24h Nürburgring: 2nd place after spectacular catch up
The ROWE RACING BMW M4 GT3 with the #98 drove from position 31 on the grid to second place behind the winning Frikadelli Ferrari in the 51st edition of the ADAC 24h Nürburgring. This means the third podium finish in four years after victory in 2020 and second place in 2021.
ROWE RACING made a big contribution to the show in front of a record crowd of 235,000 fans in total. After the #98 had only started the race from position 31, DTM champions Marco Wittmann and Sheldon van der Linde and the two Belgians Maxime Martin and Dries Vanthoor fought their way steadily to the front. The four BMW M factory drivers were the only ones who could keep up with the Ferrari. Dries Vanthoor took to the track as the final driver with 44 minutes to go. In the end, the Belgian, who had won the race last year, was able to reduce the gap to the winner to 26.911 seconds. The fans also saw a new distance record at the 24h Nürburgring: 162 laps with 4,111.236 kilometres. That is three laps more than the previous record races in 2014 and 2022.
The race was unfortunate for the BMW with the #99: Philipp Eng, Connor de Phillippi, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly had started the "Eifel Marathon" from eleventh on the grid and were among the front runners for a long time. However, after a collision while lapping a slow car, the quartet had to retire.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING:
“For us, the top priority is always to be capable of winning here – and we were precisely that! We were always in contention for the podium. The challenge we faced was not easy, but everyone involved did a super job. We don’t know what we could have done better. The drivers, particularly in the race, did a flawless job. You cannot but admire the ability to come through from 31st on the grid to finish runner‑up, and to be in contention for the win for so long. That is a really great effort.”
Michael Zehe, founder and Managing Director of ROWE:
"Even though it wasn't quite enough for the win, our performance here was absolutely first class! With the spectacular catch-up from 31st to second place, we have underlined that we are one of the most successful teams in the recent past. The victory and the two second places within four years are testimony to the excellent work done by Hans-Peter Naundorf and his team."
Dr Alexandra Kohlmann, Managing Director of ROWE:
"I am delighted with this second place! We were able to present ourselves in an impressive manner both as a race team and as a brand in front of this spectacular crowd of spectators. The technical consistency that our car showed over the entire race distance is also a bit of proof of how well our lubricants work under the toughest conditions."
Maxime Martin (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING):
“All in all, we had a strong race and, given our starting position, that is a good result. The team did a perfect job with the strategy. We were fast and consistent. However, I am also pleased for Frikadelli Racing. Klaus and the whole team deserved it. We can be happy with ourselves.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING):
“Simply getting through this race without any major issues or incidents is a very good performance. We saw a lot of crashes, particularly during the night. We wanted to survive that phase without any issues – and we managed that. We were just lacking a little bit of pace that would have allowed us to push for victory. However, we still produced a flawless race.”
Dries Vanthoor (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING):
“That was not an easy race. We gave it everything and were ultimately rewarded with second place. Everyone did a fantastic job. A lot happened in the race, and the traffic was very difficult at times. Thank you to ROWE RACING and everyone at BMW M. We’ll go again next year.”
Marco Wittmann (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING):
“We can be extremely proud of ourselves. To challenge for victory from the back row of our starting row, is a very good team effort. That goes for both the team and us drivers. Not once did we make contact with another car. Although we did not quite have the pace to take victory, we can be happy on the whole.”
Connor de Phillippi (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE RACING):
“The 24h Nürburgring was an eventful one this year. Unfortunately, in the early morning there was light contact with a slower car that made a sudden movement on the straight and ended our race for the #99 crew. The team deserved a podium result and I’m sorry to have not achieved that this year for them. Hopefully next year we will have more luck on our side. Congratulations to our sister car on the podium finish.”