Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 14, 2016 … This year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans race will see BMW Team RLL arrive at the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, with BMW’s newest GT class competitor, the BMW M6 GTLM, ready for the penultimate race of the 2016 season. The team will be racing for its fourth podium finish of this year, still gunning for the first GTLM class victory for the new car. To date, the team has scored very promising results at three of North America’s classic circuits; second place at Sebring and a third place finish at both Watkins Glen and Road America.
Last season’s Lone Star Le Mans saw BMW Team RLL score the last of three wins in the 2015 season with the BMW Z4 GTLM as Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner finished the season strongly, ultimately finishing a close second in the driver’s championship.
The team closes the development season chapter of the M6 GLTM at this weekend’s two-hour-and-forty-minute contest at COTA and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Georgia in two weeks time. As with any new racing car testing has been at the top of the engineers list. The past two weeks following the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway at the end of August has seen the team criss-cross the country to complete a very rigorous testing schedule that included two days at Circuit of the Americas and one day at Road Atlanta.
“We’ve had a pretty good record at COTA,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We were on pole a couple of years ago with Joey Hand and then last year we won a great fuel strategy race. We were able to defeat the faster Porsches on fuel strategy which was fun. It’s clear the M6 likes tracks with fast corners, which of course Circuit of the Americas has a lot of so we should be competitive. I’m hopeful that COTA will bring us another victory like it did last year.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “It’s been a bit of a tough start for the BMW M6 GTLM. We have been in position to win a few races, but Lady Luck was not looking down upon us. We have been on the podium a few times but have just missed the top step and now hopefully at COTA it’s time to bring home the victory.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “Our testing at COTA went quite well. We certainly made improvements to the car, but this race – especially with the heat we usually have there this time of the year – can make it very difficult. A development year is always challenging because the progress you make does not always immediately result in victories, but it is all part of moving the program forward.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “COTA is always a tough race. Tire management will certainly be one of the keys to success. Our recent testing has answered many of this year’s remaining questions and I believe we may see some gains in the next two races. Our podium at Road America has helped our spirit because Lucas and I have not had much luck, but I’m confident our time is coming.”
Lucas Luhr, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: “Going into the final two rounds of the season John and I are working really hard to get a couple of good results for the No. 100 BMW M6. This season has been one of the most up and down ones I have ever experienced in America, with sadly more downs than ups. COTA is a track I like a lot as it is very challenging – especially the higher speed corners. We know we have the pace to be competitive in GTLM which is so close this year, but pretty much anything that can go wrong has gone wrong for us.”
The Lone Star Le Mans takes the green flag at 12:35 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 17 with the live broadcast beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.tv. 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, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 125 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.