Mixed emotions at Le Mans. There were mixed emotions for BMW M Motorsport after its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in June. The pair of BMW M8 GTEs were able to match the pace of the GTE Pro leaders during the 86th running of this endurance classic, with both cars sitting in the top-three for long stretches of the race.
However, car number 82 – driven by Augusto Farfus (BRA), Alexander Sims (GBR) and António Félix da Costa (POR) – had to retire from ninth position following an accident in the early hours on Sunday morning. But the number 81 car made it to the end, completing 332 laps and finishing 12th thanks to drivers Martin Tomczyk (GER), Nick Catsburg (NED) and Philipp Eng (AUT).
Following strong starts, both driver-trios lost ground on the 13.626-kilometre track due to damper failures, which caused additional pit stops for repairs. Car 81 also suffered a radiator problem, with damage caused by debris on the track necessitating a replacement.
The Le Mans 24 Hours was the second round of the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), and the series will continue on August 19th, with the 6 Hours of Silverstone.
Commenting on the whole Le Mans experience, 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 we 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 within 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, and the event will remain a good memory and provide extra motivation to come back here even stronger for the Super Season finale in 2019.”