The 2020 Nürburgring Endurance Series NLS finally got under way at the weekend following a comprehensive hygiene concept that has allowed racing to return to the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.
The opening round of the championship was the 51st Adenauer Rundstrecken-Trophy on Saturday, which began with a win for BMW and drivers Brit David Pittard and Dane Mikkel Jensen in the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
After four gruelling hours of racing on this challenging circuit, the BMW crossed the finishing line in second place but subsequently benefitted from a time penalty handed to the leading Mercedes to win the race.
Pittard managed to get the car up into second from fifth place in the early laps of the race and said afterwards: “The first race after the break, and our first win – that is wonderful! It feels fantastic to be back on the Nordschleife and back in a race car. Walkenhorst Motorsport has done a magnificent job over the winter. After my crazy first stint, Mikkel was incredibly fast and all I had to do at the end was to bring the car home in one piece. We are delighted.”
The #99 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 finished fifth with BMW works drivers Philipp Eng from Aurtria and Nick Catsburg from The Netherlands at the wheel.
The BMW M4 GT4 was the strongest performing car in the SP10 class, with all three podium positions filled with BMW teams. Ultimate victory went to Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport with its three drivers Michael Schrey from Germany, Austrian Michael Fischer and Gabriele Piana from Switzerland in the #192 BMW M4 GT4. The #1 BMW M4 GT4 of Pixum CFN Team Adrenalin Motorsport was runner up in second place, while the third spot went to the #169 FK Performance Motorsport BMW M4.
The season opener in the BMW M240i Racing Cup was won by Pixum CFN Team Adrenalin Motorsport in the #650 BMW M240i Racing car, driven by Italian Francesco Merlini, Sindre Setsaas from Norway, David Griessnerf from Austria and German Yannick Fübrich. Schnitzelalm Racing GmbH team came second with Germans Marcel Marchewicz and Tim Neuser at the wheel of the #673 car. Third place went to the #695 car of Heiko Eichenberg and Moritz Oberheim, also from Germany, run by the AVIA Sorg Rennsport team.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused havoc with the BMW Sports Trophy much like may other sports events around the world, with many race seasons now extending to almost the end of the year. This is the case with the 59th BMW Sports Trophy season (2019/2020), which instead of ending on 31st October 2020 as originally planned, the official scoring period will now run from 1st November 2019 through to 30th November 2020, giving all race participants the opportunity to continue to score points in the Driver and Team competitions at events held later in the year.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers, professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of BMW