The GTLM Class Winner in 2020 Will Be on Display This Week at the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion
By John Oreovicz
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Are you a (presumably) wealthy car collector with the desire and ability to take advantage of a rare opportunity to acquire a near-current, state-of-the-art, factory GT car?
If so, BMW might be willing to make you a deal you can’t refuse.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of BMW M Motorsport, BMW North America, LLC, is offering for sale the M8 GTE that claimed victory in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class of the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona in the hands of drivers John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert.
Chassis No. 1809 compiled five additional podium finishes in 2020, helping Edwards, Krohn and the No. 24 BMW earn the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup and claim second place in the GTLM season driver and team standings. This chassis also earned third place in the 2021 Rolex 24.
Talk about “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
And make no mistake, whoever obtains No. 1809 will be able to drive it. The sale includes a vehicle running kit with the tools needed to operate the car, along with an extra set of wheels and a comprehensive spare parts package. Onboard computer systems have been reprogrammed for simpler customer use, and the purchaser will also receive comprehensive engineering notes, media and marketing materials, and even the winning manufacturer’s trophy from the 2020 Rolex 24.
The GTLM class win in one of the world’s premier endurance races was clearly meaningful for BMW, which scored the overall triumph at Daytona in 1976 with legendary IMSA drivers Peter Gregg, Derek Bell and John Fitzpatrick. More recently, BMW engines powered the overall Rolex 24 victor in the prototype class in cars fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and ’13.
“The victory for BMW Team RLL at the Daytona 24-hour race ranks very highly in many regards,” said Klaus Frohlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development. “The M8 GTE showed no sign of weakness in the 24-hour sprint. It was among the leaders all race and led for more kilometers than anyone else.
“In doing so, it underlined the fact that this car is one of the top GT cars out there.”
BMW Team RLL campaigned a total of eight M8 GTE chassis from 2018-21, of which six survive. BMW USA Classic intends to keep two examples, while the remaining three less-pedigreed chassis may be sold later.
BMW M Motorsport and BMW USA Classic will offer full service and future technical support for the new owner of Chassis No. 1809.
Bill Auberlen, a BMW ambassador who has competed in a record 518 races for the marque and is the all-time win leader in IMSA top-tier series with 65, recently shook down the former Rolex winner at Palm Beach (Fla.) International Raceway in preparation for the sale.
“BMW has a proud history of preserving and exhibiting its rich collection of historical racing cars in both Munich and North America,” stated Thomas Plucinsky, BMW USA Classic manager. “I only need the fingers on one hand to count the few factory race cars that have left the ownership of BMW in recent years.
“The M8 GTE represented a money-is-no-object factory GT race car, and it is truly an engineering masterpiece,” he added. “The new owner of No. 1809 will be the steward of a very important piece of BMW history in America and can count on support from BMW in the years to come to ensure its condition and value are maintained at the highest level.”
Chassis No. 1809 will be on display in the BMW USA Classic garage starting Wednesday at the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. For additional information and pricing, contact [email protected]
And what exactly is that price? As the old saying goes, if you have to ask …