Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 20, 2017… BMW Team RLL heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Salinas, Calif., for the penultimate round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the two-hour-and-forty-minute America’s Tire 250 race, part of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix weekend.
The 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit (lengthened from 1.9-miles in 1988) on the Monterey Peninsula has hosted sports car races since 1957 and is a favorite of BMW Team RLL principal Bobby Rahal. Rahal scored four consecutive Champ Car victories at Laguna Seca beginning in 1984 and, in his honor, the straight betweens turns six and seven was named the “Rahal Straight” in 2003.
BMW Team RLL has also found success at MRLS, capturing one win, four seconds and two thirds since 2009, the team’s first season racing for BMW. The victory came in 2015 with John Edwards and Lucas Luhr driving the No. 24 BMW Z4. The car raced that season in a distinctive black livery and, beginning at Laguna Seca, the No. 24 M6 will race in black for the final two races of the 2017 season.
This year, a mid-season run of six podium finishes by the team, including two wins by Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims, has BMW standing third in GTLM Manufacturer points. Despite losing almost certain victory in the closing minutes at VIR due to a punctured tire, Auberlen and Sims stand second in Driver points, 16 markers from first. Teammates John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk stand seventh in Driver points.
“We are very much looking forward to going back to Laguna Seca, one of my favorite circuits,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “As a driver and team owner, we have had a tremendous amount of success there over the years whether it was IndyCar racing, sports car racing, Can Am or you name it. As recently as 2015, when John Edwards did a great job in traffic to really cap it off and win the race with a 1-2 finish, we’ve had success at this legendary racetrack. This year has obviously been a much more competitive year for us than last year so we are optimistic of bringing home a good finish. BMW Team RLL has delivered some strong finishes at this track in the past few years and will be in the hunt for a win this weekend. Certainly our VIR results did not help our championship hopes but there are two races coming up that should play to our strengths with Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans, a tough, long race where anything can happen.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “We have been in position to win the last two races, but haven’t for one reason or another. We’re still second in the points but we should be leading so that’s a little frustrating.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “As with every race so far this year I am thoroughly looking forward to learning a new circuit and driving our M6 GTLM through the famous corkscrew. We had excellent pace at the last round in Virginia and hope we can carry some of that over to Laguna. I know the BMW Team RLL has been working very hard to keep improving and give us the best possible chance to fight at the front.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “We’re back in black this weekend, so I’m reminded that the last time I drove a black BMW at Laguna Seca, we were on top of the podium with a BMW 1-2! Hopefully we can repeat that feat this weekend. The track is probably the most picturesque that we go to and the elevation there does not disappoint. It’s been a long break since VIR so I’m ready to get back to racing.”
Martin Tomczyk, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “Laguna Seca will be great to drive for me. As a kid I was always driving this track on my Playstation, knowing that I would drive it someday. Now it’s the time to race there together with John, BMW Team RLL and the BMW M6 GTLM. I hope we will be as successful as I was on the console years ago.”
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; 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.