Instructive weekend for Schubert Motorsport with the BMW M4 GT3 at the 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers
The dress rehearsal for the 50th ADAC TOTAL 24h Race at the Nürburgring provided Schubert Motorsport with important insights last weekend. At the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers from 6 to 8 May, both crew and drivers of the BMW M4 GT3 had the opportunity to prepare extensively for the endurance classic at the end of the month. BMW works drivers Jesse Krohn, Jens Klingmann and Alexander Sims, as well as their rookie team-mate Niklas Krütten, had a total of nine sessions at their disposal. The quartet achieved solid top-ten results in the field of 90 participants in both qualifying sessions and the races on the Nordschleife.
Friday saw the start of the weekend with two 60-minute qualifying sessions. The #20 BMW M4 GT3 with the 50th anniversary BMW M livery finished the first session in a strong sixth place. In the combined result of the two qualifying sessions, Schubert Motorsport finished seventh prior to the Top-30 Qualifying session in the evening. In the shootout over two laps, Krohn secured the outfit from Oschersleben tenth place on the grid for the first race.
The first of the two races over the distance of three hours got under way on Saturday evening. Light rain fell in some areas of the 25.37 km Nürburgring 24-hour layout beforehand, making the early stages particularly tricky for start driver Jens Klingmann. The 31-year-old held his own among the 29 GT3 cars in the SP9 class and handed over to Sims for the second stint. The final hour was completed by GT3 rookie Krütten, who lapped the Nordschleife at race pace in the dark for the first time, gaining important experience for the 24-hour race. The 19-year-old from Trier saw the chequered flag in tenth place.
In the second Top-Qualifying session on Sunday morning, Krohn placed the Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 ninth. With a lap time of 8:10.858 minutes, the Finn was just about two seconds off pole position. He completed the second race together with Klingmann and Krütten. Despite perfect conditions, there were a few accidents among the competitors in heavy traffic, but the trio held their own amidst the chaos. After the race distance of 20 laps, ninth place was another good result for the squad around team founder Torsten Schubert.
Jens Klingmann: "It was a very good weekend for BMW Motorsport. We saw that the BMW M4 GT3 is very competitive on the Nordschleife and has what it takes to win. Of course, that has to be our goal as well. This weekend, we weren't quite able to tap into the potential as a team. We were good on one lap, but we struggled on race pace. This was just the dress rehearsal, but our ambition is of course the podium and we want to be at the top level. We collected a lot of data and tried different things, which we will evaluate and analyse over the next three weeks in order to put together the best package for the 24-hour race."
Alexander Sims: "It went okay for us, but we still had our difficulties to get on pace this weekend. The race wasn't our strength and we need to find out what the problem was to get the performance we want for the 24-hours. We have a strong team and a good line-up with which we should be able to fight for a top result. There is some work ahead of us, but we have a competitive car and all the tools we need to fulfil the potential. I felt very comfortable during my stints and we gained important knowledge. It was an instructive weekend and now we need to use this baseline to catch up."
Jesse Krohn: "I have mixed feelings after the Qualifiers. On the one hand, we had a clean weekend without any problems and the car handled very well. We also made progress, but somehow the pace wasn't there. The results didn't reflect all the hard work. That was a bit strange. We now have to look into it and find answers. Nevertheless, our basis for the 24-hour race is good overall and I'm looking forward to competing with Schubert Motorsport and the new BMW M4 GT3 in this endurance classic."
Niklas Krütten: "This weekend was important for me. I learned something in every stint and was happy with my performance. It's a big advantage to be on the car with three factory drivers. They pass on their knowledge and help me a lot, which is particularly valuable on the Nordschleife. I am enormously grateful for this opportunity. Working with them and the whole team is a lot of fun. The results were okay. In the second race we improved the balance a bit. Unfortunately, I had a code 60 infringement towards the end, which dropped us from seventh to ninth place. It's annoying, but it's part of the learning process and I'd rather make that mistake now than at the 24-hour race."
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: "We clearly felt our lack of experience with the BMW M4 GT3 on the Nordschleife. Beforehand, we only had the opportunity to adjust to this demanding circuit with the new car at the opening round of the NLS. The sessions were very important for us to try out different directions with the set-up and to find a basis as a team for the 24-hour race. It is extremely positive that we had an absolutely trouble-free weekend. It was crucial for the drivers as well as the engineers and mechanics to get as much practice as possible and we achieved that. In the coming weeks we will evaluate the data and sort ourselves out to be in the best possible position for the race."