One Week – Two Races, Two Countries, Two Wins; BMW M6 GTLM Finishes First and Second at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park!
By Scott Green
July 9, 2017
After reaching the top of the podium at Watkins Glen International last Sunday, Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims raced the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM to a second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class victory today at the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. Teammates John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk finished second in the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM for the first BMW Team RLL 1-2 finish since Long Beach 2013. The win was the 15th in team history since 2009.
Auberlen, starting the No. 25 M6 from second, and Tomczyk, starting the No. 24 from fourth, wasted no time in racing to the front of the GTLM field as the green flag waved to start the two-hour-and-forty-minute race. Auberlen held the point with Tomczyk only some three seconds behind in second during the entire opening stint. Tomczyk was the first to pit on lap 35 for fuel, tires and to hand off to Edwards. Auberlen pitted on the next lap for full service and to let Sims take over the No. 25 M6. With one hour complete and after the field completely cycled through their stops on lap 45, Sims was P1 and Edwards was P3 sandwiching the No. 911 Porsche.
With one hour remaining, Sims held a two second lead in first having completed 77 laps. Edwards was eight seconds behind his teammate, in third. Running a longer second stint, Edwards pitted on lap 78 for full service. He rejoined the race in P3. Sims pitted on lap 80, also remaining in the car after full service. Sims rejoined the race in third, the No. 24 M6 moving to second and the No. 911 Porsche moving into the lead.
At 51 minutes to go, the races first full-course caution period occurred for a prototype car off in turn two. Rain came and soaked the back straight, but quickly abated and all GTLM cars remained on slicks. The green flag flew on lap 90 and by the next lap both Edwards and Sims carefully negotiated the drying track to take back the first and second positions respectively. Lap 93 saw Sims race the No. 25 M6 back into the lead while Edwards fell back to third. On lap 108 the No. 911 Porsche fell back, promoting Edwards back to second.
The races second full-course yellow came on lap 102 for an accident in turn four. Not long after the green flag flew the race was slowed to an even greater extent by a hard rain that ultimately caused the race to end under a third yellow flag on lap 117. At the checkered flag it was Sims P1 in the No. 25 M6 for a second consecutive win and Edwards P2 for a seasons-best finish in the No. 24 M6.
The weather caused some concern, but we had the pace and were able to control the race, said Neil Fife, BMW Team RLL Race Engineer. It has been an enormous effort to get us to this point and we are very pleased to race the M6 to a 1-2 finish. Great job by everyone.
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P1): Today is as good as it gets. Alex did a great job today no matter what the weather. I am proud to share my 57th win with him.
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P1): That was an awesome race! There was quite a bit of ducking and diving, but even when the rain fell and we were still on slicks I believe we were the strongest car. Honestly, my first five or six laps were spent still getting comfortable with this track, but once I found the groove I really started to love this place.
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P2): That was a stressful, but enjoyable race. I had a great battle with Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche until he had a problem. The rain made for a lot of close calls, but we came away with a 1-2 for the BMW M6.
Martin Tomczyk, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P2): What an exciting race! We have all worked very hard to get to this point and a 1-2 is a fabulous result for BMW.
Round Seven of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Northeast Grand Prix, will be held July 22 at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. The race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for from-the-pit-box updates all weekend.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Groups global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 343 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 127 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Groups sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
The BMW Group
With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the worlds leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 31 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2016, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.367 million cars and 145,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax was approximately 9.67 billion on revenues amounting to 94.16 billion. As of 31 December 2016, the BMW Group had a workforce of 124,729 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
BMWs partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan, has been competing for over two decades. Prior to the start of their 26th season of competition in 2017, the team had compiled 38 victories, 51poles,151 podium finishes, three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) and claimed an Indianapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the American Le Mans Series. The following year the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category and swept all three GT titles – Manufacturer, Team and Driver in 2011. In 2012 the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. The 2014 season brought a new challenge with the creation of the IMSA United SportsCar Championship and the team finished on the podium six times including four second-place finishes. In 2015, the team earned three wins, two poles and a total of eight podium finishes to finish second in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships and added two poles and three podiums in 2016. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, BMW Team RLL had won 13 races, 22 poles and 60 podium finishes.
# # #
Source and Images: BMW Group