BMW’s new M8 GTE set for international race debut in Spa

May 1, 2018

BMW’s new M8 GTE set for international race debut in Spa

May 1, 2018

After racing in the first three weekends of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, BMW will now premiere its new M8 GTE on the world stage at this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship curtain-raiser at Spa-Francorchamps.

BMW has a massive motorsports weekend on tap, competing in three countries and three different series.

Its IMSA program has a home race. The BMW Team RLL program is based in Hilliard, Ohio, not far from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The quartet of John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, Connor De Phillippi and Alexander Sims race there and of the four, only Edwards has past track experience. Edwards’ parents live in Cincinnati, making Mid-Ohio almost a home race.

Meanwhile BMW Team MTEK will make its FIA WEC debut with the new M8 GTE in Spa. Martin Tomczyk and Nicky Catsburg share the No. 81 car. MS&AD Andretti Formula E teammates Antonio Felix da Costa and Tom Blomqvist are in the No. 82 car.

Catsburg has had the opportunity to race the BMW M8 GTE in IMSA, competing at Daytona and Sebring. That means he has an understanding of what the car is like in race conditions.

“When BMW said they were building a GTE car and joining the World Endurance Championship, I was extremely excited,” said the Dutch driver. “Our first race at Spa-Francorchamps is now just around the corner. It is a very demanding track for both the car and the driver, but we are well prepared.”

The other three BMW drivers have all had time to test the car, but not race it yet.

Blomqvist stands in for Augusto Farfus at Spa, and may do so at other races this season.

The reasoning? Farfus is on duty for BMW driving its M4 DTM car in the DTM season opener at Hockenheim. The DTM lineup also includes Bruno Spengler, Timo Glock, Phillip Eng, Marco Wittmann and Joel Eriksson.

Farfus and Eng also raced the BMW M8 GTE at Daytona this year.

There is a lot for BMW’s fans to be excited about this weekend.

“We are looking forward to an exciting and hopefully successful mega race weekend,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “We get down to business in the FIA WEC for the first time. This is the pinnacle of endurance racing. We are looking forward to being a part of it with our new BMW M8 GTE.

“At the same time, our teams and drivers in the DTM will be battling for the first points of the year. Since we returned to the series in 2012, we have won eight titles – and our clear goal is to add to this collection with the BMW M4 DTM this year.

“In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, BMW Team RLL is hungry for a good result with the BMW M8 GTE at its home event in Mid-Ohio. The weekend is an absolute treat for BMW fans.”

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