Official Release: Le Mans, 8th June 2011. The countdown is on to one of the most important and iconic races in the world: On Wednesday Team BMW Motorsport will be on track for the first time as it prepares for the Le Mans 24 Hours (FR), which starts at 15:00hrs on Saturday.
Anticipation ahead of the endurance classic at the “Circuit de la Sarthe” is rising every day among the drivers and team members. This year’s race also forms part of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). Following the one-two in the GT class at the 12-hour race in Sebring (US) and third at Spa-Francorchamps (BE), BMW Motorsport will go into the third round of the ILMC full of confidence.
However, team manager Charly Lamm’s (DE) team is expecting an exciting race. The field in the LM GTE class has great strength in depth, with a total of 28 cars racing in this category alone. The two BMW M3 GT cars will line up on Saturday with starting numbers 55 and 56.
Charly Lamm (Team Manager): “BMW Motorsport has made a good start to the ILMC season – and we obviously want to back that up in Le Mans. However, this event is not just any old race, but an absolute endurance classic. Le Mans has its own laws. We are well prepared, but there will be a few surprises again this year – as there are every year. This race has a very special appeal to everyone in the team.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 55): “I am happy to be back again in Le Mans this year. We have a good car, with which we should be able to challenge for a top result. As a driver you enjoy every moment of this event, and the fans’ enthusiasm is unique.”
Jörg Müller (car number 55): “It poured down on Sunday. You can really do without that during the race here in Le Mans, so I hope the weather remains stable. This event is really like a magnet for the fans. That is why it is always so special to line up here.”
Dirk Werner (car number 55): “Following last year ‘s misfortune, I have a score to settle with Le Mans. Even the official test day on this circuit was great fun. We are now well prepared going into the crucial phase.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 56): “I think we should be much stronger this year than in 2010. The signs are good and our overall package is powerful. However, the same applies to our rivals. It will be a fantastic race.”
Dirk Müller (car number 56): “Last year I had the honour of driving the BMW M3 GT2 Art Car in Le Mans. Now we are back, and want to do better following the bad luck we had a year ago. Our victories in the American Le Mans Series have given me a lot of confidence going into the race.”
Joey Hand (car number 56): “Ever since I found out I would be racing in Le Mans, I have hardly been able to wait for the race to get started. The spectacle at this event is simply sensational. This year has already been fantastic for me, with victories in Daytona, Sebring and Long Beach. Long may it continue that way.”
BMW Motorsport opens Le Mans Week at the “Place des Jacobins”
Normally the scrutineering of cars and driver registration ahead of a race meeting are two unspectacular events. However, that certainly does not apply to the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FR): Many fans from across the world were very eager to attend the formalities on Monday when Team BMW Motorsport presented its two BMW M3 GT cars for technical inspection and completed the so-called “Convocation” at the Place des Jacobins. These two activities traditionally open the programme ahead of the 24-hour race at the “Circuit de la Sarthe”, which starts on Saturday at 15:00hrs.
“This scrutineering is a great public event”, said Augusto Farfus (BR), who is contesting the endurance classic with Jörg Müller (DE) and Dirk Werner (DE) in the no. 55 BMW M3 GT. “We do this for the people, for the fans. And it’s definitely one of the reasons why the fans love Le Mans so much. This is one of the biggest races in the world, and public scrutineering is the perfect way to start proceedings.”
Andy Priaulx (GB), Dirk Müller (DE) and Joey Hand (US) will share car number 56. After scrutineering, the necessary driver formalities and obligatory team photograph Priaulx commented: “Le Mans is simply an amazing event, already from the Monday. Fans come from all over the world, the history of this place is unique. Events like this or Friday’s Driver Parade help to turn this race into a really big thing. It’s really exciting to be here again.”
On Tuesday the BMW driver line-up faces various briefings plus the official autograph signing session for the many fans who have flocked to the13.629-kilometre circuit to celebrate this unique motorsport festival. Wednesday at 16:00hrs will see both BMW M3 GT cars on the track for the first four-hour practice session, with the first qualifying session is scheduled for 22:00-24:00hrs that evening.