'Ring News – BMW & Zakspeed Drivers
BMW has officially announced its drivers for the 2004 Nürburgring
24 Hours, and there are two new additions to the team.
the 2003 edition of the German marathon, "debutante" Boris
Said was enthusiastic about the event ("I'd chose this race
over Le Mans any day"), and adamant in his wish to return;
now the American will be back for another stab at the Nordschleife.
The Flying Müllers, BMW ETCC works drivers Jörg &
Dirk, will be back behind the wheel of the M3 GTR as well, and the
ever-popular "Rainmeister" Hans-Joachim Stuck will also
add one more 24 hour participation to his present career total of
51. "They were our first choices", says BMW motorsport
manager Mario Theissen.
Missing from this year's
lineup are Belgian allrounder Marc Duez, Denmark's John Nielsen,
and Claudia Hürtgen, although there is still a chance one of
them may return as a "relief driver" entered on both cars
- Duez had that role last year. They will be replaced with Duncan
Huisman, also a European Touring Car contender, who with his strong
performances in the ETCC convinced Dr. Theissen to add him to the
24 Hours squad, and Portugal's Pedro Lamy who has already won the
'Ring 24 Hours with the Zakspeed Viper.
Lamy's old employers
will also be back on the Nordschleife: not only has the Zakspeed
team quietly submitted a 'to be confirmed' pair of entries for the
FIA GT Championship, for Ferrari 360s, but it will also bring out
its trusty Chrysler (Dodge?) Viper for a full season of German Championship
action, as well as the 24 Hours. The Championship regulations were
modified late last year, and an engine size limit of 6.2l imposed,
which outlaws the Viper in its present form.
industrious Peter Zakowski has therefore commissioned a special
6.2l V8 engine for the venerable reptile, to be used in the Championship
races. At about 480bhp, the V8 will not give up too much power to
the 8l engine, which is restricted down to 500bhp anyway. The old
familiar V10 will be back where it belongs for the 24 Hours. The
image shows something being changed at the other end of the car
last year: remember this?
The list of
Viper drivers lined up for the 2004 season is somewhat more low-key
than in previous years, with "gentlemen" Hans-Peter Huppert-Nieder
and Werner Mohr to be joined by Zakspeed Racing School chief instructor
Markus Grossmann, and his colleague Andreas Gülden.