BMW Motorsport announced its 2018 plans and 2017 awards at the annual motorsport season review event in Munich on December 15.
Driver assignments for DTM, WEC, IMSA, and Formula E are announced
DTM. BMW will return to DTM with both Team RMG and Team RBM. Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock, and Augusto Farfus will continue at Team RMG. Bruno Spengler, who continues at Team RBM, will be joined by two newcomers to the series, works driver Philipp Eng and former BMW Junior Joel Eriksson.
WEC. BMW Team MTEK will run two M8 GTEs in the FIA World Endurance Championship series; BMW’s return to Le Mans will be a highlight of the team’s season. Regular drivers for the complete season will be Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus, António Félix da Costa, and Martin Tomczyk. The regular drivers will be joined in individual races by works drivers Tom Blomqvist, Philipp Eng, and Alexander Sims.
IMSA. American drivers Connor de Phillippi and John Edwards will drive M8 GTEs for BMW Team RLL along with European racers Alexander Sims and Jesse Krohn. Krohn, who raced for Turner in IMSA last year and also ran in the Blancpain GT Series and the Asian Le Mans Series, replaces Martin Tomczyk, who will run in WEC. As announced earlier Bill Auberlen, recently named BMW NA Brand Ambassador supporting NA customer racing programs, will join the team for the long enduros at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Road Atlanta. Other drivers for the long enduros will be Nick Catsburg, Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus.
Formula E. António Félix da Costa returns to run for the MS&AD Andretti Formula E team; the series’ season four has already begun with two races in Hong Kong. Tom Blomqvist will become the team’s second driver beginning with the third race of the season at Marrakech in January; Kamui Kobayashi was the second driver in Hong Kong. BMW Motorsport is developing a power train for Formula E season five, when MS&AD Andretti will become a BMW works team.
M6 GT3s will run in GT races
Rowe Racing and Falken Motorsports will run the updated M6 GTE with the Evo package in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. BMW Team Schnitzer and BMW Team SRM will each run an M6 GT3 at the 12 Hours of Bathurst in Australia in February. Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert, and Marco Wittmann will drive for Schnitzer, while team principal Steve Richards, Philipp Eng, and Timo Glock will drive for Team SRM.
Zanardi to Daytona in 2019
Over the course of the year BMW brand ambassador Alessandro Zanardi will prepare for a run at the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona in a specially equipped M8 GTE. Zanardi and BMW Motorsport engineers will work on a new brake system that will allow him to race without his artificial legs.
Award for Bill Auberlen and Sports Trophy Awards
Bill Auberlen was given at BMW Motorsport Honorary Award at the annual season review event in Munich. The award recognized Auberlen’s 400 professional races for BMW.
The BMW Sports Trophy (for non-factory drivers) went to Ricardo van der Ende and Max Koebolt of the Netherlands, who won the title in the GT4 European Series in an Ekris Motorsport M4 GT4. The Sports Trophy for private teams went to Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport for the fourth consecutive year. The team runs M235iRs in the VLN series. There were no US drivers in the top ten; Turner Motorsport was eighth in team points.—Brian S. Morgan