Twelve years after the BMW V12 LMR achieved its triumphant overall victory, BMW Motorsport is back on the podium at the Le Mans (FR) 24 Hours: In the hard-fought LM GTE class, Andy Priaulx (GB), Dirk Müller (DE) and Joey Hand (US) finished third in the no. 56 BMW M3 GT. Final-stint driver Hand crossed the finish line at the “Circuit de la Sarthe” after 313 thrilling laps and having covered a distance of over 4,200 kilometres.
In contrast, the drivers of the second BMW M3 GT, number 55 – Augusto Farfus (BR), Jörg Müller (DE) and Dirk Werner (DE) – left the endurance classic empty-handed. The trio had battled for 276 laps, repeatedly fighting their way back after being hampered by incidents. Just two and a half hours before the end of the race, however, the fifth-placed BMW M3 GT came to a stop in the “Mulsanne” corner. Jörg Müller had previously reported to the team feeling vibrations in the car. Victory in the LM GTE class went to Corvette’s Olivier Beretta (MC), Tommy Milner (US) and Antonio Garcia (ES).
The 79th staging of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which was at times dramatic and overshadowed by several spectacular and alarming crashes, proved to be a roller-coaster ride for Team BMW Motorsport. Both cars had to make several unscheduled pit stops for repairs and to change tyres, while rain showers added another factor to the final stages of the race. The two BMW M3 GT cars that had started the race from pole position and third on the grid, demonstrated their performance over the entire race distance, consistently clocking competitive times. Dirk Müller clocked the fastest GTE race lap with a time of 3:58.876 minutes. Bearing in mind the various incidents, third place for Priaulx, Dirk Müller and Hand was probably the best possible result.
The Le Mans 24 Hours also counts towards this season’s Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). Third place in France means BMW has finished on the GTE podium at every race so far in this competition. BMW celebrated a one-two in the GT class at Sebring (US), while BMW drivers also finished third in the GTE class at the 1,000-kilometre race at Spa-Francorchamps (BE).