At the six hour mark in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, BMW Team RLL have cemented their position in the heart of the GT Le Mans class of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship. The two BMW Z4 GLTM cars lie in sixth and eighth in the class after a quarter of the race with a small delay for the #24 machine of John Edwards, Lucas Luhr and Graham Rahal.
The #24 suffered a suspension problem after 134 laps when the right rear damper on the car failed. The replacement cost the car three laps, one of which has been recovered by the six hour mark.
“It seemed like a very eventful start to the race.” John Edwards said, “We have a 24 hour race and it felt like I was the only one in an endurance race and everyone else was in a sprint race. I was able to avoid contact and stay in the lead pack and that is all we are trying to do at this point in the race.”
His team Lucas Luhr is more familiar with LMP racing, having claimed the American Le Mans Series title with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. He was thrilled by his first stints in GTLM saying, “It was very entertaining. I always knew that GTLM racing was very tough, but this is just awesome and I love it. It was very, very good. Our car is fine, so at the moment I and happy with it. We can stay with the others. It is just mega and I am already looking forward to my next stint.”
Verizon IndyCar racer Rahal added, “We had a really good run there. The car was fast, but unfortunately the right rear had a damper bolt come out, so we had to come in and lose three laps. I think we are almost back to the lead lap now, and we got two back during my stint. I think Jens will like the car and I hope he can go forward.”
Jens Klinglsmann will pilot the #24 into the second quarter of the race.
The #25 car of Bill Auberlen, Bruno Spengler, Dirk Werner and Augusto Farfus has had a cleaner run thought he opening six hours. Farfus drove the car across the divide into the second 6 hours while his team mates are all satisfied by the pace of the Z4 GTLM.
“The first stint was fine and we were exactly where we wanted to be. The second stint was fine right up until the end,” said Auberlen while Werner added, “I had a nice time out on the track and a good experience of how crazy it is sometimes out there, fighting with the LMP cars and just trying to stay out there and not get into trouble, which is difficult enough in the night. In the end we were in the lead, and the car is running well with good lap times. Right now I think we can be happy and just continue doing what we have done so far.”
BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler, a 24 hour racing debutant added, “I love it. My first experience in a 24 hour race. It was a good stint because I started in the sun light, then the sun went down and I went into the night. It was a lot of fun out there, but there is a lot of traffic, of course, so it was not so easy. I think we have a little damage to the rear of the car, but hopefully it will hold until the end of the race. Otherwise it went smoothly, I had not contact in my stint, I tried to be as consistent as I could and I think it worked. Now I am going to cheer for my teammates until I drive again.”