John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Augusto Farfus co-drove BMW Team RLL’s No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE to a third-place finish in today’s 10-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship MOTUL Petit Le Mans to score the team’s sixth consecutive podium finish. The trio led the GTLM class multiple times, made 11 pit stops and completed 431 laps of the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to finish 4.412 seconds behind the winning Porsche. Each BMW driver had their turn at the front of the GTLM field with Farfus taking the lead for the final time on lap 401, four laps after the class cycled through their final stops. Unfortunately, two laps later he was pushed off by a prototype car in turn 12 and had to run through the grass along the outside of the front straight. As a result, he had to pit again to clean the grill, dropping some 26 seconds to the leaders. Charging back, he took advantage of collision by a competitor to secure the podium finish as the race ended under caution.
The No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, driven to victory here in September by Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler at the six-hour race, ended up with a disappointing day following a mechanical issue only 20 laps into third driver Colton Herta’s first stint. Shortly after entering the BMW on lap 65 Herta reported a power loss and pitted on lap 85. After a lengthy repair in the garage he returned to the race 31 laps down. The trio continued on, running competitive laps times, but ultimately finished the race sixth in class, 32 laps in arrears.
The No. 24 M8 enjoyed a bonus today by scoring good points towards the Michelin Endurance Cup. The MEC consists of the 52 hours in the four endurance races in the IMSA season. Season-long drivers Edwards and Krohn enjoyed a three-point lead coming into today’s race following a win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and a third place finish at the TireRack.com Grand Prix six-hour race. Today saw the No. 24 M8 collect maximum points by leading at the fourth and eighth hour marks The 12 Hours of Sebring, in November this season, will determine the champions.
Today’s result increases BMW Team RLL’s consecutive podium finish streak to six races; Road America (P3), Virginia International Raceway (P2), Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (P1, P3), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (P2), Charlotte (P2, P3) and today’s P3 finish. BMW remains a strong second in GTLM class manufacturer points standings John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, season-long co-drivers of the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, move to third in driver points with No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE co-drivers Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler moving back to fourth.
Defending Petit Le Mans GTD class winners Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern, co-drivers of the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, shared a disappointing day after a number of issues dropped their car some four laps down to the leaders. The trio rallied to finish ninth.
Up next for BMW Team RLL is the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship weekend on Oct. 30 – Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, CA. The two-hour-and-forty-minute race is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:05 p.m. local time.
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “It was an amazing performance by the entire team today, but it ended in a bit of heartbreak after Augusto, with an 18-second lead, was pushed off by a prototype car. We did recover to finish on the podium and maximize points towards the Michelin Endurance Cup. Next year, this race is ours!”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “This was the best the car has been. We led most of the race and had the pace to win. Everyone worked very hard and one little thing took it all away. We’ll bounce back and win the next one.”
Augusto Farfus, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “There is not much to say. This was a very frustrating result. The win was in our pocket and I got run wide in the marbles and off the track. I so wanted to bring the victory to the team that worked so hard today.”