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    Daytona’s a damp squib for BMW. BMW struggled for pace in the #GTLM class at the #Rolex-24-Hours at #Daytona-Speedway , the first round of the #2017-IMSA-WeatherTech-SportsCar-Championship . Prior to the event there was quite the razzmatazz around the BMW entry as it would be competing in the 19th Art Car, the #BMW-M6-GTLM / #BMW-M6 / #BMW / designed by John Baldessari. The #Art-Car made its race debut at what proved to be a very tricky event, hampered by wet weather and a multitude (21) of full course yellow flag phases – the longest of which lasted for over two hours.

    The M6s performed well in free practice, but when it came down to qualifying the two #BMW-Team-RLL cars in the GTLM class were resoundingly put in their place by the rest of the class entrants which comprised four Fords, two Porsches, two Corvettes and a solitary Ferrari. The Art Car (no. 19) driven by Bill Auberlen went round in 1:44.759 while the other M6 GTM piloted for qualifying by John Edwards recorded a time of 1:44.974 which equated to tenth and eleventh on the grid, or to put it another way, second last and last. Had there been a few hundredths of a second in between the GTLM entrants it wouldn’t have been so bad, but when you considered that Ford’s Joey Hand set a pole lap that was nearly a second a half faster than the BMWs one could tell that it was going to be a tough 24 hours for BMW.

    However, to finish first, first you have to finish, or so says one of the oldest expressions in motor racing so the BMW team was hopeful of a trouble free race for its cars which could well have put them in the mix towards the end of the race.

    Sadly this plan went out of the window early on when the 24 car encountered technical problems that necessitated a gearbox change and ultimate retirement from the race before it had completed 15 laps. Fortunately the Art Car managed to soldier on until the end through some truly appalling conditions but in the final analysis it was nowhere near the class leaders. Just a simple glance at the fastest race laps from each car again demonstrated that the M6s weren’t on the pace, with the M6s the slowest two cars in the class – 0.8 seconds slower than the quickest car. Ultimately the M6 #BMW-M6-GTLM-F13 finished in eighth position in class, a lap behind the top seven cars which were only separated by seven seconds when they crossed the finishing line as the extended periods of yellow flag running had kept the field pretty well bunched at times.

    It must have been hugely disappointing for BMW to not to have put a show on for its many fans, but ultimately it’s the Balance of Performance regulations which are to blame as the M6 is obviously being unfairly penalised. Hopefully the organisers of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will see fit to make some amends before the next round.

    It wasn’t all bad for BMW though as the #Turner-Motorsport-M6 in the GTD class made a good showing in an absolutely packed GTD field of 27 cars. At one stage the Turner car was vying for the class lead but unfortunately it had a tangle with a GTLM car (in which the Turner driver was completely blameless) which necessitated a track rod change and shortly after it suffered a rear puncture resulting in another unscheduled stop. Without these problems and another one right at the end where the car inexplicably stopped on the banking seemingly for no reason the Turner M6 could well have been on for a podium finish which would have been an exceptional result in such a packed and competitive field.
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    19th ART CAR TO RACE AT DAYTONA / #BMW-M6-GTLM / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-GTLM-Art-Car / #BMW-M6-Art-Car / #BMW-6-Series-Art-Car / #John-Baldessari / #BMW-M6-John-Baldessari / #BMW-M6 / #BMW / #BMW-M6-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #BMW-M6-GTLM-Art-Car-by-John-Baldessari-F13 / #BMW-M6-Art-Car-F13 / #2016 / #BMW-6-Series-F13

    The 19th BMW-Art-Car by John Baldessari celebrated its world premiere at the Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach at the tail end of 2016 where it was announced that it will take part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of January.

    Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America said: “It is an honour to add this new masterpiece by John Baldessari to the #BMW-Art-Cars Collection today. As one of the most important contemporary artists working today, John joins an incredible group, from Calder and Hockney to Warhol and Koons, that has contributed to this collection over the past 40 years. He has used his signature aesthetic combining colour, shapes and text to create a visually stunning work which will stand out at both the museum and on the race track in Daytona early next year.”

    “I have done only one work in my life involving a car before, and that was an image of a car,” commented Baldessari. “So for the #BMW-Art-Car project I entered uncharted territory, not just in terms of the subject but also moving from two- to three-dimensional art. A challenge I did enjoy! The ideas all came at once: for instance, the red dot on the roof, so you can see it from above, FAST on one side, and a picture of the car on the other side. I like the ambiguity, having two-dimensions and threedimensions at the same time. Considering the car as an icon of contemporary life, my concept turned out playfully satirical but it also highlights some of the trademark ideas that I use. So you can say the #BMW-Art-Car is definitely a typical Baldessari and the fastest artwork I’ve ever created!”

    Launching its 19th Art Car was a slightly odd move from #BMW as what it is calling its 18th #Art-Cars (which will be designed by Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fei) won’t actually be revealed until the summer of 2017.

    As well as taking part in the Daytona 24-hour race Baldessari’s #Art-Cars , run by #BMW-Team-RLL , will be entered in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC). Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler will share driving duties.
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    Mixed fortunes for the IMSA BMWs / #BMW-M6 / #BMW / #2016

    The M6s taking part in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship have had a mixed bag of results at Mosport and Lime Rock Park.

    At Mosport the #BMW-M6-GT3 recorded its first class win outside of Europe when drivers Bret Curtis and BMW Works driver Jens Klingmann secured the first GT Daytona victory of the season with the number 96 Turner Motorsport car. After 116 laps, Klingmann crossed the line as race winner having started the race from fourth on the grid. The number 97 sister car – driven by Markus Palttala and Michael Marsal – was sadly forced to retire early in the race.

    In the #GTLM class, #BMW-Team-RLL once again fielded two #BMW-M6-GTLM #BMW-M6-GTLM-F13 s with #Dirk-Werner and #Bill-Auberlen finishing fourth after 119 laps in the number 25 car, narrowly missing out on another podium finish. Due to a technical problem in the first stage of the race, the number 100 car with John Edwards and Lucas Luhr at the wheel had dropped to the back of the field and eventually came home in a disappointing ninth position.

    There had been encouraging signs for Team RLL at Mosport and it went into the Lime Rock event with high hopes. Initially these seemed to be well-founded as the number 25 machine qualified on the front row of the grid and took over the lead on lap two, a position it maintained for over an hour. Things didn’t go so well for the number 100 machine as John Edwards started from eighth on the grid and was unceremoniously punted off the track on lap five by the number 912 Porsche with the BMW ending up in the tyre wall and unable to continue. Unbelievably the number 25’s race was also ended by the number 912 Porsche on lap 89 when Werner (who was leading the race) was knocked off the track at the last corner, hitting the barriers hard. Fortunately Werner was given the all clear after a trip to the track’s medical centre.

    The team hopes for better luck at the next round at Road America.
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    2016 BMW-M6 struggles in US / #BMW-M6-GTLM-F13 / #BMW-M6-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #BMW / #2016

    After the high of coming second at Sebring in the 12-Hour race BMW has come back down to earth with a bump after tough races at #Long-Beach and #Laguna-Seca . Initially it was looking good for #BMW-Team-RLL at Long Beach as the #BMW-M6-GTLM was the quickest car in qualifying with Bill Auberlen putting the number 25 car on pole position. He led the early part of the 100 minute race until he had to serve a drive-through penalty for contact with one of the Prototype Challenge cars. In such a short race, gaining ground on the leaders proved difficult and this was compounded when team-mate Werner was behind the wheel as he was punted from behind by a Prototype Challenge car necessitating another pit stop for a new tyre. In the end the car finished in fifth place. The sister car suffered from an electrical problem early in the race and then crashed after a restart after contact with another car.

    Things went from bad to worse at Laguna Seca and the M6s just weren’t on the pace of the front runners – finishing ninth and tenth – after the team just couldn’t get the tyres to work with the car properly. The IMSA WeatherTech championship now takes its traditional break for Le Mans while Team RLL head for two days testing at Watkins Glen in preparation for the six-hour race there in July.
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    The #2015 #BMW-M6 race car hits the track / #BMW-M6-Race-Car / #BMW-M6-Race-Car / #BMW-M6-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #BMW-M6-GTLM-F13 /

    While BMW’s new endurance racer has already been extensively tested behind closed doors it took to the track in public in America for the official #IMSA test session at #Daytona . An array of BMW works drivers spent time with the car which was being tested in both GT3 and GTLM specs, with the greatest difference between the two machines being a lack of ABS on the #GTLM version in accordance with IMSA regulations. BMW works driver Jens Klingmann was on-hand to explain some of the other differences: “Apart from [the lack of ABS], the difference from a driver’s perspective is not as great as it was between the Z4 GT3 and the Z4 GTLM. When it comes to performance, both M6s are very similar. The more streamlined aerodynamics of the M6 GTLM, as specified in the regulations, is noticeable in the corners. At the same time, the tyres on the GTLM car generate considerably more grip. That is why the lap times are quicker with the #BMW-M6-GTLM .”

    The M6 will make its debut in the 24 Hours of Daytona in January where it’s anticipated that the #BMW Team RLL will compete in the GTLM class while the Turner Motorsport squad will enter GTD.
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