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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Sims: Second Straight 24H Spa Win Would Be “Unbelievable”

Sims says second straight 24H Spa win would be “unbelievable”…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Alexander Sims believes he is in a good position to fight for his second straight Total 24 Hours of Spa win but admits it would be a surprise given the difficulty of the race and level of competition.

Sims, Philipp Eng and Maxime Martin won last year’s race in a ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 and return together in an attempt to defend their victory.

A first-place finish on Sunday afternoon would also be BMW’s third in succession, having won the 2015 race with a BMW Z4 GT3 driven by Markus Palttala, Lucas Luhr and Nicky Catsburg.

“It would be fairly unbelievable,” Sims told Sportscar365. “It’s not that I don’t believe we can fight for a win because all things being equal, we’ve got as good of a chance as we had last year, if not better.

“You just know that so much has to go right for you in a 24-hour race to be able to win it like we did last year. I don’t put it beyond the ROWE guys. We’ve had a few 24-hour races now and we’ve had pretty much zero issues.

“We’re in a good team and a good car to try and have a perfect race to fight for it, but in my head I don’t want to get caught up running away with the idea of us winning it twice in a row.

“It would be quite unbelievable, and three times in a row for BMW would be quite amazing.”

The grid for this year’s race includes 17 former winners although the BMW of Sims, Martin and Eng is the only car with more than one previous champion.

Sims says he is pleased to be returning to Spa with familiar co-drivers.

“It’s a nice situation to be in, where you know the two guys next to you, because we’ve been through it all last year and we did the Nürburgring 24 together last year and this year again,” he said.

“We get on and we know the situation very well, but at the end of the day I don’t think it necessarily gives us a huge advantage compared to if I were sat next to any of the other BMW works drivers.

“I think we’re all much of a muchness in terms of performance and we can do a similar job. They would certainly be my first choice though.”

While Sims does admit it would be difficult to pull off the feat of BMW’s third straight win, he does say that improvements have been made to the car which should put it in an even stronger position than last year.

“The car is obviously a year older and there’s been a bit more time for the systems on it to mature and for us to have just refined things that little bit more,” he explained.

“Driving it now, compared to last year, a few bits are working nicer. It’s not a completely different car but there are little bits that are refined.

“I think with the BoP we are a bit lighter than we were last year and the Pirelli rear tire is different, which seems to work in the front-engined cars’ favor.

“I’d say going into the race we’re in a pretty sensible position. We’re just focusing on the job we’ve got in front of us and we’ll take things one step at a time.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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