Michelin performance helps BMW M8 GTE to first win in Michelin GT Challenge at VIR

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

BMW Team RLL’s Alexander Sims and Connor De Phillippi scored a memorable first victory for the new BMW M8 GTE today at the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR thanks to the fast, consistent and long-lasting performance of their MICHELIN tires.
 
Tires were the key to the BMW team’s winning strategy. The BMW took the race lead when their rival stopped for fuel and tires with one hour and 25 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Sims built a 51 second lead then made a late fuel only stop and double-stinted his Michelin tires to the finish for the victory. 

An opportunity for celebration

“With high temperatures and high demand corners and the drivers making liberal use of the kerbing, VIR is a demanding track on tires. We were confident that there was an opportunity if a team chose to double stint. BMW decided to go for it and it was a winning strategy,” said Ken Payne, technical director motorsport, Michelin North America.

“The tires held up so well that they allowed us to stay out and keep them on at the last stop,” Sims said. “The Michelins held on fantastically well to the point that we could double stint them at a track that is notoriously hard on tires with all the kerbs here at Virginia.”

The win was the first worldwide victory for the new BMW M8 GTE. It is the fourth different car BMW Team RLL has won with, after the M3, Z4 and M6 in a run that dates to 2009.  
 
“Michelin has a long history with the BMW M Series both on race car and production vehicles and it is great to see the first win for the M8 and both cars on the podium,” Payne said.
 
The second BMW of John Edwards and Jesse Krohn finished third. 

Hyper Competition

“The level of competition here in the WeatherTech championship is incredible. Seven of the eight GTLM cars posted best lap times within a window of 0.260 seconds on 102-second lap of the 3.27-mile circuit,” Payne said.

“Corvette is leading the driver championship, Ford has won five races, Porsche has won two races and now BMW has both cars on the podium and can add a first win for the M8 to their earlier poles and race laps.  

“It is amazing how the performance is so equally balanced across both the GTLM and GTD fields. Teams in both the GTLM and GT Daytona (GTD) classes fought tooth and nail to the final lap.”

Corvette Splits BMWs; Takes Points Lead

Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen finished second for the fourth time this season to move into the GTLM class points lead. This is the pairing’s sixth consecutive podium finish and seventh overall this year in nine starts.

They take the lead over Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing by four points. That pairing encountered clutch issues and finished seventh.

Just two races remain in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The next stop is at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The Monterey Grand Prix airs Sunday, September 9, at 5:00 p.m. EDT on FS1.

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