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BMW Motorsport News - Issue 20/2018.

Marquardt: “We can return to Munich with our heads held high.” – Blomqvist competing for BMW Team RLL.

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Whether in the DTM, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, or countless other championships: Week after week BMW teams and drivers around the world do battle for points, victories and titles. Away from the track too, members of the large BMW Motorsport family around the world are also creating headlines. The “BMW Motorsport News” allows us to regularly summarise all the action for you in a compact and informative manner. This way, you are always up to speed .

 

Three questions for... BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.

Good pace but no luck in the race: BMW Team MTEK had to settle for 12th place in the GTE Pro class with the #81 BMW M8 GTE at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA). The second car was forced to retire following an accident. Prior to that, however, the two BMW M8 GTEs had impressed with good performance and were in contention for a top-three finish for long periods of the race. In an interview, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt looks back at the race.

 

Mr. Marquardt, how would you sum up the 24 Hours of Le Mans?

Jens Marquardt: “Although it is unfortunately not reflected in our result, the summary of the BMW M8 GTE’s race debut at Le Mans is actually a positive one. Prior to the race, we did not really know where we were in terms of performance. We have now seen that we have the pace required to compete at the front of the field. That is exactly what we were aiming for. We wanted to demonstrate the great potential of our car, and we achieved that. The fact that the technical issues and a crash denied us a good result is obviously disappointing for the team and the drivers. However, we can definitely return to Munich with our heads held high. One highlight was definitely the launch of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe at Le Mans. That was strong evidence of how important motorsport is to BMW.”

 

Did the balance of power in the GTE Pro class at Le Mans surprise you?

Marquardt: “No. We always knew that the fans would be treated to an exciting race with plenty of action in the GTE Pro class. That was certainly the case. Congratulations to Porsche on the win. However, we would also like to compliment the ACO and the FIA. The GTE Pro class was, without doubt, the class with the greatest strength in depth this weekend and was, from a sporting perspective, an absolute treat – for fans and manufacturers alike. It was obviously very nice to be so heavily involved in the battle at the front of the field with the BMW M8 GTE.”

 

What are your goals for the rest of the WEC season?

Marquardt: “We obviously want to back up the promising performance at Le Mans. Our next opportunity to do that comes at Silverstone. We have learned a lot here and are sure to take a few more steps in the right direction. The BMW M8 GTE will get even stronger. I am confident that, over the course of the season, we will be rewarded for the hard work, in the form of good results.”

 

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IMSA: Tom Blomqvist supporting BMW Team RLL at Watkins Glen.

The seventh race of the current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season takes place on 1st July 2018. Three drivers will be swapping positions behind the wheel of both BMW M8 GTEs from the BMW Team RLL at the six-hour race at Watkins Glen. The two regular drivers John Edwards (USA) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) will be joined by Tom Blomqvist (GBR) in the #24 car. The BMW works driver has already competed in the BMW M8 GTE at the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season-opener at Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) and is looking forward to his first appearance in the IMSA series. “I am really excited about my first race in the USA,” said Blomqvist. “I did well in the BMW M8 GTE at Spa-Francorchamps. That makes me optimistic that I can get up to speed quickly at Watkins Glen too. The circuit is amazing.” Alexander Sims (GBR), Connor de Phillippi (USA) and BMW of North America brand ambassador Bill Auberlen (USA) will be in the cockpit of the #25 car.

 

24h Le Mans: BMW Motorsport Junior Mikkel Jensen takes victory in “Road to Le Mans”.

The six drivers for the two BMW M8 GTEs were joined by another BMW driver this weekend at Le Mans: BMW Motorsport Junior Mikkel Jensen (DEN) took part in the 2018 edition of the “Road to Le Mans” – a spectacular event for GT and LMP3 cars ahead of the actual 24-hour race. This was Jensen’s first appearance at Le Mans. He shared driving duties in the LMP3 car from EuroInternational with young Dutch driver Kay van Berlo. “It was primarily about me getting some experience here,” said Jensen. “You don’t often get the chance to drive at Le Mans. The race was fun and I was able to get some valuable Le Mans kilometres under my belt and to come away with a win was simply awesome.” This year, the Road to Le Mans consisted of two 55-minute races for the first time. Jensen and van Berlo started from pole position on Thursday and led from start to finish. On Saturday, the duo finished sixth in an eventful race, in which Jensen was sent into a spin at the start. The EuroInternational team has already enjoyed close links with the BMW talent promotion and has won numerous titles around the world in Formula BMW. Many of today's motorsport stars - including BMW works driver Tom Blomqvist (GBR), Indy500 winner Alexander Rossi (USA) and Felipe Nasr (BRA) – competed for EuroInternational early in their careers. The team is currently topping the LMP3 drivers’ and team standings in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). 

 

Italian GT Championship: Podium for BMW Padova Team at Misano.

BMW Padova Team was in action at the Misano World Circuit this weekend, contesting rounds five and six of the Italian GT Championship. At the wheel of the #15 BMW M6 GT3, regular driver Stefano Comandini (ITA) teamed up with BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler (CAN). The pairing worked well from the word go, finishing third in Saturday’s race after 35 laps. In race two on Sunday Comandini and Spengler claimed a sixth-place finish. Spengler will return to DTM action next weekend at the Norisring (GER).

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