The 70th staging of the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA) this weekend represents the next endurance classic in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The BMW M Motorsport teams compete with a strong contingent of four new BMW M4 GT3s. BMW M Team RLL will field two cars in the GTD-PRO class. As well as Turner Motorsport, Paul Miller Racing will also run BMW M Motorsport’s new GT3 flagship in the GTD class.
The #24 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3 of BMW M Team RLL will be driven by Philipp Eng (AUT), Marco Wittmann (GER) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) at Sebring. Sharing the driving duties in the #25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3 will be John Edwards (USA), Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Augusto Farfus (BRA). BMW M Team RLL has a successful past in Sebring; Bobby Rahal’s (USA) team took victory in the GTLM class in 2011 and 2012. In the 2018 race, BMW M Team RLL claimed the first pole position and the first podium result for the BMW M8 GTE.
For Turner Motorsport driver Bill Auberlen (USA), the 12-hour Sebring race brings up a very special milestone, the 500th race with BMW for the record IMSA winner. The Californian has been part of the BMW M Motorsport family since 1996. During this quarter of a century, Auberlen has won many races with every BMW race car he has driven. At Sebring, he races alongside Robby Foley and Michael Dinan (both USA) in the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3.
At the same time, BMW M Motorsport will also welcome a new family member in Sebring: Paul Miller Racing. The New Jersey team, which has enjoyed IMSA success for several years, will run the BMW M4 GT3 in the GTD class. Alternating at the wheel of the #1 car are Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers (both USA) and Erik Johansson (SWE).
The 70th staging of the 12 Hours of Sebring gets underway at 10:10 local time (15:10 CET) on Saturday 19th March. As early as the Thursday, the BMW M Motorsport teams will field the BMW M4 GT4 in a two-hour race in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Turner Motorsport competes with two cars, driven by Auberlen and Dillon Machavern (USA) in the #95 car, and Foley and Vincent Barletta (USA) in the #96 BMW M4 GT4. Stephen Cameron Racing will run the #43 BMW M4 GT4, with Sean Quinlan and Gregory Liefooghe (both USA) at the wheel.
Quotes ahead of the Sebring 12 Hours:
Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “The 12 Hours of Sebring is the second highlight of the IMSA season and the next test for the new BMW M4 GT3. We have precisely analysed and now understand the problems we had at Daytona. We expect a significant step forward in terms of reliability and performance. The BMW M4 GT3 has great potential, and we are working hard to exploit that potential better from race to race. For me personally, it is the first race I am attending as Head of BMW M Motorsport. I am really looking forward to working with the engineers, teams and drivers. I am particularly pleased that we have three teams on the grid with the BMW M4 GT3, in BMW M Team RLL, Turner Motorsport and Paul Miller Racing.”
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW M Team RLL): “Over the years we have seen good success at Sebring. We have had two GTLM victories and last year, we had the heartbreak of being taken out of the probable victory just before the chequered flag waved. Sebring is such a historic race. There are not that many races older. I am always excited to go to Sebring because of that history.”
Nick Yelloly (BMW M Team RLL, #24 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3): “I am very excited to be back in the US with BMW M Team RLL for the second race of the season. I was fortunate enough to do Sebring in 2020 with Turner Motorsport, so I have done the race before in the GTD class and have a bit of experience. It looks like we have made some good progress with our BMW M4 GT3 with the testing over in Europe so I am looking forward to getting the new baby on track and at the sharp end of the field. I am sharing the car with Marco and Philipp again, two great racing drivers, and we will give our very best to get a strong result.”
Connor De Phillippi (BMW M Team RLL, #25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3): “I’m very excited to get back to Sebring in our new BMW M4 GT3. It will be the first laps for many of us on that track with the new machine but I know we have all been preparing for this situation. We are in a much better position than at the start of the season and I’m looking forward to getting on track.”
Bill Auberlen (Turner Motorsport, #96 BMW M4 GT3): “When I look back on 500 races with BMW, I am humbled and proud. When I look to what the next seasons may bring, I say bring on race number 600! It feels appropriate that my 500th for BMW comes at Sebring as the 12 Hour is a special race for me. In 1985, I was the truck driver and crew for my father’s win there. Ten years later I scored my first win at the 12 Hour.”