BMW to focus on reliability early on in WEC Hypercar – van der Linde

The Bavarian manufacturer returns to the WEC for the first time since its single-season assault on the GTE Pro class with the M8 with MTEK in 2018-19, as partner team WRT fields a two-pronged effort in Hypercar with the M Hybrid V8 and M4 in LMGT3.

The Dallara-based LMDh contender has had a year of competition in the IMSA SportsCar Championship with Team RLL, taking a maiden win at Watkins Glen, but van der Linde says BMW’s outlook is cautious as it turns attentions to the WEC against Le Mans Hypercar contenders Toyota and Ferrari that swept the board in 2023.

Asked by how BMW is setting its targets for 2024 with one year less experience in the Hypercar class than fellow LMDh entrants Porsche and Cadillac, 2022 DTM champion van der Linde replied: “We need to be realistic with our goals.

“We can’t expect to go there and start beating Ferrari or Toyota or whatever, we need to really build the car step-by-step, make sure it’s got a good platform to begin with in Qatar.

“We have a very driver lineup this year, we have some really good experienced guys with myself, Robin [Frijns] and Rene [Rast], to really push that programme forward and make sure that the car is not only fast but reliable.

“It’s one thing to work on the car’s speed but you need to make sure that the car gets to the end as well, especially in the beginning phases of the car.

“For us the most important thing is that we get to the flag in the beginning, make sure that we have a reliable car and then we starting work on the speed event-by-event.”

BMW M Hybrid V8

Photo by: BMW AG

BMW M Hybrid V8

Van der Linde has a good baseline knowledge of the M Hybrid V8 from contesting the long distance races in IMSA with Team RLL last year, and said he’s “really pleased with the progress” that the programme has made having enjoyed a much shorter development period than its rivals.

“We obviously started on the back foot at the beginning of last year, the car had a long way to improve,” he remarked.

“But we’ve made some really good steps in the off-season with WRT, they’ve been doing a really good job and as everyone knows it’s one of the best teams you can have in this business.”

The South African added that RLL had been open in sharing data with its Belgian-based partner squad.

“It’s no secret that we get pretty much everything from them,” he noted.

“It’s been a slow start in IMSA, but the development of the car over the season has been really strong, it’s been an upward trend so far.

“From that point of view I believe that we have a strong car to compete and the sharing has been open between both teams.

“So that should obviously speed up the process of learning and really getting to grips with a new car that we haven’t had for Team WRT.”

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