Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 23, 2016… The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is a special event for BMW Team RLL as it is the only IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race of the season to feature only GT class cars. This would make Virginia International Raceway a fine place to celebrate the first victory for a BMW M6 GTLM racing car.
With a third place finish by the No. 100 M6 of John Edwards and Lucas Luhr at the last round at Road America and a recent one day test at the 3.27-mile, 18-turn permanent road course, located in Alton, Virginia, the team feels it is in a strong position for the weekend’s two-hour and forty-minute race.
With eight rounds completed and three remaining in the season, Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner, with two podium finishes to their credit driving the No. 25 M6, stand fifth in GTLM driver points. Luhr and Edwards stand eighth. BMW stands fourth in Manufacturer points.
“To be honest we haven’t had the kind of success we have wanted over the years at VIR,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Clearly we have been fast in the past. We have qualified reasonably well there but if I remember correctly, I feel like we have been ‘mugged’ there a few times in traffic by some of our competitors. The circuit should fit the BMW M6 a bit better than the Z4. Our car likes fast corners and there are plenty of those at VIR. There is also a long straightaway and we should be competitive on top speed as well. We had a test there not too long ago so I think we are prepared. It’s just a matter of having a trouble free event.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “We recently completed a test at VIR and I’m glad we did as we were able to get time on the new pavement and learn quite a few things. The circuit lost a ton of grip and we had to make some wholesale changes. We are on the way to having a very good package for the race.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “VIR is a track that I enjoy driving. My first win in American road racing happened there in 2007. I am looking forward to this event and of course to seeing the BMW Team RLL boys again. After a couple of difficult weekends I am highly motivated and want to push from the first practice to get a good start into the weekend.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “VIR is a very cool circuit and the new pavement could make things tricky, but the information gained at our test may give us a bit of an edge . Our podium at Road America certainly has put a bit of wind back in our sails so hopefully Lucas and I can finish the season strongly.”
Lucas Luhr, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “VIR is another superfast old school track that I really like a lot. I still look for the Oak tree every now and then! We have a GT only race so the battle for honors in the GTLM class is also for an overall race position. The podium we scored at Road America showed that when everything comes together we have the pace to fight for victory and you can be certain that our plan as usual is to fight as hard as we can.”
The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR takes the green flag at 1:35 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 28 with the live broadcast beginning at 1:30 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 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 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.