Ahead of the 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of this month, BMW Motorsport announced their U.S. racing plans for 2021. As expected, the BMW M8 GTE will have a reduced schedule this year with only four races in the calendar. The four races are: Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. “Motorsport and specifically an IMSA program have been fundamental to our marketing efforts in North America,” said Victor Leleu, BMW NA Motorsport Manager.
“This year will see us focus on the four races that compose the Michelin Endurance Cup and the 52 toughest hours in sports car endurance racing. Of course, we would like to see all of our BMW fans at every IMSA venue, but this is the decision we have made in order to ensure a winning future. We look forward to the competition in Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.”
The Porsche factory team pulled out of the 2021 IMSA season, so there are only three cars to race in the GTLM class this year – Corvette with two cars and the WeatherTech Porsche. Some believe BMW’s decision has to do with the hight costs of the GTLM and GTE races around the world. Of course, the ongoing pandemic has only made things even more difficult.
The driver lineup for the Rolex 24 will be anchored by the four 2020 full-season drivers; Connor De Philippi and Bruno Spengler in the No. 25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, and John Edwards and Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE. 2019 Rolex 24 co-driver and winner Philipp Eng will rejoin the No. 25 M8 GTE. Making his first start at Daytona, veteran Timo Glock will be the fourth driver in the No. 25 car. Augusto Farfus, co-driver in both previous Rolex 24 victories, will rejoin the No. 24 M8 GTE. Marco Wittmann, 2014 and 2016 DTM champion, will complete the No. 24 M8 GTE quartet.