Watkins Glen. Three BMWs made it onto the podium in race three of this season’s Michelin Endurance Cup, which forms part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In the GTLM class, John Edwards (USA), Jesse Krohn (FIN) and Augusto Farfus (BRA) finished second in the #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE at the ‘Six Hours of the Glen’ at Watkins Glen (USA). They were followed over the finish line by fellow BMW Team RLL drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA), Bruno Spengler (CAN) and Philipp Eng (AUT) in third place in the team’s second car. Turner Motorsport took victory in the GTD class. Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley (both USA) and Aidan Read (AUS) took victory in the #96 BMW M6 GT3.
With roughly one hour of the race remaining, a yellow phase saw the whole field group together again, making for an exciting finish. In the GTLM class, the two MOTUL BMW M8 GTEs were hunting down the leading Corvettes. Edwards pulled off a brave overtaking manoeuvre to take second place, which he held to finish runner-up behind the victorious #3 Corvette. De Phillippi got the upper hand over the second Corvette shortly before the flag and finished third to join his team-mates on the podium.
Turner Motorsport took victory thanks to a perfectly-timed final pit stop. The final yellow phase came shortly after Auberlen had taken over at the wheel. As a result, the #96 BMW M6 GT3 found itself at the head of the GTD field. Auberlen set about extending his lead, which he defended comfortably through to the finish. The win sees Auberlen and Foley maintain their overall lead in the GTD class of the IMSA series.
Reactions to the race at Watkins Glen:
John Edwards (#24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL, 2nd place GTLM class): “That was really close in the end. I gave it everything and managed to overtake one Corvette. I was also able to put pressure on the other, but it managed to find a bit more speed when I was right behind it. So second place it is. The battle was fun, but the result is a little bittersweet. However, to be honest, at the halfway point of the race I did not think we had any chance at all against the Corvettes.”
Jesse Krohn (#24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL, 2nd place GTLM class): “A flawless race from the entire team was rewarded with two podiums. Unfortunately, it was not quite enough for the win. The Corvette had a little more speed than we did, so we made the most of what was possible for us. An awesome job from the team.”
Augusto Farfus (#24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL, 2nd place GTLM class): “We have every reason to celebrate. Our two podiums and the class win for Turner Motorsport are fantastic results for BMW M Motorsport. BMW Team RLL did a perfect job. We leave Watkins Glen with a smile on our face.”
Connor De Phillippi (#25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL, 3rd place GTLM class): “Third place for us and two cars on the podium – that is a good result for BMW M Motorsport, even if I would obviously have preferred to win. Unfortunately, our opponents were very quick, but we got the most out of our strategy. I fought hard for the podium at the end, and basically passed the #4 Corvette on the last lap. These are important points for us in the overall standings.”
Bruno Spengler (#25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL, 3rd place GTLM class): “I am pleased that the team was rewarded for its fantastic performance with two podium finishes. We obviously wanted to win, but we were just lacking a little pace. We were able to compensate for this disadvantage in the traffic. In the end, however, I think second and third place were the best we could have hoped for.”
Philipp Eng (#25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL, 3rd place GTLM class): “The race was hectic but a lot of fun. It was fantastic to drive alongside Connor and Bruno for BMW Team RLL and to celebrate two podiums. I can hardly wait to return for ‘Petit Le Mans’.”
Bill Auberlen (#96 BMW M6 GT3, Turner Motorsport, 1st place GTD class):
“Today was simply our day. We were actually no longer in our planned fuelling rhythm after a problem during refuelling. However, the yellow phase began exactly at the moment in which we had come in for our final stop. We came out, and all the GTD cars in front of us still had to come into the pits. That put me in front and I just had to keep it clean through to the finish. It worked out superbly.”
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