Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – June 28, 2014 . . . BMW Team RLL posted a season’s best qualifying effort in preparation for tomorrow’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen endurance race at Watkins Glen International. The two BMW Z4 GTLM racing cars will start from the first and third GTLM class positions in tomorrow’s race, the fifth round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Triple World Champion Andy Priaulx, enjoying his first race weekend at the classic Watkins Glen International, drove the No. 55 BMW Z4 to the team’s first pole position of the season with a time of 1:44.084 minutes around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit. Priaulx and co-driver Bill Auberlen currently lead GTLM driver points following podium finishes at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. They finished sixth at Long Beach, but were back on the podium (second) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Dirk Müller placed the No. 56 BMW Z4 on the inside of the GTLM class second row with a time of 1:44.377 minutes – only .293 seconds from his teammate. Müller and co-driver John Edwards currently stand tied for sixth place in driver points.
“BMW loves to be at the front,” said Ludwig Willisch, Chairman and CEO, BMW of North America, who joined BMW Team RLL for the day.“We have won the IMSA six-hour at Watkins Glen before, and with this qualifying result, we’ve earned the best chance for a successful effort in tomorrow’s six-hour.”
“It is easy to call Bobby (Rahal) after getting both Z4s qualified so well,” said Jay O’Connell, RLL VP Technology. “I think the fact we were here testing last month and got Andy and Dirk up to speed, as neither of them had driven here before, was well worth it and that showed in their performances today. It will be a busy race, and, while qualifying may not matter that much, it is certainly fun to be up front and gives you a good feeling for the race. The race is going to be tough with traffic, 50 cars on a five and a half kilometer circuit. Ten cars per kilometer, unlike two in qualifying, so that will keep us real busy. But we will strategize the best we can to keep the guys up front, and see if they can use the speed they showed in qualifying in the last hour of the race.”
Andy Priaulx, driver No. 55 Z4 GTLM – (1st) – “I am delighted with my first pole for BMW Team RLL. I have to thank BMW Motorsport for sending me here to the States and to the guys here for giving me the car of the class today. They have worked on my performance over the last four races, have a great faith in me and have put me back to where I used to be. I am thoroughly enjoying this and hope this is the first of many more good moments for me. Realistically, we have done the job today, but tomorrow is the key and there are points for then and not today. We have a good race car, but are a little bit weak in the traffic, so we need to keep focused, stay out of trouble and make sure we are there at the end.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTLM – (3rd) – “One and Three was thrilling and my time was almost identical to P2. We had to work hard in the last free practice to get the car right. It was much better, but still I was not totally happy as I couldn’t push where I wanted to. Big congratulations to Andy. It was a good team effort.”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen will take the green flag at 11:15 a.m. ET Sunday, June 29th. The race will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 with coverage beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.imsa.com
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 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 120 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.
Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at: www.bmwgroupna.com
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, Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for over two decades, compiling 30 victories, 42 poles and three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) as well as claiming 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. In 2010 the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category. In 2011 the team swept all three GT titles – Manufacturer, Team and Driver.
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