Driving for the BMW Team Schnitzer outfit in China will be Augusto Farfus, Jorg Muller, Andy Priaulx and Uwe Alzen – Farfus and Muller will be sharing the #55 BMW M3 GT while Priaulx and Alzen will pilot the sister car during the event.
Charley Lamm, BMW Team Schnitzer team manager is hoping to finish the 2011 campaign on a high: “We are travelling to Zhuhai with very good memories. Last year we had a very strong overall package, and I am convinced this will be the case again this year. 2011 has proven extremely successful for BMW Motorsport, and our aim is to end the season in China accordingly. A top result in Zhuhai would be a fitting reward for all the hard work the entire team has put in this year. Now we are looking forward to China, and an exciting, long race during which a lot can happen, as we saw last year. However, we are fully prepared.”
Last year’s event at the Zhuhai International Circuit was a successful one for the team as they secured their maiden victory on the Chinese mainland – Muller and Dirk Werner secured the LMGT2 class victory in the BMW M3 GT2, the first for the car in the GP2 specification, and last years’ winner Muller is looking forward to returning to Zhuhai: “I am looking forward to competing with the BMW M3 GT again, as the break since my last race in Silverstone has been a bit too long.
“In addition I am particularly looking forward to China, as the Zhuhai circuits plays to the strengths of our M3. There a car needs to have very good braking characteristics, which the BMW has. Last year we were extremely strong there. I am convinced we will be front-runners again, so with a chance of victory.”
2011 has seen BMW Motorsport contest the ILMC newly-introduced GTE class with the BMW M3 GT and during the season opener at Sebring; the team secured a one-two finish.
In the six ILMC races held to date in 2011, BMW Motorsport has secured six podium finishes, including one last time out in the Petit Le Mans – the event doubled up as the final round of the American Le Mans Series and BMW secured a clean sweep of the drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers titles with the BMW M3 GT.
Heading to Zhuhai, BMW are currently sitting second to Ferrari in the manufacturers category of the GTE class, while BMW Motorsport are fourteen points adrift of AF Corse in the race for the Teams’ Championship, so BMW Motorsport still have a mathematical chance of securing both the manufacturers and teams’ titles this weekend.
For Farfus and Priaulx, the former WTCC team-mates are both looking forward to their trip to Zhuhai and Farfus is hoping to finish the season off with a victory: “I am looking forward to travelling overseas and experiencing a new circuit. Last year BMW was very successful in Zhuhai, so we hope to end this season on a high and with a victory. The track is new for me, but we can practice all day on Wednesday, so I have plenty of time to learn the circuit and be spot-on for the race. Jörg won the race last year, so I am looking forward to sharing the car with him. I think we have a good and strong package, and I know that the track suits the M3 very well.”
Priaulx added: “It is my first time at Zhuhai. I have not driven the track before, but I drove it on a simulator in preparation for the race. I am looking forward to it. I know it is quite a challenging track, and I think the GTE class will be extremely competitive. It should be a strong circuit for us, it was strong last year and we want to finish the season on a high. Our goal has to be to try and win the race.”
Alzen heads to China in confident mood and is looking to returning to the cockpit for the first time since Silverstone: “I travel to China in an optimistic frame of mind. We aim to end the season there with a top result. My last race with BMW was the ILMC round in Silverstone. Unfortunately we did not make it to the podium there. However, I think the warm temperatures in China will work for us. In addition the team has a lot of experience from last year. Our aim is to win. We will see whether we manage that, but I believe we have a good chance.”