ROWE RACING enters ADAC Zurich 24h-race at the Nürburgring with a strong driver line-up including one 2017 winner
Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards join the team for the first time / Plenty of momentum for the 24h qualifying race following victory at the second VLN race of the season
St. Ingbert, 12th April 2018 – ROWE RACING enters the ADAC Zurich 24h race at the Nürburgring with a strong driver line-up. The majority of those alternating at the wheel of the two BMW M6 GT3s fielded by ROWE RACING, with works support from BMW Motorsport, will be drivers from the GT works programmes in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Two of the seven drivers will join ROWE RACING in the’Eifel marathon’ on 12th/13th May for the first time; the others are well-known to the team.
New to the team are American drivers John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi, the latter of whom beat ROWE RACING last year as an Audi driver in the battle for overall victory. This time he will share the cockpit with British driver Alex Sims, who he defeated last year. Jesse Krohn from Finland and former DTM champion Martin Tomczyk complete the quartet. Last year’s runner-up finishing pair, Dutch driver Nick Catsburg and Richard Westbrook from the UK, take their seats in the sister-car again. They are joined by Edwards.
“This year, we will have many of our best GT drivers in the BMW M6 GT3 on the Nordschleife again,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “They include almost all the regular drivers from our programmes in the WEC and IMSA Series –Alex Sims, Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsburg are four of them – as well as experienced Nordschleife expert Richard Westbrook. We are confident that they can play an important role in the very tight battle for victory and podium positions. Four of our drivers were on the podium in 2017, and all the others have a huge amount of talent and a wealth of experience on the most demanding racetrack in the world: those are the ideal prerequisites for a strong BMW result.”
Into the dress rehearsal for the ADAC Zurich 24h Race at the Nürburgring, ROWE RACING heads with plenty of momentum: Saturday’s victory in the VLN on the Nordschleife – the first for 959 days – has given the team a big boost ahead of the qualifying race on Sunday (15th April), and also confirmed that they will be among those challenging for victory at the highlight of the season on 12th/13th May. Last year, ROWE RACING came closer than ever to that big win in the Eifel, eventually finishing second.
Two top-class BMW works drivers will be at the wheel this weekend: Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsburg. Dutchman Catsburg is a permanent fixture in the team from St. Ingbert. As the final driver in last year’s chaotic rain-dominated race, he was instrumental in securing second place in the Eifel marathon. Bavarian Tomczyk, meanwhile, is set for only his second race outing with ROWE RACING – back at the Nürburgring again. It was on the GP circuit at the same venue in September 2016 that the 2011 DTM champion made his debut for the team in an endurance race in the Blancpain GT Series. Back then, Tomczyk was responsible for getting the team off to a good start and made up no fewer than 17 places – an incredible nine of which came on the opening lap. Tomczyk will be one of the guests at the official media warm-up for the ADAC Zurich 24h Race, which takes place in the Nürburgring Lounge (No. 22/23) at 18:00 on Friday evening (13th April).
As well as continuing its preparations for the 24-hour race and adapting to certain aspects, such as night practice and the specific qualifying format, with each of the top 30 cars completing one flying lap on a clear track, the team’s goal for the weekend is to qualify for the aforementioned Top 30 Qualifying for the 24h race. In order to achieve this, the two ROWE RACING cars must either be among the ten fastest cars in the Top 30 Qualifying for the 24h qualifying race, which gets underway at 10:15 on Sunday morning, or finish in the top five in the race itself, which starts at 12:00 and lasts six hours.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, team principal ROWE RACING: “Every team principal can consider himself extremely lucky to be able to start a 24-hour race with such a strong and highly professional driver squad. New to the team are Connor De Phillippi, who had that little edge over us last year, and John Edwards. Both have already competed in our cars in this year’s VLN races. They are perfect fits for our team. We already know a lot about our other drivers’ qualities. Our primary goal for the weekend is to get both cars into the Top 30 Qualifying for the 24-hour race. Going on how we have performed recently, that should be achievable. Off the track too, the qualifying race provides a perfect opportunity to get used to some of the different procedures at the 24-hour race, and serves as a good dress rehearsal.”