Whether in the DTM, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, or countless other championships: week after week BMW teams and drivers around the world do battle for points, victories and titles. Away from the track too, members of the large BMW Motorsport family around the world are also creating headlines. The “BMW Motorsport News” allows us to regularly summarise all the action for you in a compact and informative manner. This way, you are always up to speed.
WTSCC: BMW M6 GTLM and BMW M6 GT3 test in Daytona.
Three weeks before their race debuts at the iconic 24 Hours of Daytona (US), the BMW M6 GTLM and the BMW M6 GT3 took part in a dress rehearsal at the Daytona International Speedway this weekend. As part of the three-day “Roar before the 24” event, BMW Team RLL and the Turner Motorsport team went head to head with their opposition in the coming season of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WTSCC). BMW Team RLL will field two BMW M6 GTLMs in the GTLM class. They will bear the numbers 25 and 100. The 100 is in honour of the 100th anniversary, which BMW celebrates in 2016. Over the course of the eight test sessions the cockpit of this car was shared by John Edwards (US), Lucas Luhr (DE), Kuno Wittmer (CA) and Graham Rahal (US). Meanwhile, Bill Auberlen (US), Dirk Werner (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR) and Bruno Spengler (CA) alternated at the wheel of the number 25 car. During the first two test days BMW Team RLL made a good start setting the fastest lap times in three sessions. Turner Motorsport was preparing the two BMW M6 GT3s for their outings in the GTD class. BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (DE), Bret Curtis (US), Ashley Freiberg (US) and BMW DTM driver Marco Wittmann (DE) tested the number 96 car, while Michael Marsal (US), Markus Palttala (FI), BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn (FI) and BMW DTM driver Maxime Martin (BE) shared the driving duties in the number 97 car. The driver line-ups will remain the same for the 24-hour race on 30th/31st January.
Three questions for … Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL).
Bobby, what are your impressions of the new BMW M6 GTLM?
Bobby Rahal: “It is an impressive car. Of course it is still new for us and for BMW, but what we see is that with all its electronics and the turbocharger it is more sophisticated and complex than the BMW Z4 GTLM. During testing it’s not about lap times, and we cannot say where we are compared to our competitors. For me it’s more about what the drivers say when they get out of the car, and they’re all very positive. We get to know the car better and better with each test session, and I’m sure we will be prepared come race day here in Daytona.”
How important is having an experienced team, and basically the same drivers as last year when developing a brand new car?
Rahal: “That’s very important, of course. Since we started working together with BMW in 2009 there are basically the same guys working on the cars. So the level of experience is very high, which hopefully will help us celebrate the same success with the new car that we had with its predecessors. The BMW M6 GTLM is like a diamond that we are trying to polish at the moment. As far as the driver line-ups are concerned, I think our guys are the best in the whole series. BMW always gave us great drivers.”
How much fun is working together with your son Graham here in Daytona?
Rahal: “It’s great. It will be his third Daytona 24 Hours with us and I think he did really well so far. I wish we could do even more together but, of course, his focus lies on IndyCars at the moment. I know he likes working together with BMW.”