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  #1  
Old 06-08-2004, 03:24 PM
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Theissen & 24hr Nurburgring Marathon Race

From the BMW Motorsport Newsletter...

07.06.2004
24hrs Nürburgring
"Such a marathon is an enormous challenge"
In the first part of our interview, BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen, talks about the meaning of the 24 Hour Race at the Nürburgring for BMW.

Question: With only a few days left before the 24 Hour Race at the legendary Nordschleife gets underway. How have the preparations gone?

Mario Theissen: The preparations have been very intense for the personnel of BMW Motorsport and Schnitzer. The 24 Hour project is run by the same team that takes part in the FIA European Touring Car Championship. The BMW M3 GTR and the V8 engine are not totally new developments. It is the car which won the GT-Class in the American Le Mans Series in 2001. The preparation for the 24 Hour Race was all about developing details, most importantly the reliability, for this marathon race. For test purposes we entered the BMW M3 GTR in two rounds of the 'Long Distance Championship' run at the Nordschleife, where we won both times. However, the competition wasn’t as tough as it’s going to be for the 24 Hour Race.

Question: How important is this race for BMW?

Theissen: Touring car and long distance racing has a long and successful tradition at BMW. Such a race is an enormous sporting and technical challenge. It’s all about speed, teamwork, strategy and reliability. The same goes for the 24 Hour Race at Spa, in which we will again enter two BMW M3 GTRs. At the Nürburgring especially, we have a score to settle after last year, when both cars experienced gearbox failures on the warm-up lap after we had used dry-ice. Once the cars were fixed they started a sensational fight-back until accidents - due to the infamous amount of traffic - forced both cars to retire. You cannot influence either technical failures or accidents. The sporting spirit is when you can keep up your morale. I was very proud of our team in 2003. After the early set-back they fought back hard, and the fans really appreciated that.

Question: The atmosphere at the 'Ring' is unique. What memories tie you personally to the Nordschleife?

Theissen: I grew up in the Eifel region of Germany, in the town of Monschau to be accurate. That means that the Nürburgring and Spa were the same distance apart from where I grew up, and I watched a lot of races on both circuits. Last year, after a break of a few years, I came back to the 'Ring' for the 24 Hour Race for first time. The atmosphere was mind-blowing.

Question: The last time a BMW won in the Eifel was back in 1988. How do you rate your chances in 2004?

Theissen: The goal is to achieve as much as possible. What can happen during 24 hours on the world’s most difficult circuit you simply cannot calculate.

Question: BMW are working once again with the experienced Schnitzer Motorsport Team. How is the teamwork?

Theissen: The work is split up basically like this: BMW Motorsport at Munich undertakes the developmental work including the engine preparation. Schnitzer Motorsport is the team that races the cars - for me the best team in touring cars and sports cars. The combination of BMW Motorsport and Schnitzer won the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hour Race with the BMW V12 LMR. That was my first race as BMW Motorsport Director and even today is still the most memorable. Team manager Charly Lamm was in charge then and he is in charge again in 2004 at the Nürburgring and Spa 24 Hour Races. He’s a sly fox when it comes to strategies, which is very important in long-distance racing. It’s impossible to create a game plan as you would in a 300 kilometre Formula One race. It’s far more important to have all the parameters in your head, which then allow you to react to all events correctly and quickly.
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2004, 05:48 PM
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WILLIA///M WILLIA///M is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GimpyMcFarlan
The combination of BMW Motorsport and Schnitzer won the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hour Race with the BMW V12 LMR.
I wish they'd go back there and kick Audi's a**. Either that or field a strong entry in GT to break up the endless line up of P-cars.
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Old 06-12-2004, 07:45 AM
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I heard that there are no factory teams running the 24 hour race this year. All the Audi's are privateers. I would have thought that someone would have at least put a BMW engine into a chassis for the race. Oh well...
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Old 06-12-2004, 07:51 AM
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Yeah, they are privateers in the same sense as the old Porsche 956/962s. They have a fully sorted, fast and reliable car that the factory spent a boatload developing. So while the factories are out of it directly, the fruits of their labor are still front-runners.
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Old 06-12-2004, 07:56 AM
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Cool

Did anyone notice that there is a car with a Caterpillar diesel engine running the LeMans 24 hour race?
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Old 06-12-2004, 09:58 AM
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From what I've heard from Tom Milner at PTG. It will be a long time before BMW returns to LeMans. They are really pissed over the M3 GTR issue and feel the ACO went back on agreements that they had in place. So, right there's not much of a BMW presence at LeMans. It's interesting that the Nurburgring 24 Hours is virtually opposite LeMans.
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