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Knoors: MTEK’s GTE Future “In the Hands of BMW”

Team MTEK “prepared to go ahead” in WEC GTE-Pro class amid BMW exit rumors…

Photo: BMW

Team MTEK’s future in the GTE-Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship is “in the hands of BMW”, according to team principal Ernest Knoors.

The German squad, which took charge of running the European wing of the M8 GTE program at the start of last year, is waiting to hear from BMW about the project’s future.

Doubt has been cast over BMW’s status in the WEC beyond the current 2018-19 ‘Super Season’, with the manufacturer known to be evaluating its short-term involvement.

The deadline for entry submissions for the 2019-20 season, which kicks off at Silverstone in September, is on May 21.

“At the moment we are fully focused on this [WEC],” Knoors told Sportscar365. “We have an exclusive contract with BMW, so basically our future is in the hands of BMW.

“We assume that there will be a good future for us as well. At the moment, we’re just focused on this and seeing how we get on.”

Knoors said that MTEK, which previously ran a high-profile BMW program in DTM, is prepared to keep “every option open” going forward.

“It’s obvious that BMW is evaluating their program and there needs to be a decision on what they’re going to do,” he said.

“For us, we are prepared to go ahead, but if it doesn’t we will see what BMW has in store.

“Our contract is exclusive with BMW so we follow where BMW goes. If anything changes in that, then obviously we will need to re-evaluate our approach as well.”

Knoors explained how MTEK’s foray into endurance racing from a purely sprint-oriented background has been a valuable learning experience for all concerned.

MTEK arrived in WEC off the back of four seasons in DTM where it claimed two race victories and took Bruno Spengler to fifth in the 2015 drivers’ standings.

“I think it’s always interesting for a team and a racing organization to see different ways of doing things,” he said.

“I come from a background in F1 [with BMW-Sauber] where we hardly ever looked at damper performance once we had the right damping on the car, because you’ve got the big tires and so on.

“Then you come to other cars with different power-to-weight ratios and different tires. All of a sudden, the needs and the technology involved in making the car quick is just different.

“You learn from everything. It just makes you a bit more of an all-round organization, also as an engineer and as a mechanic. It’s quite interesting.”

Knoors added that MTEK has enjoyed its first season competing in the WEC which has included podiums in the 6 Hours of Fuji and the 1000 Miles of Sebring.

With two rounds to go, BMW is currently propping up the GTE-Pro manufacturers’ table in fifth place.

“The good thing is that it’s a well-organized championship. As an FIA and ACO-organized championship, it’s not amateur,” he said.

“There are obviously things that we look and think ‘that’s a bit tricky’ but the racing, the circuits that we race on, the ambience I think is quite good. I think we’ve quite enjoyed it.”

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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