Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – July 8, 2018… BMW Team RLL finished the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, in the seventh and eighth positions in the GTLM class, the result belying a race that saw both BMW M8 GTE machines lead some portion of the contest.
The No. 25 BMW M8 GTE finished seventh – only 13.7 seconds from the class winning No. 67 Ford – with Connor De Phillippi and Alexander Sims sharing the driving duties. The No. 24 BMW M8 GTE, of John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, was forced to retire from the lead of the race on lap 61 after contact damaged the car.
The first caution period of the two-hour-and-forty-minute race came only 15 minutes into the contest and the team elected to split strategies between the two BMWs. Sims pitted the No. 25 M8 GTE from seventh for full service along with the balance of the GTLM field while Krohn stayed out to inherit the class lead. Krohn dropped two positions before pitting for service on lap 45 and handing off to Edwards who rejoined the race in the eighth class position. The third and fourth caution periods
bookended the race’s halfway point with Sims having cycled to first and Edwards close behind in second. Unfortunately, contact with the No. 911 Porsche just two laps after the green flag waved on lap 59 forced the No. 24 M8 GTE to the pits with right rear suspension damage. The car was unable to rejoin the race, retiring after 61 laps completed.
Sims pitted the No. 25 M8 GTE on the same lap, handing off to De Phillippi to finish the race. The Californian rejoined the race in the seventh position, ultimately finishing there after being unable to move up as the race was slowed through two additional caution periods.
BMW Customer Racing Team Turner Motorsport did not enjoy a second consecutive winning weekend. Contact with the No. 58 Porsche forced the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 to retire on lap 63 after strong drives by co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley.
“We split our strategies and both cars benefitted at certain times in the race, but ultimately we didn’t get the result we wanted”, said Brandon Fry, BMW Team RLL Technical and Racing Operations Director. “We thought we were in a good position with the No. 24 but then the contact on the track ended our day.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P7): “We were a bit out of sequence in the last hour of the race due to our strategy choice. On one of the last restarts we were able to get past one of the Porsche’s, but when battling with a GTD car when we were lapping him we lost the position. It felt great to be in the mix and battling in the last twenty minutes of the race, but we need to continue to work hard.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P7): “If the safety cars worked out a little bit differently we could have been in position for a better result. Unfortunately nothing really played into the strategy. At the end we were in seventh before anyone pitted and finished seventh. Shame for the No. 24. They seemed to have the strategy figured out and it looked like it was working out for them until the contact with the Porsche. Overall it was a good effort from the team.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P8): “The team made a good strategy call splitting the cars on the first yellow. Ultimately I think we had a shot at a podium but we got driven off the road and that ended our race.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P8): “The car felt good, we were close and had a good strategy going on but unfortunately we weren’t given the chance to finish it out and had to retire.”
Round 7 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Northeast Grand Prix, will be held on July 21 at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn.
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 the Rolls-Royce brand of 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 part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 346 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 127 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 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 almost three decades. Prior to the start of their 27th season of competition in 2018, the team had compiled 42 victories, 53 poles, 162 podium finishes, three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) and claimed an Indianapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). 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 17 wins, 23 poles and 68 podium finishes as well as a second place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017.