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Saturday, March 2, 2024

A BMW Z4 GTLM Expertise

Because the 24 Hours of Daytona (2024) approached, I discovered myself amid an electrifying environment, surrounded by the roar of engines and the palpable pleasure of racing followers. Little did I do know, BMW of North America had a unprecedented expertise deliberate for me that will redefine my understanding of high-speed motorsport. This expertise concerned none aside from John Edwards, a former BMW Works Driver and a celebrated winner of the Daytona 24, as evidenced by his spectacular metal/gold Rolex watch – a token of his triumph.

Racing In The Rolex Heritage Exhibition

John was invited to participate within the Rolex Heritage Exhibition, a prestigious showcase of former Rolex 24 automobiles held earlier than the primary IMSA Rolex 24 occasion. This 12 months, nonetheless, the exhibition held a particular significance for John. BMW USA and BMW Motorsport prolonged an invite for him to drive one ultimate lap round Daytona within the BMW Z4 GTLM, marking a ceremonious conclusion to his profession in motorsport, which he had retired from the earlier 12 months.

Edwards’ affiliation with BMW is storied and distinguished, spanning over a decade. Though he achieved vital success within the M8 GTE, profitable Daytona, he at all times held a particular fondness for the Z4 GTLM – a machine he described to me as essentially the most gratifying BMW to drive.

What Did I Get Myself Into?

The night time earlier than the Rolex Heritage, the BMW USA PR workforce approached me with a proposition that will quickly turn out to be the experience of my life. Regardless of my familiarity with the automobile, having taken temporary laps previously, the concept of becoming a member of an exhibition race was fully new terrain for me. I used to be initially hesitant, however shortly I noticed this was a once-in-a-lifetime alternative, an opportunity to share the cockpit with a legendary driver and an all-around exceptional good man.

So what do I do on this case? As a rookie, I ready myself for the early morning occasion, foregoing breakfast and specializing in hydration, suiting up for what was promised to be a tremendous expertise. Secured within the passenger seat with a harness and helmet, John promised a fast drive to the entrance of the pack over simply 5 laps, ranging from the again to totally expertise the depth of bumper-to-bumper racing.

The joys of pace, the mastery of overtaking maneuvers, and the precision of braking and cornering had been unparalleled. Nevertheless, the method of warming up the tires within the chilly morning circumstances, and the fixed heavy braking, launched me to elements of racing I had not totally appreciated earlier than.

Because the laps progressed, the sheer adrenaline and pleasure overshadowed my preliminary reluctance. By the fourth lap, regardless of counting right down to the end, the expertise had left me in awe. Reflecting on the drive throughout our interview, I shared with John the immense respect I had gained for drivers who endure such circumstances for hours on finish, particularly beneath the duvet of night time or the unpredictability of rain.

The video accompanying this text goals to seize a fraction of the exhilarating expertise aboard the BMW Z4 GTLM with a Daytona 24 winner. It was an honor and a privilege to share this second with John Edwards. To BMW, I lengthen my deepest gratitude for this unforgettable expertise. Danke, BMW, for a experience that shall be etched in my reminiscence without end.

[Photos: Sam Cobb]

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