The Sebring International Raceway has been a successful venue for BMW Team RLL. From 2010 through the 2020 season the team has totaled two victories, four second and three third place finishes at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 12 Hours of Sebring. Last year, with the race’s traditional March date delayed until November because of the Covid-19 pandemic, BMW Team RLL came within minutes of adding a third GTLM class victory before being punted out of the lead by an over-anxious GTD class competitor running into the rear of the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE with some 10 minutes remaining in the race. Only four months later, BMW Team RLL is ready for redemption.
“It’s hard to believe it’s our 12th year racing at Sebring with BMW Team RLL,” stated Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Sebring holds a special place for me personally having gone there with my father for many years and then, of course, I started racing there in 1976, culminating with a win in 1987. Sebring has always been very important to me personally and professionally. With BMW Team RLL, we have had pretty decent performances over the years with two wins in a row back in 2011-2012. We’ve qualified well and were second in 2018, third and fourth last year. We’ve always been pretty strong in Sebring and so I expect that to be the case again this year. Like any endurance race, staying out of trouble is key. Last year we were hit by a GTD car when we were leading close to the finish so that was extremely disappointing because I think we had the race in the bag. I look forward to a good race and hopefully Sebring will be the scene of another victory for BMW Team RLL.”
The 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will be the fourth for the BMW M8 GTE, with the 2020 season having been the most successful to-date. This season, BMW Team RLL is focusing exclusively on the four races that compose the Michelin Endurance Cup and began the season with a third-place finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The driver lineup for the 69th edition of the 12-hour race will be anchored by the four 2020 full-season drivers; Connor De Philippi and Bruno Spengler in the No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, and John Edwards and Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE. Rolex 24 co-drivers Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus will rejoin the team in the No. 25 and No. 24 M8 GTE cars, respectively.
Bill Auberlen, the BMW race veteran and all-time IMSA win leader, Robby Foley and Australian Aidan Read will co-drive the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 in the GT Daytona class.
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “Sebring is a very intense race, especially with the nighttime finish. Tensions are always high, and it seems that more risky moves get made towards the end of this race than any other. We had a reasonable start to the 2021 season with a podium at Daytona, but at Sebring our eyes are absolutely on a victory. As a team we looked to be set up for a 1-2 finish last year before some late race issues took both cars out of contention, so we all have our eyes on redemption!”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “We had a very strong race at Sebring last year. The No. 24 M8 finished on the podium and our sister car was fighting for the victory. I don’t see any reason why we should not be equally strong this year.”
Augusto Farfus, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE: “I believe we’ll have a competitive return to Sebring this year. John, Jesse and I finished third there in November and, with Marco Wittmann, we were third again at Daytona to begin this season.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “We’re back at Sebring for some redemption. This event is one of my favorite events in the world and I’m looking forward to building on our momentum from the last time we were on track here. I believe we have a very strong lineup to battle for a win.”
Bruno Spengler, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “I am really looking to our return to Sebring. In November, we had a very good BMW, but quite bad luck with only minutes remaining. We certainly have good data as the last 12 Hour was only four months ago, so I expect we’ll be able to have a fast start to the weekend.”
Philipp Eng, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE: “I really hope we are luckier and can use the full potential of our package at the Sebring12h. I really enjoyed driving the M8 GTE at Daytona and working with BMW Team RLL is just great. The No. 25 car was in very good shape last year at the 12h and I hope we can be as competitive this year and finish the job with a bit more luck!”