Racing News

The January 5-7 Roar Before the Rolex 24 test days at Daytona International Speedway mark the beginning of the season for both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. BMW is a presence in both series.

The weekend marks the debut of the new M8 GTE in the GTLM class. BMW Team RLL is on hand with two of the cars: Drivers for #24 are Jesse Krohn and John Edwards, who will drive the car for the entire season, along with Nicky Catsburg and Augusto Farfus, who will join the team for the season's long enduros; drivers for #25 are Alexander Sims and Connor DePhillippi, who will drive the car for the entire season, along with Bill Auberlen and Philipp Eng, who will join for the enduros. As reported earlier, in addition to racing for Team RLL veteran racer Auberlen will serve as a BMW NA Brand Ambassador supporting customer racing programs in 2018. Colton Herta, an Indy Lights racer who is scheduled to test with the Andretti Formula E team, is listed as a driver for both cars #24 and #25, but reports that he will not drive the cars at the Roar.

Turner Motorsport is on hand with the GTD class #96 M6 GT3. Jens Klingmann was the only driver named on the pre-event entry list. Don Yount and Mark Kvamme were added on Friday.

Three M4 GT4s are entered in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport class at the Roar.  BimmerWorld has entered the #82 M4 GT4 for James Clay and Tyler Cooke, and Classic BMW/Vess Energy Group has entered two M4 GT4s, #26 and #72, with Mike Vess, Jason Hart, and Toby Grahovec listed as drivers for both cars. A Stephen Cameron Racing M4 GT4 for Greg Liefooghe and Ari Balogh that had appeared on an earlier version of the entry list has been scratched.

Both BimmerWorld and the Mini JCW team are back in the CTSC Street Tuner class. Nick Galante and Devin Jones will drive the #81 BimmerWorld 328i. Two Mini JCWs are entered: Mat Pombo, Derek Jones, and Nate Norenberg are in car #23; and Mark Pombo, Jared Salinsky, and Mike LaMarra are in car #73.

In addition to the practice sessions that run all weekend IMSA has added qualifying sessions for the WeatherTech Series cars to the Sunday schedule. Results will determine pit box and garage positions for the teams in the Rolex 24 on January 27-28.—Brian S. Morgan