BMW Team RLL is looking forward to the two-hour Continental Monterey Grand Prix, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey (US) to rebound from a disappointing race at Long Beach (US) as the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finishes up its two-race West Coast swing.
Debuting two new BMW M6 GTLM racing cars this season, the team has had its share of the expected ups and downs of a new racing car, but the sum total of the programme to-date shows great promise. Bill Auberlen (US) and Dirk Werner (DE) have driven the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM into a tie for second in the GTLM team and driver points standings based on a fifth place finish at Daytona (US), a second at Sebring (US) and another fifth at Long Beach. Auberlen scored the pole at both Sebring and Long Beach as well as the fastest race lap at Sebring. The duo finished second to their teammates last year at Laguna Seca.
John Edwards (US), Lucas Luhr (DE) and the number 100 BMW M6 GTLM have shouldered the bulk of the team’s teething problems and bad luck this year. A sixth place finish at Sebring has been bookended by hard crashes at Daytona and Long Beach. The pair were the winners at last year’s Laguna Seca race, mirroring the 1975 victory - almost 40 years to the day - when Hans-Joachim Stuck (DE) took the checkered flag in a 3.0 CSL. 1975 was BMW Motorsport’s first year of competition in the US.
The Continental Monterey Grand Prix takes the green flag at 11:15 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, 1st May.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“Historically we have done well at Laguna Seca and were one-two last year. We have qualified well and have had a number of podiums over the years, so Laguna Seca has always been pretty good to us. Laguna represents more of the kind of circuit the BMW M6 GTLM likes with the long, fast, flowing corners, because the BMW M6 GTLM has the long wheel base, and long wheel base cars are inherently better in those types of corners. As we have seen all year, it is super competitive. We were pleased being on pole at Long Beach, but it didn't quite work out for us. We know the pace of the car is reasonably competitive and now it's just a matter of putting a good weekend together.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM):
“Now that we are getting the hang of the BMW M6 GTLM I’m feeling better and better about what we have. I’m coming off two consecutive poles and a track record. I feel like the next few tracks will be even better for us. Last year we finished first and second at Laguna Seca, so I feel great about the combination we are developing this year to try to repeat our victory from 2015.”
Dirk Werner (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM):
“Laguna Seca is a track I like a lot and the layout should suit our car. Of course it will be a challenge to go there with the BMW M6 GTLM for the first time and find a good set-up. But we like these challenges and we will push for the best possible result.”
John Edwards (Number 100 BMW M6 GTLM):
“It’s been a tough start to the season for Lucas and me in the 100 car. The good news is that I don’t see any way that we could have any more bad luck the rest of the season! We are returning to the site of our last win, and the weekend in Monterey is always an enjoyable one. I think the track configuration will suit the BMW M6 GTLM much better than the bumpy tracks at Sebring and Long Beach, so we have an opportunity to repeat our win from last year. We’ll be pushing hard for it as usual, but especially so after our unlucky start in the first three races.”
Lucas Luhr (Number 100 BMW M6 GTLM):
“After winning Laguna Seca last year the pressure is on. We’ll need some of that luck John and I have been missing in the first three races, but I think we can turn it around there.”