BMW Ends WEC Venture At Le Mans

BMW Team MTEK’s M8 GTEs fought hard in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but they did not have the pace of the quickest cars in the GTE Pro class. The #82 BMW M8 GTE driven by Jesse Krohn, António Félix da Costa, and Augusto Farfus finished eleventh, and #81, driven by Martin Tomczyk, Nick Catsburg, and Philipp Eng, finished fourteenth. Both cars spent time in the pits for repairs. The GTE Pro class win went to James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Daniel Serra in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari.

The event, which ended the World Endurance Championship super-season, marked the end of Team MTEK’s run in the series; BMW has announced that it will not contest the WEC next season.

The event was a milestone for BMW at Le Mans: twenty years ago, in 1999, Joachim Winkelhock, Yannick Dalmas, and Pierluigi Martini won overall in a BMW V12 LMR campaigned by BMW Team Schnitzer. BMW brought the car to Le Mans this year, along with a 328 Touring Coupe that had won its class at Le Mans 80 years ago.

BMW brought the 1999-winning V12 LMR and a 1939 class-winning 328 Touring Coupe to Le Mans.

Reflecting on the event and the season, BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “The final event of the ‘Super Season’ was certainly a handful. Before the race, we already knew that the circumstances at Le Mans would not necessarily make things easy for us. And that turned out to be the case. It became clear relatively soon that we would not be able to keep pace with the leaders. Our drivers had to go right to the limit from the first lap, which put the components under great stress from the word go. This led to technical difficulties in the second-third of the race that cost us more time and meant that a top result was out of sight early on.

However, the entire team gave their all right to the final lap, and although we would obviously have liked to have left Le Mans with a better result, credit and respect are due to all concerned in these difficult circumstances. And now we say ‘Au revoir, Le Mans’ – and bid farewell to the FIA World Endurance Championship. Many thanks to BMW Team MTEK, the ACO and WEC. Above all, we would like to thank the many BMW fans who have provided such great support for our WEC project over the years.”—Brian Morgan

[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]

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