BMW to pull out of ALMS?

BMW technical director Mario Thiessen has hinted in this week's Autosport magazine that the German manufacturer is unlikely to build a new car, and will probably not take part in next year's American Le Mans Series

BMW to pull out of ALMS?

The 1999 Le Mans winners have been stalwarts of the series during its short history, adding much credibility to the ALMS by taking part in their Le Mans winning year, the inaugural season of the championship. They narrowly lost the constructors' title to Panoz in the final round, but currently lead the 2000 championship.

For 2001, however, it seems that BMW top brass are unconvinced about the chances of winning without a further major outlay. The car used this season is the same V12 LMR as won Le Mans in 1999.

"If we competed, we would want to be competitive," said Thiessen. He added that the team "would have to build a new car - an option, but not one I favour."

Thiessen said that the current cars were unlikely to continue running in the hands of privateers. "This is a high-technology sportscar and it's not easy to run," claimed the German. "We wouldn't want to see our cars underperforming."

BMW is currently concentrating on its Formula 1 involvement, as engine supplier to Williams. A move into the new DTM has not been totally ruled out, and BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger is reported to be keen on the new series. This apparently adds to the likelihood that BMW will move out of the sportscar arena, particularly as arch-rival Mercedes no longer has a presence in sportscars.

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