Big anniversary weekend: BMW M Motorsport celebrates 50 years of BMW M and the IMSA race premiere of the BMW M4 GT3 in Daytona. Right at the start of the year, the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) this coming weekend will be one of the highlights of the season for BMW M Motorsport and BMW of North America. The new BMW M4 GT3 celebrates its premiere at the long-distance classic in Florida. Right at the start of the year, the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) this coming weekend will be one of the highlights of the season for BMW M Motorsport and BMW of North America. The new BMW M4 GT3 celebrates its premiere at the long-distance classic in Florida. BMW M Team RLL and Turner Motorsport were already in action at the “Roar before the 24” test and qualifying event last weekend and secured their starting places for the 24-hour race. This is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of BMW M GmbH, which will be celebrated in Daytona with a top-class supporting program.
BMW M Motorsport celebrates
The sporting foundation for the coming weekend was laid over the past few days in numerous test sessions and the 100-minute qualifying race. The two MOTUL BMW M4 GT3s of BMW M Team RLL secured starting places twelfth and 13th in the GTD-PRO class. BMW M works drivers Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) drove the number 24 car to gain as much experience as possible. Their driver colleagues Marco Wittmann (GER) and Philipp Eng (AUT) only contested the test sessions. In the number 25 car, Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) sat out the qualifying race, while John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi (both USA) shared the cockpit. Turner Motorsport with drivers Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Michael Dinan (all USA) and Jens Klingmann (GER) retired from the GTD class with the #96 BMW M4 GT3 after a collision and will therefore be starting from the back of the field at the weekend .
“In many ways, the 24 Hours of Daytona is a very special race for BMW M Motorsport – and also for me personally,” says Mike Krack, Head of BMW M Motorsport. “For the first time this season, the 50th anniversary of BMW M will be properly celebrated at the racetrack thanks to the commitment of BMW of North America. From a sporting point of view, we are extremely excited about our IMSA debut with the BMW M4 GT3. We have already seen with the 'Roar' that the set-up and classification of a completely new GT car are challenges that take a little time. But riders and teams are making steady progress and will continue to improve over the course of the race weekend. I am confident that we will see good performances in my last race as Head of BMW M Motorsport. I am really looking forward to this."
Partner of BMW M Motorsport and namesake of the two vehicles of the BMW M Team RLL is MOTUL. "We are very proud that we are continuing our partnership, which has been successful for two years - including with the 24h Daytona victory in 2020," says Romain Grabowski, Head of Brand MOTUL. “This is not just a contract extension, as both companies are embracing a real challenge with the launch of the new MOTUL BMW M4 GT3, which they have collaborated on the technical development of. We hope that we can offer BMW M fans around the world exciting racing and top-quality motor oil that gets maximum performance out of BMW engines while offering maximum protection.” Akrapovič, H&R, Michelin and Puma are also close partners the BMW M Motorsport website. There are also the BMW M Performance Driving School and Global Medical Response as partners of BMW of North America, as well as Aero and Rousseau as partners of BMW M Team RLL.
Special highlights in the supporting program.
In addition to the racing events, BMW M Motorsport and BMW of North America are offering numerous special highlights in the supporting program of the "Rolex 50" in Daytona to mark the 24th anniversary of BMW M. Immediately before the start of the race, there will be a parade of historic and current BMW M vehicles, including a 1 BMW M1980. Three racing vehicles that have won IMSA races and thus are on display at the "Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition" in the "Daytona Fan Zone". made history: the 3.0 BMW 1975 CSL, the 4 BMW Z2015 GTLM and the 2019 Daytona victorious BMW M8 GTE.
BMW M is once again the title partner of the BMW M Endurance Challenge, the 4-hour race at the start of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season. Four BMW M4 GT4s from the Turner Motorsport, Stephen Cameron Racing and Random Vandals Racing teams will be on the grid there on Friday. The field is led by BMW M3 and BMW M4 Safety Cars. CEO Franciscus van Meel and Timo Resch, Vice President Customer, Brand and Sales at BMW M GmbH, will be there as representatives of BMW M GmbH. The BMW M Endurance Challenge starts on Friday, January 28 at 19.35:24 p.m. CET, the “Rolex 29” on Saturday, January 19.40 at XNUMX:XNUMX p.m. CET.
Voices before the 24-hour race:
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW M Team RLL):
- “We are very proud to have played a part in a good part of the history of BMW M Motorsport. Signing the contract in 2008 for the following season was a great honor - so it's also special for us to be a part of BMW M's 50th anniversary. We are really excited to drive the BMW M4 GT3 now. Once again we are introducing a new vehicle after the BMW M3 GT, the BMW Z4 GTLM, the BMW M6 GTLM and the BMW M8 GTE. So far we have always been lucky enough to be successful with the models and are now excited to tackle the new project and celebrate further successes with it in 2022. BMW M Motorsport has once again provided us with great drivers and they will have to do their best. The competition in the GTD-PRO class is fierce and we look forward to competing.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#24 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3):
- “Not a good qualifying race for us. Of course we would prefer to start much further up. Our job at the moment is to ensure that everything runs smoothly in the team. For me personally it's the first race with the RLL team, so I'm getting to know everyone over the next few days. My first race with BMW M Motorsport at Daytona also means that I still have a lot to learn.”
Nick Yelloly (#24 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3):
- “The qualifying race showed us where we are at the moment – and that's not where we want to be. Now we have to put our heads together in the next few days. In general, it is a pleasure to drive the BMW M4 GT3 and to work with BMW M Team RLL. Now all we have to do is find speed.”
John Edwards (#25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3):
- “The qualifying race didn't go well, but fortunately there weren't any championship points for it. Now we have a week to put our heads down and prepare for the 24 hour race. It counts there.”
Connor De Phillippi (#25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3):
- "Obviously that's not the result we wanted. We just didn't have the package to attack the top positions. Let's hope next weekend is different and we can get into the fight."
Jens Klingmann (#96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3):
- “For us, the focus was on set-up work. It's important to have a good balance between racing during the day and racing at night. There are still many things to learn and discover with the new car. I think we've made good progress and the car is in a good window. It's easy to drive, which is important in a 24-hour race. Now we just have to make it quick. I am confident that we will achieve this goal very soon.” Photo credit: BMW
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