Munich (DE), 13th April 2016. After the two endurance classics in Daytona (US) and Sebring (US), the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) takes BMW Team RLL to the west coast of the USA, and Long Beach (US), on 16th April.
BMW Team RLL has had more success at Long Beach than any other venue that has played host to the IWSC. Since its inaugural season in 2009, the team has not failed to finish the race without at least one BMW on the podium. The Bobby Rahal-led team has won the race three times; once with the BMW M3 GT2 in 2011 and twice with the BMW Z4 GTLM, in 2013 and 2015.
The Long Beach contest sets a much different stage than the season’s opening 36 hours of combined racing at Daytona and Sebring. It is a street course, only 1.968 miles long and, at 100 minutes in length, the shortest race of the season.
BMW Team RLL is looking to the race at Long Beach to celebrate the first win with the BMW M6 GTLM. Introduced at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, the two new BMW M6 GTLMs showed strength, but succumbed to teething problems with the number 25 car finishing fifth. The number 100 car did not finish. At the 12 Hours of Sebring in mid-March the story was a different one as Bill Auberlen (US) scored the class pole in the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, drove the fastest GTLM lap of the race, and finished second with co-drivers Bruno Spengler (CA) and Dirk Werner (DE). The number 100 BMW M6 GTLM, with Lucas Luhr (DE), John Edwards (US) and Kuno Wittmer (CA) at the wheel, finished sixth. After two races, BMW stands third in the GTLM manufacturer points.
Auberlen, who makes his home only a few miles from Long Beach in Redondo Beach (US), and season-long teammate Werner are looking to carry the momentum from Sebring and duplicate last season’s Long Beach performance – a win from the pole. The duo stands third in GTLM driver points, Edwards and Luhr are ninth.
The race at Long Beach takes the green flag at 4:05 p.m. Saturday, 16th April.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“If you look at our track record in Long Beach, it’s pretty good. We’ve been on the podium every year and won three times. I think the pace of the BMW M6 GTLM right now is competitive. It’s a big car so it’s going to be interesting to see if that creates any issues in the tight confines of a street circuit. Based on the reliability, performance and pace of the car so far, we should be in the thick of it. We have had some good strategies in place there over the years that have helped us win, so I have every reason to believe we can have another good, strong race.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM):
“Getting the pole and setting the fast lap at Sebring showed the true potential of the new BMW M6 GTLM. Now we are heading to a race I’ve won twice in the last three years. I have high hopes for bringing BMW its first win with the all new M6.”
Dirk Werner (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM):
“I am looking forward to going back to Long Beach after last year’s win. It is a special track with great atmosphere. We will have to see how much our new BMW M6 GTLM likes street courses and sprint races, and we will not have a lot of time to tune the set-up. But BMW, the team and, of course, Bill have so much experience that I am confident for a good result.”
John Edwards (Number 100 BMW M6 GTLM):
“Long Beach will be an interesting race for our BMW M6 GTLM since it will be our first street course. BMW had a lot of success with the BMW Z4 GTLM on those streets, and I’m confident that we have another machine capable of winning its first street race like its predecessor did. The BMW M6 GTLM is longer, but the car also has better torque to help us get out of the slow corners, which is key for lap time at Long Beach. Lucas and I have had some bad luck to start the season, but the BMW M6 GTLM has shown a lot of promise, and I’m excited to start putting in the results that the car deserves.”
Lucas Luhr (Number 100 BMW M6 GTLM):
“Long Beach is one of the coolest tracks and the venue is very special. It will be the first time for the BMW M6 GTLM there but I am sure we will be strong. After the win last year it would be nice to win again in BMW’s 100th year, so I’m looking forward to the race. John and I will give 100% to take a good result.”