BMW Team RLL finished sixth and seventh in the Lone Star Le Mans race at Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas (US), the penultimate round of the 2014 United SportsCar Championship.
Bill Auberlen (US) and Andy Priaulx (GB) finished sixth in the black number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM, completing 75 laps of the 5.513 kilometre, 20-turn circuit at the chequered flag after the 2 hour 45 minutes race. John Edwards (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) finished seventh in the white number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM.
The cars qualified sixth and seventh, but Edwards started the race from fifth and Priaulx from sixth after the GTLM class polesitter was disqualified following technical inspection. There was just one yellow flag in the race on lap 21 after Edwards ran wide in turn 19 and the Astroturf ripped off his car’s rear bumper. For the majority of the race the number 56 car led the number 55, but with two laps to go Priaulx overtook Müller for sixth position.
In the GTD class, the Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GTD of Dane Cameron (US) and Markus Palttala (FI), racing in the team’s 300th professional race with BMW, finished third.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“This was the race we expected and I was afraid might happen. The Porsches were almost two seconds a lap faster on the fastest laps, the Vipers not much worse. We just cannot maintain the pace with the way the rules are. I hope things are better at Petit Le Mans, as they are very unfair right now. There is no balance of performance.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“I had just a tough little run there in the middle. That is why you have a second guy you can rely on. When it was a struggle for me they put Andy in, they put him on a different tyre than I had run and he did a fantastic job, exactly what you would expect from a world champion. You lean back and you just let him do it. The crew got us out of the pits over and over in front of other cars all day long. The two BMWs raced to the end and we finished pretty much nose to tail. We need a little bit of help to get to the front. The series has let it get out of hand with the Balance of Performance, as we are nowhere and they need to fix this before the last race.”
Andy Priaulx (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“It has been a tough weekend, but we knew it was going to be really hard. Bill and I had two really tough first stints. The tyre we chose clearly wasn’t right for the conditions. Bill was up to speed nicely and brought the car back in a really good position. He helped the team with feedback to give me the right tyre for the last run, and that’s what made the difference.”
John Edwards (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“We expected a hard day at the office, and it really was. It is really tough to keep pushing in such hot conditions when you are sweating like crazy and you don’t have the pace, but that is what we have to do. By the time Dirk got in there was very little rear downforce and that made it pretty tough to drive on cold tyres.”
Dirk Müller (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“That was an exciting drive doing a double stint with no rear bumper. I had lost all the downforce at the rear of the car and had to drive like a rally driver. I was fighting like crazy. I knew Andy’s car he was coming hard at the end. It reminded me of the good old touring car times. We raced clean and I think that is how you should make it between team mates.”