BMW will withdraw from the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2019/20, ending its program with Team MTEK after just a single season racing in GTE Pro.
The German manufacturer’s last FIA WEC race in GTE Pro with the M8 GTE will therefore be next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours. During the ‘Super Season’, the team has thus far failed to win a race, though it has finished on the podium twice, at Fuji and Sebring.
“We will not compete in WEC going forward,” said BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “Therefore, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June will be another highlight for us in drawing to a close – just like in 2018, when we celebrated the successful world premiere of the BMW 8 Series Coupe there.
“But in light of us sharpening our focus as part of our strategy for the future, continuing our WEC involvement in the coming years does not fit with our direction.
“We would like to thank BMW Team MTEK for its dedication over recent years and we wish WEC all the best and hope that it makes good progress.”
BMW’s IMSA GTLM effort will be unaffected; RLL’s long-standing program in North America set to continue despite the marque’s shift in its GTE strategy.
“The global presence of BMW M Motorsport is safeguarded by customer racing and the DTM in Asia and Europe, as well as the IMSA series in North America, even without competing in a world championship,” Marquardt continued.
“The IMSA series plays a central role for us in North America and is developing well. The USA is the most important market for BMW M cars, so it is very fitting to build a direct bridge to our production models there with the BMW M8 GTE.”
Following BMW’s decision to pull the plug on its FIA WEC factory program, MTEK, which runs the current effort, has said it will look for other opportunities.
“Of course, we have to respect the decision by BMW and we are grateful for the opportunities we have been given in the past years,” said MTEK boss Ernest Knoors in a statement.
“At the same time, I have to say that we would have liked to continue as a team. We feel at home in the WEC pitlane and have acquired a lot of experience that we would like to put to good use.
“Now, our full focus is on the Le Mans 24 Hours where we aim at showing a good performance within the possibilities we have with the BoP. At the same time, we will actively look for options for other projects. My ambition for this team is to be involved in competition at the highest level in motorsport.
“The WEC would be the most logical option as that is where we have the most recent experience, but of course, we also still know our way in the DTM and are also seriously looking at other opportunities.”
BMW departure provisionally leaves the GTE Pro class at eight cars for next year. While Porsche, AF Corse (Ferrari) and Aston Martin are set to continue, the future of Ford’s GTE Pro effort is still in doubt beyond this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.