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Yelloly: ROWE “Building Off” 2023 Momentum

Nick Yelloly says ROWE Racing is aiming for Endurance Cup title after coming up short against Akkodis ASP last year…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Nick Yelloly says ROWE Racing is looking to build upon the foundations it placed during last year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup campaign to launch a championship bid after finishing second last year.

The British racer will be reunited with fellow CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa winners Marco Wittmann and Philipp Eng aboard the No. 98 BMW M4 GT3.

The three drivers captured two race victories, most notably at Spa, but missed out to the Akkodis ASP Team trio of Timur Boguslavskiy, Raffaele Marciello and Jules Gounon in the battle for the championship.

Yelloly told Sportscar365 that the Hans-Peter Naundorf-led stable has its sights set on the title after coming close last year, hoping to use a base of unchanged foundations as a launch pad towards the championship.

“We want to try and win a championship, that would be great,” Yelloly said.

“It’s arguably the biggest GT championship. We’ve got the same group, the same engineers, the same car. We’re building off what we had last year, for sure.

“We just did the test at Paul Ricard [recently]. We’re pretty competitive. Happy with the car. So, yeah, we want to go out there and be consistent, like last year.

“We want to go for the Spa win again, of course. Things have to go your way, like everyone knows about that.

“But yeah, to be consistent and fighting for the top three positions at each race weekend is going to be important to fight for the title at the end.”

The championship picture in the Pro category has undergone some notable changes compared to last year.

Reigning champions Akkodis ASP, along with Boguslavskiy, are not defending their title in favor of an FIA World Endurance Championship campaign with Lexus.

Gounon, meanwhile, has joined GetSpeed Performance while Marciello has aligned with Team WRT following his move to join the BMW factory roster over the winter.

Despite these changes, Yelloly still expects a tight championship battle and is confident of ROWE’s odds in the category.

“I don’t think it’s so unknown,” Yelloly said.

“I think we expect to be relatively competitive. Now we don’t have Marciello in a Mercedes, we have him in a BMW, so that’s good. So we’ll see how he gets on.

“I think WRT, having driven with them at the end of last year, have done a great job in the first year [with BMW]. I’m sure they’ll be even stronger.

“But we have no doubt we can match or raise that game even further as both a team and a driver group at ROWE. We have the experience, we’re all very well meshed.

“We’re good friends on and off the track so I think we’ll be at a good position to fight at the front, I would hope. 

New to the Endurance Cup calendar this year is the addition of the 6 Hours of Jeddah season finale in Saudi Arabia, held at the same Jeddah Corniche Circuit that has been used by Formula 1 since 2021.

Yelloly noted that he has turned “a trillion laps on the simulator” at the venue through his role as a simulator driver for the Aston Martin F1 operation.

“I think it will be very exciting to go there and race,” he said. Very tricky to race around there. Massive high speed commitment, which, to be honest, should suit our car in general. So yeah, I’m looking forward to it. 

“You’re going to get some traffic, of course, but we can deal with all that kind of stuff. You’re used to passing cars all the time at the Nordschleife, so I think it will be okay.

“I think the show will be pretty decent. It will be chaos, I’m sure, but it will be good fun.

“Looking forward to race out there. I’ve raced in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and in the Middle East and in Asia quite a lot, so it will be another circuit to tick off the list.”

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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