Whether in the DTM, the American Le Mans Series, or countless other
championships: week after week BMW teams and drivers around the world
do battle for points, victories and titles. Away from the track too,
members of the large BMW Motorsport family around the world are also
creating headlines. The “BMW Motorsport News” now allows us to
regularly summarise all the action for you in a compact and
informative manner. This way, you are always up to speed.
Chip Ganassi Racing wins the 24 Hours of Daytona with BMW Power.
The number 01 BMW Riley run by Chip Ganassi Racing won the 24-hour
classic in Daytona (US). At the end of 709 laps of thrilling racing,
Juan Pablo Montoya (CO) crossed the finish line with a 21.921 second
lead over the second-placed Corvette. Over the course of the 24 hours,
Montoya had alternated behind the wheel of the Daytona prototype,
which was powered by a BMW engine, with Scott Pruett (US), Memo Rojas
(MX) and Charlie Kimball (US). Victory for Pruett saw him draw level
with the previous record winner Hurley Haywood (US) on five wins. This
was the second overall victory in Daytona for Chip Ganassi Racing and
BMW, following their triumph in 2011. Two years ago, the victorious
team included BMW works driver Joey Hand (US). Hand was back behind
the wheel for the team owned by US motor racing legend Chip Ganassi
(US) again this year. However, the number 02 BMW Riley failed to
finish the race. Before retiring, Hand and his fellow drivers Scott
Dixon (AU), Dario Franchitti (GB) and Jamie McMurray (US) had also
held the lead.
Tough luck for Turner Motorsport in the GT class.
BMW was also represented in the GT class at this year’s 24 Hours of
Daytona. However, the race weekend did not run entirely to plan for
the Turner Motorsport team and its two BMW M3s. When a technical fault
resulted in Andy Priaulx (GB) crashing in the final practice session,
the number 93 car was so badly damaged that it was unable to start the
race. As a result, Team Principal Will Turner (US) lined up at the
24-hour marathon with just one BMW M3 (number 94). Bill Auberlen (US),
Paul Dalla Lana (CA), Billy Johnson (US), Boris Said (US) and Maxime
Martin (BE) alternated behind the wheel. Turner Motorsport ultimately
had to settle for 18th in the GT class. Prior to the start of the
race, Priaulx had presented the Alzheimer’s charity “Highway to Help”
with a cheque for 1000 dollars on behalf of Crowne Plaza Hotels &
Resorts. The cheque was received by Brian Johnson, the lead singer in
the band AC/DC.
Three questions for Thomas Biagi after his debut in the BMW M3 DTM.
Thomas, was the test in the BMW M3 DTM a dream come true for you?
Thomas Biagi: “That and more! I am so grateful to BMW Motorsport for
giving me the unique opportunity to drive the BMW M3 DTM. Although I
am a racing driver, I am primarily still a huge BMW fan. Just pulling
on the BMW racing overalls made me unbelievably proud. When I saw
myself in the overalls in the hotel room that morning, I was
overjoyed. I was welcomed with open arms, and in a very professional
manner, by everyone in the team. I immediately felt like one of the
What was going through your head the first time you pulled out
of the garage in the BMW M3 DTM?
Biagi: “When you are sat in the car, you are so focussed that you
don’t have any time to think about everything that is going on around
you, or to enjoy this special moment when your dream comes true. It is
simply unbelievable how much downforce you have in the BMW M3 DTM,
particularly in the quick corners. Having that much traction in the
fast bends was a completely new and unusual experience for me. It is
unbelievably difficult to push that car to its limit. Getting 80 or 90
per cent out of the BMW M3 DTM is no problem. It is the ability to
tease the final few per cent out, in order to take it to the limit,
that shows the class of the DTM drivers.
What was your biggest concern ahead of the test?
Biagi: “That I might make a mistake out on the track. Fortunately,
however, that was not the case. Unfortunately the test day was over
far too quickly. I was getting more used to the car all the time, but
then the four and a half hours were suddenly up. I have actually been
behind the wheel of a Formula One car before, but have to say driving
the BMW M3 DTM was much more exciting for me. This test in Valencia
was the best afternoon of my life.”