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Pole position et podium pour la BMW M6 GTLM à Sebring - La préparation pour la saison à la Nordschleife bat son plein.

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IWSC: Successful weekend for BMW teams at the 12h Sebring.

The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship (IWSC) entered its second round last weekend with the 12 Hours of Sebring (US). The BMW teams enjoyed success at the classic in the US state of Florida. On Friday, Bill Auberlen (US) of BMW Team RLL claimed the first pole position for the new BMW M6 GTLM. This was followed on Saturday by the first podium for the GT sports car, which is making its debut in the IWSC in 2016. At the end of an eventful race, which was suspended due to heavy rain, Auberlen, Dirk Werner (DE) and Bruno Spengler (CA) came home second in the GTLM class at the wheel of the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM. Their team-mates John Edwards (US), Lucas Luhr (DE) and Kuno Wittmer (CA) finished sixth in the number 100 car. There was also a podium in the GTD class: Ashley Freiberg (US), Bret Curtis (US) and Jens Klingmann (DE) finished runner-up in the #96 BMW M6 GT3 of Turner Motorsport. This was the first podium for the new BMW M6 GT3 on the international stage.

 

Three questions for ... Bill Auberlen.

 

Bill, you scored the pole position, did the fastest race lap and finished the race in second place. How would you sum up the weekend?

Bill Auberlen: “We can be happy, but on the other hand, even more would have been possible. We made some mistakes and came up some three seconds short of the win. But there is no reason for disappointment at BMW Team RLL. We scored valuable points and proved the BMW M6 GTLM is ready to compete. It won’t be long until we’re on the top sped of the podium.” 

 

Next up in the IWSC is the Long Beach Grand Prix – your home race. What are your expectations?

Auberlen: “I have won that race on two out of the last three years. And I am confident that we can fight for the first BMW M6 GTLM victory at my home circuit.”

 

You have been part of the BMW family since a long time. How many years have you raced for BMW?

Auberlen: “Twenty one years. It has been an amazing time for me and, as we proved here in Sebring, neither BMW nor myself are slowing down. This relationship continues to get better and better and I am extremely proud to race with the company into its next 100 years.” 

 

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ICTSC: Podium for Cooke and Clay in Sebring.

Tyler Cooke (US) and James Clay (US) raced to BMW’s first podium finish of the season in Friday’s two-and-a-half-hour IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, the opening act of the 2016 12 Hours of Sebring weekend. Bouncing back strongly after a fire in practice early in the week to start from the class pole, the duo finished third in the Street Tuner class in the number 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i. The race was won overall by Trent Hindman (US) and Cameron Cassels (CA) in a Grand Sport class Porsche.

 

VLN: Many BMW works drivers at the Nordschleife for the test and set-up session.

The racing season at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (DE) officially got underway with the VLN test and set-up session on Saturday – and fans in the Eifel region were given a fascinating taste of what they can expect from the VLN Endurance Championship and the iconic 24-hour race in the “Green Hell”. Among those in action were Schubert Motorsport, ROWE Racing and Walkenhorst Motorsport with their BMW M6 GT3 race cars, as well as many more private BMW teams. A number of BMW works drivers, who will support the BMW teams at the 24-hour race on the Nordschleife (28th/29th May), also took to the track for the set-up session. The 2016 VLN Endurance Championship begins on 2nd April. This year’s calendar features ten races.

 

Australian GT Championship: Eventful weekend at Melbourne’s Albert Park.

BMW continued its comeback on the Australian motor racing scene at Melbourne’s (AU) famous Albert Park at the weekend. BMW Team SRM lined up at the second round of the Australian GT Championship, which formed part of the support programme for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. Steve Richards (NZ) and Max Twigg (AU) had an eventful weekend with their BMW M6 GT3. Friday’s qualifying was full of promise: Richards was eleventh fastest, narrowly missing out on the top ten in a strong field featuring more than 30 cars. However, Richards suffered a shoulder injury in the first of four races, following a collision that was no fault of his own, and was forced to retire. This meant Twigg started race two from 32nd place. The Australian fought his way into 20th place in a turbulent race, in which a heavy shower towards the end caused a major shake-up of the positions. In race three, in which the result was once again influenced by a long safety car phase, Richards was classified in 17th place. Twigg then brought the BMW M6 GT3 home in 13th place in the final race. The next round of the Australian GT Championship takes place at the Barbagello Raceway (AU) from 6th to 8th May.

 

12h Mugello: Six BMWs start in Italy.

Race two of the 24h Series was held in Mugello (IT) at the weekend. The 12 Hours of Mugello consists of two parts: the participants first completed four hours of racing, before returning to decide the final positions in an eight-hour session. In total, six BMWs were in action at the 5.245-kilometre circuit. Victory in the A3 class went to the Hofor Racing team with the #101 BMW M3 Coupé. They were followed in second place by the BMW 335i fielded by the Sorg Rennsport team. In the Cup1 class, the two Bonk Motorsport BMW M236i Racings finished first and second. The JR Motorsport team came home fourth and eighth in the SP3 class. The next round of the 24h Series takes place at the iconic “Silverstone Circuit” (EN) on 2nd/3rd April, where the competitors will face the second 24-hour race of the year, following the opening round of the season in Dubai (AE). 

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