Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 23, 2017… Separated by only one-thousandth of one second BMW Team RLL teammates John Edwards and Alexander Sims qualified in the third and fourth GTLM class starting positions respectively for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Salinas, Calif.
Running at the sharp end of the GTLM field for the entire 15-minute qualifying session both Edwards, driving the all-black liveried No. 24 BMW M6, and Sims, in the No. 25 M6, each took a turn at the top spot, but when the dust settled, Edwards, who shares the No. 24 car with Martin Tomczyk, ran a lap of 1:22.177 minutes around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit to score the third starting position. Sims, literally a fraction of a second behind, with a 1:22.178 minute lap, will start the No. 25 M6 from the fourth spot. Both BMWs qualified only a quarter of a second from the pole winning time of the No. 62 Ferrari. Sims and co-driver Bill Auberlen are fighting for the GTLM driver’s championship, currently standing second in points. Edwards and Tomczyk stand seventh in driver points.
“Last year we struggled here,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “One year later we are certainly in the hunt. Would we like to qualify 1-2? Sure, but we will start from a strong 3-4 after a total team effort. Both BMWs are so close in performance it’s a good thing one is black and one is white or it would be difficult to tell them apart.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P3): “Through the three practice sessions we made big changes to both cars. We split our strategy in the last session before qualifying. The No. 25 M6 was quicker so we changed our set-up to theirs for qualifying and it paid off. One thousandth of a second apart underlines the engineering effort behind this team. We still have a bit of work to do, but we are certainly going in the right direction.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P4): “I believe we can be very pleased with our effort this afternoon. The No. 25 car was strong, but the nature of this circuit makes it difficult to get one lap 100% right. We’ve certainly come a long way from the first practice session.”
The America’s Tire 250 takes the green flag at 2:05 p.m. PT Sunday, Sept. 24. FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the race live beginning at 5:00 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.