Racing News

Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims, and Kuno Wittmer in the #25 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM won the GTLM class in the ten hour Petit Le Mans race, the IMSA WeatherTech Series season finale at Road Atlanta. It was Auberlen’s 400th race for BMW and his 151st victory for the marque, and was also the final race for the M6 GTLM; BMW will race the new M8 GTE beginning at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

The #25 car was strong throughout the race, leading the competitive GTLM class much of the way. At the end Sims held off the hard-charging Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette for the win.

The #24 M6 driven by John Edwards, Martin Tomczyk, and Nick Catsburg had a difficult race, falling behind with a trip to the garage early in the race to address a steering problem and ultimately being retired with a mechanical issue. The car was classified ninth in class.

Jens Klingmann, Jesse Krohn, and Justin Marks in the #96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 led the class at times, but fell back with mechanical problems that ultimately led to the car’s withdrawal from the race. The GTD class win went to Christopher Mies, Connor De Philippi and Sheldon van der Linde in an Audi R8 LMS.

There were fourteen caution periods over the course of the ten-hour race.

BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “This win for BMW Team RLL is the crowning glory of a turbulent IMSA season. Following some difficult races in the early stages of the year, we got stronger and stronger with the BMW M6 GTLM and were able to battle for title honours. Four wins is a great achievement, we have never scored more wins per season since 2009. I’m particularly pleased that Bill Auberlen – along with Alexander Sims and Kuno Wittmer – was able to win in his 400th race with BMW. A big thank you goes to the whole team. This was also the final race for the BMW M6 GTLM. In 2018 we will write a new chapter with the BMW M8 GTE and cannot wait for the first race appearance of the car at Daytona next year. I would also like to mention the Turner Motorsport team. They were victorious with the BMW M6 GT3 again in 2017 and scored several podiums. Will Turner’s crew is a true flagship for our customer racing programme in North America.”

Derek Jones and Mat Pombo in the #73 Mini finished fourth in the Street Tuner class in the Continental Challenge Series season finale run on the day before the Petit Le Mans race. Tyler Cooke in the #84 BimmerWorld 328i that he shared with James Clay appeared to be headed for a top five finish until he was hit by a competitor as the front runners prepared to return to green flag racing with just over a minute left in the race. The race ended under yellow. The ST win went to Sarah Cattaneo and Owen Trinkler in a Nissan Altima.—Brian S. Morgan