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2023 IMSA season finale: BMW M Team RLL finishes seventh and eighth in eventful Petit Le Mans – GTD podium for Turner Motorsport.

The 2023 IMSA season concluded with an eventful 26th running of the Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta (USA). In the ten-hour race, marked by numerous accidents and numerous deployments of the BMW XM Safety Car, the two BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 prototypes finished in seventh and eighth positions in the new GTP class. Turner Motorsport secured a podium finish in the GTD class with the BMW M4 GT3.

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Road Atlanta. The 2023 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IMSA series) concluded with an eventful 26th running of the Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta (USA). In the ten-hour race, marked by numerous accidents and numerous deployments of the BMW XM Safety Car, the two BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 prototypes finished in seventh and eighth positions in the new GTP class. Turner Motorsport secured a podium finish in the GTD class with the BMW M4 GT3.

 

After ten hours filled with incidents, the race ended behind the safety car. The #25 BMW M Hybrid V8, driven by Connor De Phillippi (USA), Nick Yelloly (GBR), and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), finished in seventh place. Directly behind them was the #24 BMW M Hybrid V8, which had Augusto Farfus (BRA), Philipp Eng (AUT) and Marco Wittmann (GER) alternating at the wheel.

 

The Petit Le Mans race marked the end of the debut season for the BMW M Hybrid V8. In the nine races held in the new GTP class of the IMSA this year BMW M Team RLL secured five podium finishes with the vehicle, including a victory in the six-hour race at Watkins Glen (USA).

 

In the GTD class, Turner Motorsport concluded the season with a podium finish. Robby Foley, Patrick Gallagher and Michael Dinan (all USA) secured second place on the Petit Le Mans podium in the #96 BMW M4 GT3. Their teammates, Bill Auberlen, Chandler Hull and Thomas Merrill (all USA), finished seventh in the class in the #97 car. Unfortunately, Paul Miller Racing, which had already secured the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in the GTD class before the season finale and also were the first team to win the IMSA Sprint Cup back-to-back, had a stroke of bad luck. The #1 BMW M4 GT3 driven by Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis (all USA) was involved in an accident that was not their fault. After an extended repair break, the team initially resumed the race but eventually had to retire. Paul Miller Racing celebrated no fewer than five GTD wins this season.

 

Quotes after Petit Le Mans.

 

Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport: “Today it certainly wasn’t the result we had hoped for. In the first nine hours, things were looking very promising for us, and at times, we were right up there competing for the lead and a top result. Unfortunately, we were set back in the closing stages due to numerous yellow flags, and we couldn’t achieve the positions we had set out for. This also means we didn’t end up where we had hoped to be in the championship. It was a disappointing conclusion to the season, but we can look ahead positively. In nine races, we made it to the podium five times, which is a great record. A big thank you to everyone who made this possible. Now the work continues at home, and we’re hoping for a strong start to the 2024 season in Daytona.”

 

Bobby Rahal, Team Principal BMW M Team RLL: “Overall, the season was pretty successful. We had five podiums, including the victory at Watkins Glen. When we look back where we were a year ago it has been crazy and we reacted well to the challenges we had. Like it is in every first year, there was a lot to learn and we learnt a lot. Thanks to everyone for their hard work. Now we are looking forward to next season and it will be a very exciting year.”

 

Connor De Phillippi (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “So Petit Le Mans is in the books. It was definitely not the result we wanted and not the result we could have gotten. We just did not play it aggressive enough at the end when it counted, unfortunately. I feel sorry for the guys. Everybody worked so hard all year. We can be proud of the results we achieved this season. We will come back next year and fight even harder.”

 

Nick Yelloly (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “It has not been the ideal end to the season. During the race we were theoretically leading the championship so we are a bit disappointed now, obviously. But one thing I have to say is: we still got five podiums through the year, including one win, and I feel we maximized as much as we could throughout the season. So a big credit to BMW M Motorsport and the entire BMW M Team RLL for working so hard, because after Daytona we did not think that we would be able to achieve what we did.”

 

Sheldon van der Linde (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “It obviously did not end how we wanted in regards of the championship. We were going for the win for the #25 boys, for Nick and Connor. In the end I think we just ultimately did not have the pace in comparison to other cars. But we gave everything out there today. We really did not leave any stone unturned. It has been a pleasure to join the team again for the last event of the year. Of course we are a bit disappointed, but nevertheless the guys can be proud of what they achieved this season.”

 

Philipp Eng (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “It was definitely a lot of fun. Driving the car on this track is truly unbeatable. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the result we all hoped for, especially for our sister car. It looked promising for the championship for a long time, but, sadly, it didn’t work out in the end. However, we can be proud of what we’ve achieved this year. The progress has always been positive, and we can build on that. Thanks to everyone who was involved in this.”

 

Augusto Farfus (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “I think we tried. First of all, we finished the race trouble-free with both cars. Today we just did not have the pace. We tried on the strategy, on the fuel saving. The team was very much on it, but in the end we just did not have enough. But it is okay. It was the first season in the GTP class. Now we go back home, we learn and then we should come back next year much stronger.”

 

Marco Wittmann (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “In the end, we can be proud of how the year went for us. When we started in Daytona, we probably did’t think that we could be very successful over the season. The team managed to secure five podium finishes. Of course, we had hoped for a different outcome in the final race. It looked promising for a while, but, ultimately, we didn’t quite have the pace compared to our competitors, who were faster over the course of the race. Consequently, there was nothing more to gain for us in the final stages. Even the yellow flags didn’t change that. We have to acknowledge that the competition did a better job this weekend. For us, it means taking the lessons and coming back stronger next year.”

 

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