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      03-19-2017, 01:00 PM   #1
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BMW Results From 12 Hours of Sebring

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BMW Results From 12 Hours of Sebring
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March 19, 2017

Sebring.
In the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) in Sebring (USA), the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, driven by Bill Auberlen (USA), Alexander Sims (GBR) and Kuno Wittmer (CAN), finished sixth in the GTLM class. The three BMW Team RLL drivers completed 334 laps in the 65th running of the endurance classic and delivered a flawless performance over the course of the 12-hour race. However, they couldn’t match the pace of the front-runners at a consistent level which made it impossible to score a top result in Florida. Victory was secured by the number 3 Corvette.

John Edwards (USA), Martin Tomczyk (GER) and Nick Catsburg (NED) experienced a disappointing race, sharing driving duties in the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM. Early in the race the trio lost several laps due to technical issues. Later on, shortly before the halfway-mark, Catsburg crashed into the barriers at Turn 1 of Sebring International Raceway following another mechanical problem. This meant the race was over for the Dutchman and his team-mates.

Once again the Turner Motorsport team delivered a strong race performance in the GTD class. Justin Marks (USA), Jens Klingmann (GER) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) gained several positions after starting 16th with the number 96 BMW M6 GT3. However, a damaged suspension put an early end to the race for the crew of team boss Will Turner (USA).

Action in the 2017 IMSA season will resume in three weeks time with the Long Beach Grand Prix, CA.

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “We are leaving Sebring very disappointed. A look at the lap time analysis clearly shows that the BoP adjustments after Daytona were by far not enough to classify the BMW M6 GTLM on par with the competition again. Most importantly I feel sorry for the team and our drivers who worked very hard in preparation for and during the race – and weren’t rewarded for this. Thank you to the entire team for their efforts in the past two races. I hope that the BoP will be further adjusted for the remainder of the season, in order to put us in a position again to deliver exciting and hard-fought races with the BMW M6 GTLM.”

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “I think we gave it our best. We just don’t have the pace of our competitors. You could see this clearly in the race today. It was a long day for everybody – the crew, the drivers. We will walk on from here. Whatever we can do, we will do it.”

Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, sixth place): “I always focus on the positives: Our team once again did a fantastic job and didn’t miss a beat. The BMW M6 GTLM ran absolutely flawless, but unfortunately didn’t have the speed for a better finish.”

Alexander Sims (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, sixth place): “To be honest, the car actually felt quite nice to drive. The balance was good. But still we couldn’t attack. This was my first race in Sebring, and it was a challenge with all the cars out there, the bumps and the dark night. But it was good fun. Of course we would have preferred to be fighting for positions at the front, but this wasn’t to be. Still there’s a lot we can take from this race.”

Kuno Wittmer (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, sixth place): “Sebring is always an emotional race – and a tough one for the team, the drivers and the cars. Completing the 12 hours is always an achievement. For hours we were fighting to get the lap back we had lost early on, which is a very hard thing to do. In the end it worked out. As a team we now need to push forward and improve further.”

Nick Catsburg (No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, DNF): “One thing is certain: We were not very lucky here in Sebring. Early in the race we suffered a problem with the driveline, then Martin had a puncture. Later on I went out following a pitstop, turned into Turn 1 and something broke. We don’t know what it was yet, but it caused me to go into the wall. The car was heavily damaged. We now need to keep our heads up high and understand what went wrong.”



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      03-19-2017, 02:22 PM   #2
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BoP adjustments clearly needed. Hope IMSA delivers before the next race as I want to see these cars competitive. Not even close to last season
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      03-19-2017, 02:26 PM   #3
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Just excuses, Bop did not cause mechanical issues when you know this is a brutal track. Come on Jens! Step it up and support these teams to be more competitive!
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      03-19-2017, 03:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiE93Vert View Post
Just excuses, Bop did not cause mechanical issues when you know this is a brutal track. Come on Jens! Step it up and support these teams to be more competitive!
Absolutely. But even if there weren't any issues, they would t not be competitive enough. Something needs to change for sure.
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      03-19-2017, 06:40 PM   #5
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Time for M8 GTE/GTLM car and revised driver lineup.
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      03-20-2017, 12:14 AM   #6
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Need the Info

Thanks for reporting but really it would be nice to know race and championship standings. On the race subject, it disappointing to see BMW struggling. They are not new to this and it seems odd that they struggling for pace.
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      03-20-2017, 08:47 AM   #7
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I agree BOP won't help, even if they start sandbagging like Ford. The M6 GTLM just was not the right decision, should have been racing an M4 all along. The whole 'to avoid confusion with DTM' was ridiculous and a pure money-grab to start racing a car with little history in motorsports.

And don't even get me started with the current BMW driver lineup...
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      03-20-2017, 02:24 PM   #8
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I think it's time BMW redesigns the M6 GT.
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      03-20-2017, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N & M View Post
Thanks for reporting but really it would be nice to know race and championship standings. On the race subject, it disappointing to see BMW struggling. They are not new to this and it seems odd that they struggling for pace.
Official results haven't hit yet. When they do, you can see them here:

http://sportscarchampionship.imsa.com/standings/driver

There is also a ton of data available on Alkamel Systems' (the official IMSA timing partner) website.

http://imsa.alkamelsystems.com
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      03-20-2017, 03:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseto View Post
I agree BOP won't help, even if they start sandbagging like Ford. The M6 GTLM just was not the right decision, should have been racing an M4 all along. The whole 'to avoid confusion with DTM' was ridiculous and a pure money-grab to start racing a car with little history in motorsports.

And don't even get me started with the current BMW driver lineup...
What's really tough is to look at the CGR lineup and see Joey Hand, Dirk Muller, and Dirk Werner at the top of the leaderboard all the time

I'm curious who you feel isn't pulling their weight though. Based on the way the car looks on track, I'm kind of surprised that RLL's drivers are able to keep the car within 1s of the leaders in a lot of cases. You can tell they're really struggling when you compare lap times though.
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      03-20-2017, 03:23 PM   #11
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Ouch - time to bounce back
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      03-20-2017, 03:56 PM   #12
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Using the data from Alkamel Systems' website, I plotted:

- Time Card data from Alkamel Systems
- Four cars #25 (BMW M6 GTLM), #911 (Porsche 911 RSR), #66 (Ford GT GTLM), #3 (Corvette C7.R)
- Only laps where MAX lap time was under 124s (which is ~5 off fastest lap pace); this eliminates outliers and laps where there were other issues)
- Plotted trendlines for 5 lap moving average

(click for full version)


The problem is obvious from this graph. Looking at fastest lap times doesn't tell the whole story. When you look at the moving average over time, the M6 GTLM is way, way off the lead pace. I noticed that when the M6 GTLM gets in to traffic, it's not able to hold pace while running off line. Basically, you need perfect conditions to turn fast laps in this car. The drivers must really be frustrated.
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      03-20-2017, 05:25 PM   #13
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The M6 is a GT3 car modified to race in GTLM (GTE Pro specs) so it's already handicapped in that aspect. It just can't compete in this class, and IMSA's BOP adjustments are not helping. They also seem to experience a lot of mechanical issues with this car so it's not reliable either. The Vettes aren't as quick as the Ford's, but at least they have solid reliability (for 1 car at least) and good pit stops so they're able to compete in that regard. Hope they have better luck in Long Beach as I'll be at that race cheering for them.
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      03-20-2017, 06:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E9TOU View Post
The M6 is a GT3 car modified to race in GTLM (GTE Pro specs) so it's already handicapped in that aspect. It just can't compete in this class, and IMSA's BOP adjustments are not helping. They also seem to experience a lot of mechanical issues with this car so it's not reliable either. The Vettes aren't as quick as the Ford's, but at least they have solid reliability (for 1 car at least) and good pit stops so they're able to compete in that regard. Hope they have better luck in Long Beach as I'll be at that race cheering for them.
1) The Z4 GTE/GTLM was also developed from the GT3 variant of the same car.

2) The Vettes are demonstrably just as quick as the Ford GT; look at the lap data.
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      03-21-2017, 09:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyland View Post
What's really tough is to look at the CGR lineup and see Joey Hand, Dirk Muller, and Dirk Werner at the top of the leaderboard all the time

I'm curious who you feel isn't pulling their weight though. Based on the way the car looks on track, I'm kind of surprised that RLL's drivers are able to keep the car within 1s of the leaders in a lot of cases. You can tell they're really struggling when you compare lap times though.
You hit the nail on the head. BMW cleaned house and all those drivers are doing better than when they drove BMWs. I still root for Joey, the Dirks, and even Milner and wish them all well.

It's not anyone specifically not pulling their weight for the current lineup, the M6 GTLM is the problem. Even the world's best drivers couldn't be competitive in this car (assuming it could actually finish a race).
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      03-21-2017, 02:05 PM   #16
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It's more than BOP that's needed here folks. The qualifying times for the BMWs are less than 0.500 off the front grid. It's not the drivers...it's the cars. Unless they're going to give you a substantial BOP adjustment on weight.

The M6 is just not the proper platform, both its restricted engine configuration and its bulk. The old M3 and Z4 were much better cars.

This is year 2 on this platform mind you...
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      03-22-2017, 12:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Ace View Post
It's more than BOP that's needed here folks. The qualifying times for the BMWs are less than 0.500 off the front grid. It's not the drivers...it's the cars. Unless they're going to give you a substantial BOP adjustment on weight.

The M6 is just not the proper platform, both its restricted engine configuration and its bulk. The old M3 and Z4 were much better cars.

This is year 2 on this platform mind you...
Agree. The M6 was a strange choice of racing platform.
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      03-22-2017, 02:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lan4 View Post
Agree. The M6 was a strange choice of racing platform.
anyone know if the M6 wheelbase is longer than other cars? Not sure IMSA regs on wheel base length, but I'm sure there's a minimum (possibly a maximum) wheelbase figure everyone cannot exceed.

I know for sure there is one, b/c I've attended 3 IMSA (Weathertech/Tudor/ALMS) events and see them measuring the cars wheelbases and axel wideths.

I know the M6's overall size is just bigger than the Z4's. Though it might not be that much bigger if all than the old ALMS M3 car.

Ultimately, the competitive issue could be the severe restrictions they put on the 4.4L forced induction motor to get the HP down to spec. There are many examples where teams run a smaller NA motor than what's on the top spec of their street car. (Corvette).
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      03-22-2017, 03:10 PM   #19
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I would agree with most of what has been discussed here and I would also suggest that BMW has stopped development of the M6/GT3/GTLM car. I suspect they are working to develop the M8/GTE for 2018.
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      03-22-2017, 03:50 PM   #20
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Some awesome shots taken..!
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      03-22-2017, 04:14 PM   #21
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The B Pillar put together this incredible box plot of lap performance at the Sebring 12. Keep in mind, it looks like this data was generated from each driver's top 20 laps.



Source:

My thoughts:

Alexander Sims might be the most underrated driver on BMW's roster. I forgot the poor guy's name when I met him at Rolex 24. He extracted more performance from the #25 car than some other BMW drivers with very strong credentials. Let's hope BMW can hold on to him.

The #24 and #25 car suffered dismal performance in the race. Only Sims was able to salvage anything that could even challenge the bottom half of the GTLM line-up.

Antonio Garcia's 20th fastest lap is faster than any lap turned by a BMW M6 GTLM the entire race. The M6 GTLM is the only car on the grid that was shut out under this criteria

In GTLM, the fastest lap of the race was 117.8 seconds, set by Patrick Pilet in the #911 car. Looking at fastest laps the spread was:
  • +0.00s : #911 Porsche 911 RSR (Patrick Pilet)
  • +0.10s : #68 Ford GT (Stefan Mucke)
  • +0.20s : #66 Ford GT (Joey Hand)
  • +0.30s : #3 Corvette C7.R (Antonio Garcia)
  • +0.30s : #67 Ford GT (Richard Westbrook)
  • +0.40s : #4 Corvette C7.R (Tommy Milner)
  • +0.60s : #912 Porsche 911 RSR (Kevin Estre)
  • +0.70s : #62 Ferrari 488 GTE (James Calado)
  • +1.10s : #25 BMW M6 GTLM (Alexander Sims)
  • +1.30s : #24 BMW M6 GTLM (Nicky Catsburg)
Just look at Patrick Pilet's laps when he's pushing. The #911 car's fastest qualifying lap was 116.4 seconds (set by Dirk Werner; a former BMW driver, btw). Pilet put in some real hero laps towards the end.

This is Vanthoor's first year driving for Porsche. While Porsche are renowned for winning races, they're also renowned for requiring a slightly different driving style. Looks like Vanthoor might be finding his footing.

The spread in lap time distribution between Antonio Garcia and the rest of the #3 team is... uh... striking.
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      03-22-2017, 04:53 PM   #22
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Just got this on my FB feed and thought the timing was perfect for this clearly marketing piece to meet the reality of last weekend's race. I found the design section specially hilarious...

https://drivetribe.com/p/CzNhXcG4Qjq...TXWziLD5TSxlYQ
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