Sims "cautiously optimistic" for BMW's Rolex 24 chances
BMW driver Alexander Sims is “pretty optimistic” about the team’s chances in the Rolex 24 at Daytona despite a troubled weekend so far for the M8 GTE.
The German manufacturer is giving its new contender its race debut this weekend as part of a twin assault on both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
However, the two Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-run cars have proven off the pace so far, and brought up the rear in GT Le Mans class qualifying on Thursday evening.
The #24 entry was also hit by a litany of problems in practice, including a sensor issue, an electrical problem and a delaminating splitter – a repeat of an issue that cropped up in Roar Before the 24 testing earlier in the month.
Despite the teething issues, Sims is confident BMW can be reliable in the race, and more competitive over a stint than it has proved over a lap.
“Now we are in a position to be pretty optimistic,” Sims told Motorsport.com. “Reliability-wise we are looking OK.
“Had you asked us on Thursday, we had some issues to resolve. But I think we’ve overcome them. I’m cautiously optimistic we can get to the end and be in a fighting position.
“It feels like our ultimate pace isn’t quite there, but the car seems to be good in a stint in the testing we’ve done so far.
“I’m confident the pace we’ve shown we can sustain; if the others drop off, then hopefully we can get stronger. We’ll see in the race.”
BoP situation "pretty frustrating"
Augusto Farfus echoed Sims’ comments, but felt the Balance of Performance in the GT Le Mans class remains stacked against BMW despite the M8 being handed a 10kg weight break after the Roar.
“We have to be realistic,” the Brazilian told Motorsport.com. “Every new car in such a race, you expect some issues. I do believe the car will get to the end, I'm not really concerned about that.
“We did some endurance testing, but the level of stress on the car, you’re alone on track, the way the track evolves, it is a lot different.
“Of course we are not happy with how the weekend has gone so far, but the race is about surviving the first 20 hours and then really pushing.
“The BoP did not help us, everybody can see this. It’s pretty frustrating, because when you have a new car you want to shine a little bit and this is not happening.
“But our race pace is better than our single-lap performance. We put a lot of effort in building a race car and not a sprint car.”
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