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Knoors (BMW): “No Huge Deficit” from BoP Change

BMW’s Ernest Knoors says Tuesday’s BoP adjustment won’t enhance or hamper its speed at Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

A weight increase and boost adjustment will be “no huge deficit” to BMW’s 24 Hours of Le Mans pace, according to MTEK team principal Ernest Knoors.

The pair of BMW M8 GTEs were handed an extra 13kg and a marginal upswing in turbo boost ratio as part of an updated Balance of Performance ruling issued on Tuesday.

However, Knoors told Sportscar365 that the boost measure would roughly cancel out the added ballast.

“It just moves the performance around a little bit,” he explained.

“You get a bit more top speed on the straights, and you lose in the corners a little bit more. For us it’s pretty level in terms of performance – there’s no huge deficit there.

“A lot of the adjustments were done in that way, except the Aston which got a big step forward.

“I think the overall lap time will probably have to be better. Obviously, there’s a part that we can play in that, and we will play by trying to push as hard as we can within the limits we have.

“Ultimately, when you’re at your limit it’s up to the governing body to see that the competition is on a level.”

The fastest BMW during Wednesday evening’s first qualifying session was the No. 82 of Augusto Farfus, Antonio Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims.

Da Costa’s time of 3:50.579 was three seconds off the pace set by Gianmaria Bruni’s No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR, although the Italian’s lap was over a second and a half quicker than anyone else in class.

Knoors suggested that further BoP adjustments could bring the BMWs closer to the GTE-Pro leading pack considering the minimal impact of Tuesday’s adjustment.

“The only reason why we’re here is that we want to compete on the same level,” he said.

“The BoP mechanism is there for doing that. The ACO needs to get it right and we trust that they can. Maybe they need a bit more time because our car is new, but we trust they can do it.

“We were behind in Spa. I know Spa is a different system but at the end, we had the same car and that gives an indication of where you are.

“I think we were surprised by the fact that we didn’t get a little bit of a step in the direction of Ford and Porsche. But we still have possibilities for adjustments before the race.”

Knoors added that the MTEK team, which joined the FIA World Endurance Championship as BMW’s factory operator after five years in DTM, is “still learning” about its transition to long-distance sports car racing.

“Including the Test Day, we’ve done eight or 10 hours on this track,” he said.

“We’re still learning, and our drivers are too. We’re still trying to cope with traffic and night. It’s quite a big impact.

“Maybe from driving and from the familiarity of the track there is a couple of tenths, but I think we were close to where we think we can be. I think we can be in the mix.

“We have great support from BMW. The period has obviously been busy for both, for the US [run by RLL] and for us.

“For us, specifically, with a big event like Le Mans it requires a huge preparation and it’s a huge honor to be here.”

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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