Alexander Sims secured his second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win in as many weeks in the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, held at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park near Toronto, Canada, on 9 July 2017, taking his No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM to victory lane with co-driver Bill Auberlen.
Sims and Auberlen led over two hours of the 160-minute race and came home leading a 1-2 finish for BMW Team RLL as John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk finished second in the sister BMW.
During qualifying Auberlen posted a fastest lap time of 1:14.103 – just 0.018 seconds off the class pole – to put the No. 25 BMW M6 second on the grid. Auberlen started the weekend’s race and claimed the lead on the opening lap, holding this position until he handed the car over to Sims after one hour of racing.
As all the GT Le Mans class runners cycled through their first pit stops, Sims held onto the lead and remained out in front. During the second series of stops, a refuelling issue meant Sims briefly slipped back two places but it was short-lived.
A close battle ensued between the two BMWs and a Porsche as a downpour soaked the track, made all the more treacherous as Sims was on slick tyres. However, the Brit passed both the Porsche and the sister BMW in the difficult conditions to lead the class, holding them off for the remainder of the race to claim victory for the second time this month.
“It’s been a great couple of weeks for us!” Sims said. “We had a really strong run here at CTMP and led almost the entire race. I’ve got to hand it to Bill for qualifying well and getting a great start off the line, and to the BMW Team RLL who deserve this win so much after giving us such a fast car.
“Our M6 GTLM ran especially well in the wet weather, which was quite an experience as none of us changed onto wet tyres so we had to manage the cars on a wet track with slick tyres! After a tricky start to the year, we’ve got good momentum at the moment so who knows what we can do for the rest of the season. Lime Rock Park is next in two weeks and the track is very similar to this one. I’m looking forward to seeing how we do.”
While the title battle is still all to play for with five races remaining, the string of success enjoyed by Sims moves him much closer to the championship lead. He and Auberlen now have 179 points, trailing the leaders by only three points.
Sims will next be in action in the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on 21-22 July. This is closely followed by the Total 24 Hours of Spa with the Rowe Racing team at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on 29-20 July.
Source. Mel Wicks/Photo. BMW