Racing with a Daytona 24 Legend in the BMW Z4 GTLM

The anticipation surrounding the 24 Hours of Daytona (2024) was nothing short of electrifying, and little did I know that BMW of North America had crafted an extraordinary experience that would redefine my perception of high-speed motorsport. The focal point of this immersive encounter was none other than John Edwards, a former BMW Works Driver and a celebrated winner of the Daytona 24. As I immersed myself in the roar of engines and the palpable excitement of racing fans, John’s legendary status became evident, marked by the steel/gold Rolex watch adorning his wrist—a token of his triumph on the iconic track.

The Rolex Heritage Exhibition, a prestigious showcase of former Rolex 24 cars held before the main IMSA Rolex 24 event, gained special significance this year as BMW USA and BMW Motorsport extended an invitation to John Edwards. The retired driver was offered the chance to take one final lap around Daytona in the iconic BMW Z4 GTLM, culminating his storied decade-long affiliation with the brand. This ceremonious conclusion to his motorsport career added an emotional layer to the exhibition, making it a must-watch moment for racing enthusiasts.

John Edwards’ affiliation with BMW spans over a decade, marked by significant success in the M8 GTE and a particular fondness for the Z4 GTLM—the most enjoyable BMW, according to the seasoned driver. With an impressive career that included a triumph at Daytona, Edwards’ connection with the Z4 GTLM became the focal point of our conversation, offering insights into the unique charm of this racing machine.

As the night before the Rolex Heritage unfolded, a proposition from the BMW USA PR team turned into the ride of a lifetime. Joining an exhibition race alongside the legendary John Edwards in the BMW Z4 GTLM seemed like uncharted territory for a rookie like me. The initial hesitation transformed into sheer awe as I experienced the thrill of speed, mastered overtaking maneuvers, and marveled at the precision of braking and cornering. This article chronicles my journey from reluctance to awe, highlighting the unexpected lessons learned during those unforgettable laps around Daytona.

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