Factory BMW GT driver Alex Sims took the wheel of the BMW Team SRM M6 GT3 racer during testing at Phillip Island today.
The 28-year-old Briton made a flying visit to Melbourne to be on-hand for the team’s crucial test at Phillip Island, ahead of the Australian Endurance Championship round due to be held on the seaside circuit from May 27-28.
Sims joined regular drivers Steve Richards and Max Twigg at the test, completing a number of laps in the BMW Team SRM entry as the team maximises development time before the opening endurance race of 2016.
Sims, who finished fourth at the Silverstone Blancpain Endurance round last weekend in the Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3, said the focus of the test was to pass on the knowledge he and the team in Europe have gained since the development of the new car began last year.
“The team here in Australia is still in the early stages of learning the car, so today was about fact-finding,” said Sims.
“It’s about trying to transfer as much information from my experience, and from the BMW engineer’s experience, gained during the development stages and races we’ve completed over the last 10 months in Europe.
“The raw speed of the car is very good. We’ve done six race weekends on the bounce, every single weekend, over the last six weeks in Europe, so we’ve had a very intense learning period.
“The biggest thing we’ve overcome is optimising the package for each race weekend during practice sessions. At the start, it took us a bit too long – but now we have fast-tracked that and we can be in a good position for qualifying.
“The aim is to speed up that learning phase for the guys here.”
The test was also an opportunity for Sims to experience the Phillip Island circuit first-hand, having admired it from afar for many years.
“Phillip Island is an awesome circuit,” he added.
“I was in Australian once before when I was 14, when I went to Coffs Harbour for a kart race. But this is my first time here in a race car, and my first time at Phillip Island.
“It’s a great circuit. I’ve watched it a lot on TV with the bike grands prix, so it’s great to be here.”
Sims will also join BMW M6 GT3 newcomers, MARC GT, in Queensland for testing on Friday, ahead of their race debut at Phillip Island next week.
Alexander Sims Career Highlights:
– Started in British Karting. Participated for eight years, won the Formula A World Championship. First car race in Formula Renault UK, 2006.
- Finished second in the Formula Renault UK championship with two wins and 12 podiums.
- Won the McLaren Autosport BRDC (British Racing Driver’s Club) Young Driver Award. The prize for this was a test in a McLaren Formula 1 car.
- Graduated into F3 Euro series, finished fourth in the championship (second rookie) with one victory and four podiums.
- Moved into GP3; one win and sixth in the championship.
- Made the shift to sports cars and GT Racing as a McLaren factory development driver. Also competed in the Euro Le Mans Series and selected rounds of World Endurance Championship, including Le Mans.
- McLaren factory race driver alongside a part-GP3 campaign, adding a further GP3 victory.
- Entered the British GT Championship with Ecurie Ecosse in a BMW Z4 GT3, third in championship with two wins and three pole position from eight starts.
- British GT Championship with Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3, second in championship with two wins and two poles from nine starts.
- Six rounds in the European F3 Championship.
- BMW factory GT Pro driver.
- Currently competing for Rowe Racing in BMW M6 GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series (including Sprint and Endurance Cups).
- Two podiums so far in four Sprint starts; currently sitting seventh in championship.