BMW works driver Jens Klingmann has been a busy man this year. Alongside a full-time ADAC GT Masters campaign with MRS GT-Racing, the 28-year-old from Heidelberg raced a handful of VLN and Blancpain GT races, took on the 24 hours races of Daytona and the Nürburgring, and finished a close second in the 24 Hours of Spa. We asked Klingmann eight questions to look back on the 2018 season.
How many races did you do this year?
“With the 24 Hours of Daytona, VLN and as highlight 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, Blancpain GT Endurance Series and the ADAC GT Masters, it must’ve been around 18 weekends.”
Are you satisfied with how the season went?
“There were–as it goes in motorsports–many ups and downs. With the ADAC GT Masters, for example, I’m not satisfied at all as the goal was and still is to fight for outright wins.
“One highlight was the 24 Hours of Spa where we finished second with the number 99 Rowe Racing BMW.
“All in all it was an inconsistent season where we didn’t show ourselves to be among the favourites.”
What could you have done better?
“It’s impossible to point to one thing in particular over a whole season. At the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, for example, everyone did a great job: from the team to the drivers, no-one made a mistake. It was a sensor in the engine that failed. In the end, we win and lose together as a team, and every detail can make the difference.”
Did you have any negative experiences during the year?
“I didn’t have a negative experience in particular, to be honest. My personal motivation is to always get the maximum out of it and there were many weekends when I went home with a very good feeling.”
What was your best experience?
“Without a doubt the 24 Hours of Spa, the toughest race in the world. With nearly 60 GT3s on track and the best GT drivers in the world, the level is unbelievably high! Every lap is another qualification lap and a sprint over 24 hours.
“It was very intense, both the race itself and the preparation. The races in Blancpain GT Endurance were a part of our preparation and the co-operation with Rowe Racing was closer than ever before.
“You’re in the car and lap after lap you’re fighting for that last tenth of a second for two hours straight.”
Which championship did you enjoy the most this year?
“I’m a big fan of the IMSA championship in the USA, where I’ve raced two full seasons in 2016 and 2017. The tracks are more old-school with more bumps and fewer run-off. On the other hand, the tracks have a lot of character and are demanding. I like the atmosphere, the multi-class racing and the fact that the races are never boring. Nothing is decided until the last minute and many aspects can make the difference. You can win or lose a lot with strategy, how you handle the tyres and your fuel saving. In my opinion, the races have more facets to them and are terrific.”
Who was in your opinion the best driver in 2018?
“In GT racing that’s a very tough question to answer. Many performances and with it results are influenced by the Balance of Performance. You’ll first have to look at your team-mates, as you have the best comparison to them. I think Alex Sims has really shown an extremely good performance. Whether he raced in IMSA with the BMW M8 GTE, the M6 GT3 in Spa, or recently in Formula E in Valencia, it was absolutely superb!”
What will 2019 bring?
“I will again be back on the grid as a BMW works driver, that much I can tell. Where that exactly will be, will be revealed in the coming weeks! You can definitely be excited.”
This article originally appeared on NRingInfo.
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