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WRT, RLL “In Constant Exchange” Between Imola, Long Beach

BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos outlines how the brand tackles first joint top class WEC-IMSA weekend…

Photo: Lou Johnson/BMW

Team WRT and Team RLL are in a ‘constant exchange of data’ as the BMW M Hybrid V8 competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship simultaneously for the first time, according to BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos.

In total, four examples of the Dallara-chassised prototype will be in action this weekend, with the Vincent Vosse-led WRT squad competing in the WEC round in Imola while RLL fields two cars in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

While top-class rivals Porsche and Cadillac have experience with this type of clash and are working through the same kind of split commitment this weekend, it marks a first for BMW as its WEC program only came online earlier this year.

Although the operational side of each program is completely handled by the respective teams, Roos indicated that there is an ever-present stream of information flowing to and from each of the two tracks throughout the weekend.

“We have a constant data exchange, so RLL is knowing what WRT is doing and vice versa, and we in Munich anyway, because everything is going through us,” he told Sportscar365.

“So there is a constant exchange [and] everything what we learn here, we transfer. In the end, [the tracks] are different, but they are both racetracks, the same cars are running.

“You run around [in] circle[s], around corners and you have some straights, so at the end, everything what you learn, you will always help to improve.”

The data exchange is facilitated through a command center at BMW’s motorsport base in Munich, with dedicated support teams for both Imola and Long Beach working there.

“It’s split because there are people always which take care [of] the IMSA championship and there are people who take care [of] the WEC,” said Roos.

“It’s specific groups, but for sure, they interchange with all the information, but it’s separate groups. It’s separate groups at the race track and separate groups following the race.”

Roos, who is attending the M Hybrid V8’s European debut at Imola this weekend, noted that although BMW faces a “challenge” running in both championships simultaneously, the task is made easier by the fact that WRT and RLL run independently from each other.

“We have two different teams running the operation, so this is the first tick in the box, so there’s no conflict or that we don’t have enough people, so the teams are completely operating separately,” he said.

“For sure, we also have some people sitting in Munich and following both of them, so they share a bit the work in between.

“But also on the management level. We try to have people there and people here, and try to make the best out of it, but generally, I think they don’t need so much of the management, so they know what to do.

“So in the end, it’s working, but for sure it’s a challenge to have both championships running at the same weekend.

“But I think for us, in pure operation, it’s not an issue to have, because it’s two separate programs.”

Roos, meanwhile, explained that he plans to stay up late into the European night to closely monitor the goings on in the U.S. from Italy.

“I’m always the whole time in contact also with Bobby Rahal and his team to know what’s going on, and maybe I have a bit of less sleep,” he said.

“Because I have to also then follow at night what’s going on there. This also, for sure, it’s easier when you don’t have races running at the same weekend in both championships.

“But on the other hand, we, from the beginning, said it’s two separate championships, and even when there is a clash, it doesn’t hamper anything in the operational side.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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