BMW Team RLL has taken back-to-back Rolex 24 at Daytona GT Le Mans category victories as the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE of John Edwards, Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert and Jesse Krohn prevailed in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season-opener.
Krohn had the last say at the head of the GTLM field, making a bold pass on Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR in the final hour to claim BMW’s second class win in as many years at Daytona.
It was the No. 24 BMW versus the two Porsches for more than three-quarters of the record distance-setting race, with the lead swinging between the No. 24, No. 911 and No. 912, which all had stints at the front.
BMW came to the fore in the fifth hour after a strong stint from Mostert into Saturday evening as the top three squabbled until the checkered flag, with several close quarters moments.
Tandy led Krohn by 4.8 seconds heading into the closing hour before the latter chased the Porsche driver down and began challenging for the top spot.
The pair ran side-by-side into Turn 1, however, Tandy ran wide and Krohn took advantage of the mistake by nosing ahead of the Brit for the class lead at Turn 3.
Struggling on older Michelin tires, Tandy lost more time and yielded second to the sister No. 912 Porsche of Bamber.
The positions remained the same after the final round of pit stops as Bamber snapped up second in GTLM in the No. 912 car he shared with Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet, while Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Matt Campbell’s No. 911 Porsche settled for third.
Antonio Garcia brought the debuting No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R across the line in fourth after losing time in the sixth hour with a wild spin for Nicky Catsburg in the Turn 1 braking zone after door-to-door contact with the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Pedro Lamy.
Catsburg, who had been fourth in class at the time, fell to sixth as a result of the incident at the time.
BMW’s second No. 25 M8 GTE of Colton Herta, Bruno Spengler, Philipp Eng, and Connor De Phillippi suffered technical and mechanical woes.
The No. 25 BMW’s difficulties began in the second hour when a right-front wheel nut issue saw Eng drop to last in class.
It was then forced to make a lengthy trip to the garage in the sixth hour after debris damaged the oil line before regaining one position due to the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo’s late-race retirement.
James Calado in the Ferrari was classified 30th overall after the team’s race was compounded by two right-rear punctures, a penalty with just under two hours to go for wheels moving while on air-jacks, and damage which ultimately led to a DNF in the final hour.
Meanwhile, the No. 4 Corvette finished more than 300 laps behind after spending more than eight hours in the garage due to a cracked bell-housing.
RESULTS: Rolex 24 at Daytona