BMW Team RLL took victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) over the weekend of 26-27 January. When the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was suspended due to heavy rain for the second time, the #25 BMW M8 GTE and drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA), Augusto Farfus (BRA), Philipp Eng (AUT) and Colton Herta (USA) were leading the GTLM class.
DAYTONA 24 HOURS SUCCESS!
The race didn't resume, leaving the BMW drivers to celebrate victory. The appearance by Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) meant the team's #24 car was the centre of much attention at the endurance classic in Florida. However, it proved to be a difficult race for the Italian and his fellow drivers John Edwards (USA), Jesse Krohn (FIN) and Chaz Mostert (AUS). The quartet eventually came home in ninth place. This latest success was the third GTLM victory in the IMSA series for the BMW M8 GTE. BMW celebrated its first win at Daytona back in 1976, with the BMW 3.0 CSL E9.
This was followed in 1997 and 1998 by two class victories with the BMW M3 GTR. Overall victory went to Daytona prototypes with BMW Power in 2011 and 2013. BMW Team RLL finished on the top step of the podium at Daytona for the first time. Unfortunately, the race weekend was overshadowed by the news of the sudden death of long-term Schnitzer team principal Charly Lamm. In memory of Charly, BMW Team RLL competed with the words ‘Godspeed, Charly' on the rear of both BMW M8 GTEs.
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director, said: "What a race, and what an emotional win – and during such difficult days for the entire BMW Motorsport family. To stand on the top step of the podium here at Daytona, after such an eventful and unpredictable 24 Hours, is absolutely fantastic."
Alessandro Zanardi's appearance in #24 BMW M8 GTE ensured plenty of attention. He and his team eventually finished ninth. BMW Team RLL's #25 BMW M8 GTE took victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona, driven by Connor De Phillippi, Augusto Farfus, Philipp Eng and Colton Herta.