BMW ended the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series with a one-two finish in the GTE Pro class at the six-hour season finale on the Zhuhai circuit in China. Jörg Müller and Augusto Farfus started from the pole and finished first, while their BMW Team Schnitzer M3 teammates Andy Priaulx and Uwe Alzen finished second.
The two BMWs led the GTE Pro class much of the way, but their stellar performance was not enough to secure the championship. Despite a bad day in China, Ferrari won the manufacturers’ title and the AF Corse team, whose 458 Italia ran barely enough laps to finish the race, won the team championship. The best finishing Ferrari in the race was the third place Luxury Motorsports 458 Italia of Frédéric Makowiecki and Stéphane Ortelli. (Text continues after photo)
The overall race win went to the LMP 1 Peugeot 908 prototype of Sébastien Bourdais and Anthony Davidson.
BMW Team Schnitzer Team Manager Charly Lamm said,“The one-two is a great way to end the season. After our win in 2010, we have once again proven that Zhuhai is a happy stomping ground for the BMW M3 GT. The entire weekend ran smoothly for us. The cars were prepared perfectly and the tires worked well in the warm conditions. The four drivers also did an outstanding job all weekend. Everything fell into place. That is what allowed us to secure the one-two in style, even though the race was not entirely without its difficulties for us. It was another great success for BMW and the team.”
Next year the ILMC will be replaced by the FIA World Endurance Championship. The eight race schedule for the series was announced at Zhuhai. It begins with the 12 Hours of Sebring, and ends in China at a circuit to be specified in November. The WEC schedule follows:
March 17 – Twelve Hours of Sebring
May 5 -Spa Six Hours
June 3 - Le Mans Test Day
June 16-17 - Le Mans 24 Hours
August 25- Silverstone Six Hours
September 16 – Six Hours of Sao Paolo
September 30 – Six Hours of Fuji
October 20- Six Hours of Bahrain
November 11 or 18 – Six Hours of China, circuit TBD
The ALMS Petit Le Mans race, on the ILMC schedule in 2011, is not on the 2012 WEC schedule; the WEC race scheduled in Bahrain on October 20 will run on the same date as Petit Le Mans 2012. As such, teams contesting the WEC, like Peugeot and Audi, will most likely not run Petit Le Mans. BMW has contested the ILMC with BMW Team RLL in North America and with BMW Team Schnitzer elsewhere, and, as such, could run both October races next year.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.org
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