M8 GTE Shows Promise But Finishes Twelfth At Le Mans

Both BMW Team MTEK M8 GTEs ran in the top three in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but in the end one of the cars finished twelfth in class and the other exited the race after an accident.

The cars had qualified twelfth and thirteenth in class, but they were on pace with the leaders in the early hours of the race, running with the Ford GTs and the Porsches that dominated the GTE class.
After running near the front of the pack both cars spent time in the pits because of shock absorber failures. Philipp Eng, in the #81 car that he shared with Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsburg, was challenging Porsche racer Frederic Makowiecki for second in the tenth hour of the race when the car fell back with its damper problems. Later it had to come in for a radiator replacement after encountering debris on the track. It soldiered on to finish twelfth. Car #82, shared by Augusto Farfus, Alexander Sims, and António Félix da Costa, also had a strong run, but it had to drop out after it went off course in the Porsche curves in the sixteenth hour.

The GTE class win went to Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR. The #91 Porsche driven by Makowiecki, Richard Lietz, and Gianmaria Bruni, finished second, and the #68 Ford GT shared by Dirk Müller, Sebastien Bourdais, and Joey Hand finished third.The overall race win went to the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid driven by Kaz Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi, and Fernando Alonso. It was Alonso’s debut at Le Mans.

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “Our return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster. First, it was great to see that were able to battle it out at the very front of the fiercely fought GTE Pro class in terms of pace. Our drivers were involved in plenty of gripping duels with the competition and were even running in second place for some of the race. The BMW M8 GTE left a really strong impression. A podium seemed to be in reach but, unfortunately, technical issues and an accident cost us the chance to be rewarded for all the hard work in the build-up to this event. However, the positives outweigh the negatives: The fans were treated with action galore in the GTE Pro class. We were able to prove the full potential of our new car. In addition, we experienced the world premiere of the all-new BMW 8 Series Coupe on this unique stage. That’s another reason why this event will remain a good memory and give extra motivation to come back here even stronger for the Super Season finale in 2019. A big thank you and a lot of respect to everyone involved in this exciting BMW project with a lot of passion.”

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