Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – January 28, 2016… The two new BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM racing cars will start the 54th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, the opening round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, from the third and sixth positions in the GTLM field.
This afternoon’s 15-minute qualifying session was held under rainy skies making for the wettest track of the day and very difficult conditions. A red flag for a competitor’s crash halted the action after only four cars completed two timed laps, but as a minimum of 10 minutes of green flag time is required by the rules the session became a slippery two-lap shootout.
With a 2:02.497 minute lap around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course, John Edwards qualified the No. 100 M6 GTLM in the third position, just over one second slower than the pole sitting No. 911 Porsche. Edwards will share the car with Lucas Luhr, Graham Rahal and Kuno Wittmer.
Dirk Werner qualified the No. 25 M6 GTLM machine in the sixth spot with a time of 2:03.974. Werner will co-drive with Bill Auberlen, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler. The talented quartet finished second in last year’s Rolex 24, finishing only .478 seconds behind the GTLM class winner after 725 laps of battle.
In the 21-car GTD class, Markus Paltalla qualified the No. 97 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 13th and Jens Klingmann qualified the No. 96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 16th.
“Those were tough conditions and I am very pleased with the job John did,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “He really did not have much time in the car. I thought we were going to be P2. Third is a good place to start the race and Dirk isn’t that far behind. Really, where you qualify for this race makes no difference but it is just nice to see that the M6 was competitive in the wet.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: (3rd) “In a brand new car it would have been cool to go out and get pole position, but that didn’t happen. Those were really poor conditions. We knew it would be tough, but I think we have a car in the M6 that can handle the rain better than the Z4. Even with a little mistake in turn six on my best lap we weren’t that far off the Porsches. I look at this as progress and right now we have a safe starting position for the long 24 hour race.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: (6th) “Every corner was an adventure, as there was a lot of water on the track and it was easy to go off. I am just happy we had a clean qualifying. P6 is all right, we are in the middle of the field and I think we have a good car for the race.”
A video update of the week so far is available here.
The 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona takes the green flag at 2:40 p.m. Saturday, January 30 with the first two hour hours of coverage on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Coverage shifts to FOX Sports 2 from 4 to 10 p.m. ET. FOX Sports 1 will pick up the broadcast from 7 – 9 a.m. ET and then finish with three hours of coverage beginning at 12 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 340 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 124 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, 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