BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus must decide which of two championships he will pursue before the racing season begins. He will drive an M4 DTM for BMW Team RMG in DTM, the German Touring Car series, and will co-drive an M8 GTE for BMW Team MTEK in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The problem is that DTM and WEC have scheduled their respective season openers on the same weekend. The DTM series will begin at Hockenheim on the weekend of May 4-6, while the WEC will open its season on May 5 with the Six Hours of Spa in Belgium.
Farfus told Motorsport.com, the website that first reported the story, “It’s the first race for both championships. If it would be the third race of DTM or the third race of WEC, you could say ‘ok, let’s see how the season starts’.
“Right now I haven’t figured it out. Unfortunately there is only one of me! And one of the two championships would be sacrificed.”
Motorsport.com also indicates that it would be easier to replace Farfus in the M8 GTE, as the M4 DT4 is a much more specialized car in which a new driver would face a steep learning curve. Farfus has run with BMW in DTM since 2012.
Since the conflict between season openers emerged, the WEC has introduced yet another conflict that will face Farfus, his fellow BMW WEC driver Nicky Catsburg, and a host of drivers from other WEC teams as well. Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, who is racing for McLaren in F1, is also driving a Toyota prototype in WEC.
The WEC does not want Alonso to have to miss a race; to accommodate him it has moved its season finale, the 6 Hours of Fuji, from October 19-21 to October 12-14. The Fuji race was originally scheduled for October 12-14, but was moved because that date conflicted with the IMSA WeatherTech series season finale, the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. But the race was moved back to October 12-14, reintroducing the conflict between the WEC and IMSA finales, because Alonso has a Formula One commitment at the Circuit of the Americas in the US on October 21.
WEC management says it hopes that IMSA can change the date for Petit Le Mans, but IMSA says that many commitments are already in place and much planning for the event has already been done, so a change is not possible. Meanwhile, a host of drivers will face conflicts at the end of the season unless some accommodation can be reached.—Brian S. Morgan