BMW Team RLL has completed the first US test of the new BMW M8 GTE at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in preparation for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Current BMW drivers John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk were joined by new signing Connor De Phillippi as the team shook down the new car on the speedway’s infield circuit.
This is the first time the car has been tested in America, with all previous testing and development having taken place in Europe.
The team will remain in Florida in order to ready the car for the first IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona International Speedway on 5th and 6th of December.
The new M8 GTE will spearhead BMW’s sportscar assault both on the IMSA series and the manufacturer’s debut in the GTE PRO category of the World Endurance Championship.
The M8 replaces the successful M6 which RLL campaigned over the previous two IMSA WeatherTech seasons, which despite a troubled first season, managed to finish second in the GTLM manufacturers title in 2017, taking four victories.
De Phillippi joins the team, replacing fellow Californian Bill Auberlen who becomes a BMW brand Ambassador, returning to the United States after five years away in Europe.
“To be part of the BMW family is something I am very proud of,” said De Phillippi.
“Driving for BMW Team RLL is quite an achievement for me and I hope I can add to the success of the team next year.”
De Phillippi will debut the new M8 GTE at the Rolex 24 At Daytona on the 28th January 2018.
“While I don’t believe it could ever be said that Bill Auberlen was underutilized in his first two decades with BMW NA, we have made a mutual decision to take better advantage of his expertise and now to primarily support our growing customer racing programs in addition to competing with BMW Team RLL in the four IMSA endurance races this season.”, added BMW NA Motorsport Manager Victor Leleu.