Race Result: Fifth place finish for Tom Blomqvist on WEC debut

Race 1 Race 2

9th May 2018

Tom Blomqvist and teammate, António Félix da Costa, put together a comprehensive World Endurance Championship debut to finish the 6 Hours of Spa in 5th place and secure their first points of the season.

This weekend marked Tom’s first race in the BMW M8 GTE as he joined his former BMW factory driver, António Félix da Costa, behind the wheel on the #82 Team MTEK BMW. After his involvement in the prologue last month, Tom headed to Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, looking to help BMW get off to a solid start in the World Endurance Championship as he filled in for the regular driver, Augusto Farfus.

With action starting on Thursday, with the first practice sessions of the weekend, Tom got his first running around Spa in the all-new M8 GTE and instantly got up to speed - posting the fastest lap time by any BMW driver as he secured 6th place in the GTE Class at the end of the first practice. Tom once again posted the fastest time by a BMW driver in the second session of the day as the #82 finished free practice two in 9th place.

Friday played host to the final practice and qualifying and the day got off to a hot start for Tom and the #82 BMW. Finishing the final practice of the weekend in 2nd place in class, Tom posted the fastest lap by any BMW driver for the third session in a row with a 2:14.225-minute lap time as he led the charge for BMW at Spa-Francorchamps.

For qualifying in the World Endurance Championship, both drivers must each set at least one timed lap during qualifying. The average of the two best lap times (the best from each driver) will serve as the reference time for establishing the grid.

Tom was first to go out for qualifying and set a rapid lap time of 1:13.683, leaving the #82 BMW M8 GTE provisionally in 5th place as António Félix da Costa headed out for the second half of qualifying. António made sure the #82 secured 5th place in the GTE Class as the team finished the session with an average qualifying time of 2:14.017.

Saturday’s six-hour race took place in perfect racing conditions with the sun beaming down on the circuit. António started the race in the 5th place and held the position before handing the car over to Tom around the two-hour mark.

In a race of their own, Tom and António kept the #82 out of any drama and drove it home it home in 5th place to round off an impressive World Endurance Championship debut for Tom and BMW - picking up 10 drivers’ championship points and leaving Belgium 5th in the GTE standings.

Tom was pleased with his personal performance as he ended qualifying and every practice session as the fastest BMW driver.

“We have to be happy with that result in our WEC debut. We weren’t as quick as the Ford and Porsche, even the Ferrari, so fifth was the best we could have hoped for. I’m happy with my personal performance – my pace in qualifying and the race was good and I feel António and I got the most out of the race.”

Ernest Knoors (Team Principal BMW Team MTEK) saw this as a big learning weekend for all involved but was pleased with how the weekend finished.

“I think it’s a weekend with positives and negatives, but that’s to be expected in our Championship debut. The positive is that we got two cars to the finish with good results and with no issues. The Munich-based team did a very good job to get the cars here and so well prepared, and the team here at Spa this weekend did a great job throughout. There is a lot to learn but we’re off the mark to a good start.”

“The new BMW M8 GTE has passed its baptism of fire in its maiden FIA World Endurance Championship race in Spa-Francorchamps” commented Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director).

“The interest in our WEC debut and in our new car was huge. It was great to see how we were welcomed by the fans and the series as a whole. Fifth for our number 82 is a solid start. The second car lost time during an early pit stop, due to no fault of the team, when the safety car was deployed at the very same time. With the experience from this race under our belts, we will now put our full focus on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This will be a truly special spectacle, which we are looking forward to excitedly.”