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 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.