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Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix 2017

BMW News

Two BMW M6 GTLM finish on the podium

Bill Auberlen (USA) and Alexander Sims (GBR) drove the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM to second place in the two-hour forty-minute contest, completing 71 laps of the 3.4-mile track and finishing 2.498 seconds behind the winning number 3 Corvette. John Edwards (USA) and Martin Tomczyk (GER), driving the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM, finished in third place, after a strong run from pole position.

With the benefit of pole position, Edwards led the field from the green flag into the first turn and Sims, from third on the grid, moved up one position to follow his teammate at the front of the field. A scrum developed at the back of the GTLM field and multiple contacts resulted in a couple of competitors effectively being out of the battle for the win.

Sims relinquished second position 34 minutes into the race to the number 911 Porsche after a 14-lap battle. Edwards continued to lead, opening up a 3.2 second gap. The Porsche passed for the lead on lap 22, after which the second yellow flag of the race waved to close up the field with Edwards P2 and Sims P3. Pit stops began on lap 26 as the field circulated behind the safety car with the Porsche and both BMWs coming in. Quick service by the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM crew got Tomczyk out ahead of the Porsche with Auberlen, now in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, right behind. Unfortunately, a pair of rare mis-cues saw Auberlen leave the pits before the fuel man had finished and the Californian was forced back to the pits for a drive-through penalty. Tomczyk and two other competitors missed the illuminated pit exit lights and had to return to serve a stop plus 60-second penalty. The number 3 Corvette had pitted earlier and inherited the GTLM lead with Auberlen, now P2, and Tomczyk, now P4, began their stints.

The second set of stops was completed under the green flag on laps 44 and 45 with Sims back in the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM and Edwards back in the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM to finish the final hour of the race. The third and final caution flag of the race flew with less than ten minutes remaining for a burning prototype car. The track was quickly cleared and the race restarted with some four minutes to go. Sims gave chase, but there was not enough time to catch the Corvette. Ultimately, the result was Sims second and Edwards third and the first two BMW Team RLL podium finishes of the season.

Bill Auberlen (no. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 2nd place): “It is a long time coming for this game and this car. We have to be very happy for that but the weird thing is that BMW Team RLL is so geared to win, that is the most important goal. When you get second you still want to be on top. However, we have to smile and hold our heads high. We covered two-thirds of the podium just not the top step this weekend.”

Alexander Sims (no. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 2nd place): “I was happy we were able to come out of turn one P1 and P2, but I had quite a bit of a lock-up and that compromised my first stint quite a bit with a lot of vibration in the front tyre but the car continued to work well. Then there was a little bit of a misunderstanding with the pit release and we got a drive through penalty. We were catching the Corvette at the end, but needed a little bit more of time. In the end, we are happy to have second place and it was great to be standing on the podium for the first time in the U.S.”

John Edwards (no. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, 3rd place): “We’ve been competitive every lap this weekend. It was just a mistake – for each car – that cost us in the race. I am excited for the rest of the season, to race at tracks such as Watkins Glen and Mosport. These two circuits are great for the BMW M6 GTLM and two of my favorite tracks in North America.”

Martin Tomczyk (no. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, 3rd place): “The result could’ve been better, but I made a mistake. I left the pit lane when the exit light was red. I was fighting with the Porsche and he also did not see the red light. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. It was my fault. In the end I think we did the best we could by finishing third, with the sister car in second.”

BMW News

Eighth place in Daytona

January 29, 2017 , Daytona One of the highlights of the 24-hour race at the Daytona International Speedway was the BMW M6 GTLM Art Car, designed by American artist John Baldessari and driven by Bill Auberlen (USA), Alexander Sims (GBR), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Bruno Spengler (CAN). After 652 laps of racing, Farfus took the chequered flag at the wheel of the 19th member of the BMW Art Car Collection. The quartet of drivers, as well as team principal Bobby Rahal’s crew, delivered a focussed performance, despite difficult conditions with heavy rain and a total of 21 fullcourse yellows. GTLM victory went to the number 66 Ford.

The Baldessari car is only the third BMW Art Car in history to finish the 24-hour race it appeared in. The same feat was only achieved by Roy Lichtenstein’s BMW 320i in the 1977 Le Mans 24 Hours and the BMW M1 Art Car created by Andy Warhol at the same event in 1979. Prior to this year’s Rolex 24, the latest BMW Art Car appearance dated back to 2010, when the BMW M3 GT2 Art Car created by Jeff Koons was sent into action at Le Mans.

In contrast, the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona came to an early end for the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM. Only 14 laps into the race, first-stint driver John Edwards (USA) came to a stop at the pit lane entrance after suffering vibration at the rear of the car. BMW Team RLL tried to get the BMW M6 GTLM back out onto the track, and Edwards did actually rejoin briefly after a long break for repairs. However, he was then forced to retire permanently just one lap later due to persisting powertrain issues. Martin Tomczyk (GER), Kuno Wittmer (CAN) and Nick Catsburg (NLD) did not play a part in the race.

The Turner Motorsport team delivered a fighting performance in the GTD class: Jens Klingmann (GER), Jesse Krohn (FIN), Maxime Martin (BEL) and Justin Marks (USA) lost ground – and several laps – due to repair work on their yellow number 96 BMW M6 GT3 following a collision they got involved in on Saturday night. Afterwards, however, the team moved up the ranks again, eventually finishing eighth out of 27 GTD competitors. Victory in this category was secured by the number 28 Porsche.

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “Eighth place for the BMW M6 GTLM Art Car was a relatively conciliatory ending to a tough race for us. After the number 24 car had been forced to retire early with a technical issue, BMW Team RLL never gave up. In the end, however, a better result today was out of reach in difficult conditions. We had to fight with our hands tied for much of the race. The Turner Motorsport team also proved some good fighting spirit, finishing eighth in the GTD class to claim a respectable result with the BMW M6 GT3, despite losing a lot of time following an accident that was not their fault. On the whole, we would obviously have preferred a more successful start to the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. However, it did not really come as a huge surprise to us that it was not easy – particularly on this track, which poses its own unique challenges for the cars. Everyone could see that the balance of performance is not yet perfect for this year’s field. Congratulations to Ford on this victory achieved in an exciting finale. Regardless of the sporting outcome of the Rolex 24, the outing of the 19th BMW Art Car, designed by John Baldessari, was a real highlight. The drivers and BMW Team RLL enjoyed racing this work of art at Daytona. We are already looking forward to this year’s second Art Car, designed by Cao Fei, which will be in action in Macau at the end of the year. As far as the IMSA season is concerned, we want to put on a stronger display at the 12-hour race in Sebring in mid-March than we did here in Daytona.”

John Baldessari (Artist, BMW Art Car #19): “Everybody gave this their all, which makes me a happy man. In Daytona competition is fierce. I wholeheartedly thank BMW Motorsport, the drivers, the engineers as well as the mechanics. My car has now earned its spurs on the racetrack and has proven itself as the fastest work of art I ever created.”

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “Everyone did a great job on the number 19 car. It’s a shame we went a lap down, because the opportunity to get the lap back didn’t ever present itself. The car ran reliably, the pitstops were good and the drivers did a great job. We’re very proud to have had the chance to compete with a BMW Art Car. We’ll forever be a part of its history. It’s obviously a disappointment for the number 24. The number of mechanical failures we’ve had during our 10-year relationship could probably be counted on one hand, so it’s a big surprise when we have an issue. I’m anxious to look into it further.”

Bill Auberlen (No. 19 BMW M6 GTLM, eighth place): “This is one of the highlights of my career, without any doubt. It’s going to go down in history, the 19th BMW Art Car will outlive us. To be part of the artwork, this vision from a master like John Baldessari, is a great privilege. I just wish we could’ve done better in the race. The BMW M6 GTLM ran perfectly, the team did a great job, and the drivers too. Hopefully we’ll come back fighting for the Sebring 12 Hours, and then for the rest of the IMSA season.”

Alexander Sims (No. 19 BMW M6 GTLM, eighth place): “It’s thoroughly special to race a BMW Art Car at the Daytona 24-hour race – to be in an Art Car, as historic as it is, is a massive privilege. To have my name on the side of this car is fantastic. We obviously came here to win, so in that regard this weekend proved to be honestly quite disappointing. Everyone in the team and at BMW did a good job this weekend, but we just lacked some pace – that’s that. I’m looking forward to the rest of the IMSA season. Everything is new to me, it’s a massive learning curve but I can't wait to get stuck in.”

Augusto Farfus (No. 19 BMW M6 GTLM, eighth place): “It was a unique opportunity to write my name in BMW Art Car history. People might see my name on the BMW M6 GTLM Art Car in 50 or even 100 years’ time. This is something that will live with me forever. From a sporting point of view, it clearly wasn’t our race. The team did a fantastic job, the set up was perfect, the pitstops were great, all my team-mates drove superbly. Unfortunately, when you’re unlucky, you’re unlucky – even the full course yellows didn’t go in our favour.” Bruno Spengler (No. 19 BMW M6 GTLM, eighth place): “Well, this wasn’t exactly what we had planned for this race. For the first time I was driving the car in the wet during the night of a 24h race. This was an exciting experience. However, compared to the opposition we were lacking speed. And in the decisive situations we weren’t lucky either. But we didn’t give up, the drivers didn’t make any mistakes. This fact will stay in my memory as well as the huge honour of driving the BMW Art Car. I’m very proud of having been a part of this.”

BMW News

BMW M6 GTLM and GT3 master the challenge

Daytona (US), 31st January 2016. Both the new BMW M6 GTLM and the BMW M6 GT3 proved their promising potentials in the very first round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: At the classic 24 Hours of Daytona (US), the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM crossed the line in fifth in the GTLM category. Bill Auberlen (US), Dirk Werner (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR) and Bruno Spengler (CA) shared the car over the course of their 721 racing laps.

In the GTD class, the number 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, driven by Michael Marsal (US), Markus Palttala (FI), Maxime Martin, (BE) and Jesse Krohn (FI), finished the debut race of BMW Motorsport’s new GT3 challenger in sixth. The number 96 sister car had dropped back early in the race due to technical problems, ultimately finishing 17th in the GTD category.

The sunrise at 07:13hrs over the Daytona International Speedway showed only one BMW M6 GTLM still in the Daytona 24 Hours. About four hours earlier, on lap 360, the number 100 BMW M6 GTLM, with Lucas Luhr (DE) behind the wheel, had a brake problem in turn one. Luhr was unhurt, but the damage from the impact forced the team to retire the car from the race. Luhr had shared driving duties with John Edwards (US), Graham Rahal (US) and Kuno Wittmer (CA).

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is set to continue on 19th March 2016 with another classic race, the 12 Hours of Sebring (US).

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):

“After all these months of intensive development work, countless kilometres of testing and all the passion brought in by everyone at BMW Motorsport and in our teams to get our new GT race cars ready, our goal was to finish the race in Daytona – and, if possible, bring home some good results. Overall I’m happy with the race debuts of the BMW M6 GTLM and the BMW M6 GT3. We knew that the 24 Hours of Daytona would be a tough test right at the beginning of the season. And this is exactly what we experienced this weekend. Walking away from Daytona with P5 in the GTLM class and P6 in the GTD category is a good result and a nice reward for the whole squad. The start into our anniversary season on the occasion of the 100th birthday of BMW definitely was a positive one. With car number 100 we had to endure quite a scary moment. Fortunately Lucas Luhr escaped from this accident without a scratch. For the fans it was an extremely exciting and entertaining race. Many different cars fought for the lead, several manufacturers performed on a similar level. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship promises to be a real thriller in 2016. We saw that the basis of our all-new car is very promising. And I’m confident we will score some really good results over the course of the season.”

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):

“You never know how you truly add up until you get to the first race. The 100 car was having a really good race, so it was a shame that we had a problem that you don’t see very often. Unfortunately it took us out of the race. I think the performance of the BMW M6 GTLM was quite good and the guys were doing a great job. The same goes for the 25. It is a new car and I think just finishing the race was kind of a victory in its own right. It is naturally disappointing not to have won, but that was asking a lot of this car on its maiden voyage. The Corvette is a well-proven car, the Porsche is the same thing and I think we saw that today. Given that the BMW M6 GTLM is a brand new car, with brand new systems - everything – the fact that the 25 car made all 24 hours without a lot of problems says a lot.” 

Bill Auberlen (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 5th place): 

“The number 25 BMW M6 GTLM ran almost perfectly for 24 hours. We missed a few kilometres per hour on straight-line speed to our competitors, but that will be addressed. After a day like today we can certainly hold our heads high.”

Dirk Werner (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 5th place): 

“In general I think everybody can be quite happy with our car. We had little problems here and there, but not necessarily with the car. The race was tough and sometimes we had to land back on our feet after struggling a little bit. But now it is the end of the race and all the engineers and mechanics kept the car in good shape and we are good enough to fight for a podium. For the first race for the BMW M6 GTLM I think we can be quite happy because we had no major problems. I think all the testing paid off and I am quite happy. Obviously this is a completely different track to the other ten ones we race on in this series, so since the BMW M6 GTLM is a new car we have to go to each race and start with a clean sheet of paper, get our set up right and maybe the drivers will have to adapt a little bit to the car on different tracks. But we have a good group of people and I am confident everyone is pushing.”

Augusto Farfus (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 5th place): 

“I was very excited coming to this race as I had seen at the Roar what the new BMW M6 GTLM could do. I felt it would be a fantastic race car for Daytona and that proved to be the case. I was also very happy to be the driver to bring the car across the finish line. To finish a 24-hour race in a brand new car with no major technical problems is a great achievement in itself. Okay, we may lack top speed and this we need to pass other cars, but I know BMW will work on that as this is just the start of the project. I had some very intense stints and the one early in the morning was like a double qualifying when I was trying to hang in there with the Porsches and Corvettes.” 

Bruno Spengler (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 5th place): 

“For the first 24 hours for the BMW M6 GTLM it was a good experience and it was important to cover some kilometres and stay on track. Unfortunately we miss a little bit of performance compared to the opposition. But it is a young car and there are still things to learn and things to do on it. The positive is that we didn’t have any large technical issues and the car was running well. That is positive for the future and we have to keep on working and try to make the car even faster.”

Maxime Martin (Number 97 BMW M6 GT3, 6th place):

“We had quite a good race. There were no big issues or even little mistakes. Unfortunately, we did not have the top speed of our competitors. The BMW M6 GT3 definitely has potential. To finish sixth in its very first race –  a 24 hour race – is excellent. In time I know the BMW M6 GT3 will be able to show all of that potential.” 

Jesse Krohn (Number 97 BMW M6 GT3, 6th place): 

“Racing in Daytona has always been one of my dreams. It is one of the biggest races in the world and I have grown up watching these races. I have always wanted to be here and now I have had the opportunity to come. The BMW M6 GT3 is quite good. It has a lot of potential. It is the first outing for the car in race conditions, so it has been impressive the way we have been able to run with it. I am happy with the whole Turner Motorsport team and the way they worked, how everything is organised and it is a real pleasure to work with them.”

Lucas Luhr (Number 100 BMW M6 GTLM, DNF): 

“There was a technical failure at the front right, my best guess is the brake disc. This made the bonnet go up, so I couldn’t see where I was going and hit the barriers. It’s a shame because we were running well and we were right there in the hunt. It is also a shame for all the guys with a new car that had such a good performance for the first time running and they don’t get rewarded.”

BMW News

BMW Team RLL Reveals 100th Anniversary Livery

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – January 27, 2016… BMW Team RLL today revealed two commemorative 100th anniversary liveries for the new BMW M6 GTLM race cars competing in the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. To mark its centenary, one of the M6 machines will race with the number 25 in honor of BMW 3.0 CSL’s first season racing in the US in 1975 and will sport a livery that celebrates the history of BMW in motorsport. The second M6 machine will race with the number 100 and will be wrapped in a livery design that looks to the future.

Both designs are centered on a newly developed signet (or icon) developed by the BMW Group for 100th anniversary communications. Throughout its history, BMW has always been a company focused on the future and therefore it is not surprising that the theme for the centenary of the brand is: “The Next 100 Years”.  The BMW Group will celebrate its rich history and promising future throughout the year officially starting with the Centenary Event in Munich, Germany on March 7th.

On the No. 25 car, each of the four segments of the signet depict images of a historically significant race car. The four cars were chosen in part due to their race success as well as their influence on future race or production cars within the BMW brand. The first car chosen was the famous No. 25 3.0 CSL that gave BMW its first major US race win at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1975. The second is an image of the BMW M1 from 1980 and 1981. In addition to a successful racing history, the M1 is significant as the first BMW M car. The third is an image of the successful V12 LMR that won Le Mans and Sebring in 1999. The V12 LMR was without a doubt one of the most advanced sport prototype race cars of its day and contains technology that is still advanced today. Finally, the fourth car depicted is the M3 GT from the 2011-12 season that won all possible ALMS class championship titles in 2011.

BMW explained that the No. 100 car on the other hand has a livery design that looks to the future. Beyond its distinctive design, BMW said that the lattice work element has a significance that will become clear later this year. The execution of the lattice work design is done with a new type of 3D effect, reflective vinyl applied to the white body that will be very visible under the lights at the Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend. Both cars will carry the commemorative liveries throughout the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting with the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The Rolex 24 takes the green flag at 2:40 p.m. Saturday, January 30 with the first two hour hours of coverage on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Coverage shifts to FOX Sports 2 from 4 to 10 p.m. ET. FOX Sports 1 will pick up the broadcast from 7 - 9 a.m. ET and then finish with three hours of coverage beginning at 12 p.m. ETFollow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.