BMW confident of avoiding repeat of Daytona dramas on WEC LMDh debut

BMW is undertaking its biggest sportscar racing programme since the V12 LMR last raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999, when it won the race outright with Yannick Dalmas, Pierluigi Martini and Joachim Winkelhock.

But the German manufacturer heads into this weekend’s Qatar 1862km event on the back of a troubled showing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship’s blue riband event in Florida, where the best of M Hybrid V8s finished 13 laps down in seventh place.

However, BMW doesn’t see the result in Daytona as a concern for the start of its WEC project, having put in a significant amount of work to iron out the issues with its Dallara-based LMDh contender that made its IMSA debut last year.

Apart from the efforts put in back at its base, BMW also racked up a number of laps with the car in conjunction with its WEC partner team WRT, including at a 24-hour test in Spain, in order to be in best possible shape for the 10-hour fixture at the Losail International Circuit.

Speaking to on Wednesday, BMW motorsport boss Andreas Roos expressed optimism about the reliability of the car for its first year of competition in the WEC.

“The car was quick enough to be on the podium but we had reliability issues,” he said.

“This was our highest priority in the last few days from Daytona to now, to attack them and to get them solved.

#15 BMW M Team Wrt BMW M Hybrid V8: Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello, Marco Wittmann

#15 BMW M Team Wrt BMW M Hybrid V8: Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello, Marco Wittmann

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We are confident what happened there shouldn’t happen here but you never know.

“But this is for sure the highest goal, because at the end we do endurance racing and as it is nicely called, first you have to finish, to finish first.

“So this is why the reliability is always a big topic and this is what we mostly work on, that we are sure that the cars are reliable.”

BMW enjoyed a brief stint at the front in the 24-hour classic at Daytona, but its hopes of a big result were crushed when both its Rahal Letterman Lanigan-run cars were beset by technical issues in quick succession just before dawn broke in Florida.

The #25 BMW M Hybrid that led a number of laps with three-time DTM champion Rene Rast at the wheel lost a significant chunk of time with a leak in the gearbox cooler, while the sister #24 car stopped on track with an electric drama and had to be towed back to the pitlane.

Dries Vanthoor, who was driving the #24 BMW when it crawled to a halt at the Daytona International Speedway, echoed Roos’ response about the efforts BMW had to turn the M Hybrid V8 into a more reliable challenger.

“We had a few setbacks, but it was the second 24 hour race for the car,” he told “

“We of course had some setbacks but back in Munich they took that very quickly and did their homework and already made some improvements for that to not happen again.

“Normally they have their homework done now. So it should be fine.”

Sheldon van der Linde, who will partner his DTM team-mate Rast and Robin Frijns in the #20 entry in WEC this year, stated that the strides BMW has made on the reliability front means it can now shift focus on improving the performance of the car.

“We have done a lot of testing,” the South African told “We went to Aragon for a 24-hour endurance test in the last month, so that’s gone really well.

“We managed to run the test with almost no issue. We have done a lot of testing in between IMSA for the WEC championship specifically with WRT.

“So in terms of testing we have done a lot of mileage in the car which is important.

“Reliability is step one, once that is sorted, which it is now I believe, we can work on performance.”

Rast was more cautious about making any conclusions about the reliability of the car, saying it won’t be clear if the work BMW has put in will pay dividends until the end of the Qatar weekend.

“Obviously on the reliability side we had some issues. We tried to solve them,” he told

“We had a couple of test days and hopefully sorted them, but we don’t know. We will see in couple of days if the car is actually running without issues.”

However, when asked if he had any concerns for the Qatar race, which is now the second-longest round on the calendar after Le Mans, he said: “Hopefully not. Obviously it’s longer but the car is built to last 24 hours of Le Mans so hopefully it will last 10 hours.”

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