ROWE RACING rings in the new Nordschleife season at Saturday’s VLN opener at the Nürburgring
Round one of the VLN with two BMW M6 GT3s and two new faces / John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi set to make their debuts
St. Ingbert, 20th March 2018 – The waiting is over for ROWE RACING: The 2018 season gets underway this Saturday (24th March) with round one of the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring. The 64th ADAC Westfalenfahrt sees the team from St. Ingbert head into the Nordschleife season with two BMW M6 GT3s and two new faces. As is tradition, the highlight of the season will once again be the ADAC Zurich 24h race on 12th/13th May, which will this year be held for the 46th time.
Making their debuts in ROWE RACING colours will be two rapid Americans: BMW works drivers John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi will swap the BMW M8 GTE, with which they raced at the 12 Hours of Sebring in their native USA last weekend, for the BMW M6 GT3s with the familiar ROWE RACING numbers #98 and #99, which are equipped with the new BMW Motorsport Evo package in 2018.
Edwards and De Phillippi should have no trouble finding their feet in the new team, as they will share the work on the Nordschleife with some very familiar team-mates. De Phillippi was a member of the quartet that took victory last year, finishing just ahead of Nick Catsburg, who guided the ROWE RACING team to second place. As in Sebring, De Phillippi will join forces on Saturday with Brit Alexander Sims and Finland’s Jesse Krohn, who was at the wheel of the second car in America. Edwards will share a ROWE RACING cockpit with Dutchman Catsburg. The third man at the wheel of the #98 car is Britain’s Richard Westbrook, who finished second alongside Catsburg and Sims in a dramatic 24h race in 2017.
With last Saturday’s test and set-up sessions having been cancelled due to poor weather, the opening round of the VLN is the first opportunity to give the cars, which have been modified over the winter, a run out on the Nordschleife. The 90-minute qualifying session is scheduled for 08:30 to 10:00. The four-hour race gets underway at the traditional VLN start time of 12:00.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “We are very pleased that the winter break is over and we can get stuck into our first race of 2018 on Saturday. Hopefully the weather will play ball this weekend, so we can get our first insight into what lies ahead for the rest of the season. Our goal is to back up last year’s performance on the Nordschleife, and to adapt the new Evo package to the Nürburgring. It is great for our team to be able to welcome on board two fine GT drivers from the BMW Motorsport ranks, in John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi. John Edwards has a lot of experience of racing in America and has also proven to be quick on the Nordschleife. Connor De Phillippi won the 24-hour race there last year. That says it all. For us as a team, Saturday will primarily be about integrating the two new guys in our team and procedures. With the support of the rest of our drivers, I am sure that will not take long.”