Daytona. The first 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) proved to be a
tough test for the BMW M Motorsport teams and the new BMW M4 GT3.
After a race full of challenges, BMW M Team RLL’s two MOTUL BMW M4
GT3s crossed the finish line in seventh and ninth places in the
GTD-PRO class. Both cars suffered issues with their underbodies
early in the race. Work had to be carried out on the rear diffusor
multiple times which cost a lot of time and saw both cars drop well
down the field. Turner Motorsport made an impressive fightback in
the GTD class and was running in the top five until they were forced
to retire after an incident in the night.

“That was a tough race,” said Mike Krack, Head of BMW M Motorsport.
“We wanted to keep the number of mistakes to a minimum and, if
possible, to get all the BMW M4 GT3s through the race without any
incidents. Unfortunately, we did not quite manage that. The GTD car
run by Turner Motorsport was unable to finish the race after contact,
and both of BMW M Team RLL’s cars encountered problems and ended the
race in seventh and ninth place. Although we did a lot of test
kilometres during the development phase, this showed that an outing
under race conditions poses additional challenges. We must work
together to improve the reliability, operations and performance, as we
were unable to match the pace of the leaders at any point in the race.
We will now analyse all the findings to ensure that we return to the
front again at the 12 Hours of Sebring. I would like to congratulate
Team Pfaff Motorsports on its victory in the first race of the new
GTD-PRO class. Today was my last race outing with BMW M Motorsport. I
would have liked to have bid farewell with a top result. I want to
thank all my colleagues, the teams and drivers for the trustworthy
cooperation over the past few years.”

Sharing the driving duties in the #25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3 were John
Edwards, Connor De Phillippi (both USA), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and
Jesse Krohn (FIN). They finished seventh in their class after 698
laps. The second car, with Philipp Eng (AUT), Sheldon van der Linde
(RSA), Marco Wittmann (GER) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) at the wheel, came
home ninth in the GTD-PRO class.

In the GTD class, the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 started from
the back of the field but they went on the offensive in the first few
hours and managed to fight their way back into the top five.
Alternating in the cockpit were Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Michael
Dinan (all USA) and BMW M works driver Jens Klingmann (GER). The car
was damaged in a collision in the night however, and consequently had
to be parked up in the garage.

BMW M Team RLL and Turner Motorsport now have roughly six weeks until
the second highlight of this season’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar
Championship at Sebring (USA). They will be joined there by Paul
Miller Racing with a BMW M4 GT3 in the GTD class.

Focus on the BMW M anniversary and BMW M Endurance Challenge.

On the support programme for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, BMW M
Motorsport and BMW of North America marked 50 years of BMW M with a
host of highlights. Immediately before the start of the race, there
was a parade of vintage and current BMW M cars, including a BMW M1
from 1980. Three race cars that made history by winning IMSA races
were on display at the Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition in the Daytona Fan
Zone: the BMW 3.0 CSL from 1975, the 2015 BMW Z4 GTLM, and the BMW M8
GTE that triumphed at Daytona in 2019.

The BMW M Endurance Challenge took place on Friday. The four-hour
race, round one of this season’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, was
started by Timo Resch, Vice President Customer, Brand and Sales at BMW
M GmbH, in his role as Grand Marshal. Victory went to Team RS1. Turner
Motorsport also impressed with its two BMW M4 GT4s and made it onto
the podium, with Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern (both USA)
finishing third. Their team-mates Robby Foley, Michael Dinan and
Vincent Barletta (all USA) were fifth.

Quotes after the 24 Hours of Daytona:

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW M Team RLL): “That
was a long day for us. It was the first race with the new car for our
team. Prior to this, we had only had one short test at Daytona in
December 2021 and were a little surprised that we did not have the
problems back then that have slowed us down here in Rolex 24. A big
thank you goes to my team, the drivers, BMW M Motorsport, and all
those who never gave up during the past 36 hours and tried to get the
best possible out of the car. We now have a very long to do list which
we must work through in order to challenge at the front in Sebring.”

John Edwards (#25 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3, 7th place
GTD-PRO class):
“That was a difficult race for us from the
start. We did not have the necessary pace, and then came the issues
with the diffusor. The result is obviously not what we wanted, but I
am very proud of the guys, who never gave up. Seventh place still
earned us some decent points in the overall standings. Hopefully we
can up our game in Sebring and take a step forward in the championship.”

Marco Wittmann (#24 MOTUL BMW M4 GT3, 9th place
GTD-PRO class):
“That was not the race we were hoping for.
Despite that, we never lost our fantastic team spirit. After the early
problems, we tried to view the race as a test, gain experience and get
the car through to the finish. It is obviously a shame that we lost an
awful lot of time, first through the damage to the diffusor and then
later through a puncture and its consequences. Nevertheless, we have a
lot to build on looking ahead to the coming races. Hopefully things
will run smoother in the future!”

Jens Klingmann (#96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, DNF GTD
“For the IMSA season, the 24 Hours of Daytona is
pretty much the equivalent of the Super Bowl – the highlight of the
season and a really tough test at the same time. There were four of us
in one Turner Motorsport car for the first time, and we had fought
back strongly to make it into the top five until our retirement. My
team-mates were all basically very happy with the driveability,
user-friendliness and ergonomics of the BMW M4 GT3. That gives me
reason to be positive. It is obviously a shame that we had to park the
car up after our contact, but we showed that we have the potential to
compete at the very front of the field in our class.”

This content was originally published here.