Alexander Sims and Connor De Phillippi have claimed a breakthrough first victory for the BMW M8 GTE in Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
Sims took the No. 25 BMW Team RLL entry to a 1.323-second win over the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen, in a redeeming run for the Bobby Rahal-led team.
A fuel-only stop for Sims with 24 minutes to go kept the Englishman out front, after building up a 52-second lead due to being on an off-sequence pit stop strategy.
It came after Sims was forced to serve a drive-through penalty in the second hour for incident responsibility with a GT Daytona class car.
The win, the first for the car in worldwide competition, came after a brake-related fire in warmup and just two weeks after narrowly missing out on the GT Le Mans class victory at Road America due to running out of fuel.
Team RLL teammates Jesse Krohn and John Edwards made it a double podium for the German manufacturer, with the Finn nearly grabbing second from Magnussen in the end.
Magnussen and Garcia, however, take over the championship lead following clutch issues for points leaders Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, which ultimately resulted in retirement for the pole-sitting No. 67 Ford GT in the opening hour.
Briscoe briefly returned to the track to overtake the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, which dropped out with engine failure in the opening hour, to give the Ford seventh place points.
Both Westbrook and Nick Tandy had led prior to their respective issues.
Baumann Holds On for Win in Wild GTD Finish
Dominik Baumann held on following a thrilling late-race battle to claim GT Daytona class honors.
The Austrian took the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 to its second win of the season, benefitting from a three-car scrap with 30 minutes to go to sneak from fourth to first in class.
A spirited fight between Katherine Legge and Patrick Long for second place on the final lap ultimately gave Baumann enough of a cushion to eke out the win, 0.567 seconds ahead of Long.
Baumann shared top class honors with Kyle Marcelli.
Long and co-driver Christina Nielsen came home second in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, with class title contender Legge demoted to third at the line.
Legge, however, gained points on championship leaders Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, who finished 6th in class after Sellers sustained right-front damage after contact with the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 in the final hour.
Sellers had dropped to ninth after the incident.
The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Gunnar Jeannette and Cooper MacNeil was fourth, with the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 completing the top-five in class.
It came after Jeroen Bleekemolen was turned around by the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS of Andy Lally while battling for the class lead with 30 minutes to go, an incident that also collected the No. 93 Meyer Shank Acura of Lawson Aschenbach.
Lally was hit with a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility and finished 7th in class.
RESULTS: Michelin GT Challenge