The long awaited debut of the BMW M8 for Beast Racing has finally concluded. The team rolled into Watkins Glen ambitious to begin their new journey into GTE. Qualifying left them at a solid mid-pack of 10th place. Seeing some of the pace difference from practice to qualifying, the team hoped for a sunny race. Their competitors slowed by 0.25 seconds on average whereas Beast Racing increased by 0.1 seconds.
The cars rolled from the grid to the start finish line. As the field approached and the green flag was waved, there was a stack up in the front two rows and seven cars ended up passing Drew on the front straight heading into turn one. He took a cautious approach and it payed off as two cars collided at the exit of turn one and four cars would be collected in total; passing five cars in total. Now back in 12th place, the hunt began.
Rattling lap after lap off, Drew raced his way into 8th place. Laps were winding down before the team’s one and only pit stop and while pursuing 6th and 7th, the car in front got the exit of the bus stop wrong allowing Drew to take 7th place. Continuing his pace, he got with in two seconds of 6th place as he pitted. Drew decided to try and run one more hot lap to try and over cut him.
The team nearly had a perfect stop until they miscalculated how much fuel Drew needed and added 2-3 gallons too much. This cost them precious time and 2 cars leap frogged them on pit exit. As they ran up the hill, Drew got a tow and was able to outbreak the 7th place car…barely. He looked the front tires up heading into the bus stop. Taking a trip through the grass to gather the car up. Now, his sights were set on gaining 6th place back.
Blood In The Water
For the entirety of the race up to this point, there had been constant cloud cover on the track. Now, the clouds began to break and the sun began to shine. With 10 laps to go, there was 2.5 seconds between him and 6th place. Could he pull this off? The countdown was on and the time was falling fast. Two laps to go and Drew was sitting 1.4 seconds back, it was starting to seem as though there wasn’t enough time. They roared into Turn 1, the 6th place car had to go side by side with a GT3 machine, killing all of his momentum. This allowed Drew to close the gap and even get a tiny bit of drafting help heading up the hill and into the bus stop. Nailing all 4 apexes, the gap was now down to 0.4 seconds.
The white flag flew, they were nose to tail. Drew got the better exit out of Turn 1 had the run he needed. He ran up onto the back bumper of 6th place as they climbed the hill. The time was now and he pulled out of line heading into the bus stop. Through sheer will and determination, Drew out broke his competitor and stormed into 6th through the bus stop. He would go to hang onto the position for the remainder of the last lap, finishing in 6th on the BMW’s debut with the team.
“We didn’t have the best car and it had been awhile since I drove a GTE machine, but man what a race. Kudos to my competitor I battled with there till the end. What class and ferocity he displayed while we were wheel to wheel there. The car was a blast to drive and once the sun came out, it really came into its own. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to debut this beautiful machine today than this.” -Drew