Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – July 23, 2016… The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Northeast Grand Prix turned into a demolition derby for BMW Team RLL as both BMW M6 GTLM racing cars ended the day on the wrecker. Both cars were pushed off the track by the same competitor’s car in Lime Rock Park’s downhill turn in different incidents, ending up in the tire wall and out of the race. The No. 25 M6, driven by Dirk Werner in second place at the time, was on the receiving end of a large impact. Luckily, Werner was unhurt. The race was won by the No. 4 Corvette C7.
The race started with promise for the No. 25 M6 of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner. Werner, starting the race from outside of the front row, jumped into the lead on lap two and held it for more than one hour, only relinquishing the point on lap 63 following a very strong move in the uphill chicane by the No. 62 Ferrari of Toni Vilander. As Auberlen was putting on his helmet, ready to takeover in a scheduled stop ten laps later, Werner was drilled into the wall on lap 89. He was taken to the infield care center and released. Bill Auberlen did not drive.
For the No. 100 M6 the race ended almost as soon as it began. John Edwards, starting from the eighth place position, was hit in the downhill turn on lap 5 and spun into the tire wall at the beginning of the main straight. Damage to the car forced its retirement. Lucas Luhr did not drive.
The Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 racing cars finished sixth and seventh in the GTD class.
“Totally unnecessary driving by both drivers of the same car was responsible for eliminating both of our cars from the race,” said an angry Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “I told the officials if it was the last corner of the last lap of the race I could understand it, but we were only just over half way through the race. Obviously I am pretty upset about it. Dirk was doing a great job and the 25 car was in a position to win this race and was competitive enough to do it. Unfortunately we didn’t get far with the 100 car. We certainly expect the officials to do something about it.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (dnf): “That was a really bad outcome for how the race started. I was able to get up the front right from the start and stay there for a long time. When I lost the lead I was bumped and had to go straight in the chicane. Then the race was finished when someone put me in the tires in the last turn, which is a fast turn. I think that was unnecessary in the middle of the race. I am very unhappy and hope this is not how we want to keep on racing. Thanks to the team the car was good again as it was in the last couple of events, and for sure the car was good enough for a podium.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM (dnf): “We have had a lot of bad luck this season and this time it was contact with another car in a really high speed portion of the track. It was a bit of a scary one, but fortunately the hit wasn’t too bad, but it seemed to mess something up from the spin and the hit, so we could not continue.”
Round Eight of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, will be held at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Sunday, Aug. 7. The race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 from 3 – 6 p.m. ET. 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; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy 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 341 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 125 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 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.
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, former 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 their 25th season of competition in 2016, the team has compiled 37 victories, 49 poles, 144 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 earned three wins, two poles and a total of eight podium finishes to finish second in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships. Prior to the start of the 2016 season BMW Team RLL had won 13 races, 20 poles and 57 podium finishes.