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Diffuser Issues Impact BMW M4 GT3’s IMSA Debut

BMW M4 GT3s encounter diffuser issues in challenging Rolex 24 debut…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Issues with the rear diffusers on both the Team RLL-run BMW M4 GT3s caused for a challenging IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The two Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMWs finished 13 and 46 laps behind the GTD Pro class-winning No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R after encountering multiple issues throughout the season-opener.

Classified seventh and ninth in class, both cars spent time in the garage undergoing diffuser repairs, in what turned into a “test” for the new-for-2022 GT3 car, which had previously completed 24-hour races at Sebring and Dubai without major problems.

Sportscar365 understands that the specific nature of the 3.56-mile oval/road course may have contributed to the diffuser issues. 

“We wanted to keep the number of mistakes to a minimum and, if possible, to get all the BMW M4 GT3s through the race without any incidents.

“Unfortunately, we did not quite manage that,” said Head of BMW M Motorsport Mike Krack.

“The GTD car run by Turner Motorsport was unable to finish the race after contact, and both of BMW M Team RLL’s cars encountered problems and ended the race in seventh and ninth place.

“Although we did a lot of test kilometers during the development phase, this showed that an outing under race conditions poses additional challenges.

“We must work together to improve the reliability, operations and performance, as we were unable to match the pace of the leaders at any point in the race.

“We will now analyze all the findings to ensure that we return to the front again at the 12 Hours of Sebring.”

Krack was in his final race at BMW, having been announced last month in taking up team principal role with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 Team.

BMW factory driver Marco Wittmann said the Rolex 24 was “not the race we were hoping for.”

“After the early problems, we tried to view the race as a test, gain experience and get the car through to the finish,” he explained.

“It is obviously a shame that we lost an awful lot of time, first through the damage to the diffuser and then later through a puncture and its consequences.

“Nevertheless, we have a lot to build on looking ahead to the coming races.”

John Edwards, who was in the highest-placed BMW alongside Connor De Phillippi, Jesse Krohn and Augusto Farfus, said it was a “difficult” race from the start.

Like the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTDs, the BMWs were given a pre-event Balance of Performance adjustment in the hopes of improving the car’s top speed.

According to Edwards, the changes did not make for any significant improvements, with the BMW drivers at the bottom of the time charts in terms of fastest race laps.

“We did not have the necessary pace, and then came the issues with the diffuser,” he said.

“The result is obviously not what we wanted, but I am very proud of the guys, who never gave up.

“Seventh place still earned us some decent points in the overall standings. Hopefully we can up our game in Sebring and take a step forward in the championship.”

Edwards and De Phillippi are expected to be the full-season pairing in the No. 25 BMW, with the team expected to scale back into a single-car operation post-Sebring in order to focus on its DPi testing and development.

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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