15th April 2019
Tom Blomqvist added more points to his IMSA racing assault this past weekend as he and Connor De Phillippi finished in 7th place at the third race of the season at Long Beach, California.
Heading to the west coast for his second race of the season, after missing the first at Daytona but returning for round two at Sebring, Tom was teamed up with just Connor De Phillippi in the #25 BMW Team RLLR M8 GTE for the first sprint race of the year at the iconic Long Beach street circuit.
The weekend started on Friday for Tom and the rest of the IMSA field with two practice sessions and qualifying kick-starting proceedings around the 1.968-mile street circuit. Fully aware of the challenges that lay ahead of the BMWs at a circuit that didn’t suit their package, Tom and the team started the weekend by finishing the first two practice sessions in 8th and 7th place respectively.
Nominated to qualify the #25 BMW M8 GTE, Tom was able to string together his fastest lap of the weekend as he recorded a 1:17.021-minute lap time to qualify in 7th place and as the fastest of the two BMW entries.
In the race, Tom and the team tried their best to extract the maximum out their package but ultimately didn’t have the pace to challenge for the podium place for the first time this season. Moving up to the highest position of 5th place in the GTLM class during the race, Tom and Connor slipped back to 7th place from where they took the chequered flag in Long Beach.
Reflecting on a challenging weekend for the BMWs in California, Tom remained positive as the team ran a smart race despite not having the pace and is already looking ahead to Mid-Ohio.
“We simply did not have the pace this weekend to really challenge the competition. We just had to run a smart race but there simply was not enough that happened for us to make any gains. So, now we look ahead to Mid-Ohio, a track that should suit us a bit more.”
Bobby Rahal, Team Principal BMW Team RLL, knew the weekend was going to tough but remains hopeful that the team will bounce back to their rivals.
“We felt this circuit was not going to be in our wheelhouse, as they say. All we can do is to keep working hard and doing what we can do and hope that we are able to find the pace compared to the other teams who currently have an advantage on us.”
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes Tom to Ohio for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on May 3rd - 5th.