Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 17, 2015… BMW Team RLL will start the third race of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Long Beach, California from the GTLM class front row.
Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 25 BMW Z4 he shares with Dirk Werner, took the pole position with a new qualifying record time of 1:17.268 minutes around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit that runs along the Long Beach harbor. This was the veteran’s first pole since Baltimore in 2013 and the first for the team since Road America last year.
John Edwards drove the No. 24 BMW Z4 to the outside of the front row with a lap of 1:17.516 minutes. He will co-drive with Lucas Luhr, a four-time winner at Long Beach, in tomorrow’s race.
The streets of Long Beach have proven to be an excellent stage for BMW with BMW Team RLL finishing on the podium every year since its first race here in 2009 and winning in 2011 and 2013. That victory in 2013, the very first for the current Z4 racing program, was shared by Auberlen and Maxime Martin.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “If there is a track that is kind of built for the Z4 I think this is it. We have won here before with the car. It is a handling circuit, it is not just a power circuit. The Z4 is definitely a very good handling car and good on brakes. It is nice to be at a place where we kind of have an advantage. The guys are doing a good job, and the car is handling well. The changes we have made all seem positive. It is going to be nice starting on the front row and hopefully we can stay there.”
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, pole): “I so wanted this pole. Last year I had it until the last lap when Jan (Magnussen) got it. I set the lap record in the race at Sebring and now a new qualifying record at Long Beach. I am extremely pleased that I am able to put those kinds of exclamation points to the story of a great brand’s effort.”
John Edwards (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, P2): “Quite a day for BMW for sure! This is the place where BMW had its first win with the Z4 a few years ago, and that one was a one- two. We have repeated the qualifying and now we have to pay attention to the race. On a personal level, we will be pushing the black car to try and get around Bill. It is the shortest race we have all year, but sometimes it seems like the toughest fight. We shall have to be pushing hard for the whole time tomorrow.”
The Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach takes the green flag at 4:05 p.m. PDT Saturday, April 18th and will be streamed live on IMSA.com from 7:05 – 8:45 p.m. EDT. The race will be rebroadcast on FOX Sports 1 on April 19th from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 147 BMW motorcycle retailers, 122 MINI passenger car dealers, and 35 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
The BMW Group
With its three brands, BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2014, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.118 million cars and 123,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2013 was euro 7.91 billion on revenues amounting to approximately euro 76.06 billion. As of 31 December 2013, the BMW Group had a workforce of 110,351 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan, has been competing for over two decades. Prior to the start of the 2015 season, the team had compiled 30 victories, 47 poles, 130 podium finishes, three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) and claimed an Indianapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the American Le Mans Series. The following year, the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category and swept all three GT titles – Manufacturer, Team and Driver – in 2011. In 2012 the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. The 2014 season brought a new challenge with the creation of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the team finished on the podium six times including four second-place finishes. In 2015, the team will attempt to add to their 10 wins and 49 sports car podium finishes.