Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 6, 2017… A number of forced and unforced errors made BMW Team RLL’s finishes in this afternoon’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase a disappointing sixth and seventh.
With the weather forecast changing towards a more favorable one than predicted yesterday, the green flag flew to start the race. Sims, starting the No. 25 M6 from the third position, quickly jumped to second and began hounding the leading Ford GT. Tomczyk, forced to start the No. 24 M6 from the rear of the entire grid after an precautionary engine change post qualifying, was quickly through the GTD class in five laps. The race’s first caution period on lap seven gave him the chance to close to the rear of the GTLM class and after a return to green on lap nine he raced past both Corvettes into sixth place.
With the team deciding to run a different strategy, Tomczyk brought the No. 24 M6 in for a stop on lap 19 and hand off to John Edwards after fuel and tire service. Sims continued to hold second place in the No. 25 M6, six seconds from the leader. As the remaining GTLM cars pitted, including Sims handing off to Auberlen on lap 25, Edwards moved up into second place. At the one hour mark Edwards raced in second, Auberlen in fifth. Only seven laps later Auberlen returned to the pits with a right front suspension issue. The crew effected repairs to the damper, but the No. 25 car lost two laps and it appeared was eliminated from a good points day.
Fortunately, two caution periods in the final hour of the race allowed Sims, who replaced Auberlen on lap 51 during the final yellow, to regain the lead lap and challenge for a fourth place finish. Contact with the No. 4 Corvette on the final lap of the race and the resulting damage slowed Sims’ progress and he ultimately finished sixth.
Unfortunately, the last caution period was caused by John Edwards in the No. 24 M6 when he ran out of gas at the pit lane entrance as the team tried to maximize fuel mileage. He was towed back to the paddock and refueled but in the closing minutes of the race was unable to make up the two laps lost.
“Certainly, today was a very tough day for us,” said Neil Fife, BMW Team RLL Race Engineer. “The No. 24 car gambled with a strategy that required a balance of reasonable pace and fuel mileage. Martin and John did an excellent job, but we missed the mark. Their misfortune assisted the No. 25 car to regain all of what was last from the mechanical issue earlier in the race and challenge for a top-four result. Unfortunately, contact ended what could have been a good points finish.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P6): “That race was quite a roller coaster ride. We were up, then down, then up again, and on the last lap right back down again.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P6): “The end of the race was very exciting. The M6 was working very well and I was better under braking than the Corvette in a few corners. On the white flag lap he had a bad run out coming out of the last corner and I was right behind him. Between turns one and three I felt I was close enough to make a move, but by the time we entered the corner the gap disappeared and a disappointing finish is the result.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P7): “Considering where we started the race we knew we would have to get clever with strategy. With where we stand in the championship we are are going to take the risk. We gambled today, but it did not pay off.”
Martin Tomczyk, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P7): “After showing how competitive we were in free practice today’s result was very disappointing. A miscalculation ended what could have been a good day.”
Round Nine of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, will be held Aug. 27 at Virginia International Raceway, in Alton, Va. The race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 1:30 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; 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 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.