As part of the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend, the race is the shortest of the year at only 100 minutes, and is held on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course – the site of the very first win for the BMW Z4 GTLM racing programme in 2013.
John Edwards and Lucas Luhr, drivers of the number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, are currently second in the GTLM Drivers’ and Team standings with number 25 drivers Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner one point behind in third. BMW stands second in the manufacturer points, ten behind Chevrolet (Corvette), the winners of the two opening rounds.
IMSA announced Balance of Performance changes for the Long Beach event. The BMW cars will lose ten kilograms of weight and be allowed to race with an additional two litres of fuel. Other competitors in the GTLM class also received adjustments.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“All you have to do is look at BMW Team RLL’s track record at Long Beach to know our expectations. We have had a high degree of success there finishing one-two two years ago and second last year. We could have had a double-podium again last year after qualifying second and third, but the number 56 car had an issue in the race and got caught up in an incident that ended its podium hopes. The number 55 car ran strongly throughout the race to finish second. If there is a track that is made for the BMW Z4 GTLM, it would be Long Beach. The races are always close but we feel pretty good about our chances. Street circuits are a great fit for the BMW Z4.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“Long Beach is my home track and an amazing event. I won it two years ago and I plan on winning it again. Sebring didn’t go as planned, so it’s time to get back to the top step of the podium where we belong. All my friends and family will be there, so I would like nothing better than to make them all proud.”
Dirk Werner (Number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“Long Beach is always a very intense race weekend. The big challenge is to get up to speed as fast as you can. The preparation of the cars and the drivers is the key. My team-mate Bill lives on this track, so he can tell me all the secrets. The race is short, so we will push from the first to the last lap.”
John Edwards (Number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“Long Beach is a spectacle as much as it is a race. It’s an iconic event that I feel lucky to be a part of. Last year we walked away with a podium finish, but this year we will try to repeat the feat accomplished two years ago, where the two Z4s finished one-two. Lucas and I have had a steady start to the season points-wise, but there’s nothing like a couple of P4’s to make us want to stand back up on the podium.”
Lucas Luhr (Number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“I am really looking forward to Long Beach. I always like the challenge of a street circuit and Long Beach is one of my favourites. I have won there a few times – which maybe is part of the reason why I like it. The whole atmosphere of the event is great. I think our BMW Z4 GTLM will be strong, but, as we have seen in Daytona and Sebring, the whole GTLM grid is very competitive with some very good drivers. John and I will push hard and try for the best result we can for BMW.”