BMW Team RLL driver Bruno Spengler has refuted the blame for the bizarre 2021 Daytona 24 Hours startline crash for which he was penalised by the stewards.
The 2012 DTM champion’s #25 BMW M8 GTE slammed into the rear of Kevin Estre’s WeatherTech Racing Proton Competition-run Porsche 911 RSR-19 as the field approached the starting stand to take the green flag.
Estre was flicked into a spin and tagged the Risi Competitzione Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, causing chaos behind as GTD cars following scattered to avoid the rotating Porsche.
Estre continued with trailing rear bodywork until it eventually shed at Turn 6, requiring the race’s first caution period to clear away the debris. The car subsequently spent a long stretch in the pits to effect repairs to the front and rear, while Spengler was issued a drive-through penalty.
Speaking to NBCSN, Spengler said there was nothing he could do to avoid the collision.
“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,” he said.
“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 brake lights 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.
“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.”
Estre had a different version 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.”
The five remaining GTLM cars are all still on the lead lap with 21 hours remaining, with Corvette Racing pair Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor leading the #24 BMW of Jesse Krohn following a caution caused by Risi’s James Calado spinning the Performance Motorsports LMP3 Ligier of Cameron Cassels at the Bus Stop.
The race is currently led outright by the JDC Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Tristan Vautier, with Ricky Taylor second in the Wayne Taylor Motorsport Acura and Kevin Magnussen third in Chip Ganassi Racing’s Cadillac.