BMW was 'taught a few lessons' on M8 GTE's Le Mans 24 Hours debut

BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt admits the manufacturer was "taught a few lessons" on a tough Le Mans 24 Hours debut with its new M8 GTE challenger

BMW was 'taught a few lessons' on M8 GTE's Le Mans 24 Hours debut

Last weekend's race marked the second outing for the M8 in the World Endurance Championship, following the MTEK-run BMW squad's debut at Spa last month.

Only the #81 car shared by Martin Tomczyk, Nicky Catsburg and Philipp Eng made it to the finish, 11th in class and 12 laps down on the winning #92 Porsche, after losing time in the pits to change a damper and then to repair a broken radiator.

The sister #82 car of Alexander Sims, Antonio Felix da Costa and Augusto Farfus did not finish after Sims crashed at the Porsche Curves on Sunday morning, having also lost time in the garage to have a damper replaced.

Marquardt said the nature of the Le Mans circuit exposed issues BMW had not previous encountered in its preparations.

"We've shown from a speed and pace point of view the car is capable of running up there," Marquardt told Autosport.

"It's our rookie season here, the Le Mans track has taught us some lessons.

"One test day was not enough to confirm our package with regards to reliability.

"We've experience some issues on the damper side, we picked up some debris and damaged the radiator which can always happen, and obviously Alex's accident we have to go more into the data - it looks like he maybe slipped on some fluid.

"Apart from that, operationally the team did a great job, strategy-wise, I didn't see any mistakes or anything. Lots of positives, but at Le Mans you have to have a humble approach.

"The track taught us a few lessons, but next year at the end of the superseason, we'll come back fast."

Marquardt said he took heart from the fact both BMWs were able to hold their own on track against the Porsche 911 RSRs and were in the mix for top-five finishes until both hit damper troubles.

"Obviously some [BoP] adjustments were made after qualifying that brought the field a little bit together [the BMW lost 10kg], we managed really with the first few stints to get a really good balance in the car," he reflected.

"Some of the driver comments made me happy, that it was the best BMW GT car from a balance and pace point of view that they have driven so far. It's what we wanted to achieve.

"In a 24-hour race, you have to get into a rhythm, the car into a balance window, with the tyre degradation and everything, and we achieved this.

"We haven't yet explored the full potential of the car, but I think this weekend we were pretty close to where we could be with a limited amount of experience."

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Series WEC
Author Jamie Klein
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