Official release: The beginning of BMW Team RLL’s Sahlen’s Six Hour of the Glen story was better than the ending, as the team was unable to capitalize on its excellent starting positions (first and third) at Watkins Glen International Raceway. The day of struggle ultimately ended with sixth and tenth place finishes.
The No. 56 BMW Z4 GTLM of John Edwards and Dirk Müller finished sixth, with a relatively trouble-free race only marred by Edwards having to take evasive action due to a spinning competitor during the second hour and dropping from third to ninth. Müller moved up to sixth by the fourth hour and Edwards, back in the car at the end, crossed the finish line in sixth. They completed 185 laps of the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit during the six-hour contest. The race was won by the No. 3 Corvette.
Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx had an unfortunate day in the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTLM, having to make 10 pit stops to their teammates’ six, for a myriad of problems after starting from BMW Team RLL’s first pole position of the season. They worked hard to stay on the lead lap, but a stop-and-hold penalty for avoidable contact by Auberlen just before the third hour combined with three tire punctures to ultimately drop the car one lap to the leaders. Their tenth place finish was their poorest of the season and drops them out of the lead in driver points.
Separately, in the GTD class, a third BMW Z4 in the race, campaigned by Turner Motorsport with drivers Dane Cameron and Markus Palttala, raced to a dominant victory – their second of the season. The duo completed a total of178 laps, leading 169 circuits during the race.
“It was a disappointing race after performing so strongly all weekend in qualifying and practice,” said Gordon McDonnell, BMWNA Motorsport Manager. “That’s how it goes sometimes. I think the pace of the Corvettes during the race surprised us. However, it is now on to Canada and we’ll continue the fight. Congratulations to Will Turner and the Turner Motorsport guys on their second victory with the Z4 GTD. It was a dominating win and hopefully more victories will come for them during the season.”
“Our cars were well-balanced and fast, but it was difficult to show that today with everything that happened,” said Jay O’Connell, RLL VP Technology. “Hopefully, we have had all our bad luck. It is a tough day when you end up P6 and a lap down in 10th.”
John Edwards, driver No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “It was a very exciting race, but not necessarily in a good way. We had an issue right after one of the re-starts where I came round the corner, a Prototype had spun and I had to go off to avoid it. As I went off to the right, he turned the wheel and backed out to the right so I had to go even further off. It cost me seven or eight positions. It is surprising in a six-hour race we can’t recover from that, but there was a really long period of green flag running and we needed yellows to catch back up.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “I had three thrilling stints and loved them all. I was really quick in all of them and put no scratches on the car. The Z4 ran well. Unfortunately, we had really tough luck. John had to avoid an accident and made the best of the situation; he went outside and lost seven positions. Considering the alternative, we’ll accept a sixth place finish.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “That was a weird and very challenging day and it makes it much, much worse when you have a great car, but a lot of bad things go against you. I can’t remember the last time the car was that good and felt so connected. However, nothing went our way. We just hope it is now behind us. We leave with second in the points, but at least we are still near the top.”
Andy Priaulx, driver No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “We had a relatively good start, but that’s really all we had today. Unfortunately, in the areas where we needed to pass we weren’t quite strong enough. It opened Bill to bad luck and the call (avoidable contact) went against him this time. Better luck in Canada.”
In other BMW racing action today, Joey Hand raced to a season’s best finish (7th) in round 4 of the 2014 DTM championship today at the Norisring. Teammate Marco Wittmann was the top-finishing BMW driver (6th) and retained his lead in the driver points standings.
Round Six of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the Mobil1 SportsCar Grand Prix, will take place at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, on Sunday, July 13th. The race will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 2:00 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.