Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – June 22, 2021 . . . This weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours Of The Glen will be the shortest race BMW Team RLL will face in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season as they look to defend their 2020 GTLM class Michelin Endurance Cup title. Focusing exclusively on the four endurance races that comprise the Michelin Endurance Cup in the final season of competition of the BMW M8 GTE, the team has already scored three podium results in the first two races. A third-place finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona to start the season was followed up by a double-podium (second and third places) result at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
Sunday’s six-hour race will mark the final time fans can see the BMW M8 GTE compete at the classic Watkins Glen International circuit. The last time BMW won the 6 Hour was 2017 with a BMW M6 GLTM driven by Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims. This year also celebrates the 35th anniversary of the only win for the BMW GTP program at Watkins Glen in September of 1986.
The driver lineup for the race will be anchored by the four 2020 full-season drivers; Connor De Philippi and Bruno Spengler in the No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, and John Edwards and Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE. Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus will serve as additional co-drivers in the No. 25 and No. 24 M8 GTE, respectively.
Earlier this month, the team completed two successful days of testing at the Glen in preparation for the race.
“Based on the results of the test at the Glen we can be very encouraged,” stated Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We have had some good qualifying results in recent years, but podium finishes have eluded us. There is nothing easy about Watkins Glen. It demands a great deal from a driver, but that is what makes it a track that is always looked forward to.”
Bill Auberlen – BMW veteran and all-time IMSA win leader, Robby Foley, and Australian Aidan Read will represent BMW in the GT Daytona class, co-driving the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. Auberlen and Foley were recent winners two rounds ago at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen will take the green flag at 10:40 a.m. on Sunday, June 27th. A three-hour recap will be broadcast later the same day on NBC SN beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. The entire race will stream 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.
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “Watkins Glen is definitely my favorite track in the U.S. and after we didn’t get to race here last year, I’ve been itching to get back! The elevation changes and high average speeds have always made this a special place, but since the track got repaved a few years ago, it added even more grip to an already fast circuit. After a couple podiums to start out our season, I would love to get our first win of 2021 at this awesome track to keep us in the fight in our title defense of the Michelin Endurance Cup.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “I have always enjoyed racing at Watkins Glen. BMW Team RLL has always proven competitive there and this year we are looking very strong.”
Augusto Farfus, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “This will be my first-time racing at Watkins Glen. On paper and in the simulator, it looks challenging and looks to be a track I will enjoy. We have two podiums from two races so far this season so let’s keep up the good work.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “After two years away from Watkins Glen, it is great to finally be back to one of my favorite racetracks. The M8 has always performed very well there, and I’m confident we can give our M8 an excellent final showing at this historic track. The No. 25 car boys are ready for a win after being so close in the previous event!”
Bruno Spengler, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “Our test this month was my first time at Watkins Glen, and I thoroughly enjoyed the track. Last year, the six-hour race was moved to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta because of Covid-19 and Connor and I won that race. It looks me that traffic management will be one of the keys to success this weekend.”
Philipp Eng, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “I am very much looking forward to my first laps around the great circuit of Watkins Glen. We had a good run in Sebring finishing second. I really enjoy my racing in IMSA together with BMW Team RLL and I really hope that we are scoring another strong result at the Glen!”
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; a technology office in Silicon Valley, 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, 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.