Saturday, July 20, 2024

Rossi and BMW M Team WRT Triumph at Road to Le Mans

BMW M Team WRT made a significant impact at the 100-year anniversary weekend of the renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans, despite the debut of the BMW M Hybrid V8 being scheduled for 2024. BMW M Team WRT, led by drivers Valentino Rossi and Max Hesse, secured two victories in the Road to Le Mans support races, a part of the Michelin Le Mans Cup.

Hesse, alongside teammate Tim Whale, claimed victory on Thursday, while Rossi, accompanied by Jérôme Policand, celebrated his first GT3 triumph with a remarkable overtaking maneuver on the penultimate lap in Friday’s race. The exceptional performances resulted in a WRT one-two finish.

The Road to Le Mans races marked BMW M Team WRT’s inaugural participation at Le Mans, laying the groundwork for the forthcoming BMW M Hybrid V8 premiere in the top class in 2024. Additionally, GMB Motorsport fielded a third BMW M4 GT3, driven by Roland and Kristian Poulsen, finishing in seventh and fifteenth places respectively.

Credit: BMW

Commemorating the race’s centenary, a historic BMW V12 LMR, which secured overall victory for BMW M Motorsport in 1999, took part in demonstration laps throughout the weekend. Spectators were also treated to the sight of the legendary BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons, which caused a sensation in Le Mans in 1975 and 2010.

Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport, expressed his delight with the team’s achievements: “We had super successful days here with our BMW M4 GT3 together with WRT in the Road to Le Mans races. With the victory in the first race and the one-two in the second race, we are of course very satisfied. This was a first step. Many thanks, of course, for the commitment to the whole team, the drivers, and the crew of BMW M Motorsport. They gave our BMW M4 GT3 a great Le Mans debut.”

Valentino Rossi, driver of the #46 BMW M4 GT3, shared his excitement about the win: “We are very happy because we won. It was the first victory together with BMW, and it was also a great experience to come here to prepare for next year’s 24-hour race.

“We had a strong pace since yesterday morning and in qualifying but we were a bit unlucky in the first race so we wanted to go for the podium in the second race. Jérôme had a very good first stint, and at the end of the day we were able to win. I had a good pace and was able to do some good overtakes. We are very, very happy.”

Max Hesse, who piloted the #31 BMW M4 GT3, expressed his joy and gratitude: “We are of course very happy. On Thursday we already had a great race. WRT did a perfect job at the pit stop. We are really happy with first and second place. Congratulations, of course, also to our teammates on the victory on Friday.”

The remarkable successes achieved by BMW M Team WRT at the Road to Le Mans races serve as a promising prelude to the future endeavors of BMW M in the world of motorsport.