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      05-24-2019, 12:35 PM   #7
bradleyland
TIM YOYO
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I have to backpedal a bit on what I said earlier. I'm not sure going mid-engine is the right path for BMW. Historically, they only did that once (M1 Procar), and as much as I'm grateful for it, it ended up being a sideshow.

I think we're reaching a breaking point in motorsports on multiple fronts. If we look back at motorsports history, we see that racing adapts to the broader environment. There's a cycle of progress, punctuated by implosions as series collapse under their own weight (cost). What is salvaged from the rubble is usually a less potent version of what came before. Then the cycle starts over again.

What tension/breakage do we see today? LMP1, for sure. The cost of hybridization in sportscars has proven to be too much. It works for F1 because... well, it's F1. I'm not convinced there's room for hybridization down-market from F1 just yet, and I'm also not convinced that's a bad thing. IMSA, PWC, and Blancpain racing is fantastic, and there are no hybrids.

Then we have GT-cars. There's building tension as the grid has filled up with mid-engine sportscars whose performance is in an entirely different orbit than an actual grand touring car. I mean, can a 488 GTB really be considered a grand tourer? If you ask me, the M8 is far more of a GT than the 488 GTB. The Aston Martin Vantage, BMW M8/M6, Mercedes AMG GT, and Bentley Continental are examples of honest-to-goodness grand tourers. I feel a class split coming, as I'm not sure sanctioning bodies are going to be able to reconcile these differences forever.

The elephant in the room is what effect this will have on the sport as a whole. Adding a new top class for mid-engine supercars (e.g., WEC's maybe-still-born Hypercar) will have repercussions. Everyone wants to race in the top-class, but only a few have the budget. Will BMW even bother to show up if they're not in the top GT class? And what do we do about GT3 and GT4 where mid-engine cars are making inroads as well? There's less grumbling about the cars in these classes being pinned back, but how long will that last? How many manufacturers will show up for the new top class? Hypercar response sure doesn't seem to bode well.

I'd really love to be a fly on the wall at FIA or IMSA right about now. There's soooooo much secrecy in motorsport, I feel like we're not going to have answers until after the fact.
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