Alexander Sims has praised the BMW M8 GTE after his first test with the new car, which he sees as as a step forward from its predecessors.
The BMW factory driver was recently part of a 24-hour endurance test with BMW’s new GTE-homologated contender, which will make its competition debut in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“My initial impressions are very good and the car seems to be very well refined,” Sims told Sportscar365. “This wasn’t the first test it’s done but it’s the first test I’ve been involved with.
“There have been a number of tests so far so it’s been improved in certain ways since the first test. Certainly now, it’s a very good feeling from a drivers’ point of view.
“It feels like a really solid car underneath me and gives the driver a lot of feedback.”
Sims says the M8 GTE is a good step forward from the Z4 and M6 it follows, combining the best aspects of both models.
“It’s really just more refined,” he said. “You can just tell when you sit in the car when you drive it that lessons have been learned from both the Z4 and the M6.
“I drove the Z4 GTLM once or twice as well and there were bits of that car that were fantastic.
“The M6 has certainly got some strengths as well but admittedly, it’s got a few weaknesses which have been very difficult to overcome this year, primarily with the weight distribution.
“With the M8, it sort of feels like lessons have been learned and the best points of both the Z4 and M6 have been put into one single car.”
Sims Pleased with Successful Debut IMSA Season
Sims admitted he was almost surprised at the level of success he and BMW Team RLL had in his debut IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with the M6 GTLM this year.
“To be honest, it ended up being quite surprising how well we did,” he said.
“The fact that everything was brand new to me, with a new team and new car in a sense with it being the GTLM version, pretty much all of that didn’t factor into it at all. We just got on with it and had a really good season.
“I think if you’d have offered me second place in the championship with three wins including Petit Le Mans, at the start of the year, I would have definitely settled for that!”
While his plans aren’t confirmed yet for next season, Sims admits a return to the WeatherTech Championship would be good in order to try and go one better than his runner-up finish in the championship.
“If I’m back there next year, it would definitely be to try and go back and win,” he said.
“Obviously with the experience of this year, it would be very good to go back to each place with a base understanding of each circuit and how the series works as well.”
Details on BMW’s factory programs and driver lineups are expected to be announced at the manufacturer’s end-of-season event on Dec. 15.