Official Release: Nurburgring (DE), 29th May 2016. The number 23 BMW M6 GT3 was the best-placed BMW at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE): Last-stint driver Dirk Werner (DE) crossed the finish line in fifth place overall after 133 laps. He had shared the driving duties with Alexander Sims (GB), Philipp Eng (AT) and Maxime Martin (BE) during the race. The quartet came home one lap behind the winning Mercedes.
The two Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3s both finished in the top 30: the number 999 car, with Victor Bouveng (SE), Tom Blomqvist (GB), Christian Krognes (NO) and Michele di Martino (DE) at the wheel, lost several laps while the car was being repaired during the night, but fought back to finish 12th. The number 101 car, driven by Matias Henkola (FI), Kazunori Yamauchi (JP), Max Sandritter (DE) and George Richardson (GB), ended the race in 22nd.
This was the BMW M6 GT3’s first outing at this endurance classic – and the Nürburgring-Nordschleife lived up to its nickname of the “Green Hell” on several occasions on the car’s debut. With torrential rain and hail at the start, a race interruption, many incidents and countless twists in the ever-fascinating storyline, the race at the 25.378-kilometre circuit once again proved to be a unique challenge. Unfortunately, the BMW M6 GT3 teams were often left to rue the unpredictability of this event.
For a long time, the number 100 Schubert Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 was on course for a podium finish, until Lucas Luhr (DE) was hit by a slower car on the Grand Prix circuit shortly after 09:00. He hit the crash barriers hard, but fortunately emerged from the crash unhurt. At the time of the incident, Luhr and his fellow drivers John Edwards (US), Jens Klingmann (DE) and Martin Tomczyk (DE) were running third in the BMW M6 GT3.
For the second ROWE Racing car, the number 22 BMW M6 GT3, the race came to a premature end in the early hours of Sunday morning: Klaus Graf (DE), who had alternated at the wheel with Richard Westbrook (GB), Nicky Catsburg (NL) and Markus Palttala (FI), was forced to retire following a collision with a slower car in the Hatzenbach section of the circuit. The number 22 had led the race for a while early on.
The 44th staging of the Eifel marathon also took a disappointing turn for Augusto Farfus (BR), Jesse Krohn (FI), Jörg Müller (DE) and Marco Wittmann (DE). An engine failure caused Müller to park the leading number 18 BMW M6 GT3 at the side of the track on Saturday. The Schubert team worked through the night to repair the car, meaning the quartet was at least able to re-join the race on Sunday morning.
Victory in the Cup 5 class went to Michael Schrey (DE), Alexander Mies (DE), Emin Akata (DE) and Dries Vanthoor (BE) in the number 305 BMW M235i Racing fielded by the Bonk Motorsport team. In doing so, they extended their winning run in the 2016 BMW M235i Racing Cup, which forms part of the VLN Endurance Championship. In total, 13 cars were in action in this class. First place in the class was a strong 25th place overall.