Zanardi, Glock and Spengler start in “Michel Vaillant” colours
Two of the BMW Z4 GT3s that will compete at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BE) on 25th and 26th July will stand out from the crowd as a result of their extraordinary liveries. This is particularly true of the BMW “Dream Team” car, with Alessandro Zanardi (IT), Timo Glock (DE) and Bruno Spengler (CA).
It will feature a cartoon-style design, as an homage to the iconic Belgian comic series about racing driver “Michel Vaillant”. Furthermore, the design of one of the three BMW Z4 GT3s fielded by BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS at its home race will raise awareness of the “Belgian Foundation against Cancer”, a charity organisation for whom the Belgian team is racing.
“Our priority for any race is to catch the eye through our sporting success – and we are confident we are well positioned to do precisely that at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “However, if we also have the opportunity to please the fans with a special car design, we are only too happy to take it. The stories of comic hero ‘Michel Vaillant’ are known well beyond the Belgian border. I think this design is excellently suited to our extraordinary project with Alex Zanardi, Timo Glock and Bruno Spengler. I am also delighted that BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS is also doing its bit for a good cause with its special design.”
The bonnet of the BMW Z4 GT3 will be adorned with portraits of the three BMW drivers Zanardi, Glock and Spengler, while the caption “Vrooaaw” is written on the side of the car. Therefore, the car is reminiscent of “Michel Vaillant”, whose fictitious racing-driver adventures have enjoyed a large fan base around the world since 1957. The strip appeared in the “Tintin” comic and is in the tradition of the famous “Tim & Struppi” stories. Even today, new “Michel Vaillant” adventures are being published.
“I think there are very few racing drivers who did not read the ‘Michel Vaillant’ stories when they were young and then dream of their own great career as a racing driver,” said Glock. “You need heroes when you are young, and ‘Michel Vaillant’ was one such hero,” added Spengler. “I’m really proud of this livery.”
The special BMW Z4 GT3 belonging to BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS will race with boxing gloves on the chassis. Under the slogan “Marc VDS & Friends Racing Against Cancer”, a number of Belgian motor racing legends will take their turn at the wheel of the car.
In action will be Eric van de Poele (BE), who won the DTM title in a BMW M3 in 1987, Jean-Michel Martin (BE), multiple winner of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and father of BMW DTM driver Maxime Martin (BE), Marc Duez (BE), another BMW winner at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, and Pascal Witmeur (BE), a long-term friend of the Marc VDS Racing team.
The quartet will not contest the entire race, but will each drive for 24 minutes, in order to raise awareness of the fight against cancer, while at the same time generating as much money from donations as possible.
“We are not driving the entire race, as we want to keep the running costs of the car as low as possible,” said team principal Bas Leinders (BE). “That allows us to raise more money for the Belgian Foundation against Cancer. After all, that is what this project is all about.”
As well as the two striking design cars, BMW Motorsport also competes with a large contingent of a further nine BMW Z4 GT3s.