Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 27, 2016… BMW Team RLL will finish its eighth consecutive year racing for BMW and the first season for the all-new BMW M6 GTLM at this weekend’s Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Ga.
Petit Le Mans, the traditional 10-hour season-ender of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, will see BMW Motorsport DTM driver Augusto Farfus rejoin Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner in the No. 25 M6. Farfus, along with fellow DTM teammate Bruno Spengler, drove to a fifth place finish in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, the inaugural race for the BMW M6 GTLM. Farfus also co-drove with Auberlen and Werner at last year’s Petit Le Mans to a fourth place finish. Kuno Wittmer will co-drive the No. 100 machine with John Edwards and Lucas Luhr. Wittmer participated at Daytona and Sebring this season, joining the team for the balance of the races as reserve driver. Edwards, Luhr and Wittmer co-drive to a second place finish in last season’s Petit race.
The development year for the M6 GTLM has resulted in three podium finishes to-date; a second at the 12 Hours of Sebring, a third at Watkins Glen and Road America to record the 60th podium finish for the team since 2009. As such, the team is out of the competition for any GTLM class titles, but Auberlen and Werner are currently tied for second place in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, the four-endurance race championship within the championship. The No. 25 M6 finished fifth at Daytona, second at Sebring and third at Watkins Glen. A strong finish at Petit could win Auberlen and Werner the TPEC driver’s title.
“There is every reason to believe we can have a good race because we have done so at Road Atlanta in the past with the M3 and Z4,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Although we have yet to win the race, we have finished second and third and qualified well. Petit is a hard race because you are so busy and the prototypes tend to come up on you very quickly in certain different parts of the track. You really have to be aware of what’s going on around you the whole time. I would think that based on our performance at COTA, which was reasonable, that we can be in the thick of it. BoP has not been friendly to us this year and still is yet to be where I think it needs to be. Like any endurance race, you’ve got to get to the end, which is our goal.”
Commenting on the season overall, he continued, “Any time you have a new car, there is a learning curve and continual development throughout the year. In sports car racing you are never really able to change homologated components even if there is an issue. The M6 performed particularly well at Daytona and Sebring, even at Long Beach, but it’s been a learning process for everybody because it’s a new car. Overall I think it’s got a lot of potential. We look forward to being stronger next year.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “We just missed the podium with a strong run in Austin and now it’s time to finish the year with a podium finish and try to wrap up the Patron Endurance championship. We are currently tied for second, one point behind so it’s ours for the taking.”
Augusto Farfus, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “It’s an honor to take part again in Petit Le Mans with Bill and Dirk. Road Atlanta a very cool and challenging track. Last year we had a very wet race in very difficult conditions so I hope the weather is better this year. I’ve been part of RLL team for long time and a feel very comfortable there. I’m very excited to help them to finish their season on a high.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “Road Atlanta is a great track for the final race of the season. I always enjoy driving there. We will give our best to finish this first year of the M6 GTLM in style. One more chance to win. The competition will be tough, and handling the traffic for 10 hours will be very demanding.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “Petit Le Mans was one of our most difficult races last year, but we were able to come away with a P2 finish overall. That was something special to accomplish in a GT car. This year, we look to have less rain over the weekend than last year, but the challenge of Road Atlanta is always high. The track has fast corners, and traffic is a big variable whether we’re getting passed by prototypes or trying to pass GTD cars. I expect the race will be as intense as always and Lucas, Kuno, and I will be aiming to back up our podium finish from last year with another one to end our 2016 season.”
Lucas Luhr, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “Going into the last race of the season, it would be nice to be fighting for a title, but sadly this year we don’t have the chance for this. Petit Le Mans is a great event and at one of my favorite circuits. We will be pushing to get a good result for BMW Motorsport and Team RLL to finish off what has been a very challenging year on a high.”
Kuno Wittmer, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the BMW M6 GTLM. The last time I raced with the team, was at the Sebring 12h, this past March. In the meantime, lots of action and testing has kept me busy. I cannot wait to attack the course and fight our competitors, hard for the top step. I feel very optimistic for the weekend. We are due for a victory!”
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 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.
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.