While BMW Team RLL finished a disappointing 6th, the private team of Paul Miller racing gave the BMW M4 GT3 its first class victory by winning the IUMSA GT Daytona Class at Long Beach. The balance of power still is keeping the all new BMW M4 GT3 in the back of the pack in the IMSA GTD category. To make matters worse both BMW M Team RLL and Turner Motorsports had qualifying laps deleted for breaching IMSA’s GTD technical regulations governing maximum engine speed.
OFFICIAL RELEASE: BMW M4 GT3 Takes First Victory In IMSA GT Daytona Class At Long Beach
In only their second race with the new No. 1 BMW M4 GT3, Paul Miller Racing drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow scored the very first IMSA BMW M4 GT3 GTD class victory – from the very first BMW M4 GT3 class pole – today at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Leading the greater percentage of the race, the duo completed 69 laps of the temporary street circuit during the one-hour-and-forty-minute contest, finishing 1.886 seconds ahead of second place to mark their place in BMW history.
The news was not as good for the other two BMWs in the race. Following post-qualifying technical inspection, the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M4 GT3 and the No. 96 Turner Motorsport M4 GT3 each had three of their qualifying laps deleted for breaching IMSA’s GTD technical regulations governing maximum engine speed. Both Robby Foley and Connor De Phillippi were moved backwards to the 18th and 25th rows overall respectively and last place starting positions.
The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 of Foley and Bill Auberlen made lemonade from lemons, finishing fourth in the GTD class. The No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M4 GT3 of De Phillippi and John Edwards finished fourth on track in the GTD Pro class but were moved to a last place finish after it was determined that De Phillippi exceeded his maximum drive time.
Bryan Sellers (Paul Miller Racing, No. 1 BMW M4 GT3) (P1, GTD): “Today was awesome! There is just something really special about this event [Long Beach] – all of the crowds and people. For us, it is extra special because it is our first win with BMW as a team and as a manufacturer. We have our Total executives here and Paul Miller is here so it’s kind of awesome to be able to do it in front of everybody. I am glad to have this first one out of the way and to have the monkey off of our back. It is really great and now we see how we can continue building from here.”
Madison Snow (Paul Miller Racing, No. 1 BMW M4 GT3) (P1 GTD): “We had a lot of pressure going into this weekend. We knew what we could do and that we could win this race. We started out by getting the pole, but it is a long race and there is a lot of carnage that can happen here. It was us going out there and doing the best that we could and thankfully, I was able to get a gap at the beginning. We had the M4 set up quite well for this race, but we still have not had a lot of testing time with it. Judging by this car, there is a lot more that it is capable of and we are really looking forward to the rest of the season. There were some nervous moments towards the end with the yellow flags, but Bryan did a great job staying in front and taking us to the win.”
Connor De Phillippi (BMW M Team RLL, No. 25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3) (P4, GTD Pro): “Not the result we would have liked but the car was fantastic to drive. We had a good strategy until that first yellow flag. Big thanks to the entire team. We all put in a tremendous effort after having the start that we did in the race. I think we learned a lot this weekend and we can apply that knowledge, move on to the next race and go for the win at Laguna Seca.”
John Edwards (BMW M Team RLL, No. 25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3) (P4, GTD Pro): “We had a great car and Connor drove an amazing stint that put us in the position where we were getting ready to pit and we would have come out in the top three with fresher tires than the two cars ahead of us. It was definitely setting up to be game on for the win if those yellows came at the right time but unfortunately they came one or two laps too early and we got hung out by that and got shoved to the back of the field. We had another yellow that got us back into contention and we were able to push hard and finish fourth on track on a day when we started behind the whole GTD field not once but several times.”
The BMW teams are back in action April 29 – May 1 for the IMSA Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Motul at WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway. The two-hour-and-forty-minute street race will take the green flag at 3:10 p.m. ET Saturday, May 1. Coverage on NBC will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio also provides a flag-to-flag broadcast.