Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 16, 2016… BMW Team RLL had a disappointing debut of the BMW M6 GTLM at Long Beach today, finishing fifth and tenth in the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix, the third round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The 100-minute race started with great promise as the No. 25 of Bill Auberlen, starting from the class pole, led the opening 13 laps of the race. A drive-through penalty Auberlen served on lap 28 after contact with a Prototype Challenge car on lap 24 dropped the No. 25 car down to sixth. Dirk Werner entered the car on lap 31 and rejoined the race in the seventh spot. He raced hard, but was unable to regain any considerable ground. A restart on lap 55, for a caution period that began on lap 51, was the final insult to injury. In the hairpin, Werner was hit in the right rear by a Prototype Challenge car and was forced to the pits to change the cut Michelin. Late race attrition helped move him up to the fifth position by the checkered flag.
John Edwards and Lucas Luhr, unable to shake the bad luck that has clung to the pair this season, were unable to see the race’s finish line. Luhr started the race from the sixth position, but was quickly into the pits on lap four with an electrical issue. He rejoined the race in ninth, but was unable to improve through the first hour of the race. Edwards took over on lap 49 and moved up to eighth. On the lap 55 restart contact with a competitor caused damage that was quickly realized by both Edwards and the crew. Before the team could call him to the pits Edwards was into the wall on lap 64 and out of the race.
“Today was certainly not one of our finer races,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We can’t have penalties and you can’t sustain damage, which sometimes is not your fault for sure as you can be a victim in that, but all those kind of things conspire to cause us to not have a very good race. It was a shame as the 25 car was leading and obviously was a much more competitive proposition. The 100 car had a loss of power early on and that took us out of the fight in the race. It is just a shame, but fifth place was a little bit of a salvage for the 25 car. Now on to the next one.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (5th): “We knew the Porsches were going to be strong. They made a good move and they got me all in the same pass. Then the same old story, you catch a PC car and then they drive away, you catch them up and they drive away and that keeps happening. So I took a little higher risk and got to the guy and I shot under, for sure he doesn’t see me turns in and spins himself on my nose. I get a drive- through penalty. The race is in trouble at that point. We get a yellow flag, catch up and have the opportunity to do it again. Then a PC car hits Dirk in the rear, flattens the tire and that ends our day, as we have to then pit to put another tire on. It should have been a better day.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (5th): “That was a tough race with no good end for us mainly because I was hit twice. The first time I was nearly spun round the fountain turn, but we were still in the race. However, after the yellow at the restart another car drove into me and cut my tire, so I had to go into the pits and change it. Then we were just hanging in there in the race, got fifth and some points. For sure it was a disappointing result but these racing incidents happen, and we have to get over it. We have a good car and can be happy with the work we did. I am now just looking forward to the next race.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM (10th): “The whole race was tough for our car. We had an issue with something that shut the power off early on. All that needed to be done was a power cycle and then he could continue, and if it had happened just after the pit lane he could have done the power cycle on track and not lose a lap with the pit stop. Then we were on the back foot. At the restart I had new tires, while everyone else was on old. At that point we had nothing to lose and I was going to try to go through the field to get back on the lead lap and hope for a yellow. Unfortunately that ended before I could get started with a hit from a PC car at the restart that bent the car. At turn one I went off and had a pretty hard hit. I think we could have made up some places with all that was going on so that was a shame.”
Lucas Luhr, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM (10th): “That was a very tough challenging day for all of us – the 25 as well as the 100 car. You have to realize that the M6 is still a brand new car and it is the first time we have run it round a street circuit. Especially here in Long Beach, with all the bumps and the changing of concrete to asphalt, it brings its own challenges. To be honest, I think this race came a little bit too early for us, but that is racing, you don’t learn so much from a win, you learn a lot more from negative days which that definitely was. We have a lot of things to look at, a lot of things to learn from that and I am sure we will come back stronger.”
Round 4 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 1, 2016. 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.
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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.