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I'm a BMW fan, so pretty disappointed with the results at Sebring 12, but at least Corvette Racing shut the triple crown door on the Ford GT
For a while there I thought it was gonna happen lol
Playseat and Thrustmaster TX 458 Italian | Xbox One and PC |
More data / analysis...
The B Pillar put together this incredible box plot of lap performance at the Sebring 12. Keep in mind, it looks like this data was generated from each driver's top 20 laps.
Alexander Sims might be the most underrated driver on BMW's roster. I forgot the poor guy's name when I met him at Rolex 24. He extracted more performance from the #25 car than some other BMW drivers with very strong credentials. Let's hope BMW can hold on to him.
The #24 and #25 car suffered dismal performance in the race. Only Sims was able to salvage anything that could even challenge the bottom half of the GTLM line-up.
Antonio Garcia's 20th fastest lap is faster than any lap turned by a BMW M6 GTLM the entire race. The M6 GTLM is the only car on the grid that was shut out under this criteria
In GTLM, the fastest lap of the race was 117.8 seconds, set by Patrick Pilet in the #911 car. Looking at fastest laps the spread was:
- +0.00s : #911 Porsche 911 RSR (Patrick Pilet)
- +0.10s : #68 Ford GT (Stefan Mucke)
- +0.20s : #66 Ford GT (Joey Hand)
- +0.30s : #3 Corvette C7.R (Antonio Garcia)
- +0.30s : #67 Ford GT (Richard Westbrook)
- +0.40s : #4 Corvette C7.R (Tommy Milner)
- +0.60s : #912 Porsche 911 RSR (Kevin Estre)
- +0.70s : #62 Ferrari 488 GTE (James Calado)
- +1.10s : #25 BMW M6 GTLM (Alexander Sims)
- +1.30s : #24 BMW M6 GTLM (Nicky Catsburg)
Just look at Patrick Pilet's laps when he's pushing. The #911 car's fastest qualifying lap was 116.4 seconds (set by Dirk Werner; a former BMW driver, btw). Pilet put in some real hero laps towards the end.
This is Vanthoor's first year driving for Porsche. While Porsche are renowned for winning races, they're also renowned for requiring a slightly different driving style. Looks like Vanthoor might be finding his footing.
The spread in lap time distribution between Antonio Garcia and the rest of the #3 team is... uh... striking.
Is it just that the M6 is a bad racing platform, do they need more restrictor help, what seems to be the problem? I know BMW is returning to LeMans next year with an all new car which I'm assuming is their version of the Supra that they are co-developing with Toyota. I wonder if they will try to introduce that car early for the 2018 season kind of like Ford did with the GT. Race car before street car kind of thing.
Xbox 1 - Fanatec CSW V2 wheel - Fanatec V3 pedals
I try to watch closely to see how the M6 performs along side the competition, so I have some thoughts.
At Daytona, the M6 GTLM was getting passed on the oval consistently. With a GTLM car, this usually indicates a power-deficit. I even saw the M6 GTLM get passed by a GTD Huracan. There's no way a GTLM car should be passed by a GTD car, even under fuel conservation. Around Sebring, the leading GTD car was (on average) around 4 seconds slower than the leading GTLM car, on a 2-minute lap.
The handling of the M6 GTLM appears pretty loose as well. I don't know if the team are running low-downforce in an effort to keep vmax up, but the car is definitely not on-par with its competition. At one point, the #25 car ended up in 2nd place because of pit strategy. I watched the M6 GTLM fight to hang on to position, which resulted in the #25 car chasing various other GTLM cars briefly. There was a moment at Sebring that even the Radio Le Mans commentators noticed. The C7.R shot through some esses like an arrow, with the M6 GTLM in hot pursuit. The M6 GTLM tail was wagging like a drift car. It was really bizarre.
What's hard to say is how much of this is down to engineering and strategy. BoP is handed out (theoretically) based observed pace. Team engineering decisions can impact how close to the ragged edge the car is. If you put everything on the table, and you get the pace close to the competition, you might not get the BoP package you need. Meanwhile, it's obvious that other teams run more strategic races. Just look at the #3 Corvette. Antonio Garcia poured it on late in the race. That car was not running as hard as it could the whole race.
So unfortunately, it's hard to tell from my armchair, but it appears BMW RLL's problems run deeper than something as simple as the M6 GTLM being a bad platform. I do think it's telling that BMW are planning a return to Le Mans in a new GTE car. The question is whether RLL will pay for the upgrade in the same year (2018), and whether BMW will make it available to them, or if they'll have to wait until after Le Mans. I would expect BMW to follow a similar plan of action as Ford did with the new Ford GT LM: introduce the car in IMSA, and use Rolex 24 and Sebring 12 as your tests for Le Mans. That's what I hope they do, anyway.