BMW Team RLL rounded off the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IMSA) with a GTLM podium finish at the Twelve Hours of Sebring (USA). After 12 dramatic hours of racing, the #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE crossed the line in third place. At the season finale, BMW Team RLL secured the GTLM driver’s title in the Michelin Endurance Cup for John Edwards (USA) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) as well as first places in the team and manufacturer standings for this season’s four-race endurance competition. The #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE came home in fourth place after leading significant spells of the race .
Edwards and Krohn shared duties in the #24 car with Augusto Farfus (BRA), and with third place, the trio secured BMW Team RLL’s tenth podium of the season. The #25 car was driven by Connor De Phillippi (USA), Bruno Spengler (CAN) and Colton Herta (USA). The story could have ended well with a victory for them and BMW Team RLL. They were leading the race until the closing stages but following a late-race restart from the race’s ninth caution period the #25 was rear-ended by a GTD class competitor and forced to pit for repairs. That saw them dropping back from first to fourth place. The #24 car could also have finished higher than third but lost one lap due to a brake change.
In the final GTLM standings, Edwards and Krohn finished the season second overall in the driver’s championship, as did the #24 team in the team standings and BMW in the manufacturer’s classification. The GTLM class titles had already been decided at the penultimate round at Laguna Seca (USA). In the 2020 season, BMW Team RLL has claimed ten podium finishes for the MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, including victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) and the six-hour race at Road Atlanta (USA).
The #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, co-driven by Robby Foley, Dillon Machavern (both USA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR), who stood in for Bill Auberlen (USA), ran as high as fifth in the GTD class until a suspected brake issue on lap 235 forced Foley to the garage for repairs and ultimately, retirement.
Reactions on the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
John Edwards (BMW Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE) : “Even though we reached our goals of winning the Michelin Endurance Cup and finishing second in the driver’s championship, it feels a bit hollow as we wanted a better result today. The #25 guys executed a great race, and they deserved the victory. It is so unfortunate they were taken out of the win.”
Jesse Krohn (BMW Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE): “We reached our goals of winning the Michelin Endurance Cup and finish second in the driver points, but today is bittersweet. We had the potential to finish higher in the race.”
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE): “It is always a pleasure to race with BMW Team RLL. We were missing just a bit of pace today, but we got the job done and I am very happy to have contributed to the team this season.”
Bruno Spengler (BMW Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE) : “The only word I can think of is ‘disaster’. After leading the race, making no mistakes all day, a great effort by the team was wiped out. It is difficult to find any other words.”
Connor De Phillippi (BMW Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE): “This was not the result we deserved. We certainly had the speed to win, but not the luck.”
Colton Herta (BMW Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE): “We put ourselves in the position to win, but a mistake by a GTD car with some ten minutes remaining swept it away. That is a tough one to swallow, but I am extremely proud of the team and am glad I got to play a part this season.”