BMW M Team RLL is getting ready to take on the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with its BMW M Hybrid V8 racing cars. The team has been preparing for this race since their second place overall, and GTP class finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 18th. The 100-minute race will be held on April 15th, and will take place on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit that sets a concrete-lined stage for an always challenging event.
This year’s race will be especially challenging for three of the four BMW M Team RLL drivers. Both No. 24 drivers, Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus, as well as No. 25 driver Nick Yelloly will be making their very first Long Beach start. Only Yelloly’s co-driver Connor De Phillippi has experience at Long Beach.
With the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring complete, the team has continued to analyze and understand how to better the performance of the new BMW M Hybrid V8. DiL (driver-in-the-loop) simulator work was recently completed with all four drivers with a focus on qualifying performance because of the unique nature of the Long Beach circuit and short duration of the race.
Last week, IMSA made changes to the GTP class Balance of Performance (BoP) resulting in a four-kilogram (8.8 lb.) reduction in the weight of the BMW M Hybrid V8 as well as a 2 kW (2.6 horsepower) power increase at peak levels and 2 Megajoules (0.56 kWh) of additional maximum stint energy.
“Long Beach is always a great event and we’ve had very good success there in past seasons with BMW,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “This year, with the BMW M Hybrid V8, it’s an entirely different animal. But as always, at a tight street circuit, where it’s tough to pass, a good qualifying effort is paramount.”
The BMW M Hybrid V8 is a new car that the BMW M Team RLL has been developing over the past few months. The car is a hybrid that combines a V8 engine with electric motors to provide a powerful and efficient driving experience. The team has been working hard to optimize the car’s performance, and the changes made by IMSA will only serve to improve their chances of winning.
Connor De Phillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8, said, “Long Beach is always a special event for us. It’s the shortest race of the year, our only street course, and the strategic possibilities are endless. On top of that, we have a nice wave of momentum from our Sebring podium and the entire team is making a big push to bring a lot of improvements from every department. We don’t have prototype experience there but I’m confident we can learn from last year and fight for another podium.”
Nick Yelloly, driver No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8, said, “I am really looking forward to racing at Long Beach. It will be my first time there, as with most of the tracks in the US. After having watched it for many years on TV, to be finally driving is a dream come true, as I love street circuits.