Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – May 2, 2017… A change in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule will see BMW Team RLL race at the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas on May 6 instead of the series’ usual September date. The two-hour-and-forty-minute Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown will see the team racing with renewed momentum after a strong effort at Long Beach where both BMW M6 GTLM cars showed increased competitiveness and season’s-best fourth and seventh place finishes.
The team tested at the 3.4-mile, 20-turn COTA for one day during the week following the Long Beach race with all four regular season drivers present, Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims co-driving the No. 25 M6 and John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk co-driving the No. 24 M6. Most recently Edwards, Sims and Tomczyk were among BMW drivers spread across nine BMW M6 GT3 racing cars at the April 23rd six-hour qualification race for the Nurburgring 24-Hour race. All three BMW Team RLL drivers will compete in the 45th annual Nurburgring 24 event on May 27-28.
The Circuit of the Americas has seen BMW Team RLL finish on the podium twice, including a victory by Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner in a BMW Z4 GTLM in 2015. In the first season of the Z4 GTLM program, John Edwards and Dirk Müller, finished third in 2013.
“We have had some success at COTA over the years. In 2015 we won with the Z4 GTLM because of great race strategy”, said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Because of the long straightaway, it is a track that is not necessarily to our advantage. We had a reasonably good car at Long Beach – we should have won the race – so I think our pace is much more in line with the other cars and there is reason to be optimistic. We just have to make sure our strategy is right, the car is handling well, and we make no mistakes.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “COTA is a track where we’ve seen success in the past and will provide a good test for the improved performance of the M6 GTLM we saw at Long Beach. The long straights and high speed, sweeping turns of COTA will give us a much better understanding of where we stand among the competition.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “I am really looking forward to racing at COTA. I have tested there before – once last year and just recently and I enjoyed. To race there will be cool. We have continued to work on the car and I feel we should be competitive again after our improved Long Beach showing.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “The final minutes of the race were disappointing at Long Beach, but we take away some positives. We were leading and competing for the win before the power failure. Our aim is to take that competitiveness into the next round at COTA and rebound from the difficult start we’ve had to the season. I’m looking forward to returning the podium with BMW.”
Martin Tomczyk, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: – “We went testing at COTA right after Long Beach and it was great for me. It helped me erase the disappointment of that race and turn my focus to the next race. It was great to drive the circuit for the first time. Once again our goal is to have a clean race and finish within the front runners.”
The Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown takes the green flag at 1:35 p.m. CT Saturday, May 6. FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the race on a tape-delayed basis that evening beginning at 7:00 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 341 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 152 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.
Journalist note: Information about BMW Group and its products in the USA is available to journalists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com.