The BMW M Team WRT had a motorsport weekend straight out of a picture book in South Africa. At the Kyalami 9 Hour, the two BMW M4 GT3s started from second and third positions with their KW Solid Piston dampers. After nine hours, the BMW M Team WRT celebrated a double victory.
The 4.55-kilometer circuit with its 16 corners is located in South Africa between the capital Pretoria and Johannesburg and has become known primarily as a motorcycle racing track. Formula 1 also used to visit South Africa.
Since 1992, British racing legend Nigel Mansell has held the track record of 1:17.578 minutes in the Canon Williams FW14B with Renault 3.5-liter V10. In contrast, the track record for GT3 racing cars has been held since 2020 by Australian Matt Campbell in the Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) with 1:42.021 minutes.
Initially, the leading Mercedes-AMG (#999) with Marco Engel at the wheel was able to pull away from the front, and the BMW M4 GT3 (#33) with Augusto Farfus at the wheel passed his teammate Sheldon van der Linde in the BMW M4 GT3 (#32) in the first few minutes.
During the first laps, there were repeated attacks by the WRT-M4 (#32) on the sister car (#33). After almost eight minutes, Sheldon van der Linde overtook his teammate Augusto Farfus and drove closer and closer in the slipstream of Marco Engel in the GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#999).
The duel between the Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#999) and the BMW M4 GT3 (#32) lasted for almost three laps until the local hero Sheldon van der Linde overtook Marco Engel on the inside in the Jukskei Sweep chicane after about 15 minutes.
Augusto Farfus overtaking the Mercedes-AMG (#999) in his M4 GT3 (#33) before the first scheduled pit stops. The two BMW M4 GT3s then pulled away from the 13-car field.
It was a fantastic weekend for the BMW M Team WRT. They improved their racing pace from the first day and did a perfect job. After 306 laps, Sheldon van der Linde, who shared the cockpit of the M4 GT3 #32 with Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts, crossed the finish line with a lead of 1.778 seconds.
“I have had fantastic races every time I have raced in my home country. I have been here three times now, been on the podium every time, and have won twice. The first win was special, but this one was even more emotional because I had many friends and family at the track. I had goosebumps on the podium. Thank you to BMW M Motorsport and a big compliment to WRT for their performance in only the third race with BMW,” said Sheldon van der Linde.
Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus, and Maxime Martin finished second in the second BMW M Team WRT M4 GT3 (#33). They came in ahead of the Tresor Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS EVO II GT3 with a lead of 1.274 seconds.
“We are pleased to continue and expand our long-standing partnership with BMW M Motorsport,” said Jürgen Wohlfarth, CEO of KW Automotive GmbH.
“As an official supplier of BMW M Motorsport, we worked on the suspension development of the BMW M4 GT3 from the beginning. So, we are really proud that the hard work of the BMW racing engineers and our development department is rewarded with victories and titles for the BMW M4 GT3.”
The KW V6 Racing Solid-Piston Damper offers an optimal setup for every track and every race, thanks to its offsettable valve design. The five-fold adjustable damper allows for a compromise between high aerodynamic loads, chassis control, and grip, even during high-frequency wheel vertical accelerations.
In other words, the drivers reported back that the BMW M4 GT3 instills great confidence and they are able to maintain high speeds throughout their stints.
As the third KW Motorsport customer team, they competed in their old Porsche 911 GT3 R (#4). They celebrated second place in their “PRO-AM” class with the driver trio of Earl Bamber, Brenton, and Stephen Grove, and finished sixth overall.
The Australian racing team set the second-fastest lap time in lap 197 with their Porsche 911 GT3 R (991.2) and KW V6 Racing damper. They clocked a time of 1:42.633 minutes. The winner, BMW M4 GT3 (#32) from the BMW M Team WRT, set the fastest lap time in lap 188: 1:42.574 minutes.
Photos: BMW M Motorsport, Grove Racing