PressClub Global · Article.
Two BMW M6 GTLM finish on the podium for BMW Team RLL at COTA.
07.05.2017 Press Release
A double-podium finish for BMW Team RLL in the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), in Austin, Texas, was a well-deserved reward for the team’s hard work during the past months.
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Munich. A double-podium finish for BMW Team RLL in the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), in Austin, Texas, was a well-deserved reward for the team’s hard work during the past months.
Bill Auberlen (USA) and Alexander Sims (GBR) drove the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM to second place in the two-hour forty-minute contest, completing 71 laps of the 3.4-mile track and finishing 2.498 seconds behind the winning number 3 Corvette. John Edwards (USA) and Martin Tomczyk (GER), driving the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM, finished in third place, after a strong run from pole position.
With the benefit of pole position, Edwards led the field from the green flag into the first turn and Sims, from third on the grid, moved up one position to follow his teammate at the front of the field. A scrum developed at the back of the GTLM field and multiple contacts resulted in a couple of competitors effectively being out of the battle for the win.
Sims relinquished second position 34 minutes into the race to the number 911 Porsche after a 14-lap battle. Edwards continued to lead, opening up a 3.2 second gap. The Porsche passed for the lead on lap 22, after which the second yellow flag of the race waved to close up the field with Edwards P2 and Sims P3. Pit stops began on lap 26 as the field circulated behind the safety car with the Porsche and both BMWs coming in. Quick service by the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM crew got Tomczyk out ahead of the Porsche with Auberlen, now in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, right behind. Unfortunately, a pair of rare mis-cues saw Auberlen leave the pits before the fuel man had finished and the Californian was forced back to the pits for a drive-through penalty. Tomczyk and two other competitors missed the illuminated pit exit lights and had to return to serve a stop plus 60-second penalty. The number 3 Corvette had pitted earlier and inherited the GTLM lead with Auberlen, now P2, and Tomczyk, now P4, began their stints.
The second set of stops was completed under the green flag on laps 44 and 45 with Sims back in the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM and Edwards back in the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM to finish the final hour of the race. The third and final caution flag of the race flew with less than ten minutes remaining for a burning prototype car. The track was quickly cleared and the race restarted with some four minutes to go. Sims gave chase, but there was not enough time to catch the Corvette. Ultimately, the result was Sims second and Edwards third and the first two BMW Team RLL podium finishes of the season.
Bill Auberlen (no. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 2nd place): “It is a long time coming for this game and this car. We have to be very happy for that but the weird thing is that BMW Team RLL is so geared to win, that is the most important goal. When you get second you still want to be on top. However, we have to smile and hold our heads high. We covered two-thirds of the podium just not the top step this weekend.”
Alexander Sims (no. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 2nd place): “I was happy we were able to come out of turn one P1 and P2, but I had quite a bit of a lock-up and that compromised my first stint quite a bit with a lot of vibration in the front tyre but the car continued to work well. Then there was a little bit of a misunderstanding with the pit release and we got a drive through penalty. We were catching the Corvette at the end, but needed a little bit more of time. In the end, we are happy to have second place and it was great to be standing on the podium for the first time in the U.S.”
John Edwards (no. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, 3rd place): “We’ve been competitive every lap this weekend. It was just a mistake – for each car – that cost us in the race. I am excited for the rest of the season, to race at tracks such as Watkins Glen and Mosport. These two circuits are great for the BMW M6 GTLM and two of my favorite tracks in North America.”
Martin Tomczyk (no. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, 3rd place): “The result could’ve been better, but I made a mistake. I left the pit lane when the exit light was red. I was fighting with the Porsche and he also did not see the red light. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. It was my fault. In the end I think we did the best we could by finishing third, with the sister car in second.”