Coming into the first race of the year with a brand new car is tough enough. In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship it becomes even tougher when that first race is the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Ford, Ferrari and BMW have brought new machines for their debut at Daytona this weekend – the BMW boys replacing their race-winning Z6 with a new M6 machine.
Based on BMW’s GT3 version of the same car, the BMW Team RLL squad ran 1-2 in the final practice on Friday and have had had a strong and consistent run so far in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
At the 225 lap mark (7hr, 20 minutes) the German manufacturer had the best-placed new car in the GTLM battle with Kuno Wittmer aboard the No.100 car in fourth place.
John Edwards started the No. 100 from the third position and ran three stints in the opening two-hours-and-twenty-two minutes of the race. Edwards was slowed on his first pit stop when he stuck a tire left from the No. 25 pit stop and had to serve a drive through penalty.
“As the track continued to rubber in we saw the balance come to us,” said John Edwards.
“I am hoping it continues to do that for the rest of the race. Unfortunately we had a little bit of a mess up on the first pit stop.
“From my seat it is almost impossible to see something like a tire that close to the car. I got a drive penalty but finally caught up on the next yellows so we are back in it now.”
Dirk Werner doubled stinted the No. 25 M6 before Bill Auberlen took over one-hour-and-twenty-minutes into the race. A debris-inflicted tire puncture took the No.25 car off the lead lap but car continues to run strongly at the seven hour mark.
“We came pretty smoothly into this race and just tried to hang in there,” Werner said.
“We don’t want to do anything stupid and just want to keep the car in one piece. The performance seems to be all right compared to the others. We can just drive at the same pace. I am happy the car feels good and I think we are ready for a long day and a long night.”