Sebring. In its second race, the new BMW M Hybrid V8 celebrated its first podium finish. At the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA), the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, final driver Nick Yelloly (GBR) crossed the finish line in second place for BMW M Team RLL. During the course of the race he shared the wheel with Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA).
Their teammates Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Marco Wittmann (GER) also fought for a top result in their team #24 Automobile. However, the trio had to give up due to a technical problem.
The #25 The BMW M Hybrid V8 steadily worked its way up from eighth on the grid. In the second half of the race, De Phillippi, Yelloly and van der Linde established themselves at the front of the field. An hour and a half before the end, an unscheduled brake change threw the car out of the lead lap. Yelloly then successfully fought his way back up the field and crossed the checkered flag in second place after a chaotic final few minutes of the race.
The #24 Car drove in the leading group of the GTP field during opening hours. Shortly after half-time, the BMW M Hybrid V8 had to pit due to a technical problem and was eliminated.
In the GTD class, BMW M Motorsport Team Paul Miller Racing celebrated its first win of the season #1 BMW M4 GT3. Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis (all USA) emerged victorious after strong race performances. Robby Foley (USA) finished just 1.532 seconds behind the winners #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 in second place. He had shared the car with Patrick Gallagher and Michael Dinan (all USA). The #95 The Turner Motorsport sister car, driven by Chandler Hull, Bill Auberlen and John Edwards (all USA), finished seventh in the GTD PRO class.
Double victory for Turner Motorsport in the IMPC.
The second round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) 2023, the first race of the Sebring week for the BMW M Motorsport teams, took place on Thursday. The two-hour race ended with a one-two for the two new Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4s. In an exciting race, the two cars made it to the top thanks to a perfect strategy and outstanding performance by the drivers. Victory went to the #96
BMW M4 GT4 of Foley and Vin Barletta (USA). As in 2021 for the Sebring race in cooperation with the BMW M Sim Racing Team BS+COMPETITION, the car wore the special split “Zebring” livery again this year. Some drivers of the virtual racing team followed the race on site and celebrated with their colleagues from real motorsport. Robert Megennis and Cameron Lawrence (both USA) completed the one-two for Turner Motorsport and finished second #95 BMW M4 GT4. Sean Quinlan and Greg Liefooghe (both USA) finished ninth #43 BMW M4 GT4 by Stephen Cameron Racing.
Voices after the race in Sebring:
Franciscus van Meel (Managing Director of BMW M GmbH): “Congratulations on this fantastic podium. I am very proud of the work of everyone involved in this still very young project. After our BMW M Hybrid V8 cars debuted at Daytona in January, there was no time to rest and we can see the progress that has been made here at Sebring. This podium was just the next step and I am confident that we will continue on our way towards the top with our brand new BMW M prototype. I would like to thank everyone at BMW M Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL for their great commitment and fantastic work, as well as our BMW M works drivers, who once again impressed with a flawless and strong performance. Our BMW M Motorsport teams in the GTD classes also had an excellent race with the double victory for the BMW M4 GT3 from Paul Miller Racing and Turner Motorsport. Now we are looking forward to the next round in Long Beach in mid-April. I would also like to congratulate Turner Motorsport on their magnificent one-two with the all-new BMW M4 GT4 in Thursday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. This proved that our latest customer sports car has all the ingredients for success.”
Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “It’s fantastic that we were able to claim our first podium in the second race with the new BMW M Hybrid V8. In combination with the one-two for our BMW M4 GT3 teams in the GTD class, this was an almost perfect result of a 12-hour race that ended in chaos. We performed significantly better with our two BMW M Hybrid V8s than at the season opener in Daytona. Thanks to the hard work in Munich and at BMW M Team RLL in Indianapolis, we are gradually getting closer to the level of performance that we want to achieve. Hence this second place achieved by ours #25 car is a great motivation for us to keep going in the coming weeks and months. Congratulations to the winning Cadillac team. The retirement of our second car was unfortunate. There was a problem with the cooling system. In the GTD class, our customer teams Paul Miller Racing and Turner Motorsport celebrated a great one-two – thanks to great strategies and flawless performances by their drivers. On Thursday, Turner Motorsport clinched the first win in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for the new BMW M4 GT4 and also secured a one-two. Congratulations to Will Turner and his team. Now we are full of energy for the upcoming races of the 2023 IMSA season.”
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW M Team RLL): “Sebring can be a crazy race – and we saw that tonight. I’m really proud of the team, the steps we’ve made since Daytona were obvious. I’m also very proud of our relationship with BMW M Motorsport. Everyone works really hard together. We were competitive all day. We had some ups and downs like the others, but in the end we prevailed. I’m just very, very satisfied.”
Connor De Phillippi (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8, 2nd place GTP class): “I am very happy about our first podium with this program. The boys and girls worked hard for this. We deserve it. As I said, we ended up there. That’s what this race is about. In the past we have lost this race while leading through a crash – this time luck was on our side. I’m just super happy for everyone. We can build on P2 and fight forward for the rest of the season.”
Nick Yelloly (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8, 2nd place GTP class):
“It’s a really nice feeling. This step is huge for BMW M Team RLL and BMW M Motorsport, and of course I’m very, very happy for everyone here and back in Munich. It’s been many hard months of work and it’s very nice to reward them with some silverware. We also made a good step forward. We’re not quite there yet with the overall performance, but we’ve shown that we can make a good step. Hopefully we will do another one for Long Beach.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8, 2nd place GTP class): “This podium was very unexpected. We were disappointed when there was a problem with the brakes with an hour and a half to go, but then everything turned around. I’m really happy to be on the podium. After so much work over the off-season, the boys really deserve to make this program a success. I can’t thank everyone enough. The car has made really good steps forward.”
Augusto Farfus (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8, DNF, GTP class):
“Of course it’s very disappointing to finish the race after six hours, but we have to take the positive things with us. We showed here that hard work pays off. BMW M Team RLL and BMW M Motorsport together managed to improve the car significantly after Daytona. And we were hunting. Maybe we wouldn’t have won the race, but we were up front for a while. This shows that we have significantly closed the gap. There’s still a lot to do, we still have to improve, but I think even if we didn’t finish the race, the positives outweigh the negatives. Mainly because of the great second place achieved by our sister car.”
Madison Snow (#1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3, 1st GTD class): “It’s great to get another win here at Sebring. Bryan, Corey and I have won here together before – and it’s fantastic to do it again. The car drove 12 hours without any problems and the yellow at the end was great because we didn’t have to push. In the last three minutes of the race it was just go, go, go!”
Michael Dinan (#96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, 2nd in GTD class): “It definitely wasn’t what we expected, but I think that’s the great thing about IMSA racing. Everything can happen. With three hours to go I don’t think anyone thought we were going to be fighting for a podium but the team did a fantastic job with the race strategy that kept us on the lead lap. We struggled but Robby and Patrick both had a fantastic ride. Robby was incredible when he took second place. The fuel economy, the team strategy, it all led to this result. It definitely feels really good to be on the podium here!”