BMW Motorsport and BMW Team RLL enjoyed a strong start to its TUDOR United SportsCar Championship career, finishing on the podium at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
While the BMW Z4 lacked straight line speed in comparison to its GTLM rivals, drivers Bill Auberlen, Andy Priaulx, Joey Hand and Maxime Martin put in consistent stints in the #56 machine, and when matched with a strong strategy and a flawless pit lane performance, worked their way into second in class at the drop of the chequered flag.
“Finishing second is a fantastic way to kick off our USCC campaign,” said Priaulx. “I put in three solid stints and had a really valuable learning experience getting to know the cars, drivers and track in Daytona. That is my first GT race in quite a few years, and I am looking forward to the rest of the 2014 championship after this successful start.”
The sister #55 car of Dirk Muller, John Edwards, Dirk Werner and Graham Rahal also enjoyed stints at the top of the GTLM field, but lost ground after the right-rear wheel bearing failed. The time spent in the pits to repair the issue was costly, costing the team several positions. However, strong driving from the quartet put the car back in the top five, finishing fourth in class and gaining valuable points for the season ahead.
“We had some tough luck when we had to drive back to the garage to repair the car and this cost us a podium,” offered Werner. “We didn’t make any mistakes and it was a tough race with a lot of incidents. I think we proved that the BMW Z4 GTLM is a good car for endurance racing – and finishing second and fourth is beyond our expectations.”
Meanwhile, flying the flag for BMW in the GTD category, Turner Motorsport rallied back from severeal setbacks to take seventh in class.
“We have every reason to be very satisfied with our first appearance in the new United SportsCar Championship,” concluded BMW Motorsport Director, Jens Marquardt. “To finish this ultra-tough race in second and fourth, considering the very difficult conditions for us, is a fantastic success. As far as performance goes, especially our straight-line speed, we obviously had a disadvantage at this circuit compared to our direct competitors. However, we managed to compensate for this through an excellent overall package made of strong drivers, a flawless team and a clever strategy. Overall it was an impressive debut for the United SportsCar Championship in Daytona. And the 24-hour race had all the ingredients race fans could ask for. This opener was a nice appetiser for the rest of the season.”