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FIA WEC: Season-opener in Qatar.FIA WEC: Season-opener in Qatar.

FIA WEC: Season-opener in Qatar.

5 min reading time

FIA WEC in Qatar: Challenging season opener for BMW M Motorsport.

BMW M Motorsport commenced the 2024 season in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Qatar 1812 km at the Lusail International Circuit near Doha.
BMW M Hybrid V8, FIA WECBMW M Hybrid V8, FIA WEC

In the Hypercar class, BMW M Team WRT enters two BMW M Hybrid V8s. However, the debut race of the prototype in the FIA WEC presented challenges, and both cars finished outside the top ten after nearly ten hours of racing. In contrast, the #46 BMW M4 GT3 narrowly missed the podium in the new LMGT3 class by only a few seconds.

The #20 BMW M Hybrid V8 concluded the season opener in 12th place. BMW M works drivers Sheldon van der Linde, René Rast, and Robin Frijns took turns behind the wheel. Their teammates Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello, and Marco Wittmann finished in 16th position in the #15 BMW M Hybrid V8 after the car required a brief repair in the pitbox about an hour before the end.

BMW M4 GT3, FIA WECBMW M4 GT3, FIA WEC

The Team WRT #46 BMW M4 GT3, driven by BMW M works drivers Valentino Rossi and Maxime Martin, along with Ahmad Al Harthy, fought for the podium in the new LMGT3 class until the end. Ultimately, the trio finished in fourth place, just a few seconds behind the top three. The #31 BMW M4 GT3 reached the finish line in sixth position in class. In that car, BMW M works driver Augusto Farfus shared the cockpit with Sean Gelael and Darren Leung.

The second of a total of eight races in the FIA WEC 2024, the 6 Hours of Imola (ITA), will take place on 21st April.

It certainly was not the season opener we all had wished for. Very positively, in our first race together with BMW M Team WRT in FIA WEC, all procedures worked very well. We must now build on this because we aim to win races and championships.
Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport
It was a tough weekend. In the Hypercar class, finishing P12 and P16 is not really what we were looking for but we got a lot of data and now we have plenty of work to do.
Vincent Vosse, Team Principal BMW M Team WRT

Hypercar class:

 BMW M Hybrid V8, FIA WEC BMW M Hybrid V8, FIA WEC

Sheldon van der Linde (#20 BMW M Hybrid V8, 12th place Hypercar): “The first race of the WEC season is done. It was quite disappointing for the whole team to just miss the points in P12 with a completely clean race from outside and no real mistakes on execution. On the other hand, we have a lot more races to improve this year, with seven more events so I hope we can make some big steps on the car. We are learning a lot with BMW M Team WRT on our side and I believe that we have one of the best teams and will make significant steps. A big thanks to everyone for the hard work these last few weeks for this first race in FIA WEC and without these guys we wouldn’t be here so thank you so much.”
 
Raffaele Marciello (#15 BMW M Hybrid V8, 16th place Hypercar): “It was definitely a tough race. We learnt a lot during this weekend and we will keep learning. We will analyse everything, and we will try to do better at Imola because I believe that we have the potential to be better and that’s why we are here.”

LMGT3 class:

BMW M4 GT3, FIA WECBMW M4 GT3, FIA WEC

Valentino Rossi (#46 BMW M4 GT3, 4th place LMGT3): “It’s a good start to the season as finishing P4 is quite good but it’s a shame to be so close to the podium and to not step onto it. It was a perfect race for us with no mistakes, no track limits. The guys did an amazing job in the pits as well and we just missed a little bit of speed to make it to the podium.”
 
Augusto Farfus (#31 BMW M4 GT3, 6th place LMGT3): “I think we did what we could. Unfortunately, we had that issue in the pit stop with the refuelling, which cost us some time. At least we finished, getting P6 pretty much trouble-free. Now we go from there.”

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