Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – June 30, 2020…This Saturday, BMW Team RLL will restart the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Daytona International Speedway, some four months after beginning the season with the team’s second consecutive victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. In every other case, the two-hour-and-forty-minute IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona would be the singular focus for the team that was sidelined by the world’s Covid-19 pandemic, but BMW Team RLL and the entire BMW family is now sending its love to teammate Alex Zanardi, who was severely injured in a hand bike accident in Italy on Friday, June 19. Zanardi, the multiple IndyCar and Paralympics champion, made his return to the North American racing scene in January of 2019, driving specially-prepared BMW M8 GTE in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“Alex is loved worldwide,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Whichever discipline he has chosen to compete in, he goes after it with an indomitable spirit. His time with us at Daytona last year was something we will always remember.”
Regular season drivers Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler will co-drive the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE. New Rolex watch-owing and GTLM class points leaders John Edwards and Jesse Krohn will pilot the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE.
The IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona will take place this Saturday, July 4th. The race will take the green flag at 6:05 p.m. ET. NBCSN will host the live broadcast from 6:00 – 9:00 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: “I’ve missed the fierce competition and the feeling of battle alongside my team. I’m really excited to finally get back to the race track with my BMW Team RLL family and we will be aiming to start where we left off at Daytona in January. Although I’m ready to return to the track, my heart is with Alex’s family. He’s a star that shines on all of us and I’m praying for strength during his recovery.”
Bruno Spengler, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “Alex is in my prayers every night. We shared a car together in 2015 at Spa and I will remember it for the rest of my life. He is an idol for me. While the majority of our thoughts will be with Alex, on Saturday we’ll share our focus with Daytona for a second time this year. As much as I enjoyed the sim racing season, it will be good to be back behind the wheel of a real BMW M8 GTE.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “First of all, our thoughts are of course with Alex Zanardi and his family as we get ready to restart our season at Daytona. Alex is the most resilient human being I’ve ever met and his positivity after the adversity he’s faced is inspiring to anyone he’s around. In terms of our season, it’s been strange to lead the championship for half a year after only completing one race, but now we have to earn it again. Daytona in July will be a much different challenge than running in January, with different tire compounds required and a much higher demand on our physical fitness. Our focus now is on the championship so we will be aiming for consistent podiums every weekend as we restart our season.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “I have had mixed feelings over the last few days. My childhood hero and a legend of our sport is fighting for his life after a cycling accident and this has been on my mind a lot. Before Alex’s accident I was super excited and looking forward to going back to racing but over the last few days, racing has been less on my mind and my thoughts have been with Alex and his family. Going back to Daytona after our success there in January is something I have been looking forward to and doing my first ever sprint race at Daytona will present us with a new challenge. In a sprint race you are going to need to take more risks than in a 24h race and this is something we have not had at Daytona before. Overall I’m looking forward to going back to racing and hopeful to hear some good news about Alex soon.”
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, 144 BMW motorcycle retailers, 119 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 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 as brought their total to 21 wins – including The 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.