusto Far­fus, Martin Tom­czyk, Jens Kling­mann and Shel­don van der Linde.

Far­fus con­cedes that the “our old lady M6 is not the new­est car of the field”, but is con­fi­dent that “this year is def­i­nitely the year we are best-pre­pared ever”.

“I re­ally think we can fight for the vic­tory,” he said. “The level is get­ting higher and higher. I as­sume we will have at least 20 clear line-ups ca­pa­ble of win­ning the race and it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult right now to point out who is the real favourite.

“For BMW it’s a very spe­cial and very im­por­tant race, and we have put in a lot of ef­fort. So far we’ve been com­pet­i­tive but Nur­bur­gring is al­ways a sur­prise box – ev­ery­thing can change in one lap.”

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