BMW has continued its endurance racing success after walking away victorious at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with the M6 GT3, 12 months after the Z4 GT3 won the 2015 event.
The ROWE Racing car numbered 99 and driven by Maxime Martin, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng claimed the top step of the podium after completing 531 laps of the famed Belgian circuit. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Akka ASP secured second place while the Audi R8 LMS piloted by Laurens Vanthoor, Rene Rast and Nico Muller finished third.
The race didn’t start ideally for the ROWE Racing squad because after a number of yellow flags and a long safety car phase, they were actually outside of the top 30. As the sun set, the M6 GT3 came out to play and clawed its way through the field to sit in fourth position as the halfway point approached.
After the rain hit hard, the car shot through into the lead and maintained it until the very end winning by just under two minutes.
BMW’s win was surprising to many as during qualifying, the first six spots were claimed by Mercedes-AMG GT3s on the back of their dominance at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. However, an investigation after qualifying stripped all AMGs of their starting positions due to “technical irregularities,” helping the other teams immensely.
Discussing the result, BMW’s motorsport director Jens Marquardt said “Congratulations to the entire ROWE Racing team on their sensational overall win in Spa. The crew did as flawless a job and so did the drivers Maxime Martin, Philipp Eng and Alexander Sims in the cockpit – and they more than earned first place. With this success on its debut at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the BMW M6 GT3 proved its enormous potential yet again and showed that it is totally reliable and competitive.”