BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS will start the Nurburgring 24 Hours as the best placed BMW team after factory driver Maxime Martin qualified the #25 BMW Z4 GT3 in seventh place after the top-40 qualifying shootout.
With each of the top 40 teams given two laps around the Nordschleife with the best lap going towards forming the front of the grid the Belgian squad elected to put Martin in the car he will share with Andrea Piccini, Yelmer Buurman and Richard Goransson. He set his best time – 8:21.007 – on his first lap to fractionally outpace BMW Team Schubert driver Jens Klingmann to be the best BMW. The German will join Martin on the fourth row for the start of the 24 Hours.
“Qualifying was really good,” said Martin. “It was a good lap. I was stuck a little bit behind a Porsche but the pace was there. It’s always good to know that we have the pace, and the car is OK, everything is going well. It’s a 24 hour race, it’s very long. Today it is very sunny and dry but maybe tomorrow it will be wet, mixed conditions. It will be a long race and we have to be there at the end. I’m really looking forward to the race.”
The team’s second car also made it into the top-40 qualifying finale with Swede Goransson nominated to take the car for the session. His best time – 8:22.258 came on his second flying lap around the 25km track and was good enough to put the #26 team – completed by Henri Moser, Bas Leinders and Markus Palttala eleventh on the grid.
“I’m happy with my performance,” said Goransson. “The only thing I’m not so happy about is that I managed to hit traffic on both the laps. OK, it wasn’t a mega time loss but that could account for the second that I am away from being quickest BMW. As a team I’m happy that we have a good starting base for the 24 hour race. We’re in the top pack of cars that will lead the way tomorrow. The biggest challenge, though, will be the weather forecast – who knows what that will bring?”
The race – the 41st running of the Nurburgring 24 Hours – is scheduled to begin at 5pm local time (4pm UK) on Sunday May 19. theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will be following the race with regular updates throughout the 24 hours.