Alexander Sims and Connor De Phillippi drove the BMW Team RLL #25 M8 GTE to a close second in the GTLM Class of the IMSA WeatherTech Series race at Mid-Ohio. Their teammates, John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, finished seventh-in-class in M8 GTE #24. The two-hour-forty-minute race was run without a single caution period.
Edwards had started #24 from the class pole, but he was forced off-course when he had to avoid a spinning car on lap one. He and Krohn stayed on the lead lap, but they were not able to return to the front of the highly competitive GTLM pack.
Sims, who had qualified #25 third on the grid, led briefly before he handed off to De Phillippi. The team elected to run a very long second stint, enabling De Phillippi to move into the class lead for a time and setting the stage for a short fuel-and-tire stop. After De Phillippi pitted, he returned to the track behind Laurens Vanthoor in the #912 Porsche that he shared with Earl Bamber. While De Phillippi closed to just over a second behind the Porsche, he could not find his way by; he finished second in class.
Team principal Bobby Rahal said, “For sure it was a good day for us. Connor and Alexander did a super job. We got bogged down in traffic and decided to run long with their car. Our second pit stop was faster because we did not have to put so much fuel in, and we could put on soft Michelin tires. Everyone else had twenty more laps on their tires, and I think that and the lighter fuel load is really what made the difference. Connor ended up in the seat and drove very well. I feel bad for John and Jesse. They got stuck in a fuel window, and we really could not do too much with it—a shame, really, but after Long Beach, where we were uncompetitive, it feels good.”
Bill Auberlen shared the GTD class #96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 with Dillon Machevern. The car was competitive, but a stop to cure an overheating problem set it back. The car finished sixth in a class won by Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli in a Lexus RC F GT3.
Minis win Street Tuner in CTSC race,
BimmerWorld scores two podium spots
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series ran a two-hour race at Mid-Ohio on the day before the WeatherTech Series race. James Clay and Tyler Cooke drove the #82 BimmerWorld M4 GT4 to finish third overall and third in Grand Sport behind a pair of Mustangs. The overall win went to Kyle Marcelli—he would go on to co-drive the GTD-winning Lexus on Sunday—and Nate Stacy. The #19 Stephen Cameron Racing M4 GT4 driven by Greg Liefooghe and Ari Balogh finished eighth.
Minis finished first and second in the Street Tuner class; Mat Pombo and Mike LaMarra finished first in #73, while Mark Pombo and Colin Mullan were second in #52. Nick Galante and Devin Jones rounded out the podium with a third-place finish in the #81 BimmerWorld 328i. Galante had started #81 from the pole.—Brian Morgan