BMW driver Alexander Sims says he is “pretty optimistic” about the manufacturer’s chances in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, despite a troubled weekend.
The brand new BMW M8 GTE has been off the pace of its competitors all week and qualified at the rear of the GTLM field in qualifying.
Reliability problems have also hindered the team’s week especially the #24 entry which was hit by a litany of problems in practice, including a sensor issue, an electrical problem and a delaminating splitter.
The final issue is a repeat of a problem that cropped up in Roar Before the 24 testing earlier in the month.
Despite the teething issues, Sims, who will be sharing the #25 car with Bill Auberlen, Philipp Eng and Connor de Phillippi, is confident BMW can be reliable in the race, and more competitive over a stint than it has proved over a lap.
“Now we are in a position to be pretty optimistic,” Sims told Motorsport.com. “Reliability-wise we are looking OK.
“Had you asked us on Thursday, we had some issues to resolve. But I think we’ve overcome them. I’m cautiously optimistic we can get to the end and be in a fighting position.
“It feels like our ultimate pace isn’t quite there, but the car seems to be good in a stint in the testing we’ve done so far.
“I’m confident the pace we’ve shown we can sustain; if the others drop off, then hopefully we can get stronger. We’ll see in the race.”
Augusto Farfus echoed Sims’ comments, but felt the BMW was handicapped by the GTLM Balance of Performance despite the M8 receiving a 10kg weight break after the Roar.
“We have to be realistic,” the Brazilian, who will share the #24 with Jesse Krohn, John Edwards and Nicky Catsburg, told Motorsport.com.
“Every new car in such a race, you expect some issues. I do believe the car will get to the end, I’m not really concerned about that.
“We did some endurance testing, but the level of stress on the car, you’re alone on track, the way the track evolves, it is a lot different.
“Of course we are not happy with how the weekend has gone so far, but the race is about surviving the first 20 hours and then really pushing.
“The BoP did not help us, everybody can see this. It’s pretty frustrating, because when you have a new car you want to shine a little bit and this is not happening.
“But our race pace is better than our single-lap performance. We put a lot of effort in building a race car and not a sprint car.”