The two new BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM racing cars will start the 54th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, the opening round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, from the third and sixth positions in the GTLM field.
This afternoon’s 15-minute qualifying session was held under rainy skies making for the wettest track of the day and very difficult conditions. A red flag for a competitor’s crash halted the action after only four cars completed two timed laps, but as a minimum of 10 minutes of green flag time is required by the rules the session became a slippery two-lap shootout.
With a 2:02.497 minute lap around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course, John Edwards qualified the No. 100 M6 GTLM in the third position, just over one second slower than the pole sitting No. 911 Porsche. Edwards will share the car with Lucas Luhr, Graham Rahal and Kuno Wittmer.
Dirk Werner qualified the No. 25 M6 GTLM machine in the sixth spot with a time of 2:03.974. Werner will co-drive with Bill Auberlen, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler. The talented quartet finished second in last year’s Rolex 24, finishing only .478 seconds behind the GTLM class winner after 725 laps of battle.
In the 21-car GTD class, Markus Paltalla qualified the No. 97 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 13th and Jens Klingmann qualified the No. 96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3 16th.
“Those were tough conditions and I am very pleased with the job John did,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “He really did not have much time in the car. I thought we were going to be P2. Third is a good place to start the race and Dirk isn’t that far behind. Really, where you qualify for this race makes no difference but it is just nice to see that the M6 was competitive in the wet.”
John Edwards, driver No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM: (3rd) “In a brand new car it would have been cool to go out and get pole position, but that didn’t happen. Those were really poor conditions. We knew it would be tough, but I think we have a car in the M6 that can handle the rain better than the Z4. Even with a little mistake in turn six on my best lap we weren’t that far off the Porsches. I look at this as progress and right now we have a safe starting position for the long 24 hour race.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: (6th) “Every corner was an adventure, as there was a lot of water on the track and it was easy to go off. I am just happy we had a clean qualifying. P6 is all right, we are in the middle of the field and I think we have a good car for the race.”
A video update of the week so far is available here.
The 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona 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. ET Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.