Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 1, 2017… With four races remaining in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, this weekend’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis. begins BMW Team RLL’s final push for the GTLM class championship. After a difficult start to the season, the Bobby Rahal-led effort has fought back to score six podium finishes in the last four races, including two wins by Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM. While teammates John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk have yet to reach the top of the podium, the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM drivers have a second-place and two third-place results in the last four races.
BMW has moved into third place in GTLM class Manufacturer points, seven points ahead of Porsche, three behind Ford, and seven behind Chevrolet. Auberlen and Sims finished a disappointing sixth in the last round at Lime Rock Park, but remain second in Driver points – seven points from first. Edwards and Tomczyk have climbed to seventh in Driver points, thirty points from the leaders.
“We have a pretty successful history at Elkhart Lake,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We have won three times, been second a couple of times. We’ve qualified well there most times and even when we didn’t qualify well, we had good finishes. Based on our performance at COTA, Watkins Glen and Mosport, we should be in good shape at Road America, but IMSA has changed the Balance of Performance after Mosport, and again after Lime Rock, so we will see how that shakes out. It’s well known that the BMW M6 likes long, fast corners and that’s everything that Elkhart Lake is.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “We’ve had a great run over the last four races, with three podiums, including two wins and that has Alexander and me second in points. With its long, sweeping corners Road America really suits the M6 and I know we can count on continuing our championship fight.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “Having tested at the awesome Road America I think we can go there expecting to be competitive and fight near the front. Obviously, many things can happen but I hope it will be a good hunting ground for us in the BMW.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “Last year we scored our only podium of the year at Road America, and this year we’re riding the momentum of three podiums in the last four races. The M6 has come alive this season and I’m excited to push for a win at one of the coolest tracks we race on. We spent two days testing there so I’m confident that we will be ready to perform and keep BMW in the hunt for the manufacturer’s championship.”
Martin Tomczyk, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “Road America is one of the few tracks where I have tested. So from that point of view I know the track already and we can concentrate right from the beginning on the perfect set-up. The track seems to fit the BMW M6 better than, say Lime Rock Park. After having a sensational fight there, I am looking forward to more racing with our competitors. Racing in the states is pure passion!”
The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase takes the green flag at 1:35 p.m. CT Sunday, Aug. 6. FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the race live beginning at 2:30 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; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based 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 344 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 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.