Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – October 2, 2015… The countdown to the nail-biting finale of the 2015 United SportsCar Championship (USCC) at Road Atlanta (US) is on. In qualifying for the final race of the season, the classic Petit Le Mans, BMW Team RLL secured promising grid positions. In difficult conditions with heavy rain and a wet track, Lucas Luhr (DE) qualified fourth at the wheel of the number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM. The German clocked a personal best time of 1:31.763 minutes and was 1.689 seconds slower than Porsche’s Earl Bamber (NZ) on the GTLM pole position. In Saturday’s race Luhr will share driving duties with John Edwards (US) and Jens Klingmann (DE).
The second BMW Z4 GTLM, driven by Bill Auberlen (US), recorded a lap time of 1:33.680 minutes in the 15-minute qualifying session, finishing sixth in the GTLM category. In the ten-hour race Auberlen will alternate at the wheel of car number 25 with Dirk Werner (DE) and Augusto Farfus (BR). Following an accident involving Bamber, the session had to be red-flagged.
The 2015 Petit Le Mans will be the deciding event in the fight for the United SportsCar Championship GTLM titles. Werner and Auberlen are trailing championship leader, Patrick Pilet (FR, Porsche), by just three points in the drivers’ standings. The same points gap separates BMW from the leaders in the team and manufacturers’ classifications.
After the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race on Saturday, BMW fans already had reason to celebrate at Road Atlanta: Ashley Freiberg (US) and BMW Motorsport Junior Trent Hindman (US) claimed their first victory of the season in the number 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3. After 77 action-packed laps and several yellows on a wet track, Hindman crossed the line with a 1.194-second lead over the second-placed car.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“I was a pleased with Lucas’s qualifying, as he was quite close to the Porsches and kept it on the track. I think qualifying is important, but not to the point where you risk not making the race by damaging the car. Bill had some bad luck as he was on a much better lap, but there was a red just as he was about to go across the start/finish line and so that time was not accepted. But I was pretty pleased with the performance of both cars. Today is very wet and it is going to be a long arduous day tomorrow if it is going to be like this.”
Lucas Luhr (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, 4th place):
“We were planning on going more towards the end, so that hurt us a little bit now with a car going off, as I think our car had more potential. I am pretty happy with our car and our performance here in the wet. Tomorrow is going to be about staying out of trouble and that is not so easy. I am confident we have a good package for tomorrow.”
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, 6th place):
“They were pretty sketchy and pretty bad conditions. It was very, very slippery going down the Esses, so it was just a matter of time before somebody was going to wreck, and I didn’t want it to be me. It is a ten-hour race and I went for the side of caution or I was going to do it over quite a number of laps, but then the session was red flagged when the No. 912 had an accident. I think we are fine for the race.”
The Petit Le Mans takes the green flag at 11:10 a.m. ET Saturday, Oct. 3 and will be broadcast live on a combination of FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.com from 11:00 a.m. ET. A three-hour recap will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.
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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