“Charly was like a father”
The sudden death of Schnitzer Motorsport legend Charly Lamm, who retired from motorsport at the end of 2018, has left a huge void in the motorsport community.
Schnitzer became synonymous with BMW, the Munich marque with whom it contested touring car, GT and sports car races over the past five decades. A young Charly joined the organisation founded by his half-brothers in the 1970s, and oversaw the German specialist’s successes. The partnership quickly became successful, writing several unique chapters in DTM history.
In 1989, Schnitzer’s first season in DTM, it was Roberto Ravaglia who won the drivers’ crown in the team’s BMW M3. The Italian took ‘only’ three race victories that year en route to the championship – compared to Klaus Ludwig’s (Mercedes) five wins and Klaus Niedzwiedz’s (Ford) four –, but it was Ravaglia’s consistency – a big part of Lamm’s overall approach to touring car racing – that saw him through.
Nearly a quarter of a century later, upon BMW’s return to the series, Schnitzer again triumphed, taking Bruno Spengler to the title following a tense, season-long battle with the Mercedes of Gary Paffett.
In Lamm’s final race for Schnitzer, last November’s Guia GT race at Macau, Augusto Farfus claimed an emotional victory. It was an appropriate finale: Charly was not only a relentlessly competitive individual – fired with that innate perfectionism possessed of all successful racers – but a wonderfully warm and wise man who had earned the respect and admiration of the entire motorsport world.
Following his death, the community was united in its grief, with tributes pouring forth from many colleagues and rivals.
Dieter Gass (Audi head of motorsport)
“The news of Charly Lamm’s sudden and – for me – totally unexpected death has shocked us at Audi as well. The motorsport family has lost a charismatic personality and wonderful individual. The way in which Charly Lamm lived for motorsport was second to none. He was a true sportsman, more than fair competitor and always saw the big picture. Conversations with him were always very inspiring for me. For me, he was a role model. Our sympathy goes to his family and the entire Schnitzer team that Charly Lamm lived for.”
Philipp Eng (BMW DTM driver)
Lost for words, a good friend, an amazing team boss, an unbelievable enthusiastic racer and just an amazing personality passed away. Writing this hurts. RIP CHARLY LAMM I will never forget you. Thanks for all the moments on and off track I was allowed to experience with you. pic.twitter.com/mg8b1Iv6r3— Philipp Eng (@Philipp_Eng) 25. Januar 2019
Augusto Farfus (Schnitzer BMW driver, and 2019 Daytona 24 Hours class winner)
"I'm sure, somewhere, he guided me through."— Motorsports On NBC (@MotorsportsNBC) 27. Januar 2019
Charly Lamm was a close friend and long-time @BMWMotorsport who died unexpectedly this week. For BMW to win in the GTLM class was something special. #Rolex24 #IMSA50 pic.twitter.com/8mCYK9VlTX
The #Rolex24 won’t be restarted. So GTLM victory goes to BMW Team RLL and the no. 25 BMW M8 GTE. Unbelievable! Congratulations to @CDePhillippi, @augustofarfus, @Philipp_Eng and @ColtonHerta.— BMW Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) 27. Januar 2019
We dedicate this win to Charly Lamm!#ThankYouCharly@IMSA #Rolex24 #RaceTheLimit pic.twitter.com/AAg6h9THWv
We will wear a black ribbon on the nose of both BMW i Andretti Motorsport cars today in honor of Charly Lamm, legendary member of @BMWMotorsport, who passed away on Thursday. #FormulaE #RacingBeyond pic.twitter.com/bQFv9ByQWo— Andretti Autosport (@FollowAndretti) 26. Januar 2019
Audi Formula E
Jean Todt (FIA president)
I’m saddened to hear that Charly Lamm has passed away. He was a hugely respected and talented team manager who accomplished so many great things in motor sport. I send my condolences and those of the @FIA to his loved ones and the whole @BMW family. pic.twitter.com/uKvr0jGOqY— Jean Todt (@JeanTodt) 26. Januar 2019
Fritz Enzinger (Porsche head of motorsport)
Fritz Enzinger (Head of Motorsport): “The news of Charly Lamm’s sudden death has hit us all hard. With his passion, he inspired many for our sport. Charly was a great person, a thoroughly fair sportsman, a racer with heart and soul. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.” pic.twitter.com/CCLrozbtwk— Porsche Motorsport (@PorscheRaces) 25. Januar 2019
Gerhard Berger (chairman of DTM umbrella organisation, ITR)
“Charly was not only one of the best team managers with whom I ever had the pleasure to work – both as a racing driver and as BMW Motorsport Director – but he was also a great personality, and also a great friend. On behalf of the entire DTM community, I would like to express my condolences to his wife and his sons.”