Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia
WEC 24 Hours of Le Mans

BMW not concerned about Le Mans rookies in WEC Hypercar roster

BMW is unconcerned by the number of Le Mans rookies in its Hypercar roster for next month’s World Endurance Championship centrepiece as it believes it has the best line-up possible.

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

Photo by: Paul Foster

BMW Motorsport boss Andreas Roos believes the credentials of event newcomers Raffaele Marciello, Marco Wittmann and Sheldon van der Linde will negate their lack of experience in the Le Mans 24 Hours on 15-16 June and says the WRT-run programme will have the “perfect combination”. 

Marciello and Wittmann have both won the Spa 24 Hours, while van der Linde has twice finished second in the Nurburgring 24 Hours and is like Wittmann a champion in the DTM.

“Our driver line-up is a very strong driver line-up and there we put a lot of effort in, and also there we had a lot of talks between WRT and us, to have the feeling we have the best driver line-up we could,” Roos told Motorsport.com. 

“We have very experienced drivers who did already Le Mans even with LMP1 cars; we have young, fast drivers who proved already to be able to win 24-hour races, I think we have the perfect combination of young guns but also our experienced drivers.”

WRT boss Vincent Vosse agrees that the Le Mans rookies will not be lacking much to the three BMW Hypercar drivers who have contested the event before. 

Robin Frijns (2021, LMP2) and Dries Vanthoor (2017, GTE Am) are previous class-winners, while Rene Rast has five previous starts dating back to 2014 and finished second in LMP2 in 2016.

“Le Mans of course, it’s different than any other track, but you should not take Le Mans as a difficult track,” he told Motorsport.com. 

“It’s not technical, it’s not difficult. Always [it's] nice to have experience in Le Mans, but [it's] not the end of the world not knowing the track.” 

Race action

Race action

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Van der Linde has been placed with Rast and Frijns in the #20 M Hybrid V8 LMDh, which claimed BMW's best result so far of its WEC return with sixth at Imola, while Wittmann and Marciello are teamed with Vanthoor in the sister #15 example. 

Speaking to Motorsport.com, the South African said BMW deserved credit for giving a chance to drivers without any previous Le Mans experience.

“It’s very exciting, just to have the chance from BMW to take us without experience I think is already hats off to them,” he remarked.

“We know a lot of manufacturers saying ‘you need experience to be here, we can’t take you right now, we’d rather take someone who is a bit older and more experienced, who has done it before’ and BMW has clearly gone for youth, which is very good to see and not the case quite often.

“I don’t think it’s the most difficult track to learn, so it’s mostly about the racing, the multi-class and getting through the night without any issues.”

Van der Linde reveals he is “training a bit more than usual” to prepare for the event, as he is more accustomed to sharing a car with three other drivers in 24-hour events.

Frijns maintains that BMW's mix of event rookies and experienced Le Mans hands “shouldn't be” a talking point, and believes his class win on debut in 2021 demonstrates that drivers who are proven in other categories can be immediately effective at the Circuit de la Sarthe. 

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2, Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg, Charles Milesi

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2, Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg, Charles Milesi

Photo by: Nick Dungan / Motorsport Images

The Dutchman had been a mainstay of WRT's GT3 programme from 2015, but says he was repeatedly denied opportunities to race at Le Mans before WRT stepped into LMP2 as he was unproven at the event.

“I had some contacts with teams that I want to do Le Mans and everybody came back to me, ‘yeah, but you don’t know Le Mans so we don’t take you as a rookie’,” he told Motorsport.com. 

“But then I went there in 2021 and I won it directly. So for me, if as a driver you’re quick, you’re quick, it doesn’t matter where you go.

“Le Mans obviously is 24 hours, everybody wants to do very well, no-one wants to make mistakes, but at the end of the day if you’re a good driver, you’re a good driver everywhere.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article WEC calendar won't expand in 2025
Next article Ford "a long ways away" from WEC podium contention with torque sensor setbacks

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia