Warwickshire-based racing driver Alexander Sims finished second in the GTLM class at the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance event on 17 March 2018, clinching the first podium finish for the new BMW M8 GTE race car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which is contested in the USA.
Sims, who recently moved from West Wratting (Cambridgeshire) to Alcester and turned 30 years old last week, crossed the line after 328 laps at Sebring International Raceway, Florida, sharing the driving duties with his BMW Team RLL team-mates Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Bill Auberlen (USA) in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE.
The trio claimed pole position in Friday’s GTLM qualifying session, with De Phillippi setting a best lap time of 1:55.839 minutes around the 3.710-mile race track. Starting from the front of the GTLM class, Sims and his team-mates mastered the tough 12-hour race without major technical issues in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE. Following a brake change towards the end of the first half of the race, the trio lost a lap to the leaders but managed to keep their cool and fought back into the group of front-runners.
Sims was behind-the-wheel for the final stint of the race and was able to secure the first podium finish for the newly-developed BMW M8 GTE, just 6.230 seconds behind the winning Porsche after 12 hours of close competition.
“It was very nice to be in the hunt for the win,” said Sims after crossing the finish line. “The 12 Hours of Sebring is a demanding race and the competition is tough in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The fight with fellow British driver Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche was fun. Ultimately, they turned on the pace a lot in the last stint, so I couldn’t catch him this time. Second place is pretty good. The BMW M8 GTE was working well; BMW Team RLL did a great job. We are in the mix now and I’m looking forward to the upcoming races where we hope to continue being competitive.”
Sims next races this side of ‘The Pond’ in the VLN Endurance Championship, held at the Nürburgring in Germany on 24 March 2018, before returning Stateside for the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on 14 April at Long Beach, California.
Between these two races, Sims and the BMW M8 GTE will feature at the Prologue for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Le Castellet, France, on 6 April, in the lead up to his assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans with BMW Motorsport in June.