ROWE RACING to send two BMW M6 GT3s to the official Blancpain GT Series tests in Le Castellet
BMW works drivers António Félix da Costa and Philipp Eng in action alongside Markus Palttala in southern France / Two days of testing on 13th and 14th March
St. Ingbert, 9th March 2017 – The start of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series is just around the corner for ROWE RACING: the team from St. Ingbert will attend the official pre-season tests in Le Castellet, southern France, on 13th and 14th March, where it will apply the finishing touches to preparations for the start of the season in Misano, Italy, on 2nd April. ROWE RACING will run two BMW M6 GT3s at the test, which takes place at the 5.842-kilometre Circuit Paul Ricard.
Three drivers will share the extensive test work to be done in the cockpit. As well as Austrian BMW works driver Philipp Eng, who was a regular for ROWE RACING in the 2016 Blancpain season and a member of the winning crew at the iconic 24 Hours of Spa, Markus Palttala will also be in action. The Finn drove for the team in last year’s VLN and the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring.
Portuguese driver António Félix da Costa is making his debut for the team from St. Ingbert. The BMW works driver is a talented all-rounder. He has been a Formula 1 test driver for Red Bull Racing and started 46 races for BMW Motorsport in the DTM between 2014 and 2016 before bidding farewell to the popular touring car series last August with three pole positions and one victory to his name. In November 2016, Félix da Costa won the prestigious Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix for the second time, having previously triumphed in 2012. Since 2014, he has also been a regular in Formula E, in which he drives for the BMW-supported MS Amlin Andretti team in the 2016/17 season. Félix da Costa is already familiar with the BMW M6 GT3 from his guest appearances in the ADAC GT Masters.
The most important tasks on the test schedule for Le Castellet are adapting to the new tyres provided by Pirelli and fine-tuning the set-up of the BMW M6 GT3, which enters its second season of racing. Following the thorough analysis of the car’s debut year, a number of ideas for improvements have been developed over the winter. These will now be tested on the racetrack. This is also a good opportunity for the team to gain valuable experience on the 1000-km race in the Blancpain GT Series, which will take place on 24th June on the ex-Formula 1 track at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, team principal at ROWE RACING: “We are already really looking forward to getting our cars back out on the track. The team has come up with a lot of small modifications over the winter, which we are now keen to implement on the racetrack. One of the big unknowns ahead of the 2017 season are the new Pirelli tyres, which promise to be more efficient and last longer. We are also looking forward to working with António Félix da Costa, who will be driving for ROWE RACING for the first time. On the whole, we want to use the two test days to prepare as well as possible for the new season in the Blancpain GT Series, which in my opinion is by far the best GT series in Europe – it is very well and professionally organised and features the top GT drivers in the world.”