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Sims Evaluating IMSA Future After Formula E Signing

Sims, BMW looking at GT possibilities for 2019 after Formula E signing…

Photo: BMW

Alexander Sims says joining the ABB FIA Formula E Championship could prevent him from taking part in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship next year.

The BMW factory driver, who was announced alongside Antonio Felix da Costa in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport team last week, first told e-racing365 that a full-season sports car program might not be possible in 2019.

However, Sims hopes that he can maintain a role in BMW’s GT racing activities, having scored two GTLM wins so far this year with Connor de Phillippi.

“I would guess that a full season of GTs is not going to happen, but there’s absolutely nothing confirmed at this stage,” he said.

“I’m hopeful of still being able to be part of some form of GT racing because I’ve really enjoyed it over the last five or six years.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to lose out and do none of it, so hopefully we can find a calendar that works and slots in with Formula E to continue some of that.”

A return to BMW Team RLL’s IMSA lineup appears to hinge on the date of a yet-to-be-announced Formula E race which is provisionally booked for the same weekend as the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona. 

Sims explained that he would likely be unable to contest either the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship or the North American Endurance Cup if that E-Prix date is set in stone.

There is also a confirmed date clash between the 2019 Rome E-Prix and the NBCSN Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13.

“I’m waiting to see if that happens or not,” he said. “If that happens, then IMSA’s out of the question.”

“I can do Sebring, I don’t know about Petit [next October]. To do the Endurance Cup in IMSA could be a possibility if Daytona came out. 

“To be honest, if you can’t do Daytona, you can’t do the others.”

Sims added that a potential drive with BMW in the final three rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship has not yet been talked about.

The WEC races at Sebring, Spa and Le Mans do not clash with any Formula E rounds, opening the possibility for Sims to race one of the MTEK-run BMW M8 GTEs.

His Formula E team-mate Felix da Costa is a part of BMW’s full-time GTE-Pro squad, but the team has yet to confirm its drivers for the final three rounds of the 2018-19 season.

“It hasn’t been discussed at this point,” said Sims.

“You’ve got your full-season guys on most of the weekends so I would expect it would be standalone events, maybe Nürburgring or Spa [24 Hours]. I’m not going to be replacing anyone.

“I’ll be up for anything, basically, because I don’t want to give up on my GT racing.”

BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt, meanwhile, has said that the manufacturer “will look at” options for Sims in 2019.

“The [Formula E] championship and what it takes is on a super high level,” he told e-racing365.

“We have to concentrate with him fully on that. We have to see what else he can do, if any.

“But that will be decided at a later point because now we focus on Formula E. Up to [the Riyadh E-Prix on] December 15 there is not a lot of time available to us.”

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

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