At the eight-hour mark in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, BMW Team RLL secured the points needed to clinch the GTLM class Michelin Endurance Cup team and manufacturers’ titles, and John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, sharing the #24 M8 GTE with Augusto Farfus, won the GTLM Michelin Endurance Cup drivers’ title. Standings in the Michelin Endurance Cup are based on performance in the IMSA WeatherTech Series’ four long enduros at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Road Atlanta.
There should have been a GTLM class win at Sebring as well; Connor De Phillippi, Bruno Spengler, and Colton Herta were on their way to a convincing win when the track went green with less than twenty minutes remaining in the race. But #25, with De Phillippi at the controls, was hit by a GTD car and had to pit for repairs. The car returned to the track to finish fourth behind the winning #911 Porsche of Nick Tandy and Fred Makowiecki, the runner-up #912 Porsche of Earl Bamber (who also ran a stint in #911), Laurents Vanthoor, and Neel Jani, and the #24 M8 GTE in third.
Edwards and Krohn, BMW, and the #24 team placed second for the season in drivers’, manufacturers’, and team points. Corvette’s Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor had won the GTLM drivers’ title and the #3 Corvette team had won the team title going into Sebring. Chevrolet clinched the manufacturers’ title by starting the race.
Edwards said, “Even though we reached our goals of winning the Michelin Endurance Cup and finishing second in the driver’s championship, it feels a bit hollow as we wanted a better result today. The #25 guys executed a great race, and they deserved the victory. It is so unfortunate they were taken out of the win.”
In the GTD class, Robby Foley, Dillon Machavern, and Nick Yelloly, in for Bill Auberlen, who had to pass on Sebring after someone he had spent time with tested positive for COVID-19, ran as high as fifth in the #96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 over the course of the race. But a late-race brake issue sent Foley to the garage and ultimately led to the retirement of the car. The GTD win went to Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick, and Jan Heylen in the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
On the day before the 12 Hours of Sebring, Robby Foley and Cameron Lawrence, subbing for Auberlen, won the two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge finale in the #95 Turner Motorsport M4 GT4. Greg Liefooghe and Sean Quinlan finished ninth in the #19 Stephen Cameron Racing M4 GT4, Vin Barletta finished twelfth, running solo in the #96 Turner Motorsport M4 GT4, James Clay and Mike Skeen finished fourteenth in the #82 BimmerWorld M4 GT4, and Nick Galante and Dillon Machavern in the #80 BimmerWorld M4 GT4 did not finish.
Because the Sebring event, typically run in March, was postponed to mid-November, there is a short off-season for IMSA. Action resumes with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 22–24. The Rolex 24 will run on January 30–31.—Brian Morgan
[Photos of RLL #24 and #25 and Turner #96 courtesy BMW Motorsport. Photo of Turner #95 M4 GT4 courtesy Turner Motorsport.]