BMW Team RLL scored their first win with the new BMW M8 GTE race car. Alexander Sims and Connor De Phillippi have claimed a breakthrough first victory for the M8 GTE in Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
Sims took the No. 25 BMW Team RLL entry to a 1.323-second win over the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen. The win came after a clutch-related fire in warmup and just two weeks after narrowly missing out on the GT Le Mans class victory at Road America due to running out of fuel.
Team RLL teammates Jesse Krohn and John Edwards made it a double podium for BMW Motorsport, coming in third.
Magnussen and Garcia now lead the championship following clutch issues for points leaders Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe who were forced to retire.
“First and foremost, congratulations to all at BMW Team RLL.” said Victor Leleu, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager. “The race demonstrated a flawless execution from the crew, engineers and drivers. Everyone has put their heart and soul into the M8 GTE program and we couldn’t be happier we were able to deliver the car its first-ever win today at VIR. The team has had to adapt to a lot of changes with this new program. We had a few challenging races this year but no one ever doubted the potential of the new car from day one. Even after the cruel result at the previous race at Road America, everybody felt strong and kept plugging away, knowing it was just a matter of time. Today is that day! I’m very proud we proved the worth of the all-new M8 GTE against the most competitive GT field in the world.”
“Great team effort today! Everybody did an excellent job!” said Brandon Fry, BMW Team RLLTechnical / Racing Operations Director. “We had a good pit stop strategy and the drivers did an awesome job. This is something we’ve been working towards for a while and we have had some bad luck go our way but everything finally came together today. So, good job by everybody. Super proud of the team!”
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P1):
“Today is the first win for the BMW M8 GTE. I am so proud of these guys. We got so close at the last event and these guys have been working their tails off since last November. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this whole program. It’s time to celebrate!”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P1):
“What an eventful race. Connor did a great job at the start to get us up to P3. I got in and raced past the Corvette, I tried to get by Dirk, but I made a mistake, committed too much and lost control, unfortunately hitting a Lexus. We received a drive-through penalty which I thought was the right decision, it was my fault. At that point I thought the race was over but amazingly there was a safety car that brought us back into contention. From that point on, our pace was really good. We were strong and able to race with the guys around us and yeah, for the last stint, the Michelin tires held on fantastically well to the point we could double stint them at a track that is notoriously hard on tires such as VIR. Great strategy by the Rahal Team and BMW and great pace from the car, the M8 GTE’s first win is very sweet to get.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3):
“It’s a great day to have both cars on the podium. We were competitive all race long and there was a tight battle at the end. I thought Jesse had a shot at the Corvette but every time he got closer he would lose downforce and grip, but either way, a great job by him to regain some of the spots we had lost in the pit stop. Overall, a really great day for the first win for the BMW M8 GTE and a double podium for BMW.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3):
“Super happy for the team, for BMW Motorsport and for Alex and Connor. The team really deserves this. They really deserved 1st and 2nd, but unfortunately time ran a little bit short at the end and I couldn’t deliver. Overall, a really, really good day for
the team and for BMW.”
The tenth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will take place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 9th and be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET.