John Edwards says it’s been an “easy transition” to BMW Team MTEK for this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship test at Sebring International Raceway, as the Sebring veteran helps get the GTE-Pro squad up to speed on the famed Florida airfield circuit.
The American BMW factory driver, as well as BMW Team RLL technical director Brandon Fry and several of the IMSA team’s assigned BMW engineers, are assisting the Ernest Knoors-led MTEK squad, which is making its U.S. debut.
While not racing for the team in Friday’s 1000 Miles of Sebring, Edwards has turned laps in the No. 81 BMW M8 GTE to help provide a baseline to his and the car’s experience at the track.
“Since we’re both racing here and we did the test last week [with the IMSA car], they wanted to have a little bit of crossover,” Edwards told Sportscar365.
“I’m able to comment on the differences between how the car feels last week versus this week.
“It’s the same car but you get a little bit different theories sometimes and it affects the handling, especially at Sebring, where it’s a very unique circuit, particularly compared to what you run in Europe and Asia.”
Edwards said it’s been easy jumping into the German squad, having worked with many of the key players at some point in his BMW career.
“For me it’s been quite easy because all of the guys here, I’ve had teammates on the IMSA side and at the Nurburgring,” he said. “Even a lot of the engineers have worked in IMSA as well.
“It’a been quite an easy transition for me to jump in and do a few laps. Luckily I’m with some tall guys so I fit in the seat as well!”
When asked about the differences between the IMSA and WEC-spec BMWs, Edwards said the biggest change has been the instant grip provided by the WEC-permitted tire heaters.
“Mostly on the stopwatch you see it, but you don’t feel much difference,” he said.
“The tires are the same so we’ve gotten used to that with at Daytona and the test here.
“The biggest difference is that the [WEC tires] are warmed. It’s nice to go out of the pits with warm tires, especially after Daytona when it gets cold and you’re on the tires that were made for WEC where they have warmers.”
Edwards is one of several IMSA drivers assisting WEC teams this weekend, with former Twelve Hours of Sebring winner Ricky Taylor having been drafted into SMP Racing for his expertise, but in a non-driving role.
Edwards Targeting Future Le Mans Run
While currently having no confirmed WEC race plans, Edwards hasn’t hidden his desire to be part of the program in the future, particularly in a run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I already had a big itch for that,” he said. “It’s my first intro to [WEC] but for sure I’d love to do anything I can do to drive more, as always.
“I’m lucky to get to do Nurburgring and [24 Hours of] Spa. Of course, Le Mans is the big ticket on anybody’s checklist.
“I definitely want to do that at some point but for now it’s just getting some experience with the team and the way things run in WEC.”