BMW Team RLL scored its best qualifying effort of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship today in preparation for tomorrow’s BUBBA burger® Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, qualified in the fifth starting position with a lap of 1:17.072 minutes around the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit. John Edwards qualified the No. 24 M6 in the seventh spot with a lap of 1:17.290 minutes. Auberlen will co-drive with Alexander Sims and Edwards will co-drive with Martin Tomczyk. Tomorrow will be the first race at Long Beach for both Sims and Tomczyk. The class pole position went to the No. 3 Corvette of Jan Magnussen with a lap of 1:16.909 minutes.
The Long Beach, California street circuit has been the site of many BMW Team RLL successes since the team’s first season racing for BMW in 2009. The team has finished the race with at least one BMW on the podium every year except last season. The Bobby Rahal-led team has won the street race three times; once with the BMW M3 GT in 2011 and twice with the BMW Z4 GTLM, in 2013 and 2015. Last year, Bill Auberlen qualified the new M6 GTLM racer on the class pole position, but finished a disappointing fifth after multiple contact with competitors ended another podium opportunity.
“We are in the hunt now,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Long Beach is a tough place and the race can be unpredictable, but we will work hard to see some results from our new found competitiveness.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “I had some good laps. There is always room for improvement, but there is not a great deal left. We are seeing progress and that bodes very well for the race.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “I am disappointed to be closer to the back of the class than the front, but both of our cars are certainly more competitive than they have been. We can improve our speed a bit more, but starting further back does open certain strategy possibilities here at Long Beach.”
The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix At Long Beach takes the green flag at 1:05 p.m. PT Saturday, April 8th, with the live television broadcast beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET on FOX. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.