BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt is taking a wait-and-see approach on the Balance of Performance given to the BMW M8 GTE for the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, refusing to comment on a potential disadvantage to its new-for-2018 car.
The German manufacturer is fielding one of two all-new cars in the GTE-Pro class, which adopted an automated BoP system last year that’s aimed to eliminate human-influenced adjustments.
The BMW and new-generation Aston Martin Vantage GTE, however, have been given a starting BoP from the FIA based on supplied data from manufacturers, as well as data from the BMW’s outings in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
By comparison, the BMW will start the WEC season at a minimum weight of 1255 kg, some 35 kgs heavier than it ran last month at Sebring, while also facing reduced turbo boost levels compared to its most recent IMSA specification.
Marquardt, who spoke out over IMSA’s BoP prior to the car’s debut at Daytona, has elected not to comment on the BoP situation in the WEC until seeing how the car stacks up in this weekend’s Prologue pre-season test.
“We will see with these two days here and go from there,” he told journalists Friday at Paul Ricard. “There’s not really a lot to say.
“For us, it’s important and the start of the WEC part of program with the M8. There’s been a long time in preparation so it’s the very first time with everyone together.
“So [it’s] a starting point and from that starting point we go.”
Under the auto BoP system, adjustments are made based on the previous two regular-season races, meaning any changes won’t be made until October’s round at Fuji Speedway at the earliest.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans remains as a standalone race, with an event-specific BoP.
“When you have an automated system, you have to get points to get into it,” Marquardt said.
“But at the same time, it has an advantage that it’s an automated system and takes manual [adjustments] out of the whole thing.
“If you look at the races last year and how the whole championship went, it proved that the system is working and working well.
“We just have to see this year how it works with new players on board, because we’re not the only new car in this championship this year.”
Despite the apparent disadvantage, Marquardt indicated that GTE-Pro cars, as a whole, have different performance levels when directly compared to IMSA’s BoP for its GT Le Mans class, which runs to a slightly higher power level.
“All the cars are different, so we have to see what the balance pans out, when we look at the time sheets at the end of the two days, and go from there,” he said.
“It was a starting point. At the end of the day, you never get what you probably expect but you have to accept where you start and go from there.
“I think it was good that we had those two events in the U.S. with all the data, and providing all of the data that describes your car.
“Running here will hopefully put FIA and WEC into a position to get the whole field in a close window as quickly as possible.
“That’s what the championship needs… All manufacturers, all cars are in a fairly reasonable window.”