Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – March 19, 2021. . . BMW Team RLL will start tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Twelve Hours of Sebring from the second row of the GTLM grid following third and fourth place qualifying efforts from Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn this afternoon. De Phillippi qualified the No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE third with a time of 1:55.062 minutes around the Sebring International Raceway, 0.219 seconds ahead of Jesse Krohn’s 1:55.251-minute lap in the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE. Both BMWs were within only 0.317 seconds of the pole-winning Corvette. De Phillippi will co-drive with Bruno Spengler and Philipp Eng tomorrow, while Krohn will share the No. 24 M8 with John Edwards and Augusto Farfus.
“I was remarking to our engineers that as I watched our cars from trackside, they looked very stable over the Sebring bumps,” commented Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “I believe that will pay dividends during a long, twelve hours tomorrow. Sure, we’d love to be on pole, but it’s all about tomorrow.”
The 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will be the fourth for the BMW M8 GTE, with the 2020 season having been the most successful to-date. This season, BMW Team RLL is focusing exclusively on the four races that compose the Michelin Endurance Cup and began the season with a third-place finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Bill Auberlen, the BMW race veteran and all-time IMSA win leader, Robby Foley and Australian Aidan Read will co-drive the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 in the GT Daytona class. In today’s two-part GTD qualifying session, Foley set the sixth fastest time to gain the sixth place starting position and Auberlen equaled Foley’s effort to gain sixth-place qualifying points.
The 69th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts will take the green flag at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, March 20th. Live race coverage begins at 10 a.m. on NBCSN, moves to the NBC Sports App at noon, before returning to NBCSN at 7 p.m. for the concluding hours. The entire telecast also streams on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Follow us on Twitter @BMWUSARacing for news from the pit box and get live scoring and in-car camera views at IMSA.com.
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “P3 is the good result for a very good effort so far this week. Possibly we can find a bit of improvement when we look over the car this evening, but I’m confident we are ready to race.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P4): “The No. 24 M8 feels good. While we are a bit behind the Corvettes in qualifying, I believe we are in a good window for the race tomorrow.”
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, 143 BMW motorcycle retailers, 116 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 three decades. Prior to the start of their 30th season of competition in 2021, the team had compiled 54 victories, 64 poles, 205 podium finishes, three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011), claimed two Indianapolis 500 victories (Buddy Rice in 2004 and Takuma Sato in 2020) and two Rolex 24 at Daytona victories. 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 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020.
Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 87 podium finishes prior to the start of the 2021 season. The team earned second-place finishes in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017 and was the 2020 Michelin Endurance Cup Champions.