BMW Team RLL will start the third race of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Long Beach, California from the GTLM class front row.
Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 25 BMW Z4 he shares with Dirk Werner, took the pole position with a new qualifying record time of 1:17.268 minutes around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit that runs along the Long Beach harbor. This was the veteran’s first pole since Baltimore in 2013 and the first for the team since Road America last year.
John Edwards drove the No. 24 BMW Z4 to the outside of the front row with a lap of 1:17.516 minutes. He will co-drive with Lucas Luhr, a four-time winner at Long Beach, in tomorrow’s race.
The streets of Long Beach have proven to be an excellent stage for BMW with BMW Team RLL finishing on the podium every year since its first race here in 2009 and winning in 2011 and 2013. That victory in 2013, the very first for the current Z4 racing program, was shared by Auberlen and Maxime Martin.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “If there is a track that is kind of built for the Z4 I think this is it. We have won here before with the car. It is a handling circuit, it is not just a power circuit. The Z4 is definitely a very good handling car and good on brakes. It is nice to be at a place where we kind of have an advantage. The guys are doing a good job, and the car is handling well. The changes we have made all seem positive. It is going to be nice starting on the front row and hopefully we can stay there.”
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, pole): “I so wanted this pole. Last year I had it until the last lap when Jan (Magnussen) got it. I set the lap record in the race at Sebring and now a new qualifying record at Long Beach. I am extremely pleased that I am able to put those kinds of exclamation points to the story of a great brand’s effort.”
John Edwards (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, P2): “Quite a day for BMW for sure! This is the place where BMW had its first win with the Z4 a few years ago, and that one was a one- two. We have repeated the qualifying and now we have to pay attention to the race. On a personal level, we will be pushing the black car to try and get around Bill. It is the shortest race we have all year, but sometimes it seems like the toughest fight. We shall have to be pushing hard for the whole time tomorrow.”
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.