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BMW “Pushed Hard” to Make GTP Test After Watkins Crash

BMW M LMDh project leader Maurizio Leschiutta on group’s tight turnaround after accident…

Photo: Michelin

BMW M Motorsport, Team RLL and chassis partner Dallara have all “pushed hard” to get its LMDh car ready for the start of Monday’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta after it encountered an accident at Watkins Glen International last week.

The BMW M Hybrid V8, in its second U.S. outing, sustained chassis damage in an accident in mixed conditions at The Glen, according to BMW M LMDh project leader Maurizio Leschiutta, who said getting the car to Road Atlanta on Monday was “nothing short of a miracle.”

While having a LMDh car on display during Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans, it was understood to have been a show car that was not equipped to take part in on-track testing.

“We experienced an accident at The Glen test last week, which put the team under stress because we had to get the car fixed in time for this test,” Leschiutta told Sportscar365.

“The Glen was pretty challenging conditions because it was wet-dry. There was a driver error which caused the car to go off.

“It did some minor damage, bodywork damage obviously, but we did damage the monocoque [as well].

“We were not sure the level of damage to the monocoque so we wanted to make sure that Dallara had a look at it in Indianapolis, so we sent the car back overnight to Indianapolis.

“Luckily this level of damage was not severe and they were able to repair it overnight. We put the car together and brought the car to Atlanta overnight.

“It was an extremely tight time schedule but the guys really, really pushed hard both on Rahal’s side and BMW’s side and Dallara’s side and we were able to make it here.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle I think. I’m very appreciative of this.”

Connor De Phillippi, Nick Yelloly and Augusto Farfus — three of BMW M Team RLL’s four confirmed full-season drivers for next year’s GTP class campaign — are joined by Marco Wittmann for this week’s three-day test.

BMW has been joined on the track by fellow LMDh manufacturers Acura and Cadillac, as well as a single LMP2 entry from PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports for evaluation purposes relating to the stratification of the two categories.

Leschiutta admitted that BMW hasn’t achieved enough testing mileage in the U.S. so far, with its Sebring outing, which came prior to the car’s formal unveil last month, understood to have also had issues.

“Next week we have our homologation session with IMSA and we need to absolutely make sure the car is not damaged to be able to meet that,” he said.

“We need to increase mileage compared to what we’ve been able to accomplish in recent testing and keep the car off the walls.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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