*Spoiler alert below*
John Edwards and Lucas Luhr drove the No. 24 BMW Z4 to a second place GTLM class finish in today’s two-hour-and-forty-minute Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The duo took the checkered flag 15.5 seconds behind the winning No. 911 Porsche, completing 122 laps of the 2.4-mile, 10-turn classic Canadian circuit during the contest.
Teammates Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner finished fourth in the No. 25 Z4, losing a podium finish on the last lap of the race as the Edwards and the No. 3 Corvette were able to get by the Californian as he struggled with the car’s balance.
Another successful weekend maintained BMW’s lead in the Manufacturer points standings. Auberlen and Werner drop to second in Driver points while Edwards and Luhr remain in third. The No. 24 Z4 was awarded the DEKRA Green Challenge trophy as the most environmentally clean, fast and efficient GTLM competitor of the race.
The first round of pit stops occurred on lap 33 under the only caution period of the race. Werner pitted from second place and stayed in the No. 25 Z4 for a second stint. The crew fueled and changed the Michelin tires quickly, almost beating the lead Porsche out of the pits. Luhr handed off the No. 24 Z4 off to Edwards, but the slightest of delays in release caused by a twisted shoulder harness lost the car two positions.
Werner continued to hound the leader as Edwards worked to regain the positions lost during the pit stop. On lap 63 he was successful, passing two competitors and placing the No. 24 machine back into third place. As the clock wound down to show less than one hour to the end of the race Edwards was the first GTLM class car to make a second stop on lap 76. Werner followed the leader into the pits one lap later, handing off the No. 25 machine to Auberlen. After the rest of the field cycled through their second stops Auberlen held second place, five seconds behind the leader. Edwards, followed in third10 seconds back.
Everything remained as it was until Edwards was able to pass Auberlen on the penultimate lap to secure the first podium finish for the No. 24 Z4 since a win at Laguna Seca. The No. 3 Corvette passed the No. 25 car on the white flag lap to drop Auberlen to fourth.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “We have always struggled at this race. Dirk did a great job and really had a good second. The No. 911 Porsche was just in a class of its own, that was really clear. It was all going according to plan but then the plan unraveled at the end. John and Lucas did a great job to end up P2. It will be interesting to see what happened with the No. 25 car, as we had ten seconds in hand with ten laps to go and lost it all. We earned some great points this weekend to stay ahead of Corvette in the manufacturer championship. This is the best result we have had here and is definitely a big improvement over where we have been in the past.”
John Edwards (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, 2nd): “We made it hard on ourselves with the pit stop, as when I got into the car, the belt folded through the adjuster and I couldn’t tighten it. By the new rules we have to tighten them part way before we leave, so I got held up with that. Then I had to work really hard to get around the Falken Porsche and the Ferrari, but I tried to stay patient because we knew tire wear was going to be an issue. Luckily I had it in my mind enough that I could make them last to the end of my first stint. Once we put the new tires on in our last pit stop the car was fantastic and I was running by myself. I think after the past few years, second is a great result at Mosport for sure.”
Lucas Luhr (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, 2nd): “It was good starting P3 and coming in P2. Overall I think it is quite a good team result. If the two guys at the end would have been a little bit nicer to each other both could have stayed in front of the Corvette, which I think would have been an even better team result. If you see the way we started the weekend and now have finished second I will take that. Let’s bring on the next one. Everybody is focused and we all have the same goals, which are win the manufacturer and team championships, and if it happens to be a driver championship as well, whoever it is, then it is an awesome result. We cannot lose our focus, that is what we have to keep in mind and that is what is the most important thing.”
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, 4th): “Up until the end it was a picture perfect race for us. We didn’t have the pace of the Porsche, but we ran a solid second. Dirk did a fantastic job in qualifying and the first stint, and then I got into the car and we were fine, fine, fine until about the last 15 laps. I felt the fronts start to go, so I tried to baby it, and tried to stay ahead. Then within the last seven laps I was a sitting duck as the setup went away.”
Dirk Werner (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, 4th): “To lose the podium on the last couple of laps is not nice, but Bill didn’t have anything left to fight with. This track has a high tire degradation, we knew that, so we tried to make them last but in the end it just didn’t work out for us. It is better to get a fourth place after a difficult race than come in worse. We lost two points in the driver standings to the Corvette, but that is no drama as we are still in a good championship position. We have to swallow that and am now looking forward to the next race.”
Round Seven of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will be held at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on August 9th. The two-hour-and-forty-minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase will be broadcast live from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports One.