The annual trip to Road America for the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Showcase is always a highlight for BMW Team RLL. The classic Wisconsin circuit was the site of BMW Team RLL’s very first pole position and victory in 2009 behind the efforts of Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand in their BMW M3 GT. Over the past eight seasons the team has scored an additional two poles and seven podium finishes at the historic motor circuit, including two more wins in 2010 and 2012.
Sunday’s two-hour-and-forty-minute race will see the team looking to add to the positive results for the all-new BMW M8 GTE. To date, in the first seven rounds of the year the M8 GTE has scored two pole positions and two second place finishes at Sebring and Mid-Ohio
When the pair of new BMW M8 GTE race cars started their engines and pulled onto the track at Daytona International Speedway for their first practice lap in January, it signaled the start of the countdown clock until the arrival of the new 2019 BMW 8 Series. After a 20 year hiatus, the latest version of BMW’s iconic 8 Series, the 553 hp M850i xDrive Coupe arrives in showrooms on Dec. 8th. The BMW M850i xDrive Coupe and the BMW Concept M8 Grand Coupe will have their North American debuts on Aug. 23rd at The Lodge at Pebble Beach.
From the manicured courses of the Monterey Peninsula to the black tarmac of America’s oldest race tracks, BMW’s history of showcasing track capable high performance cars has grown into a diverse customer racing program in 2018 with this weekend’s races being no exception.
Turner Motorsport has entered Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley in the No. 96 TMS BMW M6 GT3. Turner has won the GTD class twice before at Road America. First, with the BMW Z4 GT3 in 2014 during their championship winning season and in 2017, before joining BMW Team RLL this year, Jesse Krohn co-drove the Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 with Jens Klingmann to the GTD class victory.
In Saturday afternoon’s two-hour Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Road America 120, BMW will be represented by BimmerWorld Racing in both the Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes with the BMW M4 GT4 and BMW 328i respectively and by Stephen Cameron Racing with two BMW M4 GT4’s entered in the GS Class. Bimmerworld owner James Clay and co-driver Tyler Cooke stand third in GS driver points. Devin Jones and Nick Galante are leading the ST driver points following a second victory of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and a runner-up finish at Lime Rock Park in the last round. Stephen Cameron Racing’s No. 19 M4 GT4 will be piloted by Ari Balogh and 2017 Pirelli World Challenge TC Class runner-up Greg Liefooghe. The No. 88 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4, will be co-driven by Henry Schmitt and Chris Miller.
“I always look forward to Road America,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We have been competitive with every BMW model we have raced there over the years – M3, Z4 and M6. I have every reason to believe that the M8 will be no different.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “Road America is one of my top-three circuits on the calendar and a place where my expectations are high for our BMW M8 GTE. High speed and flowing with a few low speed technical bits is exactly what our car is built for! We’ve regrouped, made improvements and are ready to get back on the podium where we know we’re capable of performing.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “Since Lime Rock I have been to Spa in Belgium for the 24hr GT3 race where we finished second to another BMW, so that was a fun and successful weekend! Looking ahead to Road America though, it’s yet another amazing circuit that the IMSA championship goes to and I am looking forward to hustling our M8 around the track. I’m hopeful that we can get our car dialed in to the circuit and get some momentum going for the last third of the season.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “Road America is a classic. The track has great flow with a big variety of slow, medium, and high speed corners, including the fastest corner on our schedule, the kink. It takes commitment, but it’s possible to take the kink flat-out at around 150mph, even in a big GT car! After a very challenging season thus far, Jesse and I will be looking to bounce back on Sunday in Elkhart Lake.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “Road America is my favorite track in the U.S. so I am looking forward to driving there with the M8. Last year was good with the M6 as we scored a win and I hope we can be as competitive this year with the new car.”