Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Nov. 7, 2017… A number of BMW Team RLL engineers and technicians are at BMW Motorsport in Munich, Germany this month finishing the construction of the first US-bound all-new BMW M8 GTE as the team prepares for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and its 10th season of sports car competition with The Ultimate Driving Machine®. The Munich trip has been repeated many times over the last decade as the team has assisted BMW Motorsport personnel with the first builds of the BMW M3 GT, BMW Z4 GTE, BMW M6 GTLM and now the BMW M8 GTE. The car is scheduled to arrive at the team’s Hilliard, Ohio headquarters in late November with the US testing program starting shortly thereafter. The first IMSA-sanctioned test of the car will be at Daytona International Speedway on Dec. 5-6, 2017.
Led by Bobby Rahal, BMW Team RLL finished the 2017 IWSC season with four victories including consecutive wins at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans to close the M6 GTLM program in the biggest way. Since 2009, the team has totaled 17 GT class wins among 68 total podium finishes.
“Coming off one of our most successful years together with BMW, I am very pleased that we will continue to work together in the years to come to gain more victories and championships for BMW. This has been a tremendous, long-term relationship that started in 2009 and we are very honored and privileged to represent BMW on the race tracks of North America. An enhanced RLL organization for 2018 will no doubt help in the development and running of the new BMW M8 GTE, which surely is one of the most exciting new cars of 2018.” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal.
“The BMW M8 GTE will begin another chapter for BMW Team RLL and we are excited to start testing,” said Victor Leleu, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager. “Bobby’s team has helped make the M3, Z4 and M6 winners against the best GT competition in the world and we have no doubt that the M8 GTE will follow the same course. As evidenced by our four victories with the M6 GTLM this season and especially the Petit Le Mans win, BMW Team RLL – like good wine – gets better with age.”
The 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season takes the green flag at the 56th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28, 2018. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacingfor “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.
Additional details regarding all BMW Motorsport programs will be released on Dec. 15, 2017 during BMW Motorsport’s annual Season Review banquet.
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.
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.