Augusto Farfus, John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, and Marco Wittmann in the #24 Team RLL M8 GTE finished on the podium in Rolex 24 at Daytona, coming in third in the GTLM class behind the two Corvettes. Their teammates Connor De Philippi, Bruno Spengler, Philipp Eng, and Timo Glock in the #25 M8 GTE finished fifth. The Corvette victory ended Team RLL’s hope of a third consecutive GTLM win in the Rolex 24.
For Team RLL, the Rolex 24 was the first of four IMSA WeatherTech Series races this season; the team’s M8 GTEs are contesting just the series’ four long enduros that make up the Michelin Endurance Cup.
The #24 M8 GTE challenged the Corvettes, but fell back in the final hour, finishing a lap down in third. The win went to the #3 Corvette driven by Jordan Taylor, Nick Catsburg, and Antonio Garcia. Sportscar365 reports that notification of a positive COVID test for Garcia came late in the race; he was pulled from the car in the seventeenth hour. The #4 Corvette driven by Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy, and Alexander Sims finished a close second to #3.
The #25 Team RLL BMW car started its race with a drive through penalty after Bruno Spengler rear-ended the #79 Porsche at the drop of the green flag. The car recovered to run near the front for a time, but fell back late in the race, finishing two laps down to the winning Corvette.
The Rolex 24 was Turner Motorsport’s 400th race for BMW. The team’s M6 GT3, piloted by Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Colton Herta, and Aiden Read started from the GTD pole after winning last week’s qualifying race, but a difficult Rolex 24 that included both drive through penalties and a puncture left it sixth in class at the finish. The GTD win went to Maro Engel, Indy Dontje, Philip Ellis, and Russell Ward in the #57 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The Turner M6 GT3 is slated to run the entire season.
Rolex Series competition resumes with the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 20.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy BMW NA.]