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ROWE Enjoys “Most Positive Year” Despite Challenges

ROWE looks back on positive year despite challenging mixed BMW/Porsche program…

Photo: Porsche

ROWE Racing team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf says the team enjoyed its most successful year ever in 2019 despite facing challenges running two different cars simultaneously.

The German team, operated by Motorsport Competence Group, continued to field its BMW M6 GT3s in Nürburgring Nordschleife competition but switched to Porsche 911 GT3 Rs for other series.

It campaigned the Porsches in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, adding a third car for a successful outing at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, before finishing the year with a double podium in the FIA GT World Cup.

“2019 was an incredibly intense, but indescribably great year for us all,” said Naundorf.

“Taking part in two major racing programs in parallel in the same season with two different manufacturers and two very different cars was a massive challenge for the team, which our guys mastered impressively with great commitment, a high level of professionalism and incredible team spirit.

“It was the most intense, but ultimately also the most positive year to date for ROWE Racing. That is why I am immensely proud of this crew.”

Naundorf admits that running both cars, which employ completely different philosophies, was difficult and something that the team slightly “underestimated”.

“It goes without saying that it took a little while for us to fully understand our new Porsche 911 GT3 R at the start of the season, simply because this car is a totally different concept compared to the BMW M6 GT3, which we have been familiar with and racing with for three years now,” he said.

“The greatest challenges were the logistics and organizing the constant changeovers from one car to the other between each of the races.

“To be honest, we underestimated this slightly, even though we were confident that we would manage it as a team.

“In the race week at Spa alone our team put in an incredible 3,785 hours of work – that is the equivalent of more than 470 working days!

“Then, to finish in the top seven with all three cars was terrific; the second place for the No. 998 after a fantastic recovery race was almost as valuable as a win.

“With three podiums in the last four years, we are the most successful team in recent history at this iconic race, and the impressive performance in Macau to round off the year was another really great show.”

Dual Program to Continue in 2020

ROWE plans to continue running both cars next year although details of its Porsche program are currently slim.

It plans to return to the Nürburgring with its BMWs despite some disappointment at decisions made by organizers this year.

The program for its Porsches, meanwhile, hasn’t yet been confirmed, with the team communicating plans to compete in “international races” but not specifying a return to the SRO Motorsports Group’s GT World Challenge Europe.

“We will be racing at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with our BMW M6 GT3 again in 2020, and will be contesting the international races with the Porsche 911 GT3 R,” Naundorf confirmed.

“At the Nordschleife we want, and need, to improve on all levels to build on former successes, like in 2017, for example.

“Two early retirements like in each of the final two ADAC 24-hour races at the Nürburgring are not up to the standard of ROWE Racing.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

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