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Karl “Charly” Lamm: 1956-2019

Legendary BMW Team Schnitzer Team Principal passes after short illness

The very sad news of the passing of Karl ‘Charly’ Lamm has swept through the motorsport family gathered at the Rolex 24 Hours.

Charly, who died yesterday after a short illness at the age of 63, stepped down after 40 years at the helm of BMW Team Schnitzer at the end of the 2018 season, finishing his career with victory at the FIA GT World Cup at Macau for Augusto Farfus.

Half-brother of the co-founders of the team: Herbert and the late Josef Schnitzer, Lamm oversaw an astonishing period of success with for the team BMW in both endurance and touring car racing. The team’s accolades included an overall Le Mans win (in 1999) as well as multiple wins in both the Nürburgring and Spa 24 Hour classics through the 1980s, 90s and into the noughties.

There were European and World Touring Car titles too, together with National Championship success in the UK, Italy, Japan and in Germany (with DTM, DRM and STW titles) as well as Asia Pacific continental success, and a GT racing Championship in the ALMS. 

Charly Lamm was, and will remain, an icon in endurance and touring car racing.

Amongst the first to pay tribute was Alex Zanardi: “Sadly, Charly Lamm, who has always been a great member of the BMW family, a person who gifted BMW with his talent and dedication and contributed to build so many successes to BMW Motorsports, has passed.

“On behalf of the BMW family, we offer his family our best condolences. It’s a sad moment for BMW, because whoever knew Charly it would be very easy to understand how important he was as a friend to all of us. It’s a terrible loss for his family.”

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said: “Totally unexpectedly we received the news from the Lamm family that Charly Lamm died on Thursday. Our sincere condolences go to the Lamm family and the Schnitzer family.

“It is incredibly difficult to accept that Charly is no longer with us. He had a significant impact on racing at BMW for decades, celebrated major successes with his team, and wowed fans around the world with his unique passion for racing.

“Losing him so suddenly is a shock and a tragedy, particularly because Charly was just about to start a brand new chapter of his life.

“We mourn the loss of a character who was both valued and loved internationally, who will always be closely linked with BMW Motorsport. Thank you for everything Charly. We will miss you forever.”

DSC sends our sincere condolences to Charly’s family and countless friends across the racing world and beyond.