Frijns urges “lifelike” BMW expectations in Le Mans ‘huge three’ problem


Returning to the highest class of sportscar racing for the primary time in 25 years, BMW has solely completed as excessive as sixth thus far within the 2024 season, because it tries to catch as much as the competitors after becoming a member of a yr later than most of its LMDh rivals.

Within the opening three rounds of the marketing campaign, Toyota, Ferrari and Porsche appeared to have a transparent edge within the burgeoning Hypercar class, resulting in a transparent break up within the subject between the highest weapons and the midfield runners.

Frijns, who shares the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8 with Rene Rast and Sheldon van der Linde, thinks an absence of expertise has prevented the German producer from taking the battle to the ‘huge three’ in WEC.

“For positive, Porsche took an enormous step ahead in comparison with final yr, it is their second yr,” the Dutchman advised Autosport.

“It is our first yr right here. So we nonetheless have some enhancements to do. 

“Toyota has been right here for [over] 10 years, Ferrari has some good backing from the Components 1 group, which is all linked. 

“So you can’t actually anticipate BMW to leap in and battle on the entrance immediately, however we’re getting there which is an efficient factor.”

Picture by: Alexander Trienitz

Nevertheless, Frijns made it clear that he’s nonetheless aiming for the highest prize on the Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend, with climate circumstances additionally anticipated to throw a spanner within the works and equalise the sphere. 

“I am right here to win,” he mentioned. “I believe all of the drivers are right here to win. So I’m not actually like, ‘ah I wish to end P7.’

“Everyone is right here to win. However we should be lifelike within the race. If we see that we do not have the tempo and we slip and end on the rostrum, that is our victory.

“It is advisable have a very good technique and you should keep out of hassle after which you will have a very good likelihood to be on the rostrum, particularly with the climate forecast being like moist/dry, moist/dry.

“Should you do not do any errors, you set the precise tyres on a regular basis, you might be within the high 5.”

Porsche confronted an analogous studying curve at Le Mans at the beginning of its LMDh programme, with all three of its manufacturing unit Penske automobiles working into hassle and ending exterior the highest 15 within the total classifications.

The Stuttgart model has since circled its fortunes and leads each the drivers’ and the producers’ standings heading into the blue riband spherical of the season, having gained the  Qatar and Spa rounds between Penske and Jota groups.

BMW’s motorsport boss Andreas Roos revealed that he held a dialog with Group Penske founder Roger Penske about his squad’s struggles in 2024, as he defined why it’s troublesome for any producer to win in its first yr.

Though the Bavarian marque already has accomplished a full season within the IMSA SportsCar Championship with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, it’s nonetheless a relative newcomer to the WEC, the place it has partnered with WRT for its Hypercar effort.

“I additionally had some chats with Roger Penske and he additionally mentioned that the primary yr for them was additionally very troublesome,” Roos advised Autosport.

“While you see how tight our schedules are with IMSA races, WEC races all occurring, so the time to actually work and develop may be very troublesome. 

“Typically when you will have one yr underneath the belt to actually say okay these are the areas and you then attempt to work on them. 

“However undoubtedly our objective is to win and when anyone has an edge on us now we have to beat them and work tougher.”

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