It was a bittersweet weekend for BMW M Team RLL at the six-hour race in Watkins Glen part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. On one hand, the #24 BMW M Hybrid V8 driven by Augusto Farfus and Philipp Eng hit the barriers on the very first turn after Farfus lost control of the electrified endurance car due to cold tires. It sustained significant damage and had to be retired.
On the other hand, the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8 finished second. Not long after race, Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly were crowned as winners. A post-race inspection of the #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 of Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet showed a skid block that was less than the minimum permitted thickness. A decision was taken to move the Porsche to the back of the GTP standings, therefore promoting the BMW to first place.
BMW points out that the last time a prototype won in North America was way back in 1999 at Sebring with the V12 LMR. We need to go back further in time to 1986 when BMW scored its last GTP victory. So far in 2023, the M Hybrid V8 grabbed sixth place in the inaugural IMSA race at the Daytona 24 Hours, followed by a second place in Sebring and Laguna Seca. It crossed the finish line fifth at Laguna Seca, and now, it has won the Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen.
The M Hybrid V8 was leading the race with just six minutes to go until it was passed by the Porsche 963. In the next lap, Bill Auberlen rolled over his GTD-class M4 GT3 with only three minutes to go, forcing the end of the race to take place under yellow flags.
As a refresher, the M Hybrid V8 will be racing in Europe next year by taking part in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), which means we’ll be seeing it at Le Mans. In 2024, BMW will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the V12 LMR’s triumph at the Circuit de la Sarthe, so its spiritual successor has some big shoes to fill.