Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 2, 2020 . . . BMW Team RLL gave a much improved and more competitive performance in this afternoon’s two-hour-and-forty-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar race at Road America, finishing third in the GTLM class with the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE of John Edwards and Jesse Krohn. After spending much of the race in a top-three position Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler finished sixth in the No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE following a rainstorm that came in the last 40 minutes of the contest and turned everything upside down.
In fact, the outcome of the race almost had the No. 24 M8 on the top of the podium, but under a deluge of rain on the final lap, Edwards aquaplaned off the track in the Kink. The No. 25 M8 had equally bad luck, falling victim to a mechanical failure under the final caution period and ultimately ended two laps down.
Both starting drivers, Spengler in the No. 25 and Krohn in the No. 24, got a good jump at the green flag and quickly moved into the third and fourth positions, respectively. On the 16th lap Spengler moved into second place and only 6.5 seconds behind the leading Porsche. Krohn continued in fourth, less than one-half second from third. On lap 21 he pitted to hand off the No. 24 BMW M8 to John Edwards. Never out of a top-three position during his first-ever race stint at Road America, Spengler pitted two laps after his teammate with one-hour-and-forty-eight minutes remaining in the contest. Connor De Phillippi took over the wheel of the No. 25 BMW M8.
At mid-race, with 38 laps complete De Phillippi held third, 19.6 seconds behind the leader. Edwards followed in fourth, 16 seconds behind his teammate. Auberlen, who had taken over the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 on lap 20, raced third in the GTD class only 3.2 seconds from the lead.
With 42 minutes remaining Mother Nature threw a huge liquid wrench in the works bringing rain and hail and a red flag to stop the race. The race clock was restarted with 30 minutes to go to allow the field to circulate behind the safety car and make pit stops for wet tires. The green flag waved with just more than seven minutes to go with Edwards racing the No. 24 M8 into the class lead. On the last lap the heavy pooling of water caused the car to aquaplane and slide off the track. Edwards recovered quickly and salvaged a podium result.
In the GTD class, Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley finished seventh in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. The duo scored their best finish of the season – third – in the most recent Round Three race at Sebring International Raceway two weeks ago.
Round Five of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be held at VIRginia International Raceway on August 22. Follow us on Twitter @BMWUSARacing for news from the pit box and get live scoring and in-car camera views at IMSA.com.
John Edwards, Driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “Although we scored a podium finish, it’s a disappointing day for me after spinning out of the lead. Conditions were very sketchy and, unfortunately, I aquaplaned and was not able to save the car from going off. The team made a great call to go to wet tires on my final stop as the rain was imminent. The result does not reflect what they deserved. Still. we ended up with respectable points so it’s on to VIR.”
Bruno Spengler, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P6): “We had a great chance to win today, but unfortunately we had a failure. The team did a great job and we deserved a better result. We’ll hope for better luck at VIR.”
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, X6 and X7 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 348 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 144 BMW motorcycle retailers, 118 MINI passenger car dealers, and 38 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 29th season of competition in 2020, the team had compiled 51 victories, 62 poles, 189 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 21 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 79 podium finishes as well as a second place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017.