Difficult Sunday for BMW Team RLL at Road America – Victory for Turner Motorsport in the GTD class.
Munich. The BMW teams experienced mixed fortunes at the ninth round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC), held at Road America (USA). While BMW Team RLL had a difficult Sunday in the GTLM class, the Turner Motorsport team celebrated a commanding win in the GTD class.
The two BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM cars finished sixth and seventh of the GTLM class respectively. Alexander Sims (GBR) and Bill Auberlen (USA) started from third on the grid in the number 25 car. Sims quickly jumped into second and began hounding the leader. The Brit handed over to Auberlen on lap 25. The experienced BMW driver was forced to return to the pits with a suspension issue. The crew effected repairs to the damper, but the number car 25 lost two laps. Two caution periods in the final hour of the race allowed Sims, who replaced Auberlen on lap 51, to regain the lead lap and challenge for a fourth place finish. Contact, however, with a Corvette on the final lap of the race caused damage which slowed Sims’ progress and he ultimately finished sixth.
Martin Tomczyk (GER) and John Edwards (USA) set the fifth fastest time in qualifying with the number 24 sister car but were forced to start from the rear after a precautionary engine change. Tomczyk, however, put in a strong catch-up bid and soon worked his way towards the front. He brought the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM in for a stop on lap 19 and hand over to Edwards. The American improved to second place. Unfortunately, the last caution period was caused by the number 24 car when Edwards ran out of fuel at the pit lane entrance as the team tried to maximise fuel mileage. He was towed back to the paddock and refuelled but in the closing minutes of the race was unable to make up the two laps lost.
In the GTD class, Jens Klingmann (GER) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) started second on the grid in the number 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. Krohn soon took the lead in the class and pulled away from his rivals. Klingmann then extended the advantage further to over 16 seconds. The cautions allowed their competitors to get closer again but Klingmann managed the lead and crossed the line as the class winner.
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM): “That race was quite a roller coaster ride. We were up, then down, then up again, and on the last lap right back down again.”
Alexander Sims (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM): “The end of the race was very exciting. The BMW M6 GTLM was working very well and I was better under braking than the Corvette in a few corners. On the white flag lap he had a bad run out coming out of the last corner and I was right behind him. Between turns one and three I felt I was close enough to make a move, but by the time we entered the corner the gap disappeared and a disappointing finish is the result.”
John Edwards (No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM): “Considering where we started the race we knew we would have to get clever with strategy. We gambled today, but it did not pay off.”
Martin Tomczyk (No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM): “After showing how competitive we were in free practice today’s result was very disappointing. A miscalculation ended what could have been a good day.”