The 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is officially underway for BMW Team MTEK and the new BMW M8 GTE. In the opening race in Spa-Francorchamps (BEL), the number 82 car with António Félix da Costa (POR) and Tom Blomqvist (GBR) at the wheel finished fifth in the GTE Pro class. Their team-mates, Martin Tomczyk (GER) and Nick Catsburg (NED) had to make do with eighth after losing time during a pit stop in the early stages of the six-hour race due to no fault of their own.
Reactions to The Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps:
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“The new BMW M8 GTE has passed its baptism of fire in its maiden FIA World Endurance Championship race in Spa-Francorchamps. The interest in our WEC debut and in our new car was huge. It was great to see how we were welcomed by the fans and the series as a whole. Fifth for our number 82 is a solid start. The second car lost time during an early pit stop, due to no fault of the team, when the safety car was deployed at the very same time. With the experience from this race under our belts, we will now put our full focus on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This will be a truly special spectacle, which were are looking forward to excitedly.”
Ernest Knoors (Team Principal BMW Team MTEK):
“I think it’s a weekend with positives and negatives, but that’s to be expected in our Championship debut. The positive is that we got two cars to the finish with good results and with no issues. The Munich-based team did a very good job to get the cars here and so well prepared, and the team here at Spa this weekend did a great job throughout. There is a lot to learn but we’re off the mark to a good start.”
António Félix da Costa (#82 BMW M8 GTE, fifth place):
“I’m really happy with that for our first time out. We learned a lot and turned it into a good result. It was the first WEC race for both Tom and I and we were competitive around many experienced Championship drivers.”
Tom Blomqvist (#82 BMW M8 GTE, fifth place):
“We have to be happy with that result in our WEC debut. We weren’t as quick as the Ford and Porsche, even the Ferrari, so fifth was the best we could have hoped for. I’m happy with my personal performance – my pace in qualifying and the race was good and I feel António and I got the most out of the race.”
Nick Catsburg (#81 BMW M8 GTE, eighth place):
“Today was a good learning experience for the team and for us drivers. It was great to get our debut WEC race ‘under our belt’, as this race gave us a lot of time of time to prepare under race conditions, but we leave knowing there are some areas to work on ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is only a month away.”
Martin Tomczyk (#81 BMW M8 GTE, eighth place):
“The first race is over and there are a few things to take away now we have put things into practice but I’m confident BMW Team MTEK will make sure that we improve ahead of Le Mans. The BMW M8 GTE ran without issues and that’s the main thing.”
Next race of the BMW M Motorsport Super Weekend:
The second race of the DTM season in Hockenheim (GER) will go green on Sunday at 13:30hrs.