John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, and Philipp Eng in the #24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE finished fourth in the GTLM class at the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring. Their teammates Connor De Phillippi, Tom Blomqvist, and Colton Herta finished seventh in car #25.
The race started in the rain behind the safety car and went green after about 40 minutes. After that, the BMWs ran with the top group in the class in a race dominated much of the way by the #67 Ford GT driven by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, and Scott Dixon. Nick Tandy went on a late-race charge in the #91 Porsche that he shared with Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki. Briscoe spun out late in the race and fell to sixth, and Tandy got by the leading #66 Ford driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller, and Sebastien Bourdais. Meanwhile, Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette battled for third with John Edwards in the #24 BMW. A caution flag with fifteen minutes remaining closed the gaps, but when the track went green the order stayed the same for the balance of the race, with the Porsche winning, the Ford second, the Corvette third, and the BMW fourth.
Edwards said, “I think it was clear pretty early on that we didn’t have a car to win so we focused on the podium, but even that was going to be tough. We had a slightly shorter fuel stint than our competitors so we had to save a lot and still try and push. It meant I had to lose a place to the Corvette and miss out on the podium. But we got some points in the bag for the championship and, as we saw last year, you don’t need to win races to take the title.”
The yellow flag near the end was brought out when the #96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 stopped on course with suspension failure. The car, driven by Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, and Dillon Machevern, had been competitive early in the race before a long stop for repairs to the left front suspension. The car went back a number of laps down, but the suspension gave out for good just before the end of the race. The GTD class win went to the Grasser Racing Lamborghini.
IMSA WeatherTech Series competition resumes at Long Beach in April.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]