Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 21, 2019… BMW Team RLL returns to Virginia International Raceway this weekend for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin GT Challenge at VIR. The classic 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course, in Alton, Virginia, was the site of the team’s very first victory and double podium finish as well as the first of two consecutive wins for the M8 GTE in 2018.
Connor De Phillippi and Alexander Sims took the VIR victory in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE with teammates John Edwards and Jesse Krohn only some four seconds back in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE in third. This year, the driver lineup sees Tom Blomqvist replacing Sims, who has left to race in the FIA Formula E Championship. This season, BMW Team RLL started with a spectacular win at The Rolex 24 At Daytona. De Phillippi, in sixth place, is currently the top-standing BMW driver in GTLM Driver points. Edwards and Krohn stand seventh and Blomqvist, having missed the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, is ninth. The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is the second GT class only race of the 2020 IMSA season with 22 cars entered from the GTLM and GTD classes this year.
“Obviously, we had a great race at VIR last season, scoring the first win for the BMW M8 GTE,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “I am optimistic about the event this year as we have been showing pace.”
The green flag for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR falls at 1:35 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 25th. The two-hour-and-forty-minute race will be broadcast on NBCSN beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. Follow us on Twitter @BMWUSARacing for news from the pit box and get live scoring and in-car camera views at IMSA.com.
Tom Blomqvist, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “Virginia is another race track well suited to our car. However the last races, pace hasn’t been our biggest issue. I think we will be strong there. I like the layout of the track, it looks fun. We just need to eliminate all the little errors that have been compounding over the previous events and have a clean weekend. We’ll be looking to put the disappointment of the last round behind us that’s for sure!”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “VIR has a great combination of high speed and low speed sections, but also offers some great elevation change as well, making it extra technical. Last year we proved to have a package capable of winning and I know we will have the same this year. Now we just need to execute.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “VIR is a fun and very challenging track, and it’s the spot of the M8’s first win a year ago! It’s also my closest race to home so I’m hoping we can pull off another victory for BMW this weekend.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “I like the GT only races especially at VIR. I prefer being the fastest class on track as you get to decide when and where to pass instead of trying to predict where a faster class car is going to dive bomb you. This, combined with one of the best tracks on the calendar, makes this the most enjoyable GT only race of the year.”
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 348 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 148 BMW motorcycle retailers, 123 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 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.