Valentino Rossi to race for BMW in 24 Hours of Le Mans

Le Mans Cup: BMW M Team WRT, Valentino Rossi and Max Hesse start at ‘Road to Le Mans’.

The BMW M4 GT3 will compete as part of the support programme for the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA). BMW M Team WRT will run two cars in the GT3 class in the Road to Le Mans races within the Michelin Le Mans Cup. Among those at the wheel of the #46 car will be BMW M works driver Valentino Rossi (ITA). He knows Le Mans from his time as a motorcycle racer and is now set for his first outing on the longer layout of the circuit. His team-mate in the #46 BMW M4 GT3 will be Frenchman Jérôme Policand. Meanwhile, BMW M works driver Max Hesse (GER) will be making his debut at the track on the banks of the Sarthe river in the #31 BMW M4 GT3. He shares the cockpit with Britain’s Tim Whale. The two 55-minute Road to Le Mans races will take place on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th June. Qualifying is on the Thursday morning.

 

Björn Lellmann, Head of Customer Racing at BMW M Motorsport:

“The past two weeks have been extremely positive from the perspective of our customers. In its second year of competition, the BMW M4 GT3 is becoming more and more of a guarantee for victory worldwide – not only in the hands of our works teams, but also increasingly in the hands of our customer teams. The latest evidence of this is the impressive comeback victory from 18th place by Century Motorsport in British GT, as well as the class win for BimmerWorld in the USA. I am particularly pleased that the new BMW M4 GT4 is also celebrating successes in more and more racing series, as we have recently seen in the GT4 America and GT4 France. This shows that we were absolutely right with the development of our racing cars. Congratulations to all the winners of the past few weeks!”

 

British GT Championship: Harper and Leung fight back to take victory.

BMW M works driver Dan Harper and his team-mate Darren Leung (both GBR) won race three of the British GT Championship, the prestigious Silverstone 500, in a BMW M4 GT3 run by the Century Motorsport team. The duo fought back spectacularly to win the three-hour race from 18th place on the grid, after qualifying had to be cancelled due to heavy rain and the grid positions were determined using the results of FP2. Only ten minutes of the race were remaining when Harper pulled off the all-important overtaking manoeuvre to take victory. “I can hardly believe that we actually won the race from 18th on the grid. I never expected that, but the car really flew and the Century Motorsport team did a fantastic job,” said Harper. “Darren also did a great job and I gave it my all to overtake as many cars as possible on my final stint.” As a reward for their fightback, Harper and Leung received the iconic RAC Trophy on the podium.

 

One of the two Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4s also made it onto the podium. Carl Cavers and Lewis Plato (both GBR) finished third in the GT4-Pro-Am class, just ahead of their team-mates Michael Johnston and Chris Salkeld (both GBR) in fourth.

 

Italian GT Championship: Podium to start with for Spengler and Klingmann.

BMW M works drivers Bruno Spengler (CAN) and Jens Klingmann (GER) finished third and fourth at the first sprint weekend of the Italian GT Championship at Misano (ITA). In Saturday’s opening race, the BMW Italia Ceccato Racing duo made it onto the podium in the #7 BMW M4 GT3. For much of Sunday’s race, they looked set to make another appearance on the podium, until tyre issues in the final few laps saw Klingmann drop back to fourth place.

 

“I was extremely happy to be able to drive for Ceccato Racing again, as I know the team and Roberto Ravaglia well and have a great deal of respect for Roberto. It’s also great to finally drive on the same car as Jens as a teammate – this has actually never happened before,” said Spengler. “I am satisfied with our results at the season opener. On Saturday, we could have even achieved second place if a competitor hadn’t spun us around. On Sunday, despite a nine-second time handicap for our podium finish from the day before, we fought for third place again, but with the tyre problem at the end, it was very difficult for Jens. All in all, we still earned a lot of points, even though our car wasn’t the fastest at Misano.”

 

The team belonging to BMW M Motorsport legend Roberto Ravaglia (ITA) is running a second BMW M4 GT3 in the Pro-Am class this season. Making their race debuts in this car, Francesco de Luca and Carlo Tamburini (both ITA) came home fifth and sixth in their class.

 

BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Italy: Opening wins for Vullo and Zanasi.

This season’s BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Italy kicked off as part of the race weekend at Misano (ITA). Victory in race one went to Jody Vullo (ITA). He spent all weekend embroiled in a battle with Marco Zanasi (ITA), who was runner-up in race one but turned the tables to win the second race ahead of Vullo. Defending champion Luigi Ferrara (ITA) finished third in both races.

 

GT4 France: First win of the season for the BMW M4 GT4.

The second race weekend of this season’s GT4 France series saw Benjamin Lessennes (BEL) and Ricardo van der Ende (NED) claim their first win of the season in a BMW M4 GT4 for the L’Espace Bienvenue team. The duo dominated on Saturday at Magny-Cours (FRA) and took the chequered flag with a lead of almost ten seconds. In Sunday’s race, the #17 BMW M4 GT4 was again challenging at the front of the field, but dropped back to fourth in the turbulent closing stages of the race. A retrospective 10-second penalty for an unsafe release meant a final result of 14th. The Debard Automobiles By Racetivity team also ran a BMW M4 GT4 in the Am category, but missed out on a podium finish.

 

Japanese Super GT Championship: BMW M Team Studie fights back in Fuji.

 

The second event of this season’s Japanese Super GT Championship took place at Fuji (JPN) in the middle of last week. This time, Seiji Ara (JPN) alternated with Masataka Yanagida (JPN) at the wheel of the #7 BMW M4 GT3. Having qualified down in 21st place on Wednesday, they fought back strongly in the 450-kilometre race on Thursday. The duo made up eight positions to cross the finish line in 13th place after 91 laps.

 

24H Series: Podiums for BMW M Motorsport teams.

BMW M Motorsport teams enjoyed success in their classes at the 12 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL), round four of this season’s 24H Series. In the GT4 class, TCL Motorsport by A R Performance finished runner-up with a BMW M4 GT4. Second place in the TCX class went to the BMW M2 CS Racing run by Roma Racing by BMW Team Van Der Horst. There were no BMW M4 GT3s in the top class.

 

GT World Challenge America: Podium and class victory for BimmerWorld in New Orleans.

 

The BimmerWorld team picked up a number of trophies with the BMW M4 GT3 at round two of this season’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS. The event was held at NOLA Motorsports Park near New Orleans (USA). Chandler Hull and Bill Auberlen (both USA) finished on the overall podium in both races. They came home third in the #94 BMW M4 GT3 in the opening race. Hull and Auberlen then finished second overall in race two, which also earned them victory in the Pro class.

 

ST Racing ran the #38 BMW M4 GT3 in the Pro-Am class, driven by John Edwards (USA) and Samantha Tan (CAN). They ended race one in fourth place in their class (eighth overall), before finishing ninth in the Pro-Am class (13th overall) in the second race.

 

GT4 / TC America: Success aplenty for BMW racers at NOLA Motorsports Park.

 

GT4 America and TC America both held the second round of their respective seasons at NOLA Motorsports Park near New Orleans (USA). Poor weather meant that only one of the two scheduled races could be held in the GT4 America series. However, that one race did produce plenty of success for the BMW M4 GT4.

 

The overall win and victory in the Silver class went to John Dubets and Zac Anderson (both USA) in the #51 BMW M4 GT4 of Auto Technic Racing. James Walker Junior and Tyler McQuarrie (both USA) finished third in the #82 BimmerWorld car in the Pro-Am class. Chandler Hull and Harry Gottsacker (both USA) were third in the Silver class in the #88 BMW M4 GT4 of STR38 Motorsport. Victory in the Am class went to James Clay and Charlie Postins (both USA) in the #36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4. A total of eight BMW M4 GT4 started the race.

 

In TC America, Colin Garrett (USA) ended the opening race in third place in a BMW M2 CS Racing run by Rooster Hall Racing. He climbed one step higher on the podium after race two, having finished runner-up. Fellow BMW driver Lucas Catania (USA) from the Rigid Speed Company joined him on the podium in third place.

 

ESET Cup Series: Trevor Racing taste success at the Hungaroring.

 

The ESET Cup Series 2023 was at the Hungaroring near Budapest (HUN) for round two of the season. The programme featured two sprint races and one endurance race. BMW M works driver Neil Verhagen (USA) finished runner-up for Trevor Racing in the #16 BMW M4 GT3 in the first of the two sprints. Trevor Racing were also successful with the BMW M4 GT4: Zénó Kovacs (HUN) not only won the GT4 class in both sprint races in the #68 car, but also took the class victory in the endurance race. His team-mate Antal Zsigo (SVK) in the #500 BMW M4 GT4 finished runner-up in the GT4 class in the second sprint race. He also came home second in the class alongside Csaba Walter (HUN) in the endurance race.

 

Sim racing: BMW M SIM Cup at the Nürburgring.

Last Sunday, round four of the BMW M SIM Cup took place at the Nürburgring Grand Prix track. After three circuits in the USA, some of the best sim racers and sim racing teams in the world were making their first appearances of the season at a European circuit, going head to head in two classes in the virtual BMW M Hybrid V8 and BMW M4 GT3. The URANO Esports team remains the dominant force in the GTP class, in which the BMW M Hybrid V8 is used. This time, the race was won by the #90 car, ahead of their team-mates in the #92 BMW M Hybrid V8. In the GTD class, victory again went to Team Redline with the BMW M4 GT3, ahead of URANO Esports and the Apex Racing Academy.

 

BTCC: First win of the season for Colin Turkington.

The second race weekend of this season’s British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) saw Team BMW driver Colin Turkington (GBR) take his first victory of the year. The Brit, at the wheel of a BMW 330e M Sport, claimed the 64th BTCC win of his career in the first of three races at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit (GBR). 20 years after his first victory, Turkington climbed into second place in the all-time list for the iconic touring car series. He then finished third and fifth in the remaining two races. Jake Hill (GBR) came home fourth in the first two races and 22nd in race three for the Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport team. Adam Morgan (GBR) finished sixth for Team BMW after two difficult races. Stephen Jelley (GBR) had a tough weekend in the fourth BMW 330e M Sport and left the event empty-handed.

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