The BMW M6 GT3 has successfully passed its first endurance test. The total of six M6 gained their first racing kilometres in the Green Hell at the season opener of the VLN endurance racing championship at the Nürburgring; they were however not able yet on this 2nd of April to qualify for a position on the podium. After four hours race time, the BMW of the Team Walkenhorst Motorsport was the highest-ranked of the BMW M6 GT3. Mattias Henkola and Michele Di Martino with start number 35 took the chequered flag in seventh overall position.
“I am really happy with our seventh place”, said Di Martino. “The competitive debut in the BMW M6 GT3 was definitely successful. We had a pretty good start and then completed the race without any big problems. Things may well continue this way.” Similar comments came from the protagonists of the teams Rowe Racing and Schubert Motorsport who also relied on the new GT3 flagship from Munich.
Particularly in the early stages of the first VLN race, the BMW M6 GT3 proved its promising potential. BMW works driver Dirk Werner of Rowe Racing, who shared the car with DTM driver Maxime Martin and Philipp Eng, was able to catch up with the front. Werner who took the start from 16 grid position moved up into fifth position within only five laps. Technical problems then unfortunately spoiled a good overall result. “Our first impression of the car was really good”, informed Martin nevertheless. “But we know of course that there is still a lot of work lying ahead of us. I am very happy with the basic configuration of the car, now we have to further develop its potential.”
In the sister car, which was driven by Klaus Graf together with his new team mates Richard Westbrook and Markus Palttala, Rowe Racing was testing various set-up variants during the race after they, too, had a good start. The driver trio was classified 17th in the final classification. “We are happy to have completed our first kilometres under race conditions”, was the summary of Rowe team manager Hans-Peter Naundorf. “Our first impressions are positive. There are, however, still a few issues related to the specific conditions at the Nordschleife which we have to sort out.”
For the two other M6 GT3 entered by the Team Schubert Motorsport, the set-up of the cars also had priority. DTM driver Augusto Farfus finished the race together with Jesse Krohn and Jörg Müller 22nd overall whereas their sister car with Jens Klingmann, Lucas Luhr and John Edwards had to retire in the last lap due to an accident. Team manager Thorsten Schubert: „The accident was clearly a pity. Our main target in the race, however, was not to score top results but to collect as many testing kilometres as possible.”
As happy as Henry Walkenhorst was about the seventh place of his car number 35, as disappointed was the retirement of his second BMW after only eight race laps. “That was annoying because we would have needed every kilometre for testing purposes”, said Walkenhorst. “But all in all the competitive debut of the new car was a success and we are really happy with the performance of the BMW M6 GT3.”
After the first impressions gained at the Nordschleife it will be interesting to see how the new BMW M6 GT3 will perform at the second VLN race on 30th of April.