BMW celebrated its second successive Daytona triumph after a thrilling opening race of the 2020 IMSA SportsCar Championship season.
Members of BMW Team RLL celebrated wildly as its #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE held off the challenge from Porsche’s new 911 RSRs to take top honours in the GTLM class after 24 hours of racing.
After 786 laps and over 40 changes of lead at Daytona International Speedway’s iconic track, BMW Team RLL finished top of the podium for the second year running. The Porsche GT Team’s two 911 RSR’s, making their North American race debuts, ended an impressive weekend with a double podium finish to complete the top three.
BMW’s winning drivers John Edwards (USA), Jesse Krohn (FIN), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Chaz Mostert (AUS) were left speechless after an emotional Daytona victory.
John Edwards said: “It was a really hard fight, as always in the GTLM class. The many battles were extremely tiring, particularly during my triple stint. This is definitely the biggest success of my career. I’m overjoyed."
Jesse Krohn added: “What a race! It feels absolutely incredible. This is my third year in the GTLM class – and my first victory. We have come so close so often, and now we have actually done it here at Daytona. The team was awesome. Thank you very much to BMW Motorsport and RLL for trusting me to take the final stint of the race. Every single person did a mega job.”
BMW’s Augusto Farfus said at Daytona: “I am speechless. That was the best 24-hour race I have driven in my whole life. It was extremely fast, extremely close, and you could not afford to make any mistakes. We drove a perfect race: team, strategy, drivers, mechanics. The car worked well throughout the entire race. You don’t get through the full 24 hours like that very often. To win this race twice in a row is exceptional.”
Chaz Mostert said: “In 2019, the other car won. Back then, I could not imagine how it must feel for those guys. Now it was me stood on the top step of the podium. That is something very special.”
"Hard but fair racing"
BMW Team RLL’s #25 M8 GTE car finished fifth. Team Principal Bobby Rahal praised BMW’s crew and drivers for delivering a second successive 24 Hours of Daytona victory, while BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said it was a “sensational effort” from the marque.
Marquardt added: “We witnessed hard but fair racing. That is how it should be.”
For Porsche, second and third place finishes in the GTLM class provided a near-perfect weekend for the GT Works team at Daytona. Laurens Vanthoor (BEL), Earl Bamber (NZL) and Mathieu Jaminet (FRA) steered the #912 911 RSR to second while Frederic Makowiecki (FRA), Nick Tandy (GBR) and Matt Campbell (AUS) completed the podium in the sister #911 car.
Director of GT Works Motorsport Pascal Zurlinden said: “That was a perfect debut for the new Porsche 911 RSR. At the first race in the USA – and one over 24 hours – we didn’t experience a single technical problem and ended up on the podium with both cars. From the team effort to the strategy right through to the work in the pitlane, everything ran smoothly and flawlessly. At the next race in Sebring, we want to defend our victory from last year.”
Daytona double for Lamborghini
In the GTD class, Lamborghini celebrated a classic one-two Daytona victory as the #48 Paul Miller Racing Huracan GT3 Evo finished ahead of Magnus Racing by GRT’s Huracan GT3. It marked the third consecutive year a Lamborghini had finished top of the GTD class at Daytona.
CEO and Chairman of Lamborghini Stefano Domenicali said: “In 2019 we wrote an important page of motorsport history, winning a legendary race for the second time, fighting with the most prestigious car makers. This triumph in 2020 demonstrates how Lamborghini is always looking ahead and constantly working to always achieve higher and more important targets. My congratulations to both teams and all the drivers, they have done an amazing job.”
The second round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship takes place on March 21st at Sebring.