Alexander Sims and BMW Team RLL delivered a consistent performance amongst fierce competition to secure sixth place in the 12 Hours of Sebring, held at the Sebring International Raceway in central Florida, USA, on 18 March 2017.
The 12-hour endurance event was the Cambridgeshire-based driver’s second race of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with Sims teaming up with co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Kuno Wittmer in the newly-renumbered #25 BMW M6 GTLM. Following a strong run to eighth in the GT Le Mans class in January’s season-opener, the trio posted another impressive performance to finish sixth in class and 12th overall at Sebring, out of a field of 46 cars.
A debutant at the historic Sebring circuit, Sims took qualifying duty in the #25 BMW, and set a lap time of 1:56.660. While this was just 0.7 seconds slower than the polesitter, it put the team ninth in the GTLM class field, demonstrating the level of competition and high quality of this category.
Taking the opening stint, Sims improved the BMW’s position to seventh over the first 20 minutes. By the time he pitted to hand the car over to co-driver Auberlen, Sims was running sixth, having passed both Porsches in the class.
Over the course of the race, which ran from 10:40 a.m. to 10:40 p.m. local time, Sims completed a total of four hours, 48 minutes behind the wheel, more than either of his co-drivers.
The car ran consistently for the remainder of the race and was seventh in class and 12th overall for much of the second half. With 30 minutes on the clock, Auberlen got the BMW into sixth in the GTLM standings, eventually finishing one minute, 18 seconds behind the class-winning Corvette.
While it wasn’t the result he was hoping for on his Sebring debut, Sims is nevertheless pleased with running a consistent race, during which the #25 BMW only spent 13 minutes in the pitlane, much less than many of its competitors.
“I really enjoyed Sebring, and the car actually felt quite nice to drive, with a good balance,” Sims said. “It was a real challenge, especially after night fell with Sebring’s bumpy surface, but it was good fun.
“I would have loved to be fighting for top positions, but the field is just so competitive. I’m still delighted with the consistency and reliability that the M6 showed this weekend. We can take a lot away from these two endurance races and focus our efforts on the sprint races coming up.”
Following a pair of Floridian endurance races, the WeatherTech Championship changes pace for its third round, with a trip across the United States to California. The field will reconvene on the Long Beach street circuit, for a short 100-minute race on 8-9 April 2017.
Source. Mel Wicks