BMW Team RLL will enter the first IMSA race for the new M4 GT3 in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on the last weekend in January, and there are familiar names in the two GTD Pro class entries with a strong lineup of works drivers. The #24 M4 GT3 will be driven by Philipp Eng, Sheldon van der Linde, Marco Wittmann, and Nick Yelloly, while the #25 car will be piloted by Connor De Phillippi, John Edwards, Augusto Farfus, and Jesse Krohn. In the GTD Pro-Am class, the #96 Turner Motorsport M4 GT3 will be driven by Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Jens Klingmann, and Michael Dinan.
Six of the eight drivers for BMW Team RLL raced at Daytona in the M8 GTE in 2021, and all of them already have experience in the M4 GT3 from testing and previous races. “It hasn’t even been two months since we bid farewell to the BMW M8 GTE at Petit Le Mans, and we’re already in the critical phase of preparing for the first major IMSA highlight for the new BMW M4 GT3,” said Mike Krack, head of BMW M Motorsport. “With our drivers who will be competing in the two BMW M Team RLL BMW M4 GT3s, we have opted for speed and experience – both at Daytona and with the new car.”
It has been reported by Sportscar365 that both BMW Team RLL M4 GT3s will likely contest the 12 Hours of Sebring in mid-March, but then be pared back to a one-car entry for the season, most likely with American drivers Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards. This is to allow more focus on the development of the LMDh prototype that is already being worked on for the 2023 season.
In other motorsport-related news, it was made public shortly after the Daytona driver announcement that Mike Krack would be leaving BMW Motorsport to become Team Principal for the Aston Martin Formula 1 team. He will be replaced by Andreas Roos as head of BMW Motorsport effective February 1. Roos has two decades of experience in racing and was formerly the project manager for factory racing at Audi, where he also worked in previous positions as head of track engineering for the DTM and LMP prototype programs.
The action at Daytona really begins on January 21–23 with the “Roar Before the 24” testing sessions, with the Rolex 24 taking place the following weekend.—David Haueter
[Photo courtesy Sam Cobb/BMW.]