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BMW Team RLL Poised for Driver Shakeup

Changes expected in driver lineup at BMW Team RLL in 2017…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

BMW Team RLL’s driver lineup in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship could have a different look, with changes potentially in the works for the pair of factory BMW M6 GTLM cars.

The Bobby Rahal-led squad, which went winless in 2016 with the new GTLM-homologated BMW, is understood to potentially have up to two changes to its season-long lineup of Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner, Lucas Luhr and John Edwards.

Sportscar365 has learned that former IMSA GTLM champion Kuno Wittmer has been tipped for a full-season drive, after joining the team in an endurance race-only capacity this year.

Wittmer, a BMW of North America factory driver, piloted the No. 100 entry alongside Luhr and Edwards at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans, while also taking on a testing and development role, both in the U.S. and in Europe.

The Canadian also competed in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Series with the BMW-supported Mills Racing outfit.

Alexander Sims, meanwhile, appears to be in line for a potential drive as well, having tested with the RLL squad at Road Atlanta last month. The 28-year-old Englishman was the driving force behind BMW’s victory in the 24 Hours of Spa with the factory supported ROWE Racing effort.

Former DTM champion Martyn Tomczyk, who announced his retirement from the German championship but remains with BMW for GT racing, appears to be another possibility.

It’s unclear which of the current drivers could be on the chopping block, with BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt admitting that the 2017 lineup is under evaluation.

“We’re evaluating everything at the end of every year,” he told Sportscar365. “We’re looking at the DTM program, we’re looking at the GT programs in the world, 24 hours, this activities here, for sure we will look at having the best possible package for everything that we have, and that includes drivers as well as cars, engineers, everything.”

Marquardt confirmed that RLL will continue to operate its factory WeatherTech Championship program next year, in what will be the second and final season with the M6 GTLM cars, prior to a switch to an all-new GTE platform in 2018 for both IMSA and and its newly announced factory GTE-Pro effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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