The BMW M Sports Trophy Awards are a tradition that goes back over 60 years, to honor the best privateer teams and drivers that compete in BMW race cars around the world. Points are tallied during the year and the winners are announced each December during the BMW M Motorsport holiday party in Germany.
Turner Motorsport was awarded the top award for the team category in 2023, for their success in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and VP SportsCar series, where they won championships in both with the M4 GT4, as well as their success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship with the M4 GT3. Unfortunately, team owner Will Turner was not there in person to accept the trophy, as he was in Sebring for an HSR event. “I’ve been racing BMWs for a while now, and unfortunately the one time I had a conflict with the Sport Trophy banquet is the time we win,” he said. “I knew we had good success and did a lot of races this year. Winning two championships certainly helped, but the winner of the Sport Trophy is always a surprise. You never know who’s going to win until it happens. I’m super proud of what it means for my team and for our drivers.”
BimmerWorld Racing was second behind Turner Motorsport in the team points, after a very successful season and championship wins in the SRO GT4 America series with M4 GT4 entries, as well as SRO GT World Challenge America with the M4 GT3.
In the driver rankings, Michael Schrey came out on top after a successful season in the GT4 European Series, as well as the NLS (Nürburgring Endurance Series). American driver Chandler Hull (who competed in SRO GT World Challenge America with BimmerWorld, GT4 America with ST Racing and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship with Turner Motorsport, among other races), finished third in the driver points behind Gabriele Piana.
BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel was on site to hand out awards and congratulate everyone on a successful season. “It is a decades-long tradition at BMW M Motorsport to offer the private teams and drivers the big stage they deserve as ambassadors of BMW and BMW M around the world at the end of each racing season through the BMW M Sports Trophy Awards,” he said. “I thank all participants for their loyalty and dedication and congratulate the winners very warmly. Especially the first-placed Turner Motorsport and Michael Schrey, who have contributed significantly to an overall very successful season for the BMW M Motorsport family.”
Van Meel also paid tribute to longtime BMW team Walkenhorst Motorsport, who competed with BMW GT3 spec cars from 2013 to 2023 and won the Spa 24 Hour race with BMW in 2018. They also won the NLS Speed Trophy with the M4 GT3 and won the title in the Asian Le Mans Series. Walkenhorst will be moving to Aston Martin GT3 cars for the 2024 season but will still be racing with the M4 GT4. —David Haueter
[Photos by David Haueter, BMW]