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ROWE Affected by “Impossible” N24-24H Spa Double Header

ROWE Racing faces “impossible” task of competing in N24 and 24H Spa on consecutive weekends…

Photo: BMW

ROWE Racing has warned it could be forced to scale back its program in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup or the Nürburgring 24 as a result of the back-to-back blue riband events in June next year.

Hans-Peter Naundorf, who heads the Motorsport Competence Group organization that operates the ROWE effort in both Fanatec GT Europe and the N24, decried the “impossible” task of racing in two 24-hour races on consecutive weekends.

It comes after SRO Motorsports Group confirmed at last weekend’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa that the Belgian endurance classic will take place the weekend after the N24, with both events part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar.

ROWE has long held a presence at both events, winning the 24H Spa in 2016, 2020 and 2023 and the N24 in 2020.

Naundorf told Sportscar365 that “it is still the plan” for the team to continue its dual program, but that external factors could force it to reconsider its options.

One of them is the appeal that ROWE filed in the wake of the N24, the hearing for which is due to take place on July 10, but Naundorf cited next year’s compressed June schedule as a bigger obstacle.

“One point, maybe the outcome of the trial to see what can be expected in the future from the ADAC Nordrhein,” Naundorf said.

“Whoever is doing this event, will they stick to the regulations or will they not stick to regulations? This is a one point to consider.

“I think this is a minor point, but also look at the calendar for next year. We have these two events within seven days. It’s impossible to do.

“We can’t do this because the SRO says I have to be [at Spa] on Sunday when I’m still racing at Nürburgring. How should this work?

“At the moment we don’t see any movement there to be considered. On the other hand, look at the last four weeks. You have three 24-hour races almost packed together in one month.”

SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel previously declared “there is nothing we can do” about next year’s schedule, adding that “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” when asked about the prospect of teams scaling back programs.

“I don’t see this as the right [way],” said Naundorf. “The three biggest motorsports endurance events in Europe you just press them in one month. It’s not good for anyone, not for the spectators.

“Do you think when you have Nürburgring and Spa the guys who want to come to Nürburgring, they come to Spa other way around? No, why? You can’t do motorsport every day.”

Naundorf also looked ahead to the N24 appeal hearing set for July 10, which he said is something he didn’t want to do but felt was necessary given the resources and effort the team invested into the event.

“If you ask me about Nürburgring, if I wanted to go in front of the court of appeals, never in my life,” he said.

“I don’t want to do this. We normally put our arguments verbally and then we always find an agreement but in this case it wasn’t.

“So you don’t know what the outcome is going to be. We don’t do this for nothing and I think it’s quite serious and we have some support from all kinds of [people] in this industry.

“Teams, partners and so on. Other manufacturers, they see it the same way. You put so much money into it, so much effort into it.

“These events, these big events and you just want to have the other part you also stick to the regulations they have done and they have created.”

Should MCG continue its two-car effort in Fanatec GT Europe as planned next year, Naundorf revealed that the second car will likely run under a different banner.

Since 2022, MCG has fielded a MultiBank Group-backed car for the likes of Dan Harper, Max Hesse, Neil Verhagen and Augusto Farfus under the ROWE Racing name.

“Our MultiBank car, it will likely not run under ROWE Racing,” Naundorf said.

“It will run under MCG. So we have one ROWE Racing car and one MCG car. ROWE will continue, they’re reshaping their communication.

“So they don’t want communicate a car with a different sponsor on [it]. It’s not bad for us. We’re just going to widen up our activities.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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