The first 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) proved to be a tough test for the BMW M Motorsport teams and the new BMW M4 GT3. After a race full of challenges, BMW M Team RLL’s two MOTUL BMW M4 GT3s crossed the finish line in seventh and ninth places in the GTD-PRO class. Both cars suffered issues with their underbodies early in the race. Work had to be carried out on the rear diffusor multiple times which cost a lot of time and saw both cars drop well down the field. Turner Motorsport made an impressive fightback in the GTD class and was running in the top five until they were forced to retire after an incident in the night.
“That was a tough race,” said Mike Krack, Head of BMW M Motorsport. “We wanted to keep the number of mistakes to a minimum and, if possible, to get all the BMW M4 GT3s through the race without any incidents. Unfortunately, we did not quite manage that. The GTD car run by Turner Motorsport was unable to finish the race after contact, and both of BMW M Team RLL’s cars encountered problems and ended the race in seventh and ninth place. Although we did a lot of test kilometres during the development phase, this showed that an outing under race conditions poses additional challenges. We must work together to improve the reliability, operations and performance, as we were unable to match the pace of the leaders at any point in the race. We will now analyse all the findings to ensure that we return to the front again at the 12 Hours of Sebring. I would like to congratulate Team Pfaff Motorsports on its victory in the first race of the new GTD-PRO class. Today was my last race outing with BMW M Motorsport. I would have liked to have bid farewell with a top result. I want to thank all my colleagues, the teams and drivers for the trustworthy cooperation over the past few years.”
Sharing the driving duties in the #25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3 were John Edwards, Connor De Phillippi (both USA), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Jesse Krohn (FIN). They finished seventh in their class after 698 laps. The second car, with Philipp Eng (AUT), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Marco Wittmann (GER) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) at the wheel, came home ninth in the GTD-PRO class.
In the GTD class, the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 started from the back of the field but they went on the offensive in the first few hours and managed to fight their way back into the top five. Alternating in the cockpit were Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Michael Dinan (all USA) and BMW M works driver Jens Klingmann (GER). The car was damaged in a collision in the night however, and consequently had to be parked up in the garage.
BMW M Team RLL and Turner Motorsport now have roughly six weeks until the second highlight of this season’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Sebring (USA). They will be joined there by Paul Miller Racing with a BMW M4 GT3 in the GTD class.
Focus on the BMW M anniversary and BMW M Endurance Challenge.
On the support programme for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, BMW M Motorsport and BMW of North America marked 50 years of BMW M with a host of highlights. Immediately before the start of the race, there was a parade of vintage and current BMW M cars, including a BMW M1 from 1980. Three race cars that made history by winning IMSA races were on display at the Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition in the Daytona Fan Zone: the BMW 3.0 CSL from 1975, the 2015 BMW Z4 GTLM, and the BMW M8 GTE that triumphed at Daytona in 2019.
The BMW M Endurance Challenge took place on Friday. The four-hour race, round one of this season’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, was started by Timo Resch, Vice President Customer, Brand and Sales at BMW M GmbH, in his role as Grand Marshal. Victory went to Team RS1. Turner Motorsport also impressed with its two BMW M4 GT4s and made it onto the podium, with Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern (both USA) finishing third. Their team-mates Robby Foley, Michael Dinan and Vincent Barletta (all USA) were fifth.