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Rowe BMWs to Skip Monza Season Opener

Rowe Racing BMWs absent on Monza entry list…

Photo: Rowe Racing

Photo: Rowe Racing

Rowe Racing will skip the opening round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza next weekend, which will feature a 53-car grid.

Despite some favorable changes in the Balance of Performance prior to the Sprint Cup opener at Misano, the team’s two BMW M6 GT3s struggled for pace at the Italian track. 

ENTRY LIST: Monza

“We still have some way to go if we are to catch those at the top,” said team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf after the weekend.

“We did close the gap a little over the course of the weekend, but the Mercedes in particular were not within striking distance.”

Rowe is expected to focus on the Qualifying Race for the Nürburgring 24 instead, which will take place on the same weekend.

This means there will be only one BMW on the grid in Italy, with Walkenhorst Motorsport fielding an M6 GT3 for Nico Menzel, Mikkel Jensen and Jaap van Lagen.

HTP Motorsport has decided upon its Endurance Cup lineups, with Jimmy Erkisson joining current points leaders Maxi Buhk and Franck Perera in the No. 84 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Dominik Baumann, Edward Sandström and Fabian Schiller lining up in the No. 85 entry.

Michael Avenatti, Damien Faulkner and Mike Skeen will pilot HTP’s only Pro-Am Cup entry.

Former GP2 and Indy Car racer Luca Filippi will join Lamborghini factory drivers Marco Mapelli and Giovanni Venturini in the No. 66 Attempto Racing lineup, while Clément Mateu and Giorgio Maggi will race with Max Van Splunteren in the sister No. 67 entry.

Roock Racing is another no-show on the Monza entry list. The German team was set to make a comeback to modern racing with two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.

This leaves the Herberth Motorsport entry for Jürgen Häring, Alfred Renauer and Robert Renauer as the only Porsche in the field.

Although ISR is listed with two Audi R8 LMS, the Czech team will only run a single car for Filip Salaquarda, Frank Stippler and Clemens Schmid at Monza. 

AF Corse has added another Ferrari 488 GT3 to its stable, with Alex Demerdjian, Davide Rizzo and Abigail Eaton set to take part in the battle for Am Cup honors. 

No fewer than 53 GT3 cars will take part in the Monza three-hour race, with 31 entries, more than half the field, competing in the Pro category.

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    April 14, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I wonder if BMW is still glad they chose that pig of a car for their GT3/GTLM plaform instead of the M4. BMW hasn’t been this terrible in a long time as all of the M3 variants had a certain level of success (Z4 was better as well but not quite as good the M3).

    • daedalus

      April 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      you are right, the m6 is not very agile and can’t do the quick changes of direction that the Z4 used to. The reason BMW chose the M6 was because the profit margins selling the M6 road car are higher than the M3 or M4 and the Z4 had reached EOL.

      The upcoming Z5 should be the next BMW GT3/GTE platform IMHO.

      Quite sure Rowe will be at spa to defend their 2016 win so not all is lost, and spa is one of the few tracks the BMW is suited for.

    • gtgianlu

      April 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      It’s a marketing game,the M4 is the Dtm car(and Gt4,curiosly),the M6 is well suited for the only races they are interested in,the Spa24 and the N24.Its lwb and big biturbo V8 are the right tips,for the Glen and Sebring,not to mention Road America,Vir and Road Atlanta,probably not for Laguna

  2. KW

    April 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    It’s a pity that Roock Racing is missing. A strong Porsche team would be an ideal add-on to the already very good entry list. I hope they will join later this season.

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