Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 25, 2016… BMW Team RLL is looking forward to the two-hour Continental Monterey Grand Prix, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif., to rebound from a disappointing Round 3 race at Long Beach as the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finishes up its two-race West Coast swing.
Debuting two new BMW M6 GTLM racing cars this season, the team has had its share of the expected ups and downs of a new racing car, but the sum total of the program to-date shows great promise. Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner have piloted the No. 25 M6 into a tie for second in GTLM team and driver points standings based on a fifth place finish at Daytona (with Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler), a second at Sebring (with Farfus) and another fifth at Long Beach. Auberlen scored the pole at both Sebring and Long Beach as well as the fast race lap at Sebring. The duo finished second to their teammates last year at Laguna Seca.
John Edwards, Lucas Luhr and the No. 100 M6 have shouldered the bulk of the team’s teething problems and bad luck this year. A sixth place finish at Sebring has been bookended by hard crashes at Daytona and Long Beach. The pair was the winner at last year’s Laguna Seca race, mirroring the 1975 victory – almost 40 years to the day – that Hans J-Stuck and took the checkered flag in a 3.0 CSL. 1975 was BMW Motorsport’s first year of competition in the US.
This year is a historic one for The Ultimate Driving Machine® as Bavarian Motor Works celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark the occasion both of the M6 machines will race with unique liveries and numbers significant to the marque. The No.100 M6, with John Edwards and Lucas Luhr, looks forward to BMW’s next century with an artistic theme. The No. 25 M6, driven by Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner races wearing the number 25 in honor of BMW Motorsport’s first season racing in the US in 1975 and displays images of four significant racing BMWs; the 3.0 CSL, M1, M3 and V12 LMR.
In eight seasons of North American sports car competition, BMW Team RLL has posted 13 victories among 59 podium finishes, winning the American Le Mans Series Manufacturer and Team championships in 2010 and repeating the feat and adding the driver title in 2011. Beginning with the BMW M3 GT2 in 2009, the team successfully introduced the BMW Z4 GTLM in 2013 and expects to continue its winning ways with the BMW M6 GTLM in 2016.
“Historically we have done well at Laguna Seca and were 1-2 last year,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We have qualified well and have had a number of podiums over the years so Laguna Seca has always been good to us. Because of its long wheelbase, Laguna represents more of the kind of circuit the BMW M6 likes with the long, fast, flowing corners. As we have seen all year, it is super competitive. We were pleased being on pole at Long Beach but it didn’t quite work out for us. We know the pace of the car is competitive and now it’s just a matter of putting a good weekend together.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “Now that we are getting the hang of the BMW M6 GTLM I’m feeling better and better about what we have. I’m coming off two consecutive poles and a track record. I feel like the next few tracks will be even better for us. Last year we finished first and second at Laguna Seca so I feel great about the combination we are developing this year to try to repeat our victory from 2015.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “Laguna Seca is a track I like a lot and the layout should suit our car. Of course it will be a challenge to go there with the M6 for the first time and find a good setup. But we like these challenges and we will push for the best possible result.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “It’s been a tough start to the season for Lucas and me in the 100 car. The good news is that I don’t see any way that we could have any more bad luck the rest of the season! We are returning to the site of our last win, and the weekend in Monterey is always an enjoyable one. I think the track configuration will suit the M6 much better than the bumpy tracks at Sebring and Long Beach, so we have an opportunity to repeat our win from last year. We’ll be pushing hard for it as usual, but especially so after our unlucky start in the first 3 races.”
Lucas Luhr, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “After winning Laguna Seca last year the pressure is on. We’ll need some of that luck John and I have been missing in the first three races, but I think we can turn it around there.”
The Continental Monterey Grand Prix takes the green flag at 11:15 a.m. PT Sunday, May 1 with the live broadcast beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. 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 Rolls-Royce 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 341 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 125 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.
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.