Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – July 21, 2017… It was a bit of a good news-bad news situation for BMW Team RLL in today’s qualifying session for tomorrow’s Northeast Grand Prix, at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. The shortest track the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship visits can magnify any performance issues and the compressed two-day schedule minimizes the available tuning time. At the end of the 15-minute session the entire GTLM field qualified within a scant 0.535 seconds with John Edwards, driving the No. 24 BMW M6 in fourth (50.68 seconds), and Bill Auberlen eighth in the No. 25 M6 (50.94 seconds). The pole went to the No. 912 Porsche with a 50.40 seconds lap.
A confident BMW Team RLL has amassed five podium finishes with the BMW M6 GTLM, including two wins by Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims, in the previous three races moving BMW to third in GTLM class manufacturer points standings and Auberlen and Sims and the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM to second in driver and team points respectively. Teammates John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk have moved up to seventh in driver points after two podium finishes in the last three races in the No. 24 M6 GTLM.
“John put down a good lap in the No. 24 M6 to qualify fourth,” said Neil Fife, BMW Team RLL Race Engineer. “I thought we might have had a bit more, but it did not work out. The No. 25 M6 was working very hard as well, but was a few ticks back. We are looking forward to another competitive race and working our way to the front
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P4): “The BMW M6 has been the car to beat for the last two races, but we started this morning with a different feeling. It’s a very compressed schedule at Lime Rock and while we’ve made the car better in each practice session we are not there yet. Top-three or four in qualifying is generally a reasonable place to start so I believe we are in a pretty good spot. Maximizing our race performance has been the key to our recent success so that is our focus.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P8): “We are only a half-second from the pole, but this is Lime Rock. That translates to one-and-one-half second at a longer track so we have our work cut out for us. We made one change before qualifying, but I think we may have had a bit more in the previous set-up.”
The Northeast Grand Prix takes the green flag at 3:05 p.m. ET Saturday, July 22. FOX Sports 2 will broadcast the race live beginning at 3:00 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.