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Marquardt: BMW on Back Foot After M8 GTE Redesign

Marquardt reveals redesign for BMW M8 GTE set development back by five months…

Photo: John Dagys

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt has revealed that development of the BMW M8 GTE was delayed by nearly half a year due to a last-minute design change forced upon the German manufacturer.

The new-for-2018 GTE contender, which is set to debut in next weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, underwent a “major concept” redesign after at least one manufacturer vetoed BMW’s waiver request for the car to feature a lower side profile.

The rejection, which is understood have come at the last moment, forced the entire project back to the drawing boards and delayed development by “four to five months” according to Marquardt.

“It was a tight schedule from the get-go and obviously, in the very initial concept phase, we had to basically re-do a major concept at one stage,” he told Sportscar365.

“What we were initially told was OK was all of a sudden not OK anymore.

“That’s the way things go every once in a while but at the end of the day, that cost us between four and five months of development time.

“That was really the biggest challenge in that project because with that amount of time, you can never catch up.”

Initially scheduled to hit the track in February or March, the revised car did not complete its first rollout until July 1.

Marquardt said its original M8 GTE design had already been in the wind tunnel and was far along in development, which further complicated matters.

“Our initial target was, having discussed with IMSA, to get it within the ballpark of all the frontal areas of all the other cars,” he explained.

“Lowering a car is always a difficult task when you take it based on the production car because you cannot lower a roof or something.

“You can only try and lower from the bottom side of things. There you hit a lot of structural parts so you have to be careful where you do it and how you do it.

“It’s quite a complicated task.”

While not having affected powertrain development, the revised M8 GTE had less than three months of on-track testing prior to the FIA’s Balance of Performance test in Ladoux in September, which essentially locked in its homologation.

Marquardt admitted the unexpectedly tight schedule resulted in a compromised development program.

“It was clear to us that with whatever solution we had to find [in testing], the first try had to be hitting the target,” he said.

“We didn’t have time to do loads of things and try an evolution, and maybe a second loop to see what’s better, no.

“We had to sit back and think, ‘That is the issue, what is the solution that will solve the problem the safest and what’s the amount of time that it will take to get us there and reschedule everything?’

“What you would normally do when you have normal development time is to say, ‘OK, we’ll just figure that out as we go along, and we’ll focus on those kind of things at the next test and just put in evolutionary steps as we go along.’

“That chance we didn’t have.”

Despite the short timeframe, the car has still racked up considerable mileage in testing, with more than 10,000 miles, including a 23.5-hour endurance test at Paul Ricard, heading into its competition debut at Daytona.

Marquardt said they didn’t run into any major issues in its recent tests, including outings at Daytona, Sebring and Homestead-Miami Speedway with BMW Team RLL.

BMW Pushing for Daytona BoP Change

With both of the RLL entries having struggled at the Roar Before the 24, Marquardt has called for Balance of Performance adjustments to be made ahead of the race.

The pair of M8 GTEs ended the official pre-season test at the bottom of the GT Le Mans time charts, with Alexander Sims the quickest of the drivers, but still 1.4 seconds adrift.

“Clearly, we haven’t yet found everything in the car but we won’t within in the next three weeks,” Marquardt said. “The question is really to get the right BoP.

“For sure, that doesn’t fit at the moment, but with what we’ve got, it basically confirmed our simulation and predictions.

“Depending on how much the competition puts on the table, it was that we would be between 1.5 and two seconds off, and that’s exactly where we were.

“With this package, everything works. We now need to get with IMSA and get the car properly balanced.

“Knowing that our predictions fit well, it should not be rocket science to get us into the right picture there and get a good race.”

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

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Change it up

    January 16, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Can’t wait to get in a picture with this thing next weekend!

  2. fourloko

    January 16, 2018 at 8:12 am

    hopefully their not expecting to be 20kg lighter than the corvette

    • griffx5

      January 16, 2018 at 8:54 am

      Well they currently 10KG heavier than the Corvette so I have no idea what your argument suggests. IMSA will need to step up though and give them some BOP help or it will be just like last year with the M6 at Daytona…backmarker central.

    • gmfanssuck

      January 16, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Oh waaaahhhhh, it might beat our precious corvette………..waaahhhhhhh.

      • love internet message board scientists

        January 16, 2018 at 12:03 pm

        You sound very intelligent. Your name and statement show a great depth of intellect and reasoning.

        • Old Trombone

          January 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

          I see you have taken my style of insults by calling people intelligent. So, again, you aren’t.
          Original – nope
          Funny – nope
          Contributive- nope
          Alt-rite (as in, alternative rituals to make you feel good as if you were some kind of Pepe, which you obviously aren’t because you aren’t free, you aren’t doing what you feel like, you are trigga’d and melting badly so even your titles are trigga warnings) – YUP!

  3. Andrew

    January 16, 2018 at 9:12 am

    “Clearly, we haven’t yet found everything in the car but we won’t within in the next three weeks,” Marquardt said. “The question is really to get the right BoP.

    “For sure, that doesn’t fit at the moment, but with what we’ve got, it basically confirmed our simulation and predictions.

    “Depending on how much the competition puts on the table, it was that we would be between 1.5 and two seconds off, and that’s exactly where we were.

    “With this package, everything works. We now need to get with IMSA and get the car properly balanced.

    “Knowing that our predictions fit well, it should not be rocket science to get us into the right picture there and get a good race.”

    So we know our car blows but instead of making it better as you’d expect a team to do with a new car through testing a tuning, nope we DEMAND we get perks to be as fast. It’s a NEW car, new cars shouldn’t be at the front of the grid right away.

    • Mike D.

      January 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      > So we know our car blows but instead of making it better as you’d expect a team to do with a new car through testing a tuning, nope we DEMAND we get perks to be as fast. It’s a NEW car, new cars shouldn’t be at the front of the grid right away.

      No, the point is GTLM is a balanced class and obviously they’re not going to find 1.5-2s in 3 weeks. Over the course of the season they might get closer and then the BoP gets dialed back. But they ran as they were supposed to at the Roar and then IMSA is supposed to take the results and go from there. You might not like that but that’s how the class currently works.

      • Matt

        January 16, 2018 at 6:47 pm

        No because then IMSA would have to spend the whole season micromanaging the BMW’s BoP and making changes each race. How does IMSA know when the BMW has reached it’s potential? They’ll never know exactly how to dial back the BoP if they give them a “temporary” concession. BMW could decide to play it safe at first, and continue to slightly uptune the car when they feel like it. Unless BMW agrees to revert to the original BoP after Daytona, I don’t see this happening. BMW is in an unfortunate situation, but if they were only 1.4 seconds off in the Roar, they’ll make the changes they need to be quick given a race or 2.

  4. griffx5

    January 16, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Really Andrew? How did Porsche and Corvette do with their new cars in 2014? right up front! How did Ford GT and Ferrari do in 2016? right up front! What makes BMW’s situation where they obviously got screwed by one competitor objection **cough Corvette cough** and different? They were at the back and sucked last year with the M6 at Daytona with crap BOP and will be again this year. I guess it won’t matter since IMSA won’t lift a finger for European teams (Porchse excpeted) but will be glad to assist American manufacturers at the drop of the hat. What bullshit all the way around.

    • Tom

      January 16, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Build a car as close to the rules as Ford and Ferrari did… then you don’t have to ask for questionable waivers that someone else can reject.

      • griffx5

        January 16, 2018 at 10:56 am

        You do know Corvette currently has the most waivers currently and not BMW right? Just thought you might like to know in case you didn’t already.

        • Tom

          January 16, 2018 at 11:42 am

          How many waivers a car has isn’t the issue, it’s asking for waivers that can be rejected by your competition. Granted I am not involved in writing or managing the rulebook, so I can’t speak on whether every waiver requires other manufacturers to agree, but I do know that if you build a car to the rules then waivers are not an issue.

          BMW appears to have not read the rulebook carefully or they would have recognized parameters associated with a waiver agreement. Did the manufacturer that rejected the waiver in question change their mind in the allotted time frame, or had they not answered the initial request until the last minute. However it worked out, the organizers agreed with the rejection and BMW moved on.

          On a personal note, I am pro BMW, Porsche, GM, Ferrari and Ford fan. A great GT race is more captivating than the prototypes IMO.

        • Jake

          January 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm

          Care to provide a link? I cant find a single published document that lists what cars have what waivers. Otherwise Your blatant bias leads me to believe you are full of $hit.

    • love internet message board scientists

      January 16, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      You have absolutely no proof that Corvette { or any of the other teams} was the team that balked. When you make a foolish, unproven, intellectually ignorant statement, you show your bias, bigotry and shallow viewpoint. I would suggest more time with NASCAR racing where you can start your conspiracy theories with a fan group more on your level.

      • LM GT1

        January 16, 2018 at 12:55 pm

        Don’t tell me conspiracy theories are not fun to dive head first lol.

  5. Doug P

    January 16, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I continually scratch my head that they made this car at all. The 6 looked like a school bus compared to the competition so what do they do, make a bigger 8.

    • Tyler Sanders

      January 16, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      I agree

      • Old Trombone

        January 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        I totally agree. FFS, the M2 roofline is as high as an X3, and the driving positions are identical. And then they want to lower it all just for the race cars that are supposed to be GT road-to-track cars. If BMW wants to race a GT car with a small frontal area, then they should MAKE ONE for sale to the public. That’s the point of homologation! To force the manufacturers to put at least some of their marketing budget into making cars we enthusiasts like and can actually buy. Where’s the M1? Stick an M5 TTV8 in the i8. Do like Ford did for the Mustang or Toyota/Subaru did and create a specific platform for your Sportscars instead of continually lowering your 2-ton SUV’s for track duty. Imagine a specific lightweight platform dedicated to only the M2/M3/M4. Oh, they just did that for the Z4 but they sold the coupe to Toyota?!? So that leaves this Cadillac ElDorado sized 8er for racing. And IMSA is supposed to bend over backwards to make it all work for them…

    • Barber

      January 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Isn’t the M8 smaller tho

      • TF110

        January 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm

        Yeah it is. It’s lower and perhaps a little longer. It’s a better car all around than the M6. Some competitor intentionally vetoed (late) the original concept of the car. That much is certain. I don’t care who it is but that’s gamesmanship.

        • Chips O'Toole

          January 16, 2018 at 2:07 pm

          According to an article back in May, it was at least 2 manufacturers that vetoed the requested waiver for a lower overall height

        • gtgianlu

          January 16, 2018 at 5:40 pm

          The M8 is out the max lenght of 4,80m fixed by Aco Gte rules as was the M6,though

  6. Sir Skidsalot

    January 16, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Just looking at the few shots I’ve seen, the new M8 looks a little lower and wider than last year’s M6, but why build a GTE version of a 4 seat coupe? I agree with Old Trombone as they should have built an updated M1 super car, and saved the M8/M6 4 seaters for GT3.

  7. Bopper

    January 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Every single BMW GT car for the last 3 decades has needed some significant waiver to compete. It’s about time somebody put their foot down.

  8. John

    January 16, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    It’s great that BMW finally realized that they had been bringing knives to a gunfight…but then they came back…with a machete.

    All joking aside, I’ll give them credit for at least making an effort to race what they sell (cough…Ford…cough…Porsche), and mere mortals can actually purchase.

    But the problem with that is that the road car lineup has become soft and bloated, so there aren’t any optimal candidates on which to base a race car; even the M3/4 have grown, and unlike the 70s, the Big Coupes are now big boats. Part of that is market trends, but the other part of the issue is BMW being reluctant to do a proper sports car again. For whatever reason, BMW does its best not to, even when competitors are eclipsing them all-around. But hey, there’s always room for another SUV variant!

    • Matt

      January 16, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      BMW is not the company it once was. Now they’re more interested in convincing people they need a luxury SUV. The X4 and X6 are absolute hideous, pointless automobiles. Most SUV’s nowadays barely have more room than a VW GTI, let alone the Golfwagen or the Volvo station wagons, all of which look much less obese than any SUV. However, ignorant Americans continue to think they need to buy an SUV. It’s an embarrassing reflection on us tbh and a total waste of energy to be driving around these heavy boxes.

  9. Jennings Winfrey

    January 16, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Yes , the m4 would have faired better in the gtlm class, the inline 6tt can easily make 500+ and the car is more aero dynamic than the m6/m8 …just my thinking….theford gt uses a v6tt

  10. pierre

    January 17, 2018 at 12:04 am

    maybe they went through homologation too soon. maybe wait till 2019.

  11. Babe

    January 17, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Hhahahahahahahaha, “Marquardt said they didn’t run into any major issues in its recent tests,”…. Yeah, other than the car running through every available splitter at Daytona. Can’t do more than a few laps before it shakes them apart apparently. Hell one of the cars did less than 2 hours of track time. These cars will have plenty of issues all year. Once again BMW let the children design a car. It’s truly a pig.

    • griffx5

      January 17, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Do you feel better now? Jesus man did Jens Marquardt come over to your house and kick your dog or something? Let me guess, Corvette fanboi…

      • Babe

        January 18, 2018 at 11:40 am

        Oh boy, ya got me. Let me guess, BMW wanker? Turn signals broken I suppose. Slathered in BMW gear when you go to the autocross? Jesus, 12 year olds spell boi…

  12. Zone

    January 17, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Can’t wait to see all the new stuff @ the 24 next week. The trouble is we had snow in Atlanta again and can’t move the motorhome till Friday. Atlanta is turning into Detroit weather wise the past 10 years.

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