Auberlen leads BMW 1-2 in qualifying

March 18, 2016

Auberlen leads BMW 1-2 in qualifying

March 18, 2016

auberlen_sebring_poleBMW veteran Bill Auberlen lead an M6 1-2 for the Bavarian brand at Sebring as BMW Team RLL continued to dominate proceedings at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

After leading all four x four-hour sessions at the recent test and topping three of the four practice sessions here on race week, BMW continued their barnstorming performance in qualifying by scoring their first 1-2 performance since Long Beach last year.

auberlen_sebring_pole_1Auberlen’s lap of 1:58.402 was a new qualifying record for the GTLM class and earned the first ever pole for the BMW M6 GTLM which debuted in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Teammate John Edwards scored the second fastest time, a mere .190 of a second behind the Californian veteran.

While the likes of Porsche North America, Corvette Racing, Risi Competizione, newcomers Ford Performance plus the Rahal BMW squad are renowned as the GTLM fast five, it was newcomers Scuderia Corsa which led the chase of the M6 duo – Daniel Serra recording the third-fastest time in qualifying at 1:58.637 aboard his Ferrari 488 GTE.

Auberlen’s lap compares to the 2015 pole of Fred Makowiecki who recorded a time of 1:58.587.

“Today was a picture perfect day,” Auberlen said.

“We went out and did the practice before qualifying and came upon a setup that was quite good. It was making slight tweaks, it’s not big tweaks anymore.

“We just had to do the same thing again during qualifying – just put a good lap together. I didn’t do anything crazy it was just enough out of control and it was enough for first.

“It’s BMW’s 41st anniversary here but 100th as a car manufacturer, so if we can bring the M6 here and win it, I think it would be really fun.”

Auberlen is expecting a huge battle in the GTLM class tomorrow as BMW, Porsche, Corvette, Ferrari and Ford fight it out over 12 hours – potentially having to fight the rain as well.

“I’ve been racing here since the 80s, so you would see people win by 15 to 20 laps – even the days of winning by 15-20 seconds are gone,” Auberlen said.

“These manufacturers are making cars that are so strong that the weakest link is now the driver. You keep beating on these cars for hours and they just keep turning laps. It’s going to be a dogfight – let’s get through 10 hours and when we get to the last 2 hours we’re going to see what this M6 has left!”

Ford Performance recorded its best qualifying performance to date when Richard Westbrook put the Ford GT fourth on the grid, just ahead of defending race winner Antonio Garcia’s Corvette.

Pole position in the GT Daytona class went to Jeff Segal in the Ferrari 488 GT3. The GTD pole and third place in the GTLM class made for an impressive day from the Scuderia Corsa team.

Jeroen Bleekemolen’s Dodge Viper and Jen Klingmann’s BMW M6 were second and third fastest in the class.


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