The No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M4 GT3, driven by Connor De Phillippi, John Edwards, and Augusto Farfus, seemingly won today’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, the fifth round of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. After an audit of drive time, it was found that the third driver, John Edwards, did not meet the (adjusted) one-hour-and-17-minute minimum and the car was moved to the rear of the field.
De Phillippi started the race from the pole and raced through five caution periods in the first two hours of the race before handing off to Farfus on lap 60. Farfus drove a flawless middle two hours of the race, handing off to Edwards on lap 117 – just under two hours remaining in the race.
What started as a six-hour endurance race ended as a 21-minute sprint after racing was halted with just under one-and-one-half hours remaining due to weather approaching and lightening in the area. While the clock continued to run, the cars stopped with the No. 25 car and Edwards in sixth, having pitted only 14 laps before the red. After the weather abated and the race clock was reset to 35 minutes, the cars got back on track behind the pace car. The green flag waved with 21 minutes remaining. Edwards focused forward.
From fifth place, Edwards raced the cherry red BMW M4 GT3 to the top of a fine BMW M Team RLL Watkins Glen weekend sundae only to have it taken away when the minimum drive time was adjusted down for the red flag.
Brandon Fry, RLL Technical Director said, “The red flag and one-hour race stoppage came with one hour-and-thirty-minutes remaining in the race. John had entered the car some time before that, on lap 117, some four-hours-and seven-minutes into the six-hour race. If not for the red flag, he was well within the one-hour-and-thirty-minute minimum drive time. The reduction of the minimum drive time to one-hour-and-17-minutes meant John would not meet the requirement. Our race strategy was solid and a proven winner. The reduction of minimum drive time occurred after our strategy was in place with no ability to adapt or alter John’s time in the car. Yes, we are disappointed, but we are now focused on securing our first BMW M4 GT3 win at CTMP. ”
In the GTD class, the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, of Bill Auberlen, Michael Dinan, and Robby Foley, finished fourth, but was promoted to third post-race due to another drive time violation by the GTD class winner. A last lap pit stop ultimately dropped the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 to an 11th place finish.
Following two days of preparation at Watkins Glen the team heads across the border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the next round. Much like Watkins Glen, CTMP is an old-school circuit that requires a driver’s total commitment. Newly resurfaced and not having raced there for two years during Covid, practice sessions will be paramount to collecting the data necessary for a fast BMW set-up.
BMW M Team RLL has collected seven podium finishes in past seasons at CTMP, including a victory in 2017. John Edwards has scored three of those podium finishes, scoring third-place finishes with three different co-drivers in three consecutive years; 2010 – 2012.
Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Tiago Downs 120 saw the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern take the victory. It was the third IMPC win for Machavern, the 19th for Auberlen. Teammates Van Barletta and Robby Foley finished ninth in the No. 96 Turner BMW M4 GT4. The No. 43 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 finished 23rd after two punctures set back the team’s effort.