Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – July 7, 2019… BMW Team RLL finished second and fourth in today’s two-hour-and-forty-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix presented by Acura. John Edwards and Jesse Krohn scored the runner-up finish after starting from the pole position, finishing 1.778 seconds behind the winning Porsche 911 RSR. The result was the first podium of the season for the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE and moves BMW back to second place in GTLM class manufacturer points standings. Tom Blomqvist and Connor De Phillippi finished fourth in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE, less than nine seconds behind their teammates.
Locking out the GTLM class front row in yesterday’s qualifying, polesitter Jesse Krohn opened a gap to the field in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE after the green flag waved, to lead by 3.5 seconds after the opening 30 minutes were completed. Tom Blomqvist, in the No. 25 M8 GTE, fell back from his outside front row starting spot to run in fifth place. Blomqvist pitted on lap 39, just before the one hour mark, to hand off to De Phillippi. Carrying a 15 second lead, Krohn pitted six laps later to turn the No. 24 M8 over to Edwards.
With just over one hour remaining in the race and 77 laps completed in the GTLM class contest, BMW Team RLL began planning their final pit stops. Edwards rejoined in second, 12 seconds from the leader. De Phillippi raced in third, some five seconds behind his teammate. De Phillippi and the No. 25 M8 was the first to stop for service, Edwards and the No. 24 machine stopped three laps later for new Michelin tires and fuel. All GTLM class competitors completed their second pit stops before the race’s first caution flag waved after almost two hours of green flag racing. The yellow flag packed up the field and, with Edwards in second and De Phillippi in fourth, the race to the checkered flag began as the green flag waved on lap 92. A scary crash involving a prototype car brought out a second yellow and then a red flag with 30 minutes to go. The restart left a hard 17 minutes of racing with BMW ultimately second and fourth at the checkered flag.
“This was a good bounce back after a tough weekend at the Glen,” said Brandon Fry, RLL Technical Director. “Both of our BMWs were competitive, but we just did not have quite enough for the Porsches at the end. We will regroup and come back after them at Lime Rock. Congratulations to our BMW brothers at Turner Motorsport for their first win of the season and to Bill (Auberlen) for his 59th all-time victory.”
Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn., will host the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on July 20 with the Northeast Grand Prix. The two-hour-and-forty-minute race will take the green flag at 1:05 p.m. and is scheduled to be broadcast nine hours afterward on NBCSN from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Tom Blomqvist, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P4): “I am disappointed with myself for losing three positions at the start. Ultimately, we had to make some strategy changes to try to make it up, but unfortunately the podium was just out of reach.”
Connor DePhillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P4): “We expected more from ourselves today than fourth, but we lost some performance compared with yesterday. It’s great that the team is back on the podium. Hopefully, that will give us some momentum heading to the next rounds of the championship.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P2): “It is great to be back on the podium, but the result is bittersweet as we had the car to beat for quite a bit of the race.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P2): “A driver always expects a win after starting on the pole, but today just was not our day. We had all the ingredients, but could not get the mix right.”
Round 6 of the 2019 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge, the Lime Rock Park 120, will take place on Saturday July 20th at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn.
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 347 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.