12/01/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/01/2019 08:56
Whether in the DTM, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, or countless other championships: Week after week BMW teams and drivers around the world do battle for points, victories and titles. Away from the track too, members of the large BMW Motorsport family around the world are also creating headlines. The 'BMW Motorsport News' allows us to regularly summarise all the action for you in a compact and informative manner. This way, you are always up to speed.
5 races, 5 podiums: interview with BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
BMW Motorsport has completed a special race weekend, competing in a range of events around the world - with splendid results. BMW works drivers reached the podium in five of these events. The list of successes was topped by Alexander Sims (GBR) triumphing in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. In this interview, BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt looks back at the results once again, providing more insight about the five podiums in the five different disciplines.
Mr. Marquardt, the recent 'BMW Motorsport Mega Weekend' was more than successful. What did you think of the way things went?
Jens Marquardt: 'That really was a mega weekend for us. Alexander Sims and BMW i Andretti Motorsport headed the list of successes. With two pole positions and the win on Saturday, Alexander really made his mark on the Formula E season-opener. This was followed by the Fuji 'Dream Race', the first time that the DTM and SUPER GT Championship had contested a race weekend together in Japan. Marco Wittmann was able to celebrate second place there on his 30th birthday. In the Intercontinental GT Challenge, Walkenhorst Motorsport claimed second place at Kyalami with the BMW M6 GT3 and our new customer team Astro Veloce Motorsports also reached the rostrum at the Asian Le Mans Series season-opener. We also had reason to rejoice in sim racing when our DTM driver Philipp Eng celebrated finished second in the ProAm race at the FIA GTC World Finals in Monaco. These results show just how successfully BMW Motorsport is competing in a range of disciplines.'
Let's start with the Formula E opener in Diriyah. How important was it to make a good start to the season?
Marquardt: 'Very important. After the Valencia tests, we knew that the new BMW iFE.20 would give us the pace we required. However, there were a lot of unknowns ahead of the first race weekend - with new competitors and other changes. BMW i Andretti Motorsport then gave a really strong performance. After claiming pole position on Friday, Alexander Sims wasn't disheartened by the fact that he was unable to stay in the battle for the podium right to the finish. Instead, the team drew the right conclusions and was able to perform at a higher level in the second race. That worked perfectly and Alexander was more than deserving of his first win. Maximilian Günther also made a very good impression, but two penalties meant that he was unable to record the good race results that his performances had merited. But I am certain that we have a good set-up for the upcoming Formula E events.'
There were also plenty of positive reactions to the 'Dream Race' from the DTM and SUPER GT. What was your experience of the weekend at Fuji?
Marquardt: 'The event really did live up to all the promises that had been made. The race on Sunday was a real treat with some great duels, plenty of action and the delighted birthday boy Marco Wittmann in second place. That was the first time that we were able to show how a joint race weekend with DTM and SUPER GT constructors could look in Japan and I think that the 'Dream Race' has definitely left us wanting more. We knew in advance that it would not be possible to get all the cars in the field to exactly the same level of performance but that did not affect the quality of the racing in any way. Things will look different once the regulations for the DTM and SUPER GT merge from 2020 onwards. The 'Dream Race' must be more than just a flash in the pan.'
The BMW M6 GT3 has also showed once again that it can battle for wins - regardless of where it is competing...
Marquardt: 'Yes, definitely. At the finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at Kyalami, we wanted to deliver another strong race performance with BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport. That worked out. BMW Team Schnitzer was battling for the win for long periods. When the difficult weather conditions disrupted the standings towards the end, Walkenhorst Motorsport was on the spot to claim second place with the BMW M6 GT3. That was a great result for us on our return to South Africa. The current top model from BMW M Customer Racing was also successful in Shanghai. With Jens Klingmann as one of the drivers, the Astro Veloce Motorsports' car finished third in the Asian Le Mans Series race. That shows that the BMW M6 GT3 is still a guarantee of success for our customers.'
How important is Philipp Eng's podium in the FIA GTC World Finals ProAm race in Monaco?
Marquardt: 'To some extent, that result symbolises how much our sim racing involvement has grown. The world's best Gran Turismo drivers gathered at the FIA GTC World Finals in Monaco. Those driving virtual BMW race cars were supported and encouraged by Philipp Eng. Philipp is an enthusiastic sim racer and absolutely wanted to compete too. He got the chance to do so in the ProAm race - and promptly reached second place with his team-mates. At BMW Motorsport, we have gradually increased our presence in the discipline, hosting our own race events and setting our own priorities. We will continue to follow this course. Overall, simulations play a major role for us at BMW Motorsport, and for the BMW Group as a whole. That is why it definitely makes sense for us to use involvement in sim racing to work on those skills. Celebrating virtual wins and podiums is also a lot of fun.'
BMW SIM LIVE 2019: sim racing world meets up in Munich.
A real sim racing highlight is on the calendar for this coming Thursday: BMW SIM LIVE 2019. BMW works drivers, sim professionals, fans and media representatives will be meeting in Munich (GER). Alongside an extensive support programme, four virtual races form the core of the event. In the 'Pro Race', ten of the world's best sim racers will be battling for total prize money of 15,000 Euros. Ten selected BMW Motorsport fans will compete against one another in the 'Fan Race', while journalists and sim racing influencers will feature in the 'Media Race'. The final 'Team Race' will see teams of four drivers battling for victory at the controls of a BMW M8 GTE in iRacing. In addition to a sim professional, a fan and a media representative, each of the teams will also boast a BMW works driver as a 'Team Captain'. Philipp Eng (AUT), Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock, Martin Tomczyk, Maximilian Günther (all GER), Jesse Krohn (FIN), Augusto Farfus (BRA), Alexander Sims (GBR) and Beitske Visser (NED) will be joined by BMW Motorrad Motorsport works rider Tom Sykes (GBR). You can follow the 'Pro Race' and the 'Team Race' with a livestream on the official BMW Motorsport Facebook and YouTube channels. iRacing will also broadcast both events on the streaming platform Twitch.
You can find the BMW Motorsport livestreams here:
Night of Trophies: BMW Motorsport and BMW Motorrad honour their champions.
On Friday, BMW Motorsport and BMW Motorrad will be honouring the most successful private teams - on two and four wheels - at the 'Night of Trophies'. Under the motto 'ONE PASSION. ONE FAMILY', drivers, teams and representatives of BMW M Motorsport and BMW Motorrad Motorsport will be visiting the BMW Group Classic in Munich (GER). The best-placed drivers and teams in the BMW Sports Trophy and in the BMW Motorrad Race Trophy can look forward to trophies and some impressive prize money.
Marco Wittmann on the move in the BMW M8 Competition Coupé.
Just a few days after his 30th birthday and his second-place finish at the 'Dream Race' at Fuji (JPN), BMW DTM driver Marco Wittmann (GER) had another highlight to look forward to. On Thursday, the two-time DTM champion was present to receive his new company car at BMW Welt in Munich (GER): a BMW M8 Competition Coupé (fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 10.6; CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 242). 'I have been looking forward to my new company car for a long time. I was able to drive the BMW M8 Competition at the international media event in Portugal and I loved it straight away,' said Wittmann. 'It never ceases to amaze me how BMW M sets new standards with each car. The BMW M8 Competition Coupé has got motorsport genes. For me, it is important to emphasise this sportiness. That is why I made the conscious decision to choose the matt 'Individual Frozen White' colour scheme, as this really helps the BMW M Performance Parts and the many exterior and interior carbon elements to come into their own. I really like the contrast and I think that it gives the car perfect look. The all-wheel drive also makes this car perfect for winter driving.'