Philipp Eng and Dries Vanthoor will lead BMW’s charge to win a second Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by AWS drivers’ title when the globe-trotting GT3 series concludes at the Gulf 12 Hours on December 8-10.
BMW starts nine points clear of Mercedes-AMG in the manufacturers’ standings but trails its leading individual contender, Jules Gounon, in the drivers’ championship.
Eng, who starts eight points behind Gounon, shares one of Team WRT’s two M4 GT3s with fellow factory stars Sheldon van der Linde and Charles Weerts, while Vanthoor – another six points back – is partnered by Nick Yelloly and Valentino Rossi.
The latter makes his third IGTC outing of the season after also representing WRT at Bathurst and Spa where Yelloly shared victory with Eng.
The Austrian then made it back-to-back wins at Indianapolis last time out to emerge as the leading contender to emulate BMW’s only IGTC champions to date, Augusto Farfus and Nick Catsburg, who shared the title in 2020.
“I’m very excited to enter the title fight in Abu Dhabi,” said Eng. “The circuit is a lot of fun. It has changed a bit since I was last there in 2013, but I believe it should play to the strengths of our BMW M4 GT3. I have great teammates and a fantastic team. Of course, the competition is strong, but our chances are good.”
However, the pairings prevent Van der Linde from also challenging for the championship. He currently lies joint third with Vanthoor, with whom he won at Kyalami and Indy, but cannot possibly match Eng’s total now that he is part of the same crew.
BMW M Motorsport boss Andreas Roos added: “It’s fantastic to be able to compete for titles at the end of such a long and eventful season. The Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli 2023 has been an incredible journey across five continents, delivering significant victories at Kyalami, Indianapolis, and especially the season highlight at Spa-Francorchamps. We can already say that our commitment to this race series has been more than worthwhile.
“Thanks to our winning teams WRT and ROWE Racing for their efforts, to our drivers for their top performances, and to all our colleagues at BMW M Motorsport. Now we want to crown the year in Abu Dhabi with titles in the manufacturer and driver standings!”