ST Racing is “managing expectations” in its first race with the new BMW M4 GT3 according to team co-owner/driver Samantha Tan.
The Canadian squad, which won the 24H Series overall championship in 2021 with its BMW M4 GT4, has stepped up to the top class this year with a two-car operation for this weekend’s season-opening Hankook 24H Dubai.
It marks the customer debut for BMW’s new-for-2022 GT3 challenger, with Schubert Motorsport also entering a M4 GT3.
“It’s been surreal literally being the first drivers in the world to race this car,” Tan told Sportscar365. “It’s an incredible event ahead of us.
“We’re trying to manage our expectations. It’s a completely new platform for us. The mechanics are learning the car; the drivers are learning the car.
“The past day of testing has been going well for us. We’re getting our setup correct today ahead of the weekend but we’re looking forward to it.”
Tan and several of her co-drivers got their first taste of the car during a BMW M Motorsport-organized test at Valencia in October, prior to the becoming one of the first teams to take delivery of their cars at BMW’s headquarters in Munich last month.
The team has not had any private testing opportunities with the cars since and turned its first laps in testing at the Dubai Autodrome on Monday.
“BMW M Motorsport was so gracious to organize a full test day for us [at Valencia],” Tan said. “It we me and four other drivers from my team.
“That was the first day we got to learn some of the new features, all of the new technology. I started getting used to the new traction control settings.
“The GT4 has three settings and this car has 15. It’s a little bit of a step up!
“Obviously the extra downforce and extra horsepower is a lot to get used to. Overall it’s been very good.
“I feel like I’ve adapted pretty quickly. Obviously it’s based on the M4 platform so jumping from the old [GT4] M4 to the new [GT3] M4 wasn’t too big of a jump.
“An extra 170 horsepower, the extra downforce and all the new technology… The biggest thing for me was how to lean on the traction control more.
“This car is basically full send! It’s been a steep learning curve but I’m getting there.”
Tan will be sharing the No. 1 BMW with Anthony Lazzaro, Bryson Morris, Harry Gottsacker and Tyler Maxon this weekend in the GT3 Pro-Am class, with the team’s second entry of Jon Miller, Nick Wittmer, Louis-Philippe Montour and Chandler Hull competing for outright honors in GT3.
The team plans to continue with one car in the full 24H Series season with Tan the only confirmed driver so far.
She said her co-drivers will “most likely” be those that are already in the garage this weekend.
ST Racing will also undertake a full season of Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS with a single BMW for Tan and a to-be-confirmed co-driver in GT3 Pro-Am.
“It’s going to be pretty crazy coming back and forth from Europe and America,” she said. “Last year was good in getting used to things. I think we have the team to do it.”