Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 21, 2020… BMW Team RLL qualified third and sixth in the GTLM class for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin GT Challenge race at VIRginia International Raceway, in Alton, Virginia. Connor De Phillippi qualified the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE in the third starting position with a 1:41.095-minute lap, only .706 seconds behind the pole-winning Porsche. De Phillippi and co-driver Bruno Spengler stand sixth in GTLM driver points. With a 1:41.716-minute lap, John Edwards will start the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE from the sixth position tomorrow. Edwards and co-driver 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, stand fourth in GTLM driver points.
Prior to this evening’s 15-minute qualifying session, practice time for the team was halved as the day’s second one-hour session was held in very wet conditions and 12 of the 20 cars entered elected not to run, including BMW Team RLL.
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.
In the GTD class, Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley will line up the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 in the second starting position in the GTD class, following Foley’s excellent 1:45.310-minute time in qualifying – only .074 seconds from the pole-winner. 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 NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. as well as the next day from 10:00 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.
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “That was a solid effort. I feel we maximized what we had and made no mistakes. Now we will focus on carrying it all over to tomorrow’s race. Thanks to the team for a great car today.”
John Edwards, Driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P6): “Obviously, I did not put a lap together. After the limited practice time, I made a few mistakes on my last two laps when the tires were up to optimum pressure. Overall, the car felt good and I’m confident we can move up in the race.”
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.