BMW Motorsport presented its motor sports program for 2016 during its tradition season review held at the BMW Museum in Munich late last year. Aside from their commitment in the DTM, this year’s other big story is set to be the debut of the BMW M6 GT3 and BMW M6 GTLM. BMW’s latest figurehead on the GT racing scene will go head-to-head with top-class opposition in GT racing series and endurance classics in Europe, as well as with teams and manufacturers in North America in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WTSCC). The BMW M6 GT3 will also be in action in Asia and Australia.
While BMW Sports Trophy teams all over the world will once again do battle for race wins, titles and points towards the driver and team competitions, the re-aligned BMW Motorsport Junior program enters its third year. BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi has one major goal in his sights for 2016: the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“We definitely have an exciting 2016 motor sports season ahead of us,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “For one thing, BMW will be 100 years old, and that obviously gives us extra motivation to present the brand with as much success as possible to mark its anniversary. Plus, after many months of intense testing, we can hardly wait to finally see the BMW M6 GT3 and BMW M6 GTLM make their race debuts.”
“I am certain that we, our customers and the fans will have a lot of fun with these cars. With this in mind, I am particularly pleased to be able to welcome ROWE Racing into the BMW family, as a new team responsible for running the BMW M6 GT3. Now in our fifth DTM season since returning to the series, we are putting our faith in continuity within our squad of drivers and teams. ‘Never change a winning team’ is our motto for 2016, when we hope to achieve more wins and titles,” he added.
DTM: ‘Never change a winning team’
In 2015, BMW recovered from a difficult start to the season to win the Manufacturers’ title in the DTM, thanks to a magnificent team spirit and improved performance over the course of the year. All four BMW DTM teams and five different drivers claimed race wins. Because of this, BMW Motorsport achieved the goal it set itself prior to the season: to be more successful across the board with the BMW M4 DTM than in 2014. In order to continue its DTM success story, which has seen BMW win seven of a possible 12 titles since 2012, BMW Motorsport is putting its faith in the same four teams and eight drivers as in 2015. Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock and Martin Tomczyk from Germany, Maxime Martin from Belgium, Bruno Spengler from Canada, Augusto Farfus and Tom Blomqvist from the United Kingdom, and António Félix da Costa from Portugal will be behind the wheel in 2016. The eight BMW M4 DTMs will be run by the RMG, MTEK, RBM and Schnitzer teams.
WTSCC: Proven teams and drivers for the new car’s debut
Two versions of the BMW M6 will make their race debuts in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WTSCC): in the GTLM class, the BMW M6 GTLM will be run by BMW Team RLL, which enters its eighth season together with BMW Motorsport. The regular drivers also remain unchanged from 2015. Bill Auberlen and John Edwards from the United States, and Dirk Werner and Lucas Luhr from Germany form an impressive quartet. They will receive support from BMW DTM drivers Farfus and Spengler, as well as Graham Rahal from the United States, at the Daytona 24 Hours. New to the squad is Kuno Wittmer from Canada, who won the Drivers’ title in the GTLM class in 2014 and will compete at this year’s races in Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta, all in the United States. Turner Motorsport will field two BMW M6 GT3s in the GTD class. BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (DE) will contest the entire season for Will Turner’s team from the United States. The squad of drivers at Turner Motorsport will receive reinforcement for the endurance races by BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn from Finland. The line-up for Daytona will also include BMW DTM drivers Wittmann and Martin.
As in previous years, BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert will again compete at the Nürburgring with works support from BMW Motorsport. ROWE Racing joins the BMW family as a new works supported team in both endurance classics. The outfit from St. Ingbert, Germany has a wealth of GT and endurance racing experience, and has its sights set on achieving success for BMW from the word go in 2016 with the BMW M6 GT3. The drivers who will strengthen the works teams’ driver line-ups in 2016 are DTM drivers Martin Tomczyk, Augusto Farfus, Marco Wittmann and Maxime Martin, WTSCC drivers Dirk Werner and Lucas Luhr, as well as Jörg Müller from Germany, Jens Klingmann, Alexander Sims and Richard Westbrook from the United Kingdom, Nick Catsburg from The Netherlands and newcomer Philipp Eng from Austria.