Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 19, 2020 . . . BMW Team RLL hopes to keep the podium momentum, a third-place finish at Road America in the last round of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, at this Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR. VIRginia International Raceway, in Alton, Virginia, is one of North America’s oldest natural terrain road racing courses. Featuring cars in the GTLM and GTD classes, the two-hour-and-forty-minute Michelin GT Challenge was the site of the first win and double-podium finish for the BMW M8 GTE program in 2018.
BMW recently celebrated the five-millionth vehicle – a Toronto Red Metallic BMW X5 M Competition equipped with a 617-horsepower M TwinPower Turbo V-8 engine – produced at its Greer, SC plant and this weekend BMW of North America is suppling two BMW X5 M SAVs to serve as the safety and pace cars for the weekend’s races. The South Carolina facility is BMW Group’s largest global plant and employs more than 11,000 people who build BMW X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 models for the U.S. market and the world.
This weekend, the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE will be co-driven by John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, the third-place finishers at Road America and two of the four BMW Team RLL quartet that won the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Edwards and Krohn stand fourth in GTLM driver points. Drivers Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler will pilot the No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE. The duo currently stands sixth in GTLM driver points. BMW stands second in GTLM Manufacturer points, one point ahead of Porsche in third and eight points in arrears of Chevrolet.
“We proved at Road America that we that we were competitive again – almost winning the race,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “VIR is a fast, flowing circuit that favors the strengths of the BMW M8 GTE. With good strategy and a bit of luck we can continue to expect a good result.”
In the GTD class, Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley will drive the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. The pair is looking for their first win of the season after scoring their best finish of the season – third – in the Round Three race at Sebring International Raceway in mid-July. Auberlen is only one win away from becoming the all-time leader in IMSA victories.
The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:40 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22nd and will be broadcast on NBC SN the next day from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 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.
John Edwards, Driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE : “VIR has a little bit of everything, with big commitment corners like the esses and Turn 10, mixed with slow, technical sections that make it critical to have a good all-around balance. I love driving the track but it is always one of the hottest races of the year so it will be a challenging one.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE : “I always look forward to the races at VIR. It’s always fun to be the fastest class in a race and because there are no prototype cars this weekend a flawless strategy is a must for a good result.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE : “VIR is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar and was also the site of my first win with BMW in 2018. Bruno and I have shown we have a lot of speed this season, but we just have not been able to put it all together for the win. VIR will be new for him, but he showed at Road America that he can
quickly get up to speed.”
Bruno Spengler, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE : “I only know VIR from iRacing competition so far. The circuit is quite technical and has a little bit of everything. I enjoy the challenge of a new track and look forward to the weekend.”
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 349 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 144 BMW motorcycle retailers, 118 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 29th season of competition in 2020, the team had compiled 51 victories, 62 poles, 189 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 21 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 79 podium finishes as well as a second place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017.