The MTEK team that runs BMW's FIA World Endurance Championship programme is expecting the German manufacturer to uphold its "responsibility" to find it a new project now it has quit the series.
Last month BMW announced it would pull out of the WEC after just a single season with its new BMW M8 GTE, joining Ford in withdrawing from the series' GTE Pro class.
While the decision didn’t come as a complete surprise to MTEK, it has put the team in a difficult position - and team boss Ernest Knoors expects BMW to help his outfit find an alternative programme for the future.
"We can’t continue in WEC because the decision [to pull out] was made on deadline day to register for next season,” Knoors told Motorsport.com at the official Le Mans 24 Hours test day.
"It’s hard to find a new project right away, but we do have to keep our people employed. We have an exclusive contract with BMW, so I expect them to take their responsibility and give us an opportunity to continue in a proper way.
“We knew things were under review. It wasn’t completely unexpected but it’s only definitive when the decision has been made. We have to accept it and move on."
Knoors sees the termination the M8 GTE programme after just eight races in the WEC as a "missed opportunity" to realise the car's potential, although it will continue to race on in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season.
“We’ve worked very hard and now we were coming to the point where we could reap the fruits of our labour," said Knoors. "It’s a shame we can’t continue to realise the potential of the car.
"Not just for us, but also for BMW. They’ve taken away an opportunity to deliver results. It’s a missed opportunity."
MTEK has its origins in the DTM, where it competed for BMW between 2013 and 2016 with the likes of Timo Glock, Marco Wittmann, Antonio Felix da Costa and Bruno Spengler.
Bruno Spengler, BMW Team MTEK, BMW M4 DTM
But, having devoted the past two years to running the all-new M8 GTE in WEC, the team has metamorphised into a more endurance-oriented outfit.
“DTM is an interesting championship, but for our team structure it’s more logical to continue in endurance racing," continued Knoors. "Our guys, the equipment, the pitstops, everything is geared more towards that."
BoP hit for final WEC race no surprise
The M8 received an additional 9kg and a reduced turbo boost curve for its WEC send-off at Le Mans in the latest Balance of Performance issued for the GTE Pro class.
Knoors says he is not surprised at being pegged back, but vows his team will fight on after ending up 16th and 17th in the GTE Pro times during the test day.
"We would have liked to see something else, but it’s not a surprise. It is what it is,” said Knoors. "If they tell us to race on three wheels, we’ll race on three wheels. That’s it.
"The BoP isn’t helping, but anything can happen here. We’ll have to make sure the car keeps running as fast as possible without mistakes. If that’s good enough for a prize, then great. If not, then that’s all we can do."
#81 BMW Team MTEK BMW M8 GTE: Martin Tomczyk, Nicky Catsburg, Philipp Eng, Antonio Felix da Costa, Jesse Krohn
Photo by: Marc Fleury
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