Munich. The BMW Z4 GT3 secured two podium spots at the third race in the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series powered by VCO on Saturday. BMW M Motorsport Customer Racing Team Walkenhorst Motorsport claimed second place in the #34 car after three thrilling hours of racing. Team BMW Bank, with BMW works driver Bruno Spengler (CAN), was right behind in third. A total of eight BMW Z4 GT3s were on the starting grid.
Professional racing drivers and sim racers delivered another exciting endurance race on the digital Nürburgring Nordschleife (GER). The #189 BMW Z4 GT3 of BS+COMPETITION, driven by BMW works driver Philipp Eng (AUT), Alexander Voß and Laurin Heinrich (both GER), crossed the finish line in first place. However, a rule infringement led to the retrospective imposition of a time penalty that knocked the car back to sixth position. MAHLE Racing Team was therefore declared the winner.
That promoted the Walkenhorst Motorsport #34 BMW Z4 GT3 from third to second. David Pittard, Sam Michaels and Scott Michaels (all GBR) had worked their way into the top three after starting from eighth place. Spengler and his team-mates Nils Koch and Kay Kaschube (both GER) were able to overcome a turbulent opening period to put on a strong chase in the Team BMW Bank #107 BMW Z4 GT3. They crossed the line in fourth, moving up to third place and a spot on the podium.
“After my win in the IMSA iRacing Pro Series on Thursday, it was great to drive here on the Nürburgring Nordschleife today,” says Spengler. “I am learning a lot from my team-mates here. I still have some room for improvement, particularly in qualifying, but I improved with every lap in the race. Unfortunately, I got spun twice during the early laps and we fell back. I managed to get back to eleventh place and my team-mates Nils Koch and Kay Kaschube did a great job to get us up to fourth. The unfortunate penalty for Philipp Eng and his team then saw us placed third. Any position in the top five would have been a good result when you look at how the race started for us. We are delighted, it was a cool race.”
BMW works driver Eng and his team-mates Voß and Heinrich in the #189 BS+COMPETITION BMW Z4 GT3 were amongst the favourites from the word go. They had a commanding lead in the closing phase, crossing the line in first place after three hours, before the penalty was imposed due to a rule infringement during the pit stop.
“We really had a great race. The way it finished, with the retrospective time penalty costing us the win, is disappointing of course,” says Eng. “Unfortunately, we didn’t change all the tyres during the pit stop as we were not aware of the relevant rule change. That was unfortunate and was not intentional, but it was clearly our fault. Nonetheless, the car showed great pace. Everyone in the team did a superb job.”
BMW Team Green Hell, featuring the BMW works drivers Martin Tomczyk and Jens Klingmann (both GER) also suffered some bad luck. Their #112 BMW Z4 GT3 was not at fault in an accident on the first lap, which resulted in such serious damage that they had to stop for repairs. They then used the remaining race distance to prepare for the next event.
Results BMW Z4 GT3 – round two of the DNLS powered by VCO.
2nd place overall / 2nd SP9: #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport (David Pittard, Sam Michaels, Scott Michaels)
3rd place overall / 3rd SP9: #107 Team BMW Bank (Bruno Spengler, Nils Koch, Kay Kaschube)
6th place overall / 6th SP9: #189 BS+COMPETITION (Philipp Eng, Alexander Voß, Laurin Heinrich)
19th place overall / 15th SP9: #108 VRS Coanda Simsport (Jesse Krohn, Martti Pietilä)
20th place overall, 20th SP9: #112 BMW Team Green Hell (Martin Tomczyk, Jens Klingmann)
27th place overall / 18th SP9: #113 BMW Junior Team (Neil Verhagen, Dan Harper, Max Hesse)
53rd place overall / 21st SP9: #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport (Mikkel Jensen, Christian Krognes)
57th place overall / 22nd SP9: #118 VRS Coanda Simsport (Marc Basseng, Jörn Schmidt-Staade, Paschalis Gkergis)
Sim racing trivia.
In the current situation, simulator racing is becoming increasingly popular. During sim races, drivers sit in their race simulators in their own homes, so in races with virtual driver changes, the driver hands the car over to his team-mate, who is located in another city, country or even on a different continent. The physical demands – apart from the g-forces – are almost as high as in real-life racing cars. In the event of an accident, the car has to return to the pit for repairs and then wait for a period that is in line with the damage before being allowed back onto the track. Race control can also award a time penalty.
The special features of sim racing include pro racing-drivers from real-life motorsport being able to compete alongside professional sim racers and there is a real closeness to the fans. They can follow the action live online and via various social media channels, for example, on the BMW Motorsport Facebook and YouTube channels. The drivers also get their fans involved via their social channels and in the DNLS powered by VCO there is even a digital press conference after each race.