Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 23, 2015… BMW Team RLL finished fourth and fifth in front of the large crowd that watched today’s two-hour-and-forty-minute TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway, in Alton, Va. John Edwards and Lucas Luhr, driving the No. 24 BMW Z4, finished fourth. Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner finished fifth in the No. 25 machine. Both BMWs ended the race in the same positions from which they started. The race was won by the No. 911 Porsche.
BMW Team RLL raced two different strategies today as both BMW Z4 machines looked to get the most out of the new “single-stint” Michelin tire that has enlivened the GTLM field.
The No. 24 Z4 of Edwards and Luhr planned on a four-stop race – making one more stop than rest of the field – in order to shorten the length of each stint and not push beyond the distance of the tire’s optimal performance. The No. 25 Z4 of Auberlen and Werner raced with a different combination of Michelins so they set up for a “traditional” three-stop race.
The No. 24 team had a flawless day, executing each stint systematically to finish fourth. Qualifying driver Luhr started the race, handing off to Edwards at the midpoint, 44 laps into the contest. The No. 25 team had two small issues during the race. Starting driver Auberlen had a spin in turn 1 on lap 20, but raced back to sixth before handing off to Werner on lap 29. The BMW Motorsport driver went off track on lap 68, losing the rear fascia of the car and picking up grass in the grille as he came back on track, but continued on to finish fifth.
Unofficially, Auberlen and Werner now stand third in Driver points. Edwards and Luhr are in a tie for fourth. BMW remains second in Manufacturer points, but now nine back of Porsche.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “Once again we beat the Corvettes and that is one thing we can be proud of. It is now the fourth race in a row Porsche has won, so they obviously have found something. It was a good race for Lucas and John, they had a different strategy, that paid off and they ended up with fourth. For the number 25 car we ran a different strategy, and it wasn’t quite as good. The car’s pace was actually not bad, but we just don’t have the pace of the Ferrari or the Porsche. Also the Corvette hasn’t had the pace of those two cars for the last couple of races. We did the best with what we had today.”
John Edwards (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, P4): “We have come a long way from Road America and our struggles there. We could almost match the Porsche’s pace if we added a pit stop to the race, so that is what we did on the No. 24 car. I believe COTA and Petit (Le Mans) will see us much more competitive.”
Lucas Luhr (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, P4): “There was definitely an improvement from the last race. There were times today where we were quite competitive. We split the strategy with the two cars, and we came out a little bit ahead of the 25 car, but we’re both still too far behind.”
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, P5): “We ran a slightly different strategy to the No. 24 car and we didn’t quite have its pace. They added an extra stop and it worked. We both finished ahead of the Corvettes, so we have gained points on them, but we all need to find a little bit something more if we are going to take it to Porsche.”
Dirk Werner (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, P5): “It was a tough race. We had to fight hard to come in P4 and P5. It is not nice to lose ground towards the end of the season, but we we’re not out of it.
Round Nine of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will be held at Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, on Sept.19th. The two-hour-and-forty-minute Lone Star Le Mans will be broadcast live from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 2.
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, 148 BMW motorcycle retailers, 123 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.
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.
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