24 Hours of Spa: ROWE RACING starts to look forward to the world's biggest GT car race
On the last weekend in July, as is the annual tradition, ROWE RACING once again returns to its paradise track after a one-year break for the competition: The 74th edition of the 24 Hours of Spa will provide the opportunity for the team from St. Ingbert to strive for the next podium success in the Belgian Ardennes. The 7,004-kilometre Formula 1 circuit in Spa is the longest track which is scheduled in the GT World Challenge Europe Season - and without a doubt the most demanding. Wins back in 2016 and 2020 as well as second places in 2018 and 2019 mean that ROWE RACING has finished first or second four times in their five starts at Spa. No other team in the competition can boast such a successful track record in the world's largest GT3‑race with its 66 starters. The race is the highlight of the season in the GT World Challenge Europe, as well as creating the second highlight of the season for the team following the 24-Hour Nürburgring.
This year's team will feature Dutchman Nick Catsburg, who was also part of the winning driver trio in 2015, who will share the cockpit of the #98 BMW M4 GT3 with his two BMW M factory driver colleagues, Augusto Farfus from Brazil and Nick Yelloly from Great Britain. In the sister car with the #50, the BMW Junior Team, comprising of Briton Dan Harper, German Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen from the USA, celebrates their début at Spa. The trio has already proven how capable they are by gaining fourth place at the 1,000‑km‑race in La Castellet.
After the practice sessions as well as pre-qualifying and qualifying have been concluded on Thursday, the 20 fastest cars in the standings from qualifying will battle it out in Superpole on Friday evening, in order to determine pole position and the final grid position for the race, which will then start at 4.45 p.m. on Saturday 30th July.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “This race is a big challenge for the teams and drivers, and a mega show for the fans. The 24 Hours of Spa once again has a top‑class field this year, and it is particularly nice that the traditional parade can take place again, as this allows the fans to experience the drivers and cars at first hand. Our goal for the race is actually very simple: ROWE RACING aspires to finish on the podium in every 24‑hour race.”
Nick Catsburg (#98 ROWE RACING BMW M4 GT3): “Every year, this race is one of my absolute favourites – I am obviously delighted with my overall victory in 2015. Together with Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly, we have a very fast and experienced trio of drivers in our car. The team has an impressive record, with Spa victories in cars from various manufacturers. With this in mind, we should have a good chance of competing at the very front.”
Max Hesse (#50 ROWE RACING BMW M4 GT3): “We are really looking forward to our first 24‑hour race with ROWE RACING and the big challenge at Spa‑Francorchamps. Our last race in Le Castellet went well, with fourth place. At the recent 24h Portimão, where we tested the new BMW M4 GT4, we learned a lot more about good practice during a 24‑hour race. Based on the impressions gained during the Spa test, we seem to have good race pace.”