BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen has admitted that the M3 GT2 car is not capable of challenging for class honors at Le Mans.
The German manufacturer's two cars were more than five seconds slower than the class-leading Risi Competizione Ferrari in Wednesday's first qualifying session and, although he does expect the gap to close, Theissen does not believe BMW can match the pace of the leading Ferraris, Corvettes, Fords or Porsches. He puts the marque's struggles at least partly down to the changes it has had to make to the M3 for the ACO's regulations.
"There has been a lack of testing time," Theissen said. "We had to really strongly modify the rear suspension and there was almost no chance to test the car.
"On Wednesday, we took all the time – including qualifying – to do initial setup work. We have worked overnight to draw the conclusions and set up a program for today. I hope it will stay dry because there is lots more to do to be ready for the weekend. That certainly explains why the performance in the race will be better than the performance before.
"We know we have a handicap in terms in pure lap time and in terms of performance. We have got an additional handicap for this race of a smaller restrictor – we saw yesterday that we are trailing a few seconds a lap behind. I hope we can cut the gap by one or two seconds in race mode, and then it's up to race luck what we can achieve.
"The car is really strong and reliable, and that makes me confident to finish the race. It's just about staying out of difficulties, accidents, the car should be reliable and then we will see what we can do."