Alexander Sims finished 12th in the 2017 finale of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain, on 1 October 2017. Competing with Rowe Racing teammates Maxime Martin and Philipp Eng in the No. 99 BMW M6 GT3, the trio climbed 15 positions during the race to finish just outside the top ten.
Under wet conditions, Martin set the eighth fastest lap time of 1:59.715 in the weekend’s first qualifying session. Eng followed this with a 1:51.775 in the second session to place 24th, with Sims lapping the 4.655km Spanish track in 1:47.867 during the final qualifying session. Combined, the lap times put the Rowe Racing trio 27th on the grid, meaning there was a lot of work to be done in the weekend’s race.
Eng took the first stint in the three-hour endurance race and had a very strong start, jumping up ten places to 17th on the first lap. By lap six he had improved to 14th and then settled into 15th place, which he held consistently until the pit-stops began. The team decided on using a very late pit-stop strategy to help them climb through the field, with Eng handing over to Sims after more than an hour in the BMW M6 GT3. The 29-year-old joined the jostling pack in 12th place and picked his way through the competitive field to ninth during his stint.
With just over 50 minutes left on the clock, Sims pitted to hand over to Martin for the final stint, finding himself 14th in the order. The Belgian driver improved two places to cross the finish line 12th, with the three drivers having climbed 15 places during the course of the race.
“It was a tough final weekend for us out there. Qualifying in the wet was difficult and we weren’t where we’d like to be. We knew we had a lot of work to do in the race,” says Sims. “Philipp had a brilliant first stint and we all put in so much effort to climb through the ranks and gain positions where we could. It’s a bit of a disappointing finish to the season for the team. Everyone has worked really hard throughout and our highlight has to be a second place at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. I’d like to thank everyone at Rowe Racing as well as Philipp and Maxime for everything this season.”
The race in Barcelona concludes the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup but Sims has one more race on the calendar this season. Next weekend he heads to Road Atlanta in Georgia, U.S.A, for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ten-hour endurance race, Petit Le Mans, with BMW Team RLL. Sims and teammate Auberlen are currently sitting third in the championship standings.