Spengler denies blame for “weird” Rolex 24 startline shunt

BMW’s Bruno Spengler has refuted the blame for the bizarre GT Le Mans crash before the startline of the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona that forced the majority of the GT field to make a panicked avoidance.

Spengler’s BMW Team RLL M8 GTE slammed into the rear of Kevin Estre’s WeatherTech Racing Proton Comptition-run Porsche 911 RSR-19 as the field approached the starting stand as the green flag waved, causing Estre to spin into the Risi Competitzione Ferrari that started alongside him and then slide across the track, causing chaos behind him.

IMSA penalized Spengler for causing the crash, which led to a drive-through penalty, while the Porsche required lengthy repairs to both the front and rear end. Estre caused the race’s first yellow, when the rear diffuser of his car fell off at Turn 6.

Read Also:

“It was very difficult to understand what happened because it was green, everybody was going on the throttle flat-out, and the car in front of me didn’t go really,” Spengler told NBCSN. “I don’t know if he had an issue or what. I tried to avoid him, but as I tried I clipped the rear of his car slightly and it was enough to spin him around.

“I don’t know if he had an issue, why his car didn’t go at the green, he even tapped the brakes slightly, so he was off-sequence because everybody else was going except him, that’s why I hit him.

“I didn’t really understand why he’d be on the brakes as the green was coming, I tried to avoid, but it was impossible, there was nothing I could do to avoid a collision when all the other cars are going. Just one car didn’t go. It was a weird incident, and I feel the penalty was very harsh – because there was nothing I could have done to avoid it – but we’re back on the lead lap, so it could have been worse, let’s say.”

#79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR - 19, GTLM: Cooper MacNeil, Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz, Kevin Estre

#79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR - 19, GTLM: Cooper MacNeil, Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz, Kevin Estre

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Estre – whose car lost multiple laps for repairs – had a different opinion of events, and disputed Spengler’s version of what happened.

He tweeted: “Can’t believe it! We’ve lost the race before it even started... I was waiting for the pole sitter to go on power there and the BMW just went full throttle without looking ahead! Unbelievable.”

 

shares
comments
Rolex 24: Nasr leads at start, trouble strikes key runners

Previous article

Rolex 24: Nasr leads at start, trouble strikes key runners

Next article

Rolex 24, H3: JDC-Miller Cadillac leads, Corvette heads GTLM

Rolex 24, H3: JDC-Miller Cadillac leads, Corvette heads GTLM
Load comments

About this article

Series IMSA
Event Daytona 24
Author Charles Bradley
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020
Tony Kanaan’s top 10 races – in his own words Prime

Tony Kanaan’s top 10 races – in his own words

The 2004 IndyCar champion and 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan probably hasn’t yet driven his final IndyCar race, but we still asked him for the 10 most significant races of his career. He explained his choices to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Sep 7, 2020