The 2017 motor racing season will shift up a gear, when BMW Motorsport, BMW Team RLL and BMW of North America launch their 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) campaign on 28th/29th January at the classic Daytona International Speedway. At the biggest 24-hour race in North America, BMW Team RLL will have the rare honour of racing a BMW Art Car, only the ninth of the 19-car BMW Art Car Collection to race since the programme’s start in 1975. John Baldessari (USA), one of the world’s most respected conceptual artists, joins luminaries such as Alexander Calder (1975), Andy Warhol (1979) and Jeff Koons (2010) as an Art Car creator.
The BMW M6 continues as the foundation of BMW’s effort in international sports car racing in 2017, and BMW Team RLL will continue to race two BMW M6 GTLM specification cars in the IWSC. The line-up of the number 19 BMW M6 GTLM Art Car features veteran Bill Auberlen (USA) and BMW works driver Alexander Sims (GBR). Sims was part of the winning ROWE Racing team with the BMW M6 GT3 at last year’s 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). The regular drivers will be supported by DTM stars Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Bruno Spengler (CAN). Both Farfus and Spengler raced the BMW M6 GTLM at Daytona last year with Auberlen and Dirk Werner (DE), finishing fifth in the debut race for the car. For Auberlen, the 48-year-old Californian, the honour of racing a BMW Art Car falls on the 20th anniversary of his first win for BMW at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1997.
John Edwards (USA) and Martin Tomczyk (GER) will anchor the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM this season. Edwards, who begins his fifth season racing for BMW, will be joined by BMW works driver Tomczyk, now focusing on GT competition after 16 successful seasons in the DTM. As he did last season, Kuno Wittmer (CAN) will race the number 25 M6 in the four endurance rounds (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans). At Daytona, Nicky Catsburg (NLD) will be the fourth driver. Catsburg co-drove to a second-place GTD finish in last year’s Rolex 24.
In its eight seasons of North American sports car competition, BMW Team RLL has posted 13 victories among 60 podium finishes, winning the American Le Mans Series Manufacturer and Team championships in 2010 and repeating the feat and adding the driver title in 2011. Beginning with the BMW M3 GT2 in 2009, the team successfully introduced the BMW Z4 GTLM in 2013 and the BMW M6 GTLM in 2016.
BMW Press Release