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ROWE’s Twin-Manufacturer GT3 Program “A Handful”

ROWE Racing boss admits running two brands has been difficult to get used to…

Photo: Jules Benichou/SRO

Running two different GT3 manufacturers side-by-side has been “a handful” to get used to for ROWE Racing, according to team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf.

The German team switched to Porsche machinery for its Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup entries this year, while remaining with BMWs for VLN and Nürburgring 24.

Naundorf admitted getting used to running the Porsche 911 GT3 R alongside the BMW M6 GT3 has been a challenge for his Motorsport Competence Group crew.

“The mechanics and engineers have got their hands full, just trying to keep lots of things on the same level or the same procedures, but not working on everything,” Naundorf told Sportscar365.

“We have to put a lot of effort in and we still have to put a lot of effort into getting the Porsche project to our quality standard.

“It’s really a handful to do but we’re just trying to solve every little problem we can and from this point of view, it’s a very interesting thing as well.

“You can imagine, there’s two different kinds of cars. The engineers are really loving it on the technical side but it’s double work.

“It’s not just running four cars, it’s running two different manufacturers.

“So far it’s just minor problems, getting to know the car, getting to know the drivers, starting to get familiar with the Porsche system.

“All these things you have when you switch over to another manufacturer, it’s not easily done these days anymore.”

The team’s acclimation to Porsche machinery was made even more challenging when it added a second car for the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup season just days before the opener at Monza last month.

“We didn’t have that much testing time,” Naundorf explained.

“We received the second car just ten days before [Monza] and it was not intended that we were going to run two cars from the beginning of the project.

“We’ve been very happy and lucky that we’ve been able to have two cars here and we’re going to have two cars throughout the full season.

“We could do with some more testing mileage but I think everybody will tell you that!”

The team is set up so the BMW and Porsche programs share most of the crew, meaning most of the mechanics have to swap between programs. 

This also posed a challenge when the Blancpain GT opener at Monza clashed with a VLN race, but the team decided to forgo the latter in order to focus on its Porsche debut.

“Mainly we have a share of about 90 percent of the people,” Naundorf said. “Everybody should be able to do both manufacturers.

“We could have done [VLN 2] but we didn’t want to, actually, because even if we would have done only one manufacturer we would have done both series.

“We don’t want to skip Monza, and it’s easier to skip a VLN race because others are still available and we don’t need to have four or five preparation races.”

ROWE’s Porsches have showed considerable potential in their first two Blancpain GT races but bad luck, including a puncture late in the race at Monza, and a qualifying misstep at Silverstone, has prevented them from scoring many representative results.

The team’s best finish so far came with a fourth-place result at Silverstone for Romain Dumas, Sven Mueller and Matthieu Jaminet who made their way through the field from 39th on the grid.

The team has performed especially well in wet conditions, including in the race at Monza and also by topping two of the rain-soaked pre-event test sessions at Silverstone last week.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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