Blancpain GT: Triple Eight Nurburgring drive for BMW factory ace Sims

Top British GT team and multiple touring car champions Triple Eight Race Engineering today revealed that British sportscar racer and BMW factory driver Alexander Sims will drive in the team’s BMW Z4 GT3 entry at the Nürburgring 1000km this weekend (September 19-21).Sims, 26, a friendly rival for the Banbury-based squad in British GT with fellow BMW team Barwell Motorsport, will join forces with former sparring partners Warren Hughes and Jody Firth in a lone PRO-car entry at the fifth and final round of the Blancpain Endurance Series in Germany.Since migrating away from single-seaters towards a GT career last year, Sims has had a successful transition to GTs, taking second-place in PRO-AM at the 24 Hours of Spa and taking two outright victories on his way to assisting Marco Attard to the British GT Championship this year, claiming third place in the standings for himself in the process too.Crucially the 2008 McLaren Autosport Award winner also has significant experience on the Pirelli tyres used in the Blancpain Endurance Series, which will help Hughes and Firth’s transition to the series.Neither Hughes nor Firth has raced in the Blancpain Endurance Series before, but both have experience of the Nürburgring GP circuit. Hughes last raced at the 2.831 miles GP circuit in 2010, taking eighth in the Championship race.After debuting in the top European GT series earlier this year at Silverstone, the English outfit are back and hoping to last longer than the six laps they managed before being unceremoniously turfed out of the race by a GT Corse by Rinaldi Ferrari.The iRacing Nürburgring 1000km event kicks off with free practice at 08:10 BST and 09:55 on Saturday 20th September, quickly followed by qualifying at 16:15 later the same day. The race itself takes place on Sunday 21st September and gets underway at approximately 10:45, wrapping up just before 17:00. Live streaming is available on the series website subject to geographic location, with updates on Triple Eight’s Twitter feed through the event via @888official.QuotesIan Harrison, Team Principal:"The opportunity to stick Alex in the car was one that was too good to miss for this race as Joe (Osborne) is driving for the enemy this weekend in his other job, which is a shame. Alex has recent experience of current BMW machinery and will no doubt be a massive influence in helping us get to grips with the car, track and tyres. We all know what Alex can do and I'm excited to see him in action in a Triple Eight car.Alexander Sims:“I'm really looking forward to the chance of racing with Triple Eight and going back to the Nürburgring in Blancpain. It's got to be one of the most competitive GT3 series in the world and I'm really excited by this opportunity. I’ve done 3 VLN races and the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Schubert this year, so I’m pretty well versed in the track, albeit it normally going onto the Nordschleife, but nevertheless you do most of the GP track. Seeing Warren and Jody now in the BMW, I can relate to what they’re doing a lot more; I think they’ve done a very good job in the past two races. The weight they carry in British GT masks their performance somewhat, so I’m sure for them it’ll be good to run without that. We all hail from a single-seater background and have a good understanding of driving an aero car, and there performances combined with mine mean we should be pretty competitive. There are some damn good line-ups in the PRO class, but I think we’ll be able to bring it to them.”Warren Hughes:Having now experienced the BMW in race trim, we know what its strengths and weaknesses are. It’ll be refreshing to run without the 75 kilos we have in British GT and a longer race will allow both Jody and I to get more involved in the driving. It’s great we can go and do events like this in the same car we use in British GT; it’s part of the success of the category for certain. I love racing at a high level, and this weekend will be exactly that. We’ve seen what Alexander can do in a BMW; hopefully we can combine and turn a few heads.Jody Firth:“The 1000km style events are much more the make up of what Warren and I are used to having competed in LMP2. There’s much more strategy and emphasis on consistency, managing tyres, and of course fuel. The majority of British GT races are just flat-out, go as fast as you can and to an extent Blancpain is too, but it’s different and there are some longer races in the schedule, such as at this weekend at the Nürburgring. I can’t wait to work with Alexander and Warren to see what we can achieve.”Race Weekend InformationBlancpain Endurance Series – GermanyRound 5: Nürburgring GP CircuitNürburgring Boulevard 1, 53520 Nürburg, Germany2.831 miles (4.556km), 12-turn circuitSeptember 19 – 21st, 2014