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Blomqvist: Fine Margins Preventing Further BMW Wins

Team RLL’s Tom Blomqvist targeting a strong end to 2019 for BMW after recent tough races…

Photo: Sam Cobb/BMW

Tom Blomqvist feels that BMW Team RLL has “made a lot of gains” in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship but is being held back by its race execution.

BMW has not won a GT Le Mans class race since the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, with its only other podium coming courtesy of John Edwards and Jesse Krohn at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

But Blomqvist, who shares the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE with Connor De Phillippi, believes RLL’s results have not reflected the outright pace of the package in its second year of competition.

“The last few races we’ve had good performance but I think, ultimately, we’ve just been outsmarted,” he told Sportscar365.

“At Lime Rock [two rounds ago], we knew we weren’t going to be strong. We actually did better than expected but we messed up the tire degradation a little bit.

“I feel like we’ve made a lot of gains, in terms of the car’s performance. The car is handling better and looking after its tires better.

“We’re understanding how to manage the races better and get the best out of them. We’ve definitely made progress.

“But each race we do, we’re like ‘damn it! we’ve missed something.’ That’s just all it’s been, really.”

The variable track-to-track strengths and weaknesses of the BMW M8 GTE have made it a tough package to master, according to Blomqvist.

“Some tracks suit us more than others, and I think we’re more inconsistent at some tracks compared to others,” he said.

“[Porsche] are extremely dynamic. They have a really good car over a stint, which makes it so much easier to do your race.

“We’ve got a big car and we’re power-sensitive. Tracks like Road America, VIR, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen, Mosport, are tracks where we excel.

“We just need to make sure that we capitalize on that. When we know we’re good, we need to make sure that we do a good job and execute the races well.

“I think at Watkins Glen we were definitely on for a podium there and we got pretty unlucky with a prototype spinning right in front of us, which damaged our car.”

Blomqvist reckons BMW Team RLL can pick itself up after fruitless recent outings at Lime Rock Park and Road America as the series enters its final three rounds.

Last time out at Road America, the best-placed No. 24 BMW led during the mid-portion of the race but dropped out of contention with a brake failure.

“Potentially not Laguna, but VIR and Road Atlanta we know we’re going to have a quick car,” said Blomqvist.

“We can’t make any mistakes. When the field is really small, it’s super competitive. With all-factory efforts, there are a lot of brains running the operations.

“You just can’t get away with making errors.”

Permanent BMW Role Providing a Boost

Blomqvist feels he’s been reveling in his first full-time GT drive having spent last year as somewhat of a journeyman in BMW’s various GT3 and GTE-based programs.

The 25-year-old was promoted to a full-season seat for 2019, replacing of the Formula E-bound Alexander Sims, but missed the season-opening Rolex 24 because of visa issues.

He provisionally took his first career GTLM pole at Road America before both BMWs were sent to the back of the grid for a ride height infringement.

“I’ve done DTM, gone into and been chucked out of Formula E, done some WEC… the last two years have been a bit average for me,” he admitted.

“I haven’t had the stability in my program to build something and gain some confidence. All these little things, they add up. It’s been difficult to move around a lot.

“Now I’ve been able to focus on a season here and hopefully we get another season. It’s only going to get better.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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