Fuel issue denies BMW M8 maiden win at Road America

August 7, 2018

Fuel issue denies BMW M8 maiden win at Road America

August 7, 2018

The stars nearly aligned Sunday at Road America for the first worldwide win for the BMW M8 GTE.

Nine years earlier, BMW Team RLL took its first GT class win as a combined unit in the American Le Mans Series with the BMW M3.

Four generations of cars later, the M8 looked on pace to deliver its first win too. Alas, the luckless cloud that has seemed to linger over this camp all year popped up again inside the final five minutes of the two-hour, 40-minute race.

Alexander Sims reveled in his opening stint to take the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE up the order. He handed off to teammate Connor De Phillippi to finish the race.

De Phillippi first got into podium contention and then on the final round of pit stops, jumped ahead of the leading Ford, Corvette and Porsche cars into the net lead of the race with 64 minutes remaining.

The pit stop from the BMW Team RLL crew delivered the lead. However, a refueling system issue meant they came up short. Richard Westbrook got past De Phillippi in-between Turns 6 and 7 with just two-plus laps to go.

De Phillippi crawled back to Turn 14. The car couldn’t make it up Road America’s notorious uphill run to the pit lane. It dropped he and Sims from a potential first win to an unrepresentative sixth place finish.

“We led a large portion of the last stint, but with two laps to go, I had a stumble and coming into the last corner just ran completely out,” De Phillippi said.

“I wouldn’t say I am disappointed because the guys put in so much hard work, but we did not get the result we deserved.”

“The No. 25 car must be a little askew in the fuel tank,” added Bobby Rahal, team principal. “It looked like there was enough during the last pit stop, but there just wasn’t. It’s tough to be that close to winning the race, but we leave knowing we’re competitive.”

Mechanical issues again sidelined the No. 24 BMW of John Edwards and Jesse Krohn.

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