18/03/19

Race Result: Tom Blomqvist starts 2019 with impressive performance in Sebring

Race 1 Race 2

Tom Blomqvist got his 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign underway this past weekend at the 12 Hours of Sebring where he and his #25 BMW Team RLLR M8 GTE came home in 7th, after leading the race and showing excellent pace in the wet conditions.

After being forced to miss the first race of the season, Tom Blomqvist was eager to get his 2019 season off to a positive start with the second round of the 2019 campaign at the Sebring International Raceway.

Kicking off proceedings on Thursday with the first three practice sessions of the weekend, Tom used the three sessions to get to grips with the 3.74-mile circuit of which he had never driven on before the first practice session.

The first day of running highlighted the challenge ahead of Tom and his #25 team as they finished the first three sessions of the weekend in 7th, 7th and 8th place respectively - the team, however, managed to complete an impressive 76 laps to collect crucial data for the once-around-the-clock race.

Friday kicked off with the final practice session of the weekend where Tom and the #25 team broke into the 1:57’s for the first time in the weekend as all the teams began up the intensity heading into qualifying.

Tom was then put on qualifying duties for the fifteen-minute session and was able to go over a second quicker than he had done through all of the four practice sessions. Recording his best time of 1:56.486, Tom’s time was identical to the sister #24’s time and meant that Tom and the #25 would start the race from 7th place.

Heavy rain was the story of the start of Saturday as the 12-hour race was forced to start behind the safety car but after 40-minutes, the endurance race finally got underway and Tom was behind the wheel.

In his first race of the season, in wet conditions, on a circuit he had never race on, Tom put together a sensational stint as he passed five cars in tricky conditions to move the #25 from 7th in the GTLM Class up to 2nd place and fighting for the race lead after the first hour.

Then, after 36 laps of racing, Tom moved into the lead of the race to complete an outstanding stint behind the wheel that saw the #25 progress from 7th and into 1st place.

Handing driving duties over, the #25 M8 GTE began to slip down the order as the wet conditions, which had suited the BMW well, started to disperse and the track began to dry at the Sebring International Raceway.
As Tom and the team hope for rain to give them another chance of moving back up the order, the forecast changed and the race remained dry until the finish. Struggling in the dry conditions, the #25 was not able to fight for the podium places and slipped down the order into 7th place.

Taking the chequered flag after twelve hours of intense racing, Tom completed his first race of the 2019 season and got his first points on the board.

“Obviously, it was not the race result we would have liked. That said, it was a good start with the wet conditions and we had a really strong pace. We managed to get into the lead for a little bit and we were one of the quickest fighting at the front, but for some reason we really struggled in the dry today.”

Tom now has a four-week break before returning to America for the third round of the season on April 12th to the 13th - the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.