Daytona. BMW Team RLL reached the podium in the GTLM class at the 59th edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona (USA). After 24 hours of racing at Daytona International Speedway, the #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE secured third place. The #25 car completed the classic race in the US state of Florida in fifth position. The Rolex 24 at Daytona represented the first real major highlight of the GT endurance racing season for BMW Motorsport.
Augusto Farfus (BRA), John Edwards (USA), Jesse Krohn (FIN) and Marco Wittmann (GER) shared driving duties in the #24 car. Their team-mates Connor De Phillippi (USA), Bruno Spengler (CAN), Philipp Eng (AUT) and Timo Glock (GER) were also involved in the battle for a podium finish for long spells before losing ground due to a technical problem.
In the GTD class, the Turner Motorsport team competed in its 400th race with BMW. The #96 BMW M6 GT3 was driven by Robby Foley, Bill Auberlen, Aidan Read and Colton Herta (all USA). After 24 hours of racing, the quartet secured sixth place in their class.
The BMW Endurance Challenge, the season-opener in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge 2021, had already taken place at Daytona on Friday. After four thrilling hours of racing, four BMW M4 GT4s crossed the line in positions two to five. Turner Motorsport celebrated a double podium as second place went to #95 with Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern (USA), while their team-mates Robby Foley and Vincent Barletta (USA) finished third in the #96 BMW M4 GT4. They were followed in fourth and fifth positions by the #82 car of BimmerWorld Racing and car #43 from Stephen Cameron Racing.
The next race event for BMW Team RLL, the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA), is scheduled from 17th to 20th March.
Quotes after the Rolex 24 at Daytona:
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL): “It was a tough race; obviously the Corvettes were hooked up and we did the best we could. I wanted better for our guys who had worked so hard. They did a great job but we still have a podium which is not bad in a 24-hour race. With the #25 car we unfortunately had a bit of an issue that cost its chances later on. But still, the drivers did a super job, stayed out of trouble. We have the satisfaction that we did what we could and are now looking forward to Sebring and doing it there.”
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 3rd place GTLM class): “We all tried our very best so I think we can go home with smiles on our faces. We played it well, but unfortunately this time it just was not enough for the win. For me, it is always an honour to come over to this race; it always welcomes me with arms wide open so I can’t wait to come back again! Thanks to everyone for all the efforts.”
John Edwards (BMW Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 3rd place GTLM class): “We really gave it everything today. Unfortunately it just wasn’t enough for the win. I’m really proud of the team, proud to be a part of the team. My co-drivers did a great job and we called the strategy well. Unfortunately, it was not just enough right at the end. Congratulations to Corvette; a well-deserved victory for those guys.”
Jesse Krohn (BMW Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 3rd place GTLM class): “It was a tough race. We won last year. This year we made the most of what we had but it was not enough. Corvette did an awesome job but that also goes for us – there were no mistakes from the team. And overall, it’s nice to be back on the Daytona podium.”
Marco Wittmann (BMW Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 3rd place GTLM class): “Overall, a podium finish is a successful result. Of course I was hoping for the win and to go home with a watch, but in the end, we have to admit that the Corvettes had better pace this weekend; they were slightly stronger and were leading nearly the entire race. I think we still can be proud to finish in P3 on the podium. It is the first time for me to stand on the podium in America so that was a great experience.”
Connor De Phillippi (BMW Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 5th place GTLM class): “The guys did a great job, they had a flawless race; every pit stop was perfect, the car set-up was great, the strategy was great. We were just unlucky with the issue in the end which took us out of contention, but our luck will turn around at some point. We just have to keep our eye on the prize and go for the win at Sebring.”
Bruno Spengler (BMW Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 5th place GTLM class): “For sure, I am a bit disappointed about the final result because we had a chance for the podium today. To fight for the win would have been difficult as we saw that our other car, which had a very good pace, was not quite able to go the pace of the Corvettes. So congrats to them; with a one-two, they did a really good job. It was a shame for us that we had that issue in the last hours of the race. A massive thanks to the team and the mechanics; they were fighting so hard through the night and the day, and made everything work perfectly. It’s awesome to work with a team like that. Now we are going to focus very strongly on Sebring. We are going to do everything to bounce back there. Regarding the incident at the start when it was going green, I went on throttle as we do at every start here in IMSA, and the car in front of me did not quite go at the same time as me, so unfortunately I nicked the rear corner of his car. I tried to avoid him but it was just enough to spin him around. That was a bit of an unfortunate situation but definitely not intentional. Unfortunately, on their car there was quite a lot of damage but these things can happen.”
Philipp Eng (BMW Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 5th place GTLM class):“I once again enjoyed it a lot to be here with BMW Team RLL and BMW North America. We had a great race car with great balance. Unfortunately, we had a technical issue. Otherwise I think we could have had a very good shot at the podium. Congrats to our colleagues in the #24 for their podium finish.”
Timo Glock (BMW Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 5th place GTLM class):“It was hard that we fell back with, I think, eight hours to go when we suffered an issue that affected the engine performance. Until then, we were running really well in the top-three. Connor was even in the lead at some point and he really did a great job to get us in front of the Corvettes, but this is how 24-hour racing is. The team did a very good job, trying everything, also with the #24 car, to challenge the Corvettes. They were slightly ahead of us but in the end we have to take it like it is. Overall it was a great experience. I enjoyed my first appearance here at Daytona. The team did a fantastic job, the mechanics worked really hard over the run up to get both cars into a good shape, as did the engineers. It was great fun.”