BMW wants larger GTLM field to commit to IMSA

BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt says discussions are ongoing with IMSA about how to make the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's GT Le Mans class more "attractive" following Porsche's exit.

BMW wants larger GTLM field to commit to IMSA

In June, it was announced that Porsche will be withdrawing its CORE autosport-run factory operation from IMSA's GTLM division, potentially leaving just Corvette's pair of C8.Rs and BMW's two Rahal Letterman Lanigan-operated M8 GTEs in 2021.

While there was some speculation that GTLM could be merged with the GT3-based GT Daytona division, IMSA confirmed in its State of the Sport address this month that GTLM will stay for at least one more season, with LMP3 being brought in as a fifth class.

Asked for his opinion on BMW being faced with just one rival manufacturer in GTLM next season, Marquardt suggested more teams could be encouraged to enter the class.

"That’s something we are discussing with IMSA and asking for their plans in that respect, because obviously the smaller the [GTLM] field the less attractive it is and that’s the current discussion we have and we need to see what comes out of that," said Marquardt.

"But IMSA is working on solutions to not just have two manufacturers in one class."

In a previous press conference, Marquardt suggested that Ferrari, which hasn't had a regular presence in GTLM since the 2017 season, was "working on something".

#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE: Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella, Alessandro Pier Guidi

#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE: Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella, Alessandro Pier Guidi

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Contacted for comment about any potential increase in the marque's IMSA involvement, a Ferrari spokesperson said: "We cannot comment what another manufacturer is saying, of course. So far, we are confirming only the WEC programme [for 2021]."

Besides Ferrari, the only other manufacturers with eligible GTE cars are Aston Martin and Ford - which itself withdrew from the GTLM class at the end of 2019.

In a statement provided to Motorsport.com, IMSA President John Doonan said: “As we announced in our State of the Sport presentation, the GT Le Mans class will continue in 2021, so cars homologated to GTE technical specifications will continue to be eligible to race in the WeatherTech Championship next season.

"At the same time, we recognize the evolving landscape of GT racing and are actively working with all of our current and prospective manufacturer partners to build a long-term solution. 

"IMSA shares the same desire as the manufacturers to have robust competition in all of our classes, and we are confident that we can work together to achieve our goals.”

Read Also:

shares
comments
Porsche pulls out of Mid-Ohio IMSA round
Previous article

Porsche pulls out of Mid-Ohio IMSA round

Next article

Acura prototypes to be run by Taylor, Shank in 2021

Acura prototypes to be run by Taylor, Shank in 2021
Load comments
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Prime

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with teammates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022
How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories Prime

How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories

It took Pipo Derani no time at all to establish himself as a winner in IMSA, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours on his first two starts in 2016. But it took until the final corner of the 2021 season before he could become its champion, the culmination of a journey that he believes has made him a better driver.

IMSA
Jan 16, 2022
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021