BMW Team RLL has taken the GT Le Mans class win at the Motul Petit Le Mans on the BMW M6 GTLM’s final race and Bill Auberlen’s 400th competition start with the German manufacturer.
Auberlen, Alexander Sims and Kuno Wittmer combined in the No. 25 BMW and led much of the race from fourth on the grid.
Sims survived a hectic final hour to remain out front despite repeated pressure from drivers’ champion Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
The car held the lead for most of the final three hours and rarely dropped out of the top three throughout the entire ten-hour race at Road Atlanta.
It was the final race before the M6 GTLM is replaced by the new M8 GTE at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January and marks Auberlen’s 151st win out of 400th race starts with the German manufacturer.
Garcia and Jan Magnussen, meanwhile, were crowned GTLM drivers’ champions by starting the race. They eventually finished second after a strong run along with endurance driver Mike Rockenfeller.
Toni Vilander crossed the line third for Risi Competizione ahead of Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette.
Laurens Vanthoor finished fifth in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR which bounced back after a fire in the pit lane during the second hour.
No crew members were injured during the blaze but one mechanic was taken to the medical center.
While the No. 25 BMW had a trouble-free race, the sister No. 24 car was the only GTLM car to finish far off the lead lap after steering issues early in the race before the car went behind the wall in the penultimate hour.
The No. 67 Ford GT looked set for a podium finish until Ryan Briscoe crashed in the final half-hour, losing his rear wing.
Three Wins in a Day for Land
Land Motorsport took the GT Daytona class win ahead of the Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in the reverse of the final result from Daytona, in which the German squad finished second.
Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi and Sheldon van der Linde drove the No. 29 Land Audi R8 LMS to victory.
It is the team’s third success of the day after also winning the German VLN and DMV races.
Michael Christensen crossed the line second in the Alegra Porsche while Joerg Bergmeister completed the podium in the Park Place Motorsports car.
Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen secured the GTD championship despite a challenging race for the Scuderia Corsa squad which included damage from an early collision with the Team Penske Oreca 07 Gibson and later a broken axle.
The car went behind the wall for over 40 minutes to repair the axle, and so finished 33 laps down as the last car still running at the checkered flag.
It was, however, still enough for the trio to help give Ferrari the GT Daytona manufacturers’ championship.
The race saw a total of 14 cautions and the GTD class become a battle of attrition with only six of 17 competitors finishing on the lead lap.
RESULTS: Motul Petit Le Mans