BMW looks for another new car first win at Watkins Glen

June 28, 2018

BMW looks for another new car first win at Watkins Glen

June 28, 2018

BMW Team RLL broke through for its first victory with the M6 GTLM at last year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

One year later, the team and the manufacturer look for an encore with the new M8 GTE. A win here at Watkins Glen International would be that car’s first worldwide.

Additionally, Bill Auberlen is back behind the wheel of the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE. This means he has a chance to continue his streak of winning the first race for a new BMW GTE spec chassis.

Auberlen has done so with the previous generations M3, Z4 and M6. The last of them, last year, served as co-driver Alexander Sims’ first win in North America.

“I can’t wait to get started with the Watkins Glen six hour race,” Auberlen said. “We are coming off a victory last year and knowing how amazing the all new M8 GTE is I hope we can hit the ground running and start the drive to Victory Lane!”

Auberlen has raced the last two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events in the GT Daytona class. He’s shared the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 first with Dillon Machavern, then Robby Foley.

After BMW has come close on two occasions this year with runner-up finishes in Sebring and Mid-Ohio, they’ll try to break through this weekend. If they do, it’ll mean all four full-season manufacturers in IMSA’s GT Le Mans class will have won this year.

“I’m extremely motivated for our return to both the Watkins Glen and CTMP races,” said Sims, who was the only BMW Team RLL driver who raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (left).

“It was a real highlight for us last year and I sincerely hope we can recreate some of those performances. Both circuits (Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) are unbelievably good to drive. I’m just eager to get the BMW M8 GTE out on track and get our teeth into the weekend.”

Third driver Connor De Phillippi has, surprisingly, never raced at Watkins Glen throughout his career. De Phillippi’s performance at Mid-Ohio at his track debut there stood out. He’ll look to emulate that this weekend.

“Watkins Glen is one of those great American tracks that every driver loves,” he said. “It will be my first taste of ‘The Glen’ and the last new track for me to learn on this year’s calendar.

“In recent years it has been a strong track for our BMW race cars. This means a win is most definitely possible with our new M8 GTE.”

John Edwards and Jesse Krohn have had speed but not luck thus far in the sister No. 24 BMW M8 GTE. Edwards won the pole for the most recent race at Mid-Ohio back in May. Krohn set the fastest race lap at Sebring in March.

Tom Blomqvist, a British-Swedish driver, makes his IMSA debut as third driver of this car. The son of rallying legend Stig Blomqvist has never raced in North America. But he’s been part of the BMW family in DTM, Formula E and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

“I have never raced in the States before and I am very excited that Watkins Glen will be my first track. My teammates have told me about this old-school class circuit and I look forward to seeing it myself,” he said.

Latest Photos

Latest Video

Michelin wraps up IMSA west coast swing with excitement

Monday May 15, 2023