At the end of an arduous yet successful 2011 motorsport season BMW Motorsport travels to China for Sunday’s (13th November) final round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) at the Zhuhai International Circuit. Once again, BMW Team Schnitzer has responsibility for both BMW M3 GTs entered in the six-hour race, with the car bearing start number 55 being in the hands of Augusto Farfus (BR) and Jörg Müller (DE), and Andy Priaulx (GB) and Uwe Alzen (DE) rotating driving duties in the number 56 sister entry.
The 4,030-kilometre Zhuhai circuit has proven a successful arena for BMW Motorsport: In last year’s ILMC finale Müller and Dirk Werner (DE) clinched the LMGT2 class victory with a BMW M3 GT2. This represented the first triumph for the BMW M3 GT2 in this specification, simultaneously marking BMW Team Schnitzer’s maiden victory on the Chinese mainland.
In 2011 BMW Motorsport is contesting the ILMC’s newly-introduced GTE class with the BMW M3 GT, immediately scoring a one-two in the season opener in Sebring (US). In the six ILMC races held to date BMW Motorsport has scored a total of six podium places, the last one in the Petit Le Mans (US) at the beginning of October. This event doubled as the final round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), in which BMW and the BMW M3 GT made a clean sweep of the Drivers’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships. Going to the ILMC season finale in China, BMW (123 points) occupies second place behind Ferrari (151) in the manufacturers’ category of the GTE class. In the Teams’ Championship the deficit between BMW Motorsport and leader AF Corse is 14 points (85:99). Therefore BMW holds a mathematical chance of winning the titles in both categories.
Charly Lamm (Team Manager):“We are travelling to Zhuhai with very good memories. Last year we had a very strong overall package, and I am convinced this will be the case again this year. 2011 has proven extremely successful for BMW Motorsport, and our aim is to end the season in China accordingly. A top result in Zhuhai would be a fitting reward for all the hard work the entire team has put in this year. Now we are looking forward to China, and an exciting, long race during which a lot can happen, as we saw last year. However, we are fully prepared.”
Augusto Farfus (Car number 55):“I am looking forward to travelling overseas and experiencing a new circuit. Last year BMW was very successful in Zhuhai, so we hope to end this season on a high and with a victory. The track is new for me, but we can practice all day on Wednesday, so I have plenty of time to learn the circuit and be spot-on for the race. Jörg won the race last year, so I am looking forward to sharing the car with him. I think we have a good and strong package, and I know that the track suits the M3 very well.”
Jörg Müller (Car number 55): “I am looking forward to competing with the BMW M3 GT again, as the break since my last race in Silverstone has been a bit too long. In addition I am particularly looking forward to China, as the Zhuhai circuits plays to the strengths of our M3. There a car needs to have very good braking characteristics, which the BMW has. Last year we were extremely strong there. I am convinced we will be front-runners again, so with a chance of victory.”
Andy Priaulx (Car number 56):“It is my first time at Zhuhai. I have not driven the track before, but I drove it on a simulator in preparation for the race. I am looking forward to it. I know it is quite a challenging track, and I think the GTE class will be extremely competitive. It should be a strong circuit for us, it was strong last year and we want to finish the season on a high. Our goal has to be to try and win the race.”
Uwe Alzen (Car number 56):“I travel to China in an optimistic frame of mind. We aim to end the season there with a top result. My last race with BMW was the ILMC round in Silverstone. Unfortunately we did not make it to the podium there. However, I think the warm temperatures in China will work for us. In addition the team has a lot of experience from last year. Our aim is to win. We will see whether we manage that, but I believe we have a good chance.”