António Félix da Costa and Tom Blomqvist in the #82 BMW Team MTEK M8 GTE finished fifth in the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener, a six-hour enduro on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. It was the first WEC race for the M8 GTE and for Félix da Costa and Blomqvist, who are also driving for MS&AD Andretti in Formula E.
The second Team MTEK M8 GTE, the #81 car driven by Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsburg, finished eighth after losing time in an early pit stop because the safety car was deployed just when they came in to the pits.
The GTE Pro class win at Spa went to Olivier Pla, Stefan Muecke, and Billy Johnson in the #66 Ford GT. The #92 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre finished second, and the #71 Ferrari 488 driven by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird finished third. The overall race win went to Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi, and Kaz Nakajima in a Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
The M8 GTE and the Aston Martin Vantage GTE, the two new cars in the class this year, did not have the pace of the Fords, Porsches, and Ferraris. Sportscar365.com reports that the two marques are hoping for Balance Of Performance adjustments before the series’ second race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, even though the rules specify that no BOP changes are allowed until the series’ fourth round in Fuji.—Brian Morgan