Published by Autobahn Buzz (Long Beach Grand Prix)
Long Beach Grand Prix
BMW Team RLL equaled its best qualifying effort of the young 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Series by placing its BMW Z4 GTLM machines in the second and third starting positions for tomorrow’s Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach Grand Prix race.
Switching places from Sebring, today’s 15-minute session saw Bill Auberlen qualify the No. 55 Z4 in second with a lap of 1:18.091 minutes around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Auberlen’s lap was only .152 seconds in arrears of the pole sitter Jan Magnussen, in the No. 3 Corvette. Dirk Müller drove the No. 56 Z4 to third with a 1:18.246 minute lap.
Last year BMW Team RLL raced to a 1-2 finish at Long Beach in only the second race for the new BMW Z4 GTE. With podium finishes at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring this year BMW Team RLL leads the GTLM Team and Driver points standings.
“It was an excellent qualifying effort and I think everyone is pleased with the cars,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “A good day today should make for a better day tomorrow.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTLM – (2nd) – “Judging from last year, we have definitely made a step forward. We were on pole for most of the session, but at the end the Corvette went by. Today we were P2 in the first practice, P1 in the second and now P2 in qualifying. If we can just stay in that area tomorrow I’ll be happy. It’s always a tough race here and this is an extremely competitive field. We’ve been consistently at the front today and I hope that bodes well for another great finish.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTLM – (3rd) – “I had a lack of grip in the second practice so we lost valuable preparation time for qualifying. We were definitely behind, but well done to everyone on a great recovery. We can now focus all of our attention on the race.”
Part of the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach takes the green flag at 6:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 12th. Fox Sports 1 will carry live coverage of the race beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.imsa.com.
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; DesignworksUSA, 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 Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 119 MINI passenger car dealers, and 35 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at: www.bmwgroupna.com
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for over two decades, compiling 28 victories, 42 poles and three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) as well as claiming 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. In 2010 the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category. In 2011 the team swept all three GT titles – Manufacturer, Team and Driver.