Having recently assumed the role of head of BMW M Motorsport, Andreas Roos has plenty of ongoing projects to oversee. In a recent interview released by BMW, he detailed some of the key challenges that lie ahead, not least the company’s upcoming LMDh entry.
Regarding LMDh, Roos admits that the team is working flat out to have its car ready for a competitive debut at Daytona in 2023. “The development phase in the LMDh project – and we have to be open about this – is tense. It’s a tight schedule and our clearly stated objective is to be racing at Daytona in 2023. And we don’t just want to make an appearance, we want to be competitive,” he says. “That means that we still have a few problems to solve together with our partner Dallara. After an intensive development phase, we now also have an intensive development program on the racetrack to really probe and test the car. That means that we have some really busy days to look forward to, which will demand everything from our drivers, from our team, from BMW M Motorsport and from Dallara.”
A contributing factor to this increased pressure, he admits, is because the decision to join the LMDh class was made relatively late: “It is definitely a challenge. Of course, we would all prefer to have a bit more time, if I’m being absolutely honest, but we don’t have that luxury and we are working flat out. We have already noticed that one or two manufacturers may be having issues. Of course, I hope that they won’t overtake us. It’s clear that our planning does not allow for any errors before the first race. We can also be realistic about this. Things normally don’t always go smoothly and so one or two things will still come along. Of course, there are some manufacturers that have gone one step further and have started on-track testing, for example. We simply have to catch up with that. However, our highly motivated people, our team, give me reason to be positive.”
Roos is realistic that competition in LMDh and the WEC will be fierce with every manufacturer out to claim glory: “There are plenty of good manufacturers competing, all of whom have shown in the past that they can develop racing cars. Our aspiration at BMW is also quite clear, we don’t want to just be making up the numbers, we want to win races. However, it would be presumptuous to assert that we are so good that we can beat everyone right away, and that no-one else has a chance. Our aim is clearly to be challenging for wins and to be up at the front. A race season is long and hopefully we will have a say in the championship battle at the end of the year. But, of course, there are no guarantees in such a tough and hotly contested field.”
Of course, LMDh is not BMW’s only motorsport effort and it has ongoing customer racing commitments, including its recently debuted M4 GT3 car which has suffered its share of teething problems. Roos is sanguine about these issues and hopes they can be quickly overcome.
“It is only natural that many people hope everything will be great when you build a new car. Everything is a totally new development, and it all has to work perfectly. But you also have to say that not everything has gone smoothly in the first races,” he says. “Some problems have occurred that we had not been there before during the development phase, but that is simply the difference between racing and testing. However, we analyzed and understood everything, and it shouldn’t happen anymore. You could see the change in Sebring; the pace is there, the car is producing a good performance and we were battling away at the front. This is added by the first win at the 12 hours Mugello. That is what we are building on now.”