Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 27, 2016… BMW Team RLL will start the Michelin GT Challenge at the VIRginia International Raceway, the ninth round of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, from fifth and sixth after a very close and very hot 15 minute qualifying session for the GTLM class. As this race is only for GT cars, the class will be at the head of the grid.
John Edwards, who shares the No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM with Lucas Luhr, was at the wheel of the car for the session and his fastest time round the 3.27 mile, 18-turn circuit was 1:42.227 minutes and put him fifth on the grid. Dirk Werner qualified the No. 25 BMW M6 he shares with Bill Auberlen posting a fastest lap of 1:42.225 minutes, starting sixth alongside the sister car on the grid. At this track in Alton, Virginia just 0.815 seconds separated the first and last cars in the class with the No. 3 Corvette of Jan Magnussen taking the pole.
“It was a good solid qualifying for us today,” said Jay O’Connell, VP Technology. “It was certainly amazing to see the whole field within eight tenths of a second. I think our cars are in good shape for the race, as we have a good race pace and we are happy with where we were in FP2 and FP3. It is tough to qualify here in the heat of the day, but I think our guys did a good job and we are now looking forward to the race.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM (P5): “It was about what we expected after the first three practice sessions. We are all pretty happy with the car, as it is one of the best handling cars we have had all year. I am not quite sure where we go from here for tomorrow, as we seem to have a bit less grip than the others. It is really tight from fourth to ninth, but we have to keep on pushing.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P6): “The car felt quite good, but the lap time is not quite there to be up front. In the end it is disappointing if you have a car you feel has a good balance and you can’t fight for the pole. I think we have quite a good car for the race distance and a consistent balance, which might help us over the race. The team did a good job as the car feels good.”
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.
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 Driver championships. Prior to the start of the 2016 season BMW Team RLL had won 13 races, 20 poles and 57 podium finishes.