Image credit: Marc VDS.

BMW Team Marc VDS begin their European Le Mans Series (ELMS) season with the official test at Paul Ricard HTTT on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 March. It will be the first appearance of the BMW Z4 GTE in the ELMS, driven by Henry Hassid, Jesse Krohn and Andy Priaulx.

There are several new experiences lying in wait for the Belgian squad; as well as the BMW Z4 GTE’s European debut, it is the team’s first season in the ELMS and first with a GTE car. It is also the first on Dunlop tyres, which all the GT cars in the series must run.

Testing at Imola on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 March brought the team a huge step forwards, and gave them their first experience of the Dunlop tyre. All three drivers were positive, with good feedback for the tyre’s consistency and long life over a stint.

There was also a leap towards finding a base set up for the car, a different challenge with a gentleman driver – Hassid – aboard. A consistent and comfortable car is crucial, especially as GTE regulations prohibit anti-lock brakes. Though there are many similarities with the GT3 car, with which the team have great experience, there are plenty of differences to take into account.

Paul Ricard’s test will be the first time the team are alongside their 2015 competitors, and it will be vital for them to gauge their position relative to the field. They will also be looking for further progress with their understanding of the car, before the first race at Silverstone on April 11.

Jesse Krohn, BMW Z4 GTE #52
“Working with the team has been as great as I expected. I’ve seen Marc VDS in competition for years, and they’re just as good as I hoped and even a little bit better. I’m getting used to the car more and more, and learning new things with every single change. Henry has surprised me – he’s really quick, really on it and he’s working very hard on his driving. He’s a good addition to the team, and a very important one. Our target is to win the ELMS, and we’re working as hard as we can to achieve that goal. So far the feeling within the team is really positive, so I’ve got good feelings for this season.”

Sebastien Metz, Technical Director
“I’m really interested to get to Paul Ricard and see where we stand in this ELMS field. If we are realistic, we can’t expect to win every race, because we are the first to run this car on European tracks, and we’re racing against hugely experienced teams. This is a fantastic car, but we’ve had very little running and that makes our task a little difficult. Saying that, I believe that if we focus we can have a great season. We made good progress with the recent Imola test – it was the first time we’d run the GTE car on the Dunlops. The tyre is quite consistent as a whole, and we can see the performance is there, so the first feedback is definitely positive. I just want to get the racing underway now!”