BMW Team RLL are hoping that their poor showing in qualifying for the opening round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Daytona won’t continue into the race.
John Edwards in the #56 BMW Z4 GTLM qualified in seventh place, more than one second down on the pole sitting SRT Viper. Team mate Andy Priaulx qualified the #55 five thousandths of second down on Edwards in a sign of the consistency the Z4s have.
However, it seems that the BMWs still have the speed deficit to their rivals that plagued them in last year’s American Le Mans Series. Something confirmed by RLL Team Boss Bobby Rahal: “We have not been quick in a straight line last year, and this is very important here in Daytona. We made some improvements, but others made even more. So the relative difference stays the same. However, it’s a long, long race. Where you qualify doesn’t really matter come the end of the race. For us the challenge will be to make no mistakes and finish the race.”
Thankfully for the team, anything can happen in a 24 hour race and John Edwards is still optimistic about his chances: “We went into qualifying knowing our strengths and weaknesses with the BMW Z4 GTLM. It was clear that this track won’t be our best, but that’s not what this race is about. At a 24-hour race, there are just so many factors that are important, as everything can happen. Luckily this isn’t a sprint race for us. Then I would be a lot more pessimistic. But there’s a long race ahead of us, so I’m really positive.”
In the GT Daytona category the Turner Motorsports BMW Z4 GTD qualified 1oth at the hands of BMW DTM Factory Driver Augusto Farfus with a time of 1:47.418. They will be disappointed to not get higher as the first 20 GTD cars were separated by less than one second.