26 June 2011

24 Hours of "The Green Hell"

After completing the record-breaking 156 laps, the BMW M3 GT with number 1 crossed the finish line second at the 24-hour race in the “Green Hell“, in front of 250,000 spectators. Augusto Farfus, Jörg Müller, Uwe Alzen and Pedro Lamy took turns at the wheel, delivered a strong performance and were 4:23 minutes behind the winning no. 18Manthey-Porsche at the end of the race.

Except for a collision on lap 24 and the subsequent three-minute stop-and-go penalty, last year’s winners ran a flawless race and impressively demonstrated the high level of performance of the BMW M3 GT. At the chequered flag for the endurance classic in the Eifel they were still just defeated by what in the circumstances was a small margin.

The second car with number 7, driven by Dirk Müller, Dirk Werner and Dirk Adorf, was lying 16th in the standings with 139 laps completed, when the BMW M3 GT came to a halt on the circuit in the the “Breidscheid” section having lost all traction. Earlier in the race, a problem with the brake system and the necessary repairs had cost it more than an hour. From the back of the field, the driving trio admirably worked its way back to the top-20, but was not rewarded with a finish despite its fighting spirit.

12 June 2011

24 hours of Le Mans

Twelve years after the BMW V12 LMR achieved its triumphant overall victory, BMW Motorsport is back on the podium at the Le Mans 24 Hours: In the hard-fought LM GTE class, Andy Priaulx, Dirk Müller and Joey Hand finished third in the no. 56 BMW M3 GT. Final-stint driver Hand crossed the finish line at the “Circuit de la Sarthe” after 313 thrilling laps and having covered a distance of over 4,200 kilometres.

In contrast, the drivers of the second BMW M3 GT, number 55 – Augusto Farfus, Jörg Müller and Dirk Werner – left the endurance classic empty-handed. The trio had battled for 276 laps, repeatedly fighting their way back after being hampered by incidents. Just two and a half hours before the end of the race, however, the fifth-placed BMW M3 GT came to a stop in the “Mulsanne” corner. Jörg Müller had previously reported to the team feeling vibrations in the car. Victory in the LM GTE class went to Corvette’s Olivier Beretta, Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia.

The 79th staging of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which was at times dramatic and overshadowed by several spectacular and alarming crashes, proved to be a roller-coaster ride for Team BMW Motorsport. Both cars had to make several unscheduled pit stops for repairs and to change tyres, while rain showers added another factor to the final stages of the race. The two BMW M3 GT cars that had started the race from pole position and third on the grid, demonstrated their performance over the entire race distance, consistently clocking competitive times. Dirk Müller clocked the fastest GTE race lap with a time of 3:58.876 minutes. Bearing in mind the various incidents, third place for Priaulx, Dirk Müller and Hand was probably the best possible result.