WOODCLIFF LAKE, NJ – April 13, 2015 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – BMW Team RLL carries the momentum of two fourth-place finishes for the No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM car at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring and a second-place finish at Daytona for the No. 25 machine to the April 18th TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sports Car Showcase. As part of the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend, the race is the shortest of the year at only 100 minutes, and is held on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course – the site of the very first win for the BMW Z4 GTLM racing program in 2013.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of BMW of North America, LLC and the first year of IMSA competition for BMW Motorsport in 1975 both Z4s will continue to race in the commemorative livery introduced at Sebring in March.
John Edwards and Lucas Luhr, drivers of the No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, currently stand second in GTLM driver and team points with No. 25 drivers Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner one point behind in third. BMW stands second in manufacturer points, 10 behind Chevrolet (Corvette) – the winners of the two opening rounds.
Last week IMSA announced Balance of Performance changes for the Long Beach event. The BMWs will lose 10 kilograms of weight and be allowed to race with an additional two liters of fuel. Other competitors in the GTLM class also received adjustments.
“All you have to do is look at BMW Team RLL’s track record at Long Beach to know our expectations,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We have had a high degree of success there finishing 1-2 two years ago and 2nd last year. We could have had a double-podium again last year after qualifying second and third, but the Number 56 car had an issue in the race and got caught up in an incident that ended its podium hopes. The Number 55 car ran strongly throughout the race to finish second. If there is a track that is made for the Z4 GTLM, it would be Long Beach. The races are always close but we feel pretty good about our chances. Street circuits are a great fit for the BMW Z4.”
Bill Auberlen, driver, No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM: “Long Beach is my home track and an amazing event. I won it two years ago and I plan on winning it again. Sebring didn’t go as planned so it’s time to get back to the top step of the podium where we belong. All my friends and family will be there so I would like nothing better than to make them all proud.”
Dirk Werner, driver, No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM: “Long Beach is always a very intense race weekend. The big challenge is to get up to speed as fast as you can. The preparation of the cars and the drivers is the key. My teammate Bill lives on this track, so he can tell me all the secrets. The race is short, so we will push from the first to the last lap.”
John Edwards, driver, No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM: “Long Beach is a spectacle as much as it is a race. It’s an iconic event that I feel lucky to be a part of. Last year we walked away with a podium finish but this year we will try to repeat the feat accomplished two years ago, where the two Z4’s finished 1-2. Lucas and I have had a steady start to the season points-wise, but there’s nothing like a couple of P4’s to make us want to stand back up on the podium.”
Lucas Luhr, driver, No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM: “I am really looking forward to Long Beach. I always like the challenge of a street circuit and Long Beach is one of my favorites. I have won there a few times – which may be is part of the reason why I like it. The whole atmosphere of the event is great. I think our BMW Z4 will be strong, but as we have seen in Daytona and Sebring the whole GTLM grid is very competitive with some very good drivers. John and I will push hard and try for the best result we can for BMW.”
The Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach takes the green flag at 4:05 p.m. PDT Saturday, April 18th and will be streamed live on IMSA.com from 7:05 – 8:45 p.m. EDT. The race will be rebroadcast on FOX Sports 1 on April 19th from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT. 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 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 147 BMW motorcycle retailers, 122 MINI passenger car dealers, and 35 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 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2014, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.118 million cars and 123,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2013 was euro 7.91 billion on revenues amounting to approximately euro 76.06 billion. As of 31 December 2013, the BMW Group had a workforce of 110,351 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been built 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, 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 the 2015 season, the team had compiled 30 victories, 47 poles, 130 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 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the team finished on the podium six times including four second-place finishes. In 2015, the team will attempt to add to their 10 wins and 49 sports car podium finishes.