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To achieve its ambitions, BMW Team RLL relies on successful drivers from all over the globe who, together with their crew, make up one of the best units in the world of racing.
While the newest BMW Team RLL driver is a California Kid, 25-year old Connor De Phillippi has done almost all of his racing thousands of miles from his San Clemente home. Based in Europe for the last five years, he climbed the European racing ladder in Porsche and Audi programs, honing his skills as a GT specialist.
The gift of a racing go kart at age five set the course for De Phillippi. Winning 21 State and National karting titles by 2007, he moved to cars in 2008. Progressing through the Skip Barber and Star Mazda Championships, he made the move to Europe in 2012 as a Porsche Motorsport Junior. In 2016, he began to support Audi's customer racing teams in the ADAC GT Masters Championship. In 2017, racing a Land Motorsport Audi, De Phillippi co-drove to a Nurburgring 24 win and closed the season with the Petit Le Mans (GTD) victory in the US.
A newcomer to North American racing, Alexander Sims has been racing BMWs in Europe for 4 years already and played a major role in the M6’s first major win at the 2-16 24 Hours of Spa.
Alex is a versatile driver, adapting seamlessly to the challenge at hand. Now a reference in GT racing, Alex has also proven his speed at the wheel of open wheel cars and Le Mans prototypes. Beginning his BMW career in 2014 in the British GT Championship, Alex transitioned successfully from the Z4 to the M6, bringing the car its first 24-hour race victory at Spa in 2016, alongside Philipp Eng and Maxime Martin.
There was, therefore, little doubt Alex would show his speed and skills quickly in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Together with Bill Auberlen, he brought the M6 GTLM its first win at this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. One week later, he repeated the feat at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, offering BMW its first consecutive wins since 2015.
At age 26, John Edwards is the youngest driver of BMW’s full-season line-up, yet one of the most experienced, having raced in IMSA with BMW Team RLL since 2013.
John Edwards does not like to waste time. While that’s certainly a prerequisite for any race car driver, John has taken it to the next level. Proof? In 2004, he won a round of the Skip Barber Series at age 12, making him the youngest winner of a single-seater race at the time. Racing in Europe in 2005 and 2006, he became the youngest driver ever to receive his FIA racing license. In 2013, he drove the Z4 GTE to victory at Lime Rock Park on what was only his third race with BMW Team RLL.
Now in his sixth year with BMW, and his fifth complete season, John has become one of the most accomplished M6 drivers in the world, earning three podium finishes and a pole position in IMSA GTLM and being part of the nine-car army that took on the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring last June.
The son of an accomplished racing father, Jesse is one of the next generation of great Finnish racing drivers. His fierce look gives away his fighter's spirit, but a clever sense of humor makes him a welcome addition to any racing team.
Beginning in karts and progressing through open wheel machines, Jesse began his GT career in 2010. A graduate of the BMW Motorsport Junior program, Jesse joins BMW Team RLL in 2018 after racing BMW GT cars in more than five series worldwide last year. Well known to BMW fans in the US as a Turner Motorsport driver, Jesse co-drove a GTD class Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 in seven events in 2017, winning at Road America. Continuing to support BMW teams worldwide, only one week after testing at Daytona with BMW Team RLL, he co-drove a BMW M6 GT3 to an Asian Le Mans Series victory at the Six Hours of Buriram in Thailand.
Bill Auberlen is, quite simply, synonymous with BMW. Throughout the course of his career racing BMWs, Bill hasn’t just made a name for himself, he has become the face of BMW Motorsport in the US. He has carved out a sizeable place in the annals of BMW, and has undoubtedly secured the title of “legend”.
Nothing predisposed Bill Auberlen to being associated with BMW for so long and yet, over the span of a 20+ year career, Bill has become an absolute BMW institution, racing and winning more with our brand than anyone in the world. From his first race in Fort Worth, TX at the wheel of a M3 GT E36 to the 2017 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta with the M6 GTLM, Bill Auberlen has raced over 400 times with BMW.
Highlights of his illustrious career include 2 Grand-Am GT Championships and multiple GT Class wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. Bill has spent the majority of his career in sports car racing and currently stands second in the all-time ranking of sports car victories in North America, just three wins shy of the record as of this writing.
Soft-spoken, direct, and intensely confident: Phillipp Eng’s demeanor is born of a wealth of motorsport experience unusual in a driver so young. Only 27 years old, he was one of the drivers chosen to participate in BMW M8 GTE development program from day one.
After karting, Philipp’s first taste of open wheel racing came in the Formula BMW Championship in 2006. He won the Formula BMW World Final Championship race in 2007 and was awarded with the role of test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team in 2008.
Having driven almost all of BMW’s current racing cars, 2018 will see Eng become only one of six drivers to race in the BMW DTM program. Biggest win to date? Co-driving a BMW M6 GT3 to the Spa 24 Hours victory in 2016.
The affable Nick Catsburg has supported privateer and factory BMW teams with great success since 2012. The 29-year-old “Flying Dutchman” will certainly add to his air miles in 2018 as one of BMW’s FIA WEC drivers.
As part of BMW’s 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship program, Catsburg will lend his significant GT experience to BMW’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Part of the Spa 24 Hours winning BMW Sports Trophy Team MarcVDS in 2015, Nicky has enjoyed success in both privateer and factory BMW racing programs.
Augusto Farfus is the consummate professional. An engaging smile and fierce determination have made this 34-year-old Brazilian a BMW fan favorite for many years. In 2018, he will compete for BMW in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the DTM, as well as moonlighting as a BMW Team RLL driver at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
A successful BMW Motorsport DTM driver since 2012, Augusto’s reputation grows greater every year. As a BMW Team RLL regular at Daytona, he notched second-place finishes as a co-driver in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, he had the singular honor of racing both the BMW Art Car No. 19 by John Baldessari at Daytona and the BMW Art Car No. 18 by Cao Fei at Macau. And in 2018, Augusto will add a full season of endurance racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the wheel of the all-new BMW M8 GTE.