The BMW Junior Team drivers Dan Harper, Neil Verhagen, and Max Hesse have been very impressive in their performances this year. They gained more experience with a strong fourth place overall finish at the 1000km endurance race at Circuit Paul Ricard in France on the weekend of June 3rd-5th, which was the second race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup championship.
The trio of Junior Team drivers race together in the ROWE Racing #50 M4 GT3 and are racing alongside the veteran works driver team of Augusto Farfus, Nick Yelloly, and Nicky Catsburg in the #98 M4 GT3. Neither of the cars were on the pace in qualifying, as the #98 qualified in twelfth and the #50 in 22nd, but both cars came alive in the race. Verhagen started the #50 and gained several positions before handing over to Harper, who put the car in the top ten. Hesse then took the wheel in sixth and moved up to fourth for the finish after a great race with an Audi. The #98 car also performed well in the race, but was set back with a punctured tire. The race was won overall by the Iron Lynx Ferrari.
The fourth-place finish was the first points finish for the M4 GT3 in the series. “That was not an easy race weekend and we had plenty of work to do,” said ROWE Racing Team Principal Hans-Peter Naundorf. “However, everyone on the team and the drivers did what they had to do. Qualifying did not go as we had anticipated, but that is down to the lack of experience with the new car and the new tires. The race then showed again you can make a lot of progress by keeping errors to a minimum and maintaining a good base speed. This applied in particular to the BMW Junior Team. By and large, both cars managed to stay out of trouble in the race, but unfortunately the #98 had to deal with some unexpected tire problems due to debris on the track. Nonetheless, it was a great way to round off a really intense first half of the season and now we can take a break for a few days.”
Next up for the ROWE Racing team is the Spa 24 Hour race on the weekend of July 28th-31st. —David Haueter
[Photos by SRO, BMW]