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BMW Yet to Commit to 2019-20 WEC Program

BMW re-evaluating FIA WEC involvement; not yet committed for next season…

Photo: BMW

BMW has yet to commit to the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season, with the German manufacturer weighing up a potential exit from the globe-trotting series at the end of the current ‘Super Season’.

It comes after just one year into the MTEK-run factory GTE-Pro program, which made its debut in the Six Hours of Spa last May.

According to BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt, who revealed to Sportscar365 earlier this week that it is ‘reassessing’ its involvement in the series, a decision on its WEC future is likely to be made following this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“We are in it for the Super Season and we finish the Super Season first. Then we will see how we go from there,” Marquardt told Sportscar365.

Marquardt explained that its initial two-year WEC commitment was adjusted in the wake of the launch of the Super Season, which spans 14 months and includes two editions of Le Mans.

“When we made the decision, the Super Season wasn’t there yet,” he said.

“We do multiple year [deals] normally, but with the Super Season and everything, for us it’s the best to now have the Super Season, have the two Le Mans and then have a real good overview of the whole thing before we make our next decisions.”

While having scored a season-best second place class finish in the Six Hours of Fuji, the pair of BMW M8 GTEs have generally struggled amid the FIA’s automated Balance of Performance system for the the GTE-Pro class.

Sportscar365 also understands there had been friction between BMW and the WEC over the level of marketing activation and related costs that championship promoters expected from the German manufacturer.

Marquardt, however, said they’ve “definitely been welcomed” in a positive way into the WEC.

“We worked with the ACO and FIA, and it’s obviously something you have to get used to,” he said.

“It’s different. With IMSA, we’ve worked with them for so many years. With the ACO, we needed to get into the groove again after a break.

“Gerard Neveu, I know very well from the past, and with Vincent [Beaumesnil] and Pierre [Fillon], it’s gelled well.”

The BMW Motorsport boss said they have the luxury of making a late decision on a potential return due to M8 GTE already being developed and a proven race-winning package.

While still winless in WEC competition, the car is coming off its third class victory in the last four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races, in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“When you have cars available and you don’t have to do new development, you can actually make your decisions relatively late,” Marquardt said.

“I know the promoters want to be early and want to announce early, but at the end of the day, you’re investing such an amount of money so WEC is no different to any other activity that we have.

“For us, it’s about, ‘What were our expectations? Were our expectations met? How did we do on the sporting side? How did everything go on the marketing and reach?

“In that respect, WEC is really no different than [evaluating] any other [motorsports] activity.”

BMW is one of several current WEC GTE-Pro manufacturers that are evaluating DPi efforts for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which could come online as early as 2020.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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