BMW Junior Team ace Daniel Harper unfortunately saw his planned debut race in his new BMW M6 GT3 car cancelled on Saturday (27th March) due to heavy snowfall on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The Northern Irishman was preparing to launch his second season as a manufacturer-backed driver in BMW’s coveted development programme, aiming to build on some great progress made in 2020 alongside his team-mates Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen.
For the new season they are stepping up to the highest class in modern GT racing for the first time as they continue in the Nürburgring Endurance Series, with an ultra-competitive 28 car GT3 entry set to line-up for the opening round as part of a mammoth 146 car field.
After the official pre-season test was cancelled a week prior due to snow, Friday’s open practice sessions was Harper’s first opportunity to tackle the world-famous 15 mile Nordschleife in the BMW Junior Team’s eye-catching ‘blue rocket’ M6 GT3.
The 20 year old got up to speed quickly with ten laps across the day, benefitting from the support of the experienced BMW Team RMG and works driver Augusto Farfus, who was sharing the car with the BMW Junior Team trio for the opening event.
Sadly the infamous Eifel weather struck the next morning though, with snowfall rolling in as the cars headed round for their first lap in qualifying. Following a lengthy delay as conditions worsened, the decision was made to cancel the event.
Daniel Harper: “It would have been nice to get the season underway and the first race in the BMW M6 GT3 under our belts, but it’s the Nürburgring and you can never predict the weather. It’s a shame to miss out on racing this time, but we still got some good testing under our belts. Friday was only our second proper test day in the car, and our first on the Nordschleife, so it was a steep learning curve. Dry weather gave us perfect conditions to learn the track again in the car, with aspects like the cornering speeds and braking points being completely different to last year. The front-running GT3 drivers have so much experience around the track, so we know it’s going to take a while to build up to their pace, but we all showed good speed on Friday so we’re confident we’re starting from a strong position to build on in the next couple of rounds. Having Augusto [Farfus] with us is a huge help, as he’s very experienced with the car and the track, so the perfect person to learn from. Team RMG were fantastic too, so a huge thank you to them and to BMW Motorsport for the opportunity. I can’t wait for the next race.”
The second round of the Nürburgring Endurance Series is scheduled to take place on Saturday 17th April. It is not yet known whether the opening race will be rescheduled later in the year.