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Having experienced a baptism of fire at the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) in January, the BMW M Hybrid V8, BMW M Motorsport’s new prototype, is now set for its second race outing. The 12 Hours of Sebring (USA) is round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 2023 (IMSA series). BMW M Team RLL will once again run the two BMW M Hybrid V8s, car numbers 24 and 25 in the new GTP class for hybrid LMDh cars.

Alternating at the wheel of the #24 BMW M Hybrid V8 in Sebring will be regular drivers Philipp Eng (AUT) and Augusto Farfus (BRA), ably assisted by Marco Wittmann (GER). Regulars Nick Yelloly (GBR) and Connor De Phillippi (USA) will race alongside Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) in car 25.

Sebring is regarded as the cradle of endurance racing in America, and the 12-hour race, being held for the 71st time this year, has a special place in the motorsport history of BMW. It was here in 1975 that BMW claimed its first major victory in a sports car race in the USA. That success with the BMW 3.0 CSL marked the start of BMW Motorsport’s history in North America. Win number two in Sebring came in 1999 with the BMW V12 LMR. BMW M Motorsport now competes in the highest class at the endurance classic with the BMW M Hybrid V8.

The Twelve Hours of Sebring 2023 gets underway at 10:10 local time (15:10 CET) on Saturday 18th March. As well as the new GTP class, the GTD classes will also go racing, with BMW M Motorsport teams Paul Miller Racing and Turner Motorsport both running the BMW M4 GT3 again. In the GTD PRO class, BMW M works driver John Edwards will race alongside Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull (all USA) in the #95 BMW M4 GT3 for Turner Motorsport. In the GTD class, Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis (all USA) will share the driving duties in the #1 car for Paul Miller Racing. Robby Foley, Michael Dinan and Patrick Gallagher (all USA) will start in this class for Turner Motorsport in the #96 BMW M4 GT3.

Quotes ahead of the race at Sebring:

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “We are looking forward to the next challenge for our BMW M Hybrid V8 project, which is still in its early stages. After the race debut at Daytona, we analysed which areas of the new cars are still experiencing issues, how to solve them, and where we can unlock further potential. We have worked intensively to prepare for the second endurance classic of the season at Sebring. We had a very productive test there in mid-February and are now excited about the race weekend. The drivers, BMW M Team RLL and our BMW M Motorsport engineers are well aware of the challenges at Sebring International Raceway. The goal is to produce another flawless performance, take the next step forward with the BMW M Hybrid V8, and to ensure that everyone’s hard work is rewarded with good results.”

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW M Team RLL): “The last time I was involved with a GTP car at Sebring was in 1987 when we won the race with Jochen Mass so I’m very excited about going back for this great event and participate in the GTP class. While we had little issues at Daytona, the cars ran very well throughout the race so I’m looking forward to getting back on track and proving our mettle once again. Everyone knows that Sebring is one of the most difficult races to finish, let alone win, so we’re going to do our best to ensure that we can do both.”

Marco Wittmann (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “I am really excited about returning to America and, after the season-opener at the 24 Hours of Daytona, now going racing at the 12 Hours of Sebring. I made my first appearance there last year and gained a lot of experience. I was very impressed by the atmosphere and the racetrack itself, which is very challenging. It is bound to be even more tiring with the LMDh prototype. The temperatures are obviously another key factor for the race weekend. We will try to finish higher up the field and close the gap on the others. I believe we have done our homework. I am pleased to be at Sebring and, together with my team-mates Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus, will do my best to get a good result for BMW M Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL.”

Sheldon van der Linde (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “I am really looking forward to the second round of the IMSA season at Sebring. It’s a very old-school track with no margin for error so I am looking forward to going there for the first time with a prototype. I’ve driven there in the past, I have a quite good experience of what the track is like and I think we have a very good base to build from Daytona. If we can put everything together and really nail it on the weekend I think we should have a good chance of a top-five result, I would say. I am looking forward to it and let’s see how we go.”

Source. BMW


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