ROWE RACING Team Principal Hans-Peter Naundorf: “At the end, we were simply ‘tougher than the rest’.”

First victory in ADAC 24h race has “a very big meaning” / “The drivers on both cars did an incredible job at the wheel”

St. Ingbert, October 2, 2020 – ROWE RACING’s first triumph in the ADAC 24h Race at the Nürburgring is “something very, very special” for team boss Hans-Peter Naundorf. He has since received numerous congratulations, including from competitors and former partners. In the following interview, he reveals how “HP” Naundorf assesses his drivers’ performance in the “Green Hell,” why the success has a much higher significance for him than the victory in the 2016 Spa 24 Hours, and how he envisions returning to the ADAC 24h Race in 2021 as defending champion.

How many congratulations have you received by phone or text message since Sunday? And are there any congratulators you were particularly happy about?

Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “I can’t say that exactly, but it was definitely a three-digit number. Among them were also some former companions who got in touch again after a very long time and whom one had not met for a long time. It was also great to receive sincere congratulations from some competitors and former partners. I was very pleased to receive congratulations from Stephane Ratel from SRO and from Romain Morizot, the managing director of our racing suit manufacturer Stand21, among others. This shows how great the response to the ADAC 24h Race is, even outside Germany.”

What does this Nürburgring victory mean after so many vain attempts?

Naundorf: “With all the factors that made the race so special this year, the history of BMW, the yearning desire of all of us to finally win this race, and all the combined efforts, this success is very, very special. It’s not just a race win, as it might have been in 2013 or 2017, when we came very close before. Also, because of the Corona issue, which is very limiting to all of our lives at the moment, this success has a very big meaning for me and for many partners and people involved. It is difficult to assess what impact this will have on the future. Over the years, we have always put the most energy and the highest hopes into this race and have experienced bitter disappointments with early failures, especially in the last two years. It is a very great satisfaction to have achieved this success – even more so because this year it was the toughest 24-hour race in recent history. And in the end we were simply ‘tougher than the rest’ in the process.”

How do you rate its significance compared to the Spa victory in 2016?

Naundorf: “It’s not really comparable, they are completely different races with different strategy approaches. The only similarities are that both are 24-hour races. The significance of the Nürburgring victory is incomparably greater for the Motorsport Competence Group and ROWE RACING. At Spa, our success in 2016 was a surprise for everyone, at the Nürburgring we’ve always been among the favorites for years and knew ourselves that we could do it. That’s why, after all the preparations and intensive years, a much bigger knot has now been broken. In Spa, we unexpectedly won directly with a completely new car in the first year. Now, after five years, the BMW M6 GT3 is standing firm, everything has been sorted out. In this situation, all the smallest screws have to be set correctly, the right drivers have to be in the car and then the racing gods have to provide these conditions in which only the very best can get through without making any mistakes. Conquering the Nordschleife is the toughest thing I’ve been allowed to do in my 25 years of racing.”

What do you say about the performance of the drivers?

Naundorf: “The drivers on both cars did an incredible job at the wheel. But their endurance, their lack of mistakes and the way they implemented the tactics were also great. You always supported the team’s decisions, no matter what ‘impossible’ task we gave them. But above all else, you never gave up, and this is emblematic of our whole team anyway.”

When in the race did you realize that it could really work out? Not until Sunday morning, or was the confidence always there, even during the difficult initial phase?

Naundorf: “In view of the weather forecasts, we thought we had a good chance even before the start. Our starting phase may have looked a bit bumpy, but we didn’t let that make us crazy. We were still on a strategic course. When we moved up into the top four around midday on Sunday, we realized that the podium was within our grasp. From then it was just maximum attack. When we turned onto the Döttinger Höhe at their last stop at the end of the third-last lap, our calculations said that we would stay just in front and could probably maintain the lead afterwards. Nick Catsburg was so much faster than the Audi on this lap after our last stop and had pulled out the ultimately decisive seconds. Because the #3 had also pitted longer than we had expected, our lead was as much as 18 seconds, and Nick was even able to approach the last two laps a bit more comfortably on our announcement. However, it was still a long 18 minutes before the checkered flag really flew for us.”

Both BMW M6 GT3s from ROWE RACING and the Schnitzer car came through without any technical problems. Does the car also benefit from its long running time and the correspondingly high number of race kilometers on the Nordschleife?

Naundorf: “Definitely. The car is insanely stable if you know how to use it properly. There are no more construction sites, all three BMW cars have rolled like clockwork. There’s absolutely no reason to retire the BMW M6 GT3 yet, according to the motto ‘the older the better’ they should definitely take on the challenge again next year to defend the title at the 2021 24h race.”



ROWE RACING celebrates its second podium finish in eight days at the race start on the Nordschleife

Second and fourth places for the team from St. Ingbert at the second round of the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers / Podium premiere for Raffaele Marciello in a BMW M4 GT3


First two competitive race appearances of 2024 for ROWE RACING on the Nürburgring Nordschleife

Competing at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers with two BMW M4 GT3s and six BMW M works drivers / Important preparation for the highlight of the season, the ADAC 24h Nürburgring



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