Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 5, 2018… Following the first GTLM class victory and double-podium finish for the BMW M8 GTE program at Virginia International Raceway, BMW Team RLL has its sights set on this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to extend the winning ways. The classic Northern California circuit within sight of Monterey Bay has seen two BMW victories in recent years. The BMW Z4 GTLM won in 2015 with John Edwards and Lucas Luhr behind the wheel and the BMW M6 GTLM was victorious last year with John Edwards sharing the win with Martin Tomczyk.
Both racing cars will arrive ready to race in their respective black and white main livery colors after supporting the Mission: Impossible – Fallout movie for the past three races and only two weeks after the North American premiere, at the 2018 Monterey Car Week, of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe alongside the all-new production BMW M850i xDrive Coupe – the first of a new line of BMW 8 Series models.
“As a team or for me as a driver, historically, we have had great success at Laguna Seca,” stated Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Last year’s win with John Edwards was a tremendous strategic victory for us and John did a fabulous job getting the maximum mileage that was necessary to realize that strategy. I have to say it was probably one of the most satisfying wins I have ever had as a driver or a team owner so we look forward to returning to Laguna Seca especially given the performance of the BMW M8 GTE at VIR. We hope to be in the hunt for the win again, hopefully without such an aggressive strategy as we utilized last year.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “Laguna Seca has always had a special place in my racing career since it is the first ever track I drove a race car on. It is one of my top three favorites on our calendar and it definitely is one of the most iconic circuits in North America. Coming off our first win at our last event, I’m looking forward to keeping this momentum rolling and aiming for another one at my second ‘home’ race of the season on California soil.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “After we secured the maiden win for the BMW M8 GTE last time out at VIR, I’m hopeful that we can get the car dialed in to the very different characteristics of Laguna Seca. It’s a wonderful circuit that’s fun to drive but will pose plenty of challenges for everyone. We need to work hard to optimize the car and our driving to be on the front foot come race day.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “Laguna Seca has treated me very well in the past! We had a win last year in a black M6 and we’re coming back with a black M8 after a double podium at VIR so we have great momentum. I think we have a good shot at the first win for the No. 24 car this weekend. The GTLM field has been super tight the past few races so it will definitely be an intense fight.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “Laguna Seca is an amazing track that even the non-racing fans know about. The team has done a great job over the last few months and the results started to show at VIR. I am confident we can keep a similar performance level at Laguna Seca and I am looking forward to the weekend.”
The America’s Tire 250 will take the green flag at 2:05 p.m. PT and be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for updates all weekend.
BMW Group in America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based in California; technology offices in Silicon Valley and Chicago, and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is the BMW Group global center of competence for BMW X models and manufactures the X3, X4, X5, and X6 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 346 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 127 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan, has been competing for almost three decades. Prior to the start of their 27th season of competition in 2018, the team had compiled 42 victories, 53 poles, 162 podium finishes, three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) and claimed an Indianapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the American Le Mans Series. The following year the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category and swept all three GT titles – Manufacturer, Team and Driver – in 2011. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two car program and has brought their total to 17 wins, 23 poles and 68 podium finishes as well as a second place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017.