Strong showing by BMW Team RLL in qualifying for the 12-hour race in Sebring (US): Bill Auberlen (US) secured GTLM pole position at the wheel of the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, setting a best lap time of 1:58.402 minutes. John Edwards (US) finished just 0.190 seconds behind his team-mate and will start the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) from P2 in the number 100 car.
In only its second appearance in the IWSC, the BMW M6 GTLM claimed its first pole position. For BMW Team RLL it was the first pole since Laguna Seca (US) 2015. Auberlen’s previous pole position dates back to last season’s Long Beach (US) race. Also at that time Edwards was in P2. Auberlen will share driving duties in the number 25 car with Dirk Werner (DE) and BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler (CA) on Saturday. Edwards joins forces with Lucas Luhr (DE) and Kuno Wittmer (CA).
The Turner Motorsport team also experienced a successful qualifying in Sebring. For most of the session, BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (DE) sat on top of the GTD field at the wheel of the number 96 BMW M6 GT3. Only in the dying moments of the session he was relegated to third, with a lap time of 2:02.660 minutes. However, this is an excellent starting position for Klingmann and his team-mates Ashley Freiberg (US) and Bret Curtis (US) for Saturday’s race.
The number 97 sister car, driven by Markus Palttala (FI), finished ninth in GTD. The Finn will share the wheel with BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn (FI) and Michael Marsal (US) for the 12-hour classic.
The 64th running of the Sebring 12 Hours will go green on Saturday at 10:40 local time.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“That was a good start to what is going to be a very tough day tomorrow. I think the team has done a very good job, they had to do a lot of work today prior to the qualifying, as we had a clutch issue earlier in the day, but we were able to get it all together. You have got to be pleased with that, it is tight for sure, but we are starting the race in a good place and we just have to finish the job tomorrow.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, pole position):
“What is crazy is coming to today I have had three laps in the car. I asked ‘are you sure you want me to do this?’ and they said ‘yes you have done it a thousand times’. They had the faith in me to do the qualifying, but any one of these other guys is a rocket and they could have done it. We have a great car, we have done a lot of development. We need a bit of luck that nothing breaks, nobody hits us and I so badly want to be the person who puts this thing on the top step here at Sebring with the BMW Team RLL guys and Michelin – it would be a real great weekend.”
John Edwards (Number 100 BMW M6 GTLM, 2nd place):
“Quite frankly I am surprised we were able to lock out the front row after yesterday’s practice in the heat. That just shows what the guys did overnight, how they changed the car and analysed everything to give us a base today. The challenge tomorrow I still think is going to be how we can survive the long stints in the heat in the afternoon, because I have no doubt we have the best car at night time. If we can get to the night time and be somewhere in the top three or five I think we will have a real shot at winning the race.”