Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 17, 2016… With a focus on consistency BMW Team RLL was able to turn around a difficult weekend at Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, to score fourth and seventh place GTLM class finishes in today’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Lone Star Le Mans race.
Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner, driving the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, finished fourth. Teammates John Edwards and Lucas Luhr finished seventh in the No. 100 M6. Both cars completed 73 laps of the 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit during the two-hour-and-forty-minute contest. The race was won by the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber and Fredrick Makowiecki.
With Werner and Edwards starting from the seventh and ninth positions respectively, the race began under very hot and humid conditions. Werner got tangled up with the No. 66 Ford GT of Dirk Müller at the start and was called to the pits to serve a drive-thru penalty. Both BMWs pitted on lap 19 under the race’s first caution for fuel and tires. Auberlen took over for Werner while Edwards remained in the No. 100 machine.
After circulating in the eighth and ninth class positions, Edwards and Auberlen passed the No. 66 Ford GT for seventh and eighth on lap33. Another position was gained for each BMW after a mechanical problem slowed the No. 67 Ford GT later on the same lap.
With one hour remaining in the race Auberlen pitted the No. 25 M6 for fuel and tires on lap 44 and Werner took over to complete the race. Edwards stayed out and cycled to the GTLM class lead as the remainder of the field pitted. The No. 100 entered the pits on lap 48 and Luhr reentered the race in seventh, one position behind his teammate. Lap 59 saw the class leading Ferrari pit with electrical issues, promoting the BMWs to the fifth and sixth positions. As the race continued to heat up, Luhr lost the sixth position to the No. 66 Ford GT on lap 64 while Werner was able to move past the No. 4 Corvette to take the fourth spot two laps later. At the checkered flag it was Werner fourth in the No. 25 M6 and Luhr seventh in the No. 100 M6.
An exciting race saw the No. 96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 score the second GTD class victory of the season for Bret Curtis and Jens Klingmann. In third position coming into the last round of pit stops, quick work by the crew leap-frogged the 96 machine into the lead, ultimately winning by 15.7 seconds over the 14-car class.
“It was a tough race but we were happy to get up to P4,” said Jay O’Connell, RLL VP Technology. “Obviously a good job by car 25 to move up from P7 to P4. Just knocking on the door of the podium and fighting hard with the Corvette at the end. It was a good battle to get ahead of Tommy (Milner) there. The No. 100 tried to pit later to have fresher tires at the end, but still struggled in the heat. We will now go back again and see what we can learn for the next race.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (4th): “I don’t think you are every happy with fourth, but we moved up and we moved up solidly. The team did a great job. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, as we have this new car and it doesn’t always work out how you want it to. But we will always keep our heads up. The one thing I know about BMW is they will never quit.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (4th): “Another tough race. If you start that far back you are always in the mix at the start and unfortunately I hit a car and got a drive thru, which put us pretty far back. We were lucky with the yellows and caught back up. I think we improved compared to practice and qualifying. It is a good result so I am quite happy with the outcome and in the end it turned out to be a good race for us.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM (7th): “It was a hard and hot day. We had some issues in qualifying and tried to fix them, but the car still had a lot of understeer today and it was really a difficult car to drive. We need to regroup and look forward to the race in Road Atlanta where we know anything can happen. I have some good memories from last year where we finished second overall.”
Lucas Luhr, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM (7th): “It was tough race. We didn’t have any kind of speed over the whole weekend. We did our best, but were unable to really move forward.”
The final round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the 10-hour Petit Le Mans, will be held at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 1. The race will be broadcast live with a blend of coverage on Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and IMSA.tv beginning at 11 a.m. ET. A three-hour recap show will be featured on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.
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.
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