ROWE RACING awaits first season highlight at 48th ADAC 24h race at Nürburgring

With two BMW M6 GT3 at the start of the big anniversary of the “Eifel Marathon” / DTM driver Philipp Eng in the strong line-up of BMW factory drivers in double action

St. Ingbert, September 22, 2020 – Unfamiliar conditions, new date, but the same big goal: ROWE RACING wants to finally finish at the top of the podium at the 48th ADAC 24h Race at the Nürburgring. The team from St. Ingbert will enter the legendary “Eifel Marathon” on the 25.378-kilometer combination of Nordschleife and Grand Prix circuit next Saturday (September 26) with two BMW M6 GT3s and a top-class driver line-up, which will send more than 100 starters through the “Green Hell” for the first time at the end of September on its 50th anniversary due to the postponement in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ROWE RACING will field six current BMW factory drivers and one former DTM driver in its two cars. The anticipation is particularly high for Austrian Philipp Eng, who will be running a “double shift” in both BMW M6 GT3s. This premiere for him will see a reunion in the cockpit of the #99 with Alexander Sims, with whom he won the 24 Hours of Spa together for ROWE RACING in 2016. The British BMW works driver did not race in the Eifel last year due to his Formula E commitments. The driver quartet of the #99 is completed by two other BMW works drivers: Sims’ fast compatriot Nick Yelloly and the “Flying Dutchman” Nick Catsburg, who has already celebrated a victory in the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) for the team from St. Ingbert this year and secured the team’s biggest success to date in the ADAC 24h Race in 2017 with second place.

In the #98 BMW M6 GT3, Philipp Eng leads a complete “DTM car”. Joining the Austrian on the grid is his compatriot Lucas Auer, who is also contesting the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring for the first time in his first DTM season as a BMW works driver. Like Philipp Eng and Lucas Auer, two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann from Germany will also contest his third race weekend in a row at the Nürburgring after the two DTM appearances on the Grand Prix circuit and the Sprint track, but this time also taking him around the legendary Nordschleife. Fourth man on the grid for the #98 BMW M6 GT3 is, as last year, former DTM driver Tom Blomqvist from Great Britain.

New for this year’s edition of the ADAC 24h Race is the changed procedure of the Top Qualifying. Even before the familiar individual time trial with two fast laps, in which 18 cars will be competing for pole position for the race this year, 19 cars will be fighting for four places still open for the final Top Qualifying 2 in a new first part, Top Qualifying 1, under the same conditions. ROWE RACING has already qualified for Top Qualifying 2 with both cars after its good performances in the NLS so far and has thus already secured the coveted blue signal lamps, which make it easier for the fastest GT3 cars to lap in the dense field, especially at night.

This means the team can use the previous practice and qualifying sessions entirely to perfect the set-up and let the drivers get used to the track.

The racing action at the ADAC 24h Race at the Nürburgring, which was held for the first time in 1970, begins on Thursday lunchtime (September 24) with the 90-minute 1st qualifying session from 12:30 to 14:00. The three-hour 2nd qualifying session then follows in the evening from 20.30 to 23.30. On Friday (September 25), after the 60-minute 3rd qualifying session from 1.25 p.m. to 2.25 p.m., Top Qualifying 1 is on the agenda from 5.50 p.m., followed directly by the hunt for the prestigious pole position in Top Qualifying 2. On Saturday (September 26), the formation lap will start at 3.10 p.m. before the 48th ADAC 24h Race is released at 3.30 p.m.. The entire race up to the finish on Sunday at around 3.30 p.m. will be broadcast live on television on NITRO. Spectators are only allowed to a small number of selected grandstands on the Grand Prix circuit this year in accordance with the health and hygiene concept in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and tickets will be sold exclusively online, personalized and seat-by-seat. The spectator areas at the Nordschleife will remain closed.

Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “We are glad that this unique event can take place this year despite the special circumstances, even though it will be a very special edition for all participants: with Corona requirements, the unusual date at the end of September and without the support of the many fans at the Nordschleife. The approach will also be quite different, we have a larger night portion of the 24 hours, which will affect the performance of the cars. The weather conditions are new for everyone, it can get chilly and there can even be leaves on the track. We are insanely looking forward to this challenge and think we are well sorted – also because we have analyzed our early failures in the last two years and taken measures to avoid a repeat if possible. We can’t wait for it to finally start. We have a great driver line-up this year and in our fifth year together with BMW we hope to finally be able to celebrate the really big success. We are spearheading BMW with two top-seeded BMW M6 GT3s and would love to give BMW its 20th overall victory at the 50th anniversary of the race.”

Marco Wittmann, #98 ROWE RACING BMW M6 GT3: “For us DTM drivers, September is naturally exhausting with four race weekends in a row. Personally, I always try to use the Mondays and Tuesdays to recharge my batteries a bit. That actually works quite well for me, and as a race driver you prefer to sit behind the wheel anyway. My anticipation for the 24-hour race is accordingly great.”

Lucas Auer, #98 ROWE RACING BMW M6 GT3: “The anticipation for my first 24h race on the Nordschleife is huge. But I’m also a little excited, if I’m honest. The track is absolutely legendary. I can’t wait for it to start.”

Philipp Eng, #98 and #99 ROWE RACING BMW M6 GT3: “I am very much looking forward to the 24h race and thank BMW and ROWE RACING for the confidence to put me on two cars. This will be the first time for me. On the one hand it means more work and driving time, but on the other hand it means twice the chance of a good result. I think we are well prepared. Now it will be about getting through well and not making any mistakes.”

Alexander Sims, #99 ROWE RACING BMW M6 GT3: “I’m very excited to be driving the Nürburgring 24h race again with ROWE RACING. I wasn’t there last year, so it feels very long – more than two years – that I drove this race for the last time. But at two NLS rounds this year I got back into the rhythm and, as always, it’s very, very fun to work with the whole team. None of us have any experience competing in the 24h race at this time of year. But in the end, the rules are the same for everyone: the Nürburgring is a crazy track and with so many different cars in the race, there’s absolutely no room for error.”

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