The BMW Team RLL M8 GTEs finished seventh and eighth in the GTLM class in the two-hour-forty-minute IMSA WeatherTech Series race at Lime Rock Park, while the Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 was taken out by a competitor on the first lap of the race.
Bill Auberlen qualified the #96 Turner M6 GT3 sixth on the GTD class grid, less than 0.4 seconds off the pace of the pole-sitting Porsche 911 GT3. But the Turner team’s hopes for a strong performance were dashed on lap one, when the #93 Acura NSX GT3 driven by Lawson Aschenbach made contact with the M6, went onto the grass, and then came back onto the circuit, making contact with the BMW again. The damage took the Turner car out of the race with front-end damage, resulted in a penalty for Aschenbach, and brought out a full-course yellow that lasted for about ten minutes. After the track went green, it stayed green for the balance of the race.
Both of the BMW Team RLL M8 GTEs struggled for pace. The team elected to pit #25 late, leaving Connor De Phillippi first on the track when other racers pitted. But he was caught by the leading cars in a few laps, and the car went down a lap after De Phillippi pitted and handed off to Alexander Sims.
Sims put in a quick lap soon after he returned to the circuit, keeping the leading Corvette driven by Jan Magnussen behind him on the track so the M8 would not go down another lap, but #25 faded over the course of the race, finishing seventh.
The #24 M8 GTE, driven by John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, came into the pits late in the race with the hood open at the back. The team taped it down, but it came loose again; the damage to the front end proved to be extensive, so the car was taken behind the wall for repairs. It stayed there and was classified eighth at the end of the race.
Joey Hand and Dirk Müller won the race—and the GTLM class—in the #66 Ford GT; Hand was chasing Magnussen late in the race when the Corvette racer went wide and ran off course briefly, allowing Hand to take the lead. Magnussen held on for second in the Corvette that he shared with Antonio Garcia, who had put the car on the pole. The #912 Porsche driven by Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor finished third. The GTD class win went to Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
After the race, BMW Team RLL technical-and-racing-operations director Brandon Fry said, “Unfortunately, we struggled with pace from the start of the weekend. For the race, we looked for a strategy that would give us the best result. We chose to one-stop the #25 M8, but our late-stint performance dropped off, and we could not make it work. We tried pitting the #24 M8 GTE off-sequence, but we had a mechanical issue with the front of the car and had to retire it.”
The Lime Rock race was for GT cars only; the Prototypes will be back along with the two GT classes when the series runs again at Road America on August 3-5.—Brian Morgan