Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is primed to operate BMW’s GTD Pro effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year according to BMW Motorsport director Mike Krack, who admitted that pieces are still falling into place ahead of the program’s formal confirmation.
The German manufacturer, which will debut the new BMW M4 GT3 next year, has yet to officially commit to IMSA’s new-for-2022 platform although is currently understood to be at the advanced stages of planning for a likely two-car factory operation.
“We do not have final clarity, but we are working with our partners there to make it happen,” Krack told Sportscar365.
“Because we are supportive of the move from GTE to GTD Pro in IMSA, and we have been in the dialogue all the time, we are trying to be there.
“It would be strange — after six years with the M6 — if you have a new car… support the move [to GTD Pro] and then not be there.
“We are trying to make it happen, to be in IMSA [GTD] Pro. But it’s not final.
“All these budget meetings are happening right now, and we are asking how do we prioritize this? What is important?
“We also need two cars for it, out of our delivery stock. It’s part of this whole puzzle that we try to make happen.”
Krack said they are talking to “a lot” of teams for the M4 GT3 but indicated that Team RLL would get the nod for a GTD Pro effort.
The Bobby Rahal-co-owned organization has been a partner of BMW Motorsport and BMW of North America since 2009 when it operated factory M3 GT2 cars in the American Le Mans Series.
“RLL is a long [term] partner,” Krack said. “It would be strange if we now stopped that. We are talking to a lot of teams, but RLL is in the top of the ones we would go for.
“RLL is not just a team anymore. After so many years, they are proper partners. This is very important for us: to have stable, long relationships. Because this is how you build success, in my opinion.”
When asked about the number of M4 GT3s on the WeatherTech Championship grid next year, Krack wouldn’t be drawn to a specific target.
Longtime BMW entrant Turner Motorsport is known to have placed orders for four of the new cars for next year, with plans to run at least one in the GT Daytona class.
“I would love to have as many cars as possible, both in Pro and GTD,” Krack said. “At the end of the day, it’s about budgets, interested customers, car availability.
“We will not just fund five or six cars just to be there, because this is not sustainable at all.
“I will be happy if we have a couple of cars in both classes. I have a very good relationship with Will Turner. They are a very good team. They do really good work with this old car.
“I would be really happy to see them next year with an M4. In Pro it would be a little bit difficult, because we don’t really want to race with our customers.
“If you had a Pro car that was more factory-supported, with a customer [car], it would be possible but it’s not really what we want.
“We would like to separate that, because we need to really take care of the customers.”
IMSA’s GTD Pro class is quickly shaping up to feature between seven and ten full-season entrants, including participation from BMW, Corvette Racing, Lamborghini, Lexus and Porsche.
Vasser Sullivan is so far the only team to officially commit to the class with a single Lexus RC F GT3 for next year.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report