Following a second place overall, and GTP class finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 18th, BMW M Team RLL has now prepared both BMW M Hybrid V8 racing cars for the shortest race of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar season. The April 15th, 100-minute Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be held on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit that sets a concrete-lined stage for an always challenging event.
This season’s race will be especially challenging for three of the four BMW M Team RLL drivers. Both No. 24 drivers, Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus, as well as No. 25 driver Nick Yelloly will be making their very first Long Beach start. Only Yelloly’s co-driver Connor De Phillippi has experience at Long Beach.
With the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring complete, the team has continued to analyze and understand how to better the performance of the new BMW M Hybrid V8. DiL (driver-in-the-loop) simulator work was recently completed with all four drivers with a focus on qualifying performance because of the unique nature of the Long Beach circuit and short duration of the race.
Last week, IMSA made changes to the GTP class Balance of Performance (BoP) resulting in a four-kilogram (8.8 lb.) reduction in the weight of the BMW M Hybrid V8 as well as a 2 kW (2.6 horsepower) power increase at peak levels and 2 Megajoules (0.56 kWh) of additional maximum stint energy.
“Long Beach is always a great event and we’ve had very good success there in past seasons with BMW,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “This year, with the BMW M Hybrid V8, it’s an entirely different animal. But as always, at a tight street circuit, where it’s tough to pass, a good qualifying effort is paramount.”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8: “Long Beach is always a special event for us. It’s the shortest race of the year, our only street course, and the strategic possibilities are endless. On top of that, we have a nice wave of momentum from our Sebring podium and the entire team is making a big push to bring a lot of improvements from every department. We don’t have prototype experience there but I’m confident we can learn from last year and fight for another podium.”
Nick Yelloly, driver No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8: “I am really looking forward to racing at Long Beach. It will be my first time there, as with most of the tracks in the US. After having watched it for many years on TV, to be finally driving is a dream come true, as I love street circuits. We will be looking to continue to make progress as we did in Sebring with our BMW V8 Hybrid and hopefully be at the sharp end of the field.”
Philipp Eng, driver No. 24 BMW M Hybrid V8: “I am very much looking forward to racing at Long Beach, which is a new track for me. I have done a million laps around there on the simulator, so I can’t wait to race there in real life. We took some major steps in Sebring and our whole team is working very diligently so we keep improving.”
Augusto Farfus, driver No. 24 BMW M Hybrid V8: “Long Beach will be a challenge for both me and Philipp. I believe we may be the only pair to have never driven this circuit. It is certainly a race I have been looking forward to and looks to be a very exciting event. I have been watching many videos. We will push hard to get up to speed. The team made some good improvements to our BMW at Sebring, and we will look to continue to close the gap to our competition.”
The GT Daytona class will see three BMW M4 GT3 entries. Coming off this year’s Sebring 12 Hour victory, the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, returns to Long Beach as defending race winners and 2022 GTD Sprint Cup Champions. Turner Motorsport has two entries, the No. 96 LIQUI-MOLY BMW of Robby Foley and Patrick Gallagher and the No. 97 McIntosh BMW of Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull. Foley and Gallagher, and Michael Dinan finished second at Sebring. Auberlen and Hull have moved to the GTD class from GTD PRO for the Sprint Cup races.
No comments yet.