The ‘Roar before the 24’, the traditional three-day test event one week before the Rolex 24 at Daytona (USA) ended on Sunday with the qualifying sessions determining the starting grid for the 24-hour race. The two BMW M Hybrid V8 prototypes finished the GTP class session in seventh and eighth places and will start the season-opener of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from the fourth row of the grid next Saturday. BMW M works drivers Philipp Eng (AUT) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) were at the wheels of the #24 and #25 cars. BMW M Team RLL used the test sessions to get mileage on the newly developed cars and gain valuable experience with regards to the big challenge ahead.
Throughout the three test days the BMW M Hybrid V8 ran without any major issues and preparation proceeded as planned. Next week, five more test sessions offer the opportunity to further improve performance, driveability and reliability of the cars.
In GTD class qualifying, Turner Motorsport finished seventh in GTD PRO with the #95 BMW M4 GT3 driven by Bill Auberlen (USA). The #96 sister car driven by Robby Foley (USA) will start the race from P12 in GTD class. Right ahead of him, Madison Snow (USA) finished the GTD session in eleventh place with the #1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3.
Reactions after the Roar before the 24:
Brandon Fry (Technical Director BMW M Team RLL): “There has been a lot of work going on with the two cars during all sessions here at the Roar. The focus always was on race performance. We’ve had a lot of good running and collected a lot of data. We are improving step by step on our way to prepare for the race. In qualifying today things looked pretty good until the red flag came out. After that, others improved their lap times while we stayed where we were, but for this race there is a lot more to focus on than just outright performance. We are very confident that there is a lot more in our cars going into the race.”
Philipp Eng (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8, 7th place): “Of course it would have been nice to start from the very front, but in a 24-hour race starting positions don’t really matter too much. We didn’t focus on outright pace in all practice sessions we had. It was much more about making the car behave predictably and be driveable for us. That’s key in an endurance race like this – especially with a new car. It’s most important that reliability and operations are good. If you tick these two boxes, then you’ve already made it quite far.”
Nick Yelloly (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8, 8th place): “Since I wasn’t able to go out on track during warm-up, I didn’t get a read of the strong wind that changed significantly from yesterday where we had a decent balance in the car. Even if qualifying wasn’t the ideal session for us, we still learned something – like we did in every session here at the Roar. Now we have a couple of more practice sessions next week before the race starts. We have to make sure that we set up a car that is comfortable and good to drive over 24 hours.”