The #25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTLM driven by Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler finished third in class in the two-hour-forty-minute IMSA WeatherTech series race at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, September 27. Their teammates John Edwards and Jesse Krohn in car #24 finished fourth.
There were just four cars in the GTLM class, as Porsche had withdrawn its factory team from both the IMSA race and the Nürburgring 24 after a coronavirus outbreak struck several team members on the previous weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The two Corvettes that contested the GTLM class at Mid-Ohio along with the BMWs finished first and second, with Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in the #3 Corvette first and Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin second in Corvette #4. Spengler and De Phillippi had broken the Corvettes’ four-race win streak in the series’ previous event at Road Atlanta, but they did not have the pace of the Vettes at Mid-Ohio.
The Turner Motorsport team’s hopes were dashed early in the race as Robby Foley in the #96 GTD class M6 GT3 was hit by a prototype. It returned to the race after a long stay in the garage, with Bill Auberlen taking the final stint, but it finished near the back of the pack. The GTD win went to Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz in a Lexus RC F GT3.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge ran a pair of two-hour races at Mid-Ohio, with one on Saturday and another on Sunday before the WeatherTech series race. An early stop in the Saturday race gave Robby Foley and Bill Auberlen in the #95 M4 GT4 a substantial lead in the class, but a full-course yellow enabled other cars to close the gap and left the Turner car in need of a longer stop for fuel than its competitors. The BMWs did not appear to have the pace of the front runners in either race; a balance of performance update seems due. The best BMW finisher in both races was the #95 Turner M4 GT4; it finished sixth in race one and eighth in race two. Dillon Machavern and Nick Galante in the #80 Bimmerworld M4 GT4 finished eighth in race one, and the #96 Turner Motorsport M4 GT4 driven by Robby Foley and Vin Barletta finished tenth in race two. Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 took the overall and Grand Sport wins in both races.
The IMSA WeatherTech Series GT classes run again in a 100-minute GT-only race on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10. The Michelin Pilot Series returns to the track on the October 16–18 Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy BMW North America and Turner Motorsport.]