50 years of BMW M and the debut of the BMW M4 GT3 cover
50 years of BMW M and the debut of the BMW M4 GT3 cover | Foto: 50 years of BMW M and the debut of the BMW M4 GT3 cover

50 years of BMW M and the debut of the BMW M4 GT3

Por: Karen Limón

4, February, 2022 en Sports Mode

Daytona. For BMW M Motorsport and BMW North America, this weekend’s Rolex 24 in Daytona (USA) has been one of the highlights of the start of the season. The all-new BMW M4 GT3 makes its debut at the long-distance classic in Florida. Last weekend, BMW M Team RLL and Turner Motorsport took part in the Roar Before 24 testing and qualifying session, where they secured a grid position for the 24-hour race. The grand race is the perfect stage for the 50th anniversary of BMW M GmbH, which will be celebrated with top-level programming on and off the track.

Over the past few days, as part of a number of test sessions and 100-minute qualifying sessions, the sporting groundwork has been laid for the upcoming weekend. The two MOTUL BMW M4 GT3s of the BMW M Team RLL finished 12th and 13th in the GTD-PRO class. While driving car number 24, BMW M factory drivers Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) gained as much experience as possible. Their teammates Marco Wittmann (GER) and Philipp Eng (AUT) only played during the test period. In car number 25, Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) skipped qualifying while John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi (both USA) shared the cockpit. Turner Motorsport missed the finish line in the GTD class after a collision with drivers Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Michael Dinan (all-America) and Jens Klingmann (Germany) in the No. 96 BMW M4 GT3. As a result, they started from the back of the field at the weekend.

“In many ways, the 24 Hours of Daytona is a very special race for BMW M Motorsport – for me personally,” said Mike Krack, head of BMW M Motorsport. “This season will officially celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BMW M on the track for the first time thanks to the commitment of BMW in North America. From a sporting standpoint, we are very excited about IMSA’s debut of the BMW M4 GT3. As we saw in Roar, Tuning and classifying a new GT car can present some challenges and take a little time to master. However, the drivers and teams are making steady progress and will continue to improve throughout the race weekend. I feel confident in my role as BMW M Motorsport Man’s last game to see a great performance. I’m really looking forward to that.”

MOTUL is a partner of BMW M Motorsport and is named after the BMW M Team RLL vehicle. “After two years of successful collaboration, including winning the 2020 24 Hours of Daytona, we are very proud to continue our adventure together,” said Romain Grabowski, MOTUL Brand Principal. “Not only is this a renewal of the partnership, but with the launch of the all-new MOTUL BMW M4 GT3, it is a real challenge for both of us as we both work together on its technological development. We want to use high-quality Oil delights BMW fans around the world, allowing them to get the maximum performance out of their BMW engines while getting maximum protection.” Partners Akrapovič, H&R, Michelin and Puma are also working closely with BMW M Motorsport together. They will be joined by North American partners BMW, BMW M Performance Driving School and Global Medical Response BMW M Team RLL partners Aero and Rousseau.

BMW M4 GT3 photo
BMW M4 GT3 photo

Special highlights in support programme.

In addition to the motorsport event, BMW M Motorsport and BMW North America are celebrating 50 years of BMW M with a number of highlights in the Rolex 24 At Daytona support program. Before the race, there will be a parade of historic and current BMW M vehicles, including a 1980 BMW M1. The Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition will feature three racing cars that made history by winning IMSA races. In the “Daytona Fan Zone”: the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL, the 2015 BMW Z4 GTLM and the 2019 Daytona-winning BMW M8 GTE.

In addition, BMW M is once again the title partner of the BMW M Endurance Challenge, the 4-hour race at the start of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season. Four BMW M4 GT4s from Turner Motorsport, Stephen Cameron Racing and Random Vandals Racing will start on Friday. This segment is led by the BMW M3 and BMW M4 Safety Cars. Representatives of BMW M GmbH include Franciscus van Meel, CEO, and Timo Resch, Vice President Customer, Brand and Sales at BMW M GmbH.

The BMW M Endurance Challenge gets underway at 19:35 CET on Friday 28th January. The Rolex 24 starts at 19:40 CET on Saturday 29th January.

BMW driver
BMW driver

Quotes ahead of the 24-hour race:

Bobby Rahal (BMW M Team RLL Team Principal): “We are very proud to have helped shape much of the history of BMW M Motorsport. We were very honoured to have signed with BMW in 2008 for the 2009 season – so we are honoured to be part of the BMW M 50 Anniversary celebration. We are very much looking forward to driving the new BMW M4 GT3 and introducing a new race car to BMW fans once again, as we did with the M3 GT, Z4 GTLM, M6 GTLM and M8 GTE. We are fortunate to be able to drive the The success on the car makes it exciting to tackle this new project and hopefully even more success in 2022 with this fantastic new chassis. BMW M Motorsport has assembled another fantastic driver lineup, our drivers Will have to give it all. There are a lot of good drivers in GTD PRO and we look forward to racing.”

Sheldon van der Linde (#24 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3): “Not a great qualifying race for us. Obviously, we would have liked to be further up on the grid. Our job is to make sure that everything runs smoothly within the team. For me personally it’s the first race with the RLL team, so I was getting to know everybody during these days. My first time with BMW M Motorsport at Daytona means there’s a lot left for me to learn.”

Nick Yelloly (#24 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3): “We could see in the qualifying race where we are at the moment – and that’s not where we want to be. Now we have to stick our heads together in the days to come. In general, it’s pleasure to drive the BMW M4 GT3 and work with BMW M Team RLL. Now we just have to find some speed.”

John Edwards (#25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3): “The qualifying race didn’t end up great but fortunately there are no points awarded for it. Now we have a week ahead of us where we’ll put our heads down and prepare for the 24-hour race to go for the result when it counts.”

Connor De Phillippi (#25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3): “Not the result we wanted, obviously. We executed well and had a clean race. We just didn’t have the package to challenge for top positions. Let’s hope it will be different next weekend and we can put on a fight.”

Jens Klingmann (#96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3): “For us the focus was on set-up work. It’s important to find a good balance between racing day and night. There are still a lot of things to learn and discover with the new car. I think we made good progress and the car is in a good window. It is easy to drive which is important for a 24-hour race. Now we just got to make it fast. I am confident we’ll get there soon.