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Intercontinental GT Challenge

BMW Reassigns Team Schnitzer Away from IGTC

Schnitzer to focus on testing and development work of M4 GT3 as part of program change-up…

Photo: BMW

Team Schnitzer will not compete in this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli after being reassigned to a new 2020 program by BMW.

The experienced German squad will focus on the NLS (formerly VLN) series and the Nürburgring 24 rather than the IGTC, which it contested for the first time in 2019.

Schnitzer will also take a leading role in the development of the upcoming BMW M4 GT3 which will replace the manufacturer’s current M6 racing model at the start of 2022.

The team’s program last year focused on the five-round IGTC in which it operated as one of two full-season points-paying BMW entries.

Its main drivers Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk finished 14th in the drivers’ standings while BMW finished fourth in the final manufacturers’ table.

“We are delighted to be able to build on BMW Team Schnitzer’s experience in the upcoming racetrack development and testing of our new flagship GT car, the BMW M4 GT3,” said BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt.

“As part of the project, the team will oversee the test drives with the new race car and will provide valuable feedback for the further development steps.

“At the same time, BMW Team Schnitzer will be in racing action in their ‘home from home’ at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. We are confident that the team will enjoy success there with the BMW M6 GT3.”

Schnitzer’s focus has been on sports car racing since it left the DTM series at the end of 2016.

The team, which orchestrated BMW’s only outright 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in 1999, went on to capture a major win with Farfus in the 2018 FIA GT World Cup at Macau.

However, Schnitzer experienced a heavy loss at the start of last year when its long-time boss Charly Lamm passed away suddenly shortly after retiring.

One of Schnitzer’s aims for 2020 as part of its new brief will be to recapture the Nürburgring 24 trophy which both it and BMW last won a decade ago.

“It’s great that BMW Motorsport is entrusting us with working with the new GT3 car, and we will give everything to play our part in successful development,” said team principal Herbert Schnitzer Jr.

“The BMW M4 GT3 project is very close to our heart and we are looking forward to working closely with BMW Motorsport in development and on the test track.

“We are also really looking forward to the races at the ‘Green Hell’ already. The Nürburgring Nordschleife is closely linked with Team Schnitzer history and it goes without saying that we would like to expand on our success record there.”

BMW has yet to outright confirm its IGTC return for 2020, although Marquardt has strongly hinted at plans for a second season.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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