Classic 24 Hour at Daytona
Upon initiative of Dieter Quester, the European Touring Car Champion with the BMW ALPINA CSL Coupé 1977, ALPINA went to America to race for the first time at the famous Daytona Speedway (combination of two banked turns and an infield race track) in the 24h Daytona Classic event.
Already during practice, Andy Bovensiepen managed to qualify the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 second in the GT3 class. Overall he qualified ninth, behind the LMP1 sport prototype cars of Audi, Pescarolo, Oreca and Saleen.
For hours, the race in the GT class was characterised by Mike Skeen / David Roberts in the Audi R8 duelling the Red Bull BMW ALPINA B6. Initially, the Audi held the lead, but the BMW ALPINA got faster and faster, catching up to the same lap after 3 quarters into the race. Afterwards, events overturned rapidly: In the last half hour of the race, the Audi had an unplanned stop to fix a loose front splitter, resulting in Quester / Bovensiepen taking the lead in the GT-class.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to last long: when Quester tried to lap two Porsches, the two Porsches collided and entered a spin. Quester, in a split-second reaction, tried to avoid a collision, yet one of the two hit the front right wheel of his BMW ALPINA, ripping off the track arm mount. The following 10-minute repair set the Red Bull B6 GT3 back to the third position.
At first, both drivers and the team, who had worked flawlessly for 24 hours, were clearly disappointed to have lost the overall victory in the GT class - which was definitely within reach - so close to the finish.
Andreas Bovensiepen comments: “Given this was our first appearance in America, we can be proud – the GT3 was one of the fastest GT cars. On the straight, we achieved a top speed of 302 km/h in the sport prototypes’ slipstream, a speed never before achieved by the B6 GT3 on any race track so far. Maybe in the next Daytona Classic 24h race, we’ll have the chance to garner the overall GT victory with the Red Bull ALPINA.”
We want to thank our partners Drexler, KW, Michelin, Red Bull und Performance Friction for their support.
Photos: Robin Thompson (www.art-racing.com)