After a strong performance in the last race at Road America (USA), in which BMW Team RLL looked on course for its first victory, Bobby Rahal’s (USA) team is brimming with confidence going into the next race weekend in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IMSA series) at the Virginia International Raceway (USA). Last week the team successfully completed a two-day test at Road Atlanta (USA) with drivers Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards (both USA) in preparation for VIR as well as the season-ending Petit Le Mans. The fuelling issue that sidelined the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE at Road America has been identified and rectified.
The two-hour-and-forty-minute race at VIR is the second GT class-only race of the season and the entry list shows 18 total entries across the GTLM and GTD classes. Last year, the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM of Bill Auberlen (USA) and Alexander Sims (GBR) controlled the race until a puncture with eight laps remaining dropped the duo to a fourth-place finish. Auberlen and Robby Foley (USA) line up for Turner Motorsport in the #96 BMW M6 GT3 in the GTD class.
Bobby Rahal (BMW Team RLL, Team Principal): “Our results at VIR over the years have been bittersweet. We have qualified well, but at times we have had issues during the race. Last year was a particularly unhappy situation for us given that we had the race lead comfortably in hand and then to have a flat tire with a couple of laps to go was very disappointing. At the last race in Elkhart Lake we had a pretty competitive car so we are hopeful that will carry forward at VIR. There is a long straight which is something that could be good for us and it also has fast corners but it’s like all of the races, it will be a tough weekend.”
Connor De Phillippi (#25 BMW M8 GTE): “VIR is another fast, flowing circuit like Road America that should suit the BMW M8 GTE well. With the pace we showed in the last race I am looking forward to fighting for a good finish.”
Alexander Sims (#25 BMW M8 GTE): “VIR is a track that brings back a lot of memories from last year, both good and bad! We were looking like we would win last year until a late race puncture thwarted our efforts. We know what we need to do to be fast there. It’s a really fun circuit and a beautiful setting so I’m really excited for the weekend. We showed much improved pace at Road America last weekend and so I’m optimistic that we can have a strong weekend.”
Jesse Krohn (#24 BMW M8 GTE): “VIR is another fast and flowing track that I like and it should suit our car well. We showed some good potential at Road America but unfortunately had some bad luck that cost us a strong finish. The team has been doing a great job developing the car thru out the season and I am expecting the results to soon start matching the amount of work that has been put in.”
John Edwards (#24 BMW M8 GTE): “VIR is a home race for me being that I live only a few hours away in Davidson, North Carolina. VIR is also one of my favourite circuits. I rank it right up there with Watkins Glen and Road America. We’ve shown great potential in the last few races and hopefully it won’t be long till we’re back on the podium.”