Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – November 14, 2020 . . . BMW Team RLL closed the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with third and fourth place GTLM class finishes in today’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts. With the GTLM class titles decided in the last round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, BMW had its focus set on a second-place finish in the manufacturer championship standings as well as second and third-place finishes in driver points. An equally important goal was to win the Michelin Endurance Cup titles. After twelve tough hours they accomplished all but one of their goals.
John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Augusto Farfus finished third in the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE to secure the teams tenth podium finish of the season. The trio completed 331 laps of the Sebring International Raceway in the 12-hour contest, finishing one lap behind the winning Porsche. Teammates Connor De Phillippi, Colton Herta and Bruno Spengler finished fourth in the No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE after leading significant portions of the race.
The story could have very well ended with a victory but following a late-race restart from the race’s ninth caution period, De Phillippi’s No. 25 BMW was rear-ended by a GTD class competitor while leading and was forced to pit for repairs. The same could be said for the No. 24 BMW that may have finished higher if not for a brake change that lost the car one lap.
The Michelin Endurance Cup title was decided as the race passed its eighth hour. BMW Team RLL raced in the second and third positions thus securing the 2020 GTLM class IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup (IMEC) for BMW as well as the IMEC driver’s and team titles for John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, and the No 24 BMW team. The four-race Michelin Endurance Cup represents the four endurance races in a season and 52 hours of competition.
All-in-all, the third season of IMSA competition for the BMW M8 GTE has been an outstanding one with a total of ten podium finishes, including victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the six-hour Tirerack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, co-driven by Robby Foley, Dillon Machavern and Nick Yelloly (substituting for Bill Auberlen), ran as high as fifth until a suspected brake issue on lap 235 forced Foley to the garage for repairs and ultimately, retirement.
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “Even though we reached our goals of winning the Michelin Endurance Cup and finishing second in the driver’s championship, it feels a bit hollow as we wanted a better result today. The 25 guys executed a great race, and they deserved the victory. It is so unfortunate they were taken out of the win.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “We reached our goals of winning the Michelin Endurance Cup and finish second in the driver points, but today is bittersweet. We had the potential to finish higher in the race.”
Augusto Farfus, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “It is always a pleasure to race with BMW Team RLL. We were missing just a bit of pace today, but we got the job done and I am very happy to have contributed to the team this season.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P4): “This was not the result we deserved. We certainly had the speed to win, but not the luck.”
Bruno Spengler, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P4): “The only word I can think of is “disaster”. After leading the race, making no mistakes all day, a great effort by the team was wiped out. It is difficult to find any other words.”
Colton Herta, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P4): “We put ourselves in the position to win, but a mistake by a GTD car with some ten minutes remaining swept it away. This is a tough one to swallow, but I am extremely proud of the team and am glad I got to play a part this season.”
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 349 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 145 BMW motorcycle retailers, 117 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.