BMW Team RLL announces 2020 IMSA driver lineup

BMW Photo
0 Comments

Bobby Rahal’s IMSA team will include some of the top international sports car drivers in his factory-backed BMWs during the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech season.

The four drivers were announced Wednesday with John Edwards of the United States and Jesse Krohn of Finland sharing the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE prepared by BMW Team RLL. The second BMW features Bruno Spengler of Canada and Conner De Phillippi from the United States in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE.

“Once again BMW has given us a really good core of drivers to compete with in 2020,” said Rahal, who also is a team partner in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series. “I’m pleased with the continuity we have with John Edwards, Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn returning. It is always a good thing to be able to build on the foundation you have created when possible. Bruno Spengler is a really good team player and will be a great addition.

“I have a lot of respect for him and everything he has done in the DTM. We are happy that Augusto Farfus, Colton Herta and Phillipp Eng, who helped us win the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona, will be returning to the line-up for that race and are also looking forward to welcoming Chaz Mostert back. We thank Tom Blomqvist for his commitment to the team this season and wish him luck in his endeavors.”

Jens Marquardt is the BMW Group Motorsports Director and spoke of the potent lineup that will compete in the 12-round schedule in IMSA WeatherTech Sports Cars.

“I am looking forward to the 2020 IMSA season and am confident that, with our four regular drivers, we have everything in place to make it a successful year,” Marquardt said. “We are entering our 12th year together with BMW Team RLL. We are also largely going with continuity when it comes to the drivers. John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi have a lot of experience of the IMSA series, and Jesse Krohn also did a good job in his second IMSA season in 2019. All three know the BMW M8 GTE, the series and the circuits in North America very well. Bruno Spengler has not only shown his class throughout his long DTM career, but also in his many GT outings on the endurance scene. I am sure that he will be a real asset to BMW Team RLL.

“At this point, I would particularly like to thank Tom Blomqvist for the great collaboration over the past five years. Whether in the DTM, WEC, Formula E or the IMSA series, like last season, Tom has coped well on any terrain. We wish him all the best for the future. The IMSA season traditionally starts with the ultimate highlight – the 24 Hours of Daytona. It will be nice to see last year’s four GTLM winners – Augusto, Connor, Colton and Philipp – back at the wheel of the BMW M8 GTE there.”

The two Americans include Edwards and De Phillippi.

“I’m really excited to be rejoining BMW Team RLL, especially as I keep Jesse as my teammate and also our engineer,” Edwards said. “This consistency will hopefully help us to further improve on the track as well. We had some good races last year, but all in all it was a bit up and down and didn’t result in a good championship position. The goal is to be more consistent in 2020.”

Krohn begins his third year in IMSA.

“As I will go into my third year in this series, the learning should be done,” he said. “For me it’s time to execute now. I know the team and we work really well together. I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t have a good season in 2020. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Another American will join the operation for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, NTT IndyCar Series star Colton Herta. He will join De Phillippi and Spengler at Daytona. The fourth driver in the No. 25 at Daytona will be Phillipp Eng of Austria.

Edwards and Krohn will get two extra drivers at Daytona, including Augusto Farfus of Brazil and Chaz Mostert of Australia.

Farfus, De Phillippi, Herta and Eng are the same four drivers who took victory in the GTLM class after a dramatic, rain-dominated Daytona race in 2019.

 “I’m really excited to be rejoining BMW Team RLL, especially as I keep Jesse as my teammate and also our engineer,” De Phillippi said. “This consistency will hopefully help us to further improve on the track as well. We had some good races last year, but all in all it was a bit up and down and didn’t result in a good championship position. The goal is to be more consistent in 2020.”

Spengler is another driver ready to ready to roll with the team.

“It’s great to be part of BMW Team RLL now,” Spengler said. “I still know lots of the guys from the races that I contested for the team in Daytona and Sebring. Everyone has made me feel really welcome. I’m really looking forward to having a very experienced, strong GT driver as a team-mate at my side in Connor. I’m excited for the new challenge and can’t wait for the season to get started.”

These drivers will be in the cockpit of their respective BMWs during the “Roar Before the 24” test at Daytona International Speedway beginning January 2, 2020.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

 

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
0 Comments

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III