Button hopeful for race day after qualifying eighth

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While still maintaining that McLaren is behind on pace compared to the other front-runners, Jenson Button is hopeful that he’ll have an advantage for race day on Sunday in Shanghai after utilizing the medium tires during the final round of Saturday’s qualifying sessions.

“All the guys in front will be starting on grained soft-compound tires, and I think we’re going to see the high-fuel graining on the soft [tires] that we saw in practice [Friday], so it’s going to be an extremely interesting race,” said Button, who will start alongside Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo in Row 4.

“The first 10 laps tomorrow are going to be eventful; if I can get a good start, I’ll hopefully be able to find some clear air in front of me, and then we’ll see what happens.”

Button’s slow timed lap of 2 minutes, 5.273 seconds in Q3 was by design in an attempt to make up spots on the grid during the aforementioned opening stint of the race.

“It’s such a difficult call,” Button explained. “The racer in you wants to go out…In Q2, we were relatively quick — P7 was a slight surprise, we were quicker than we expected. I felt we got everything out of the car.

“We went for the prime direction. It was a bit of cat and mouse at the end to see who actually does a lap.”

BMW confirms IMSA, WEC GTE line-ups for 2018

BMW Motorsport
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BMW has confirmed its driver line-ups for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns.

In an announcement made at its end-of-year Sports Trophy event on Friday night, BMW firmed up its roster across its factory WEC team and its customer RLL Racing IMSA squad.

Two of the 2018 BMW M8 GTEs will enter the WEC next year, joining a hotly-contested GTE-Pro class that already features Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ford.

BMW factory drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk will share the two cars across the 13-month ‘super season’.

The quartet will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

In IMSA, the RLL Racing team will once again field Sims and John Edwards, who will be joined by the incoming Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn.

BMW also confirmed on Friday night that Tom Blomqvist would see out the Formula E season with its Andretti-affiliated team, having been benched for Kamui Kobayashi in Hong Kong.