Defending Nürburgring 24 winner ROWE Racing will field a pair of BMW M6 GT3s in this weekend’s NLS season-opener at the Nordschleife.
Nicky Catsburg is the only member of the German squad’s N24-winning lineup to appear in its driving squad for the four-hour ADAC Westfalenfahrt enduro.
Catsburg, who triumphed in last year’s Eifel enduro alongside Nick Yelloly and Alexander Sims, will contest Saturday’s curtain-raiser in the No. 99 BMW with fellow BMW factory representatives John Edwards and Philipp Eng.
All three drivers are heading to the Nürburgring straight from last weekend’s IMSA Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, where Catsburg competed against BMW Team RLL drivers Edwards and Eng as part of Corvette Racing’s crew.
ROWE’s No. 98 BMW will be driven by ROWE’s recent DTM signing Sheldon van der Linde, Marco Wittmann and Connor de Phillippi, who was also at Sebring representing the factory RLL squad.
Double DTM champion Wittmann contested last year’s N24 in the No. 98 car with Eng, Tom Blomqvist and Lucas Auer, placing fourth overall.
ROWE’s two-car commitment to the 2021 NLS opener marks an increase in its activities at this stage of the season compared to last year, when it ran a single two-driver BMW in every round until the six-hour race that preceded the N24 in late September.
The team won the fourth round of the shortened five-round 2020 campaign with Catsburg and Stef Dusseldorp.
“It is nice for everyone in the team that the 2021 season is getting started,” said ROWE Racing team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf.
‘Exactly six months ago to the day since our victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we can hardly wait to get back on the Nordschleife and dive into the ‘Green Hell’.
“We are looking forward to the race debut of our new DTM driver Sheldon van der Linde in the ROWE Racing team, and to the return of our two Americans Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards, who we missed last year.
“We go into the first round of the NLS season with a top‑class driver lineup and two cars.
“As well as the usual setup work and tire tests at the season-opener, we have set ourselves the goal of backing up our last performance on the Nordschleife and have set our sights on the podium.”
Four Mercedes-AMGs Get Factory Support
Mercedes-AMG has announced that it will provide extended factory support to four cars from two teams this weekend.
Haupt Racing Team and GetSpeed Performance will continue to receive AMG backing in the NLS, with both teams receiving factory drivers for their lineups.
HRT’s No. 16 machine will be driven by 2016 Nürburgring 24 winners Maro Engel, Adam Christodoulou and Manuel Metzger, along with AMG factory team member Luca Stolz.
Engel is also in the No. 6 HRT car alongside Patrick Assenheimer, Nico Bastian and team owner Hubert Haupt.
One of the GetSpeed Performance lineups involves Raffaele Marciello, Maximilian Goetz, Daniel Juncadella and Fabian Schiller, who like Engel is double-stacked this weekend.
Schiller is also set to share GetSpeed’s other factory-backed AMG GT3 Evo with Matthieu Vaxiviere, Dirk Mueller and newly signed works driver Jules Gounon.
GetSpeed is also fielding a privateer entry featuring former Bentley factory driver Maxime Soulet, who will team up with Markus Palttala, Moritz Kranz and Janine Shoffner.
A total of six Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos are taking part in the NLS opener, with 10Q Racing Team also putting forward a single car.
Experienced Mercedes drivers Dominik Baumann, Yelmer Buurman, Thomas Jaeger and Kenneth Heyer will represent the German team, which made its GT3 debut last year.
The first NLS entry list of the season is due to be issued on Wednesday.