“BMW M Motorsport Super Weekend” – Part One: BMW Team MTEK claims podium finish at Sebring.

Sebring. The first part of the “BMW M Motorsport Super
Weekend” – featuring FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and IMSA
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races – is completed. In the
sixth round of the WEC Super Season, BMW Team MTEK finished second
and seventh in the LM GTE Pro class respectively with its two BMW M8
GTEs. It was the first podium finish for the team since WEC’s Fuji
(JPN) round.


After 226 laps and a dramatic finish with heavy rain, the #81 car
crossed the line in second place. Martin Tomczyk (GER), Nick Catsburg
(NED) and Alexander Sims (GBR), who celebrated his 31st
birthday on Friday, had shared driving duties over the course of the
race. Their team-mates Augusto Farfus (BRA), António Félix da Costa
(POR) and Bruno Spengler (CAN) came seventh in the #82 sister car.
Victory at Sebring was secured by the #91 Porsche.


In an eventful first phase of the race, both BMW M8 GTE cars were
able to improve their positions quickly. Farfus was leading the field
at the end of his stint, after starting fourth on the grid. Car #81
took the lead for the first time with a good two hours to go. Only
during a late pit stop in the rain did final-stint driver Catsburg
drop to second place. Over the course of the race, the GTE class cars
had been running closely together, with frequent position changes due
to spectacular moves or differing pit stop strategies.


On Saturday, the “BMW M Motorsport Super Weekend” will continue when
round two of the IMSA series will be on the agenda for BMW Team RLL.
Following the team’s win at Daytona (USA), the two BMW M8 GTE cars
will start from sixth and seventh on the grid at Sebring.


Reactions on the WEC race at Sebring.


Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):

“What a thriller. This was an amazingly gripping race, with a
dramatic finish in the rain over the final 20 minutes. In this finale
we narrowly missed out on the victory, but managed to take a
satisfying second place after a good fight. Obviously you want to make
it onto the top-step of the podium after such a dramatic final phase,
and of course it was a pity that the race finished behind the safety
car. However, positive emotions dominate today due to the strong
performance we delivered. Congratulations to Martin Tomczyk, Nick
Catsburg and Alexander Sims – and to the whole team. Our second car
was running strongly as well, even though it couldn’t fight for a
podium. The Sebring fans were treated to some great fights; the GTE
Pro class for sure delivered the best action in the field. The
atmosphere here is great; it’s a unique event. Now we want to build on
that and score another top result with BMW Team RLL on Saturday in the
IMSA series.”


Ernest Knoors (Team Principal, BMW Team MTEK):

“It’s been a pleasure coming to Sebring. It’s an iconic track and you
only know how special it is when you have experienced it. It’s been
tough for our crew but they have been extremely good. The test was
very hot for the boys and girls but they learned a lot and put it all
to use this week. We had strong pace but we were struggling with tyre
degradation. To be in a position where you can fight in the last hour
was exactly what we needed to do and we did that today. It just didn’t
go our way in the end. Compliments to Porsche for the win – it was a
great battle.”


Martin Tomczyk (#81 BMW M8 GTE, second place):

“Obviously, it was a super-clean race from all three of us drivers so
we were really happy with own performance. The car was in good shape,
especially when it got dark. The rain helped us but not enough. It was
close to us getting the first WEC victory but being on the podium is
great for the team and for myself.”


Nick Catsburg (#81 BMW M8 GTE, second place):

“It feels great to finally be on the WEC podium. It was a crazy race
– I just wish we could have held on to first place. The team did a
flawless job. Let’s celebrate now.”


Alexander Sims (#81 BMW M8 GTE, second place):

“It was a pretty fun race! The car had good pace throughout the race
and the team did a great job – they executed everything properly. The
rain was exciting and Nicky did a great job to bring it home in P2.”


António Félix da Costa (#82 BMW M8 GTE, seventh place):

“It’s my first time at Sebring. It’s an amazing event but it’s a
super hard track to learn in just a few days. As a team, we performed
a lot better than ever before. We had a real shot at winning today but
we double stinted the tyres and lost some time. I’m really happy for
the #81 car to get their first podium and our second podium as a team.”


Augusto Farfus (#82 BMW M8 GTE, seventh place):

“It was a tough one, to be honest. I was pleased with my opening
stint when the balance of the car felt great. However, we lost pace
halfway through the race. We tried to make our way back up but it was
just not possible. We got a lot of mileage and knowledge to take with
us to Spa and Le Mans. It was a top job by the other crew and we’re
delighted to see them on the podium.”


Bruno Spengler (#82 BMW M8 GTE, seventh place):

“It was a really good week and I was so happy to do my first WEC
race. It was a new challenge for me and it was great to be back with
my DTM team. I enjoyed it a lot even though it didn’t turn out the way
we would have liked it. Congratulations to the team for the podium.”