Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 7, 2017… BMW Team RLL scored its best qualifying effort of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship today in preparation for tomorrow’s BUBBA burger® Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, qualified in the fifth starting position with a lap of 1:17.072 minutes around the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit. John Edwards qualified the No. 24 M6 in the seventh spot with a lap of 1:17.290 minutes. Auberlen will co-drive with Alexander Sims and Edwards will co-drive with Martin Tomczyk. Tomorrow will be the first race at Long Beach for both Sims and Tomczyk. The class pole position went to the No. 3 Corvette of Jan Magnussen with a lap of 1:16.909 minutes.
The Long Beach, California street circuit has been the site of many BMW Team RLL successes since the team’s first season racing for BMW in 2009. The team has finished the race with at least one BMW on the podium every year except last season. The Bobby Rahal-led team has won the street race three times; once with the BMW M3 GT in 2011 and twice with the BMW Z4 GTLM, in 2013 and 2015. Last year, Bill Auberlen qualified the new M6 GTLM racer on the class pole position, but finished a disappointing fifth after multiple contact with competitors ended another podium opportunity.
“We are in the hunt now,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Long Beach is a tough place and the race can be unpredictable, but we will work hard to see some results from our new found competitiveness.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “I had some good laps. There is always room for improvement, but there is not a great deal left. We are seeing progress and that bodes very well for the race.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “I am disappointed to be closer to the back of the class than the front, but both of our cars are certainly more competitive than they have been. We can improve our speed a bit more, but starting further back does open certain strategy possibilities here at Long Beach.”
The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix At Long Beach takes the green flag at 1:05 p.m. PT Saturday, April 8th, with the live television broadcast beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET on FOX. 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, 152 BMW motorcycle retailers, 127 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 31 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2016, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.367 million cars and 145,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax was approximately € 9.67 billion on revenues amounting to € 94.16 billion. As of 31 December 2016, the BMW Group had a workforce of 124,729 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based 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 26th season of competition in 2017, the team had compiled 38 victories, 51poles,151 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 IMSA 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 and added two poles and three podiums in 2016. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, BMW Team RLL had won 13 races, 22 poles and 60 podium finishes.