Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing focuses on Endurance Cup, Rolex 24

Rolex 24 Team RLL

BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will compete for their third consecutive Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona victory as the team focuses on the Michelin Endurance Cup in 2021 and scales back from a full-time season.

Last year’s Rolex 24 win set the stage for a successful season for the team. It was the first of nine podium finishes that included a second victory in the first Road Atlanta race as well as a third-place finish there for a second entry. Other highlights for the year included the overall win in the GTLM Michelin Endurance Cup and second place in GTLM driver points standings for John Edwards and Jesse Krohn.

Because of their success in longer races, the BMW Team RLL will focus on the Endurance Cup again. With the exit of Porsche Motorsports’ two cars as well, the full-time car count in GTLM currently stands at three for the 2021 season.

BMW Team RLL will have a strong foundation in winning that honor if they can score a third victory in next week’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

“It is a real accomplishment to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona once let alone do it twice, and particularly to do it twice in a row,” said Bobby Rahal in a release. “The pressure is on, right? Twenty-four hours is obviously a long race. It sounds simplistic to say that whoever spends the least amount of time in the pits wins but that’s kind of the way it works.

“Obviously, you have to have the pace, but you also have to have the reliability. Even a place like Daytona exacts its own brand of difficulty whether it’s traffic, surviving the race not being hit by other cars and so on. There are so many things that can conspire to knock you out of leading or winning the race. It’s really a tough, tough race. We just have to go out and put together a race like we have in the past. If we do the best possible job that we can, who knows, we might be in the winner’s circle again.”

Endurance racing puts more strain on cars and equipment and requires greater cooperation between team members, which is one reason that it is part of a season inside the longer IMSA schedule.

“This year will see us focus on the four races that compose the Michelin Endurance Cup and the 52 toughest hours in sports car endurance racing,” said Victor Leleu, BMW NA Motorsport Manager. “Of course, we would like to see all of our BMW fans at every IMSA venue, but this is the decision we have made in order to ensure a winning future. We look forward to the competition in Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.”

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BMW Team RLL will field two entries in the Rolex 24. In the No. 24, last year’s full time drivers Edwards and Krohn will anchor the effort. They will be joined by Augusto Farfus, who was part of both previous Rolex 24 victories, and Marco Wittmann.

“Daytona has been a good track for the team these past two years,” Krohn said. “We got a lot of things right and learned a great deal during this time. … A lot of things that can go wrong at a 24-hour race, but with the two wins recently it seems we have found the key to enjoying success in Daytona.

“We have strong drivers in both cars, and I am really looking forward to racing alongside John, Augusto and Marco. Augusto has an incredible wealth of experience in North America, he doesn’t need anyone to explain Daytona to him. Marco is extremely fast and no doubt it won’t take him long to learn what it takes in Daytona. He has been here before, so knows what’s in store.”

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The No. 25 will be wheeled by Connor De Philippi and Bruno Spengler. Philipp Eng and Timo Glock will also be part of the lineup.

Glock makes his debut in the Rolex 24 this year.

“I’m really excited to see what awaits me at Daytona because both the track and the BMW M8 GTE are totally new to me,” Glock said. “I will really use the test drives ahead of the race weekend to get used to everything.

“I’m particularly looking forward to the very special experience of a 24-hour race, which I last had the pleasure of in 2015 when I competed at Spa-Francorchamps alongside Alex Zanardi and Bruno Spengler. I have strong teammates and am hoping for a good result. The BMW M8 GTE and BMW Team RLL have already proved they have the potential in recent years.”

The 59th Rolex 24 At Daytona will take the green flag at 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30. The race will be broadcast on a mixture of NBC broadcast and streaming properties.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”