Published on October 4th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW Team RLL finishes second and fourth at a rainy Road Atlanta
The 2015 United SportsCar Championship (USCC) came to an early end at Road Atlanta (US): At Petit Le Mans, which was called off two hours short of its scheduled ten hours due to bad weather conditions, John Edwards (US), Lucas Luhr (DE) and Jens Klingmann (DE) finished second in the GTLM class with the number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM. It was also P2 in the overall classification for the BMW trio. Car number 25, driven by Bill Auberlen (US), Dirk Werner (DE) and Augusto Farfus (BR), came fourth in the GTLM category. Porsche’s Nick Tandy (GB), Patrick Pilet (FR) and Richard Lietz (AT) secured victory at Road Atlanta (US). For the third time this season, the number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM won the DEKRA Green Challenge Award.
This meant that the BMW drivers narrowly missed out on the drivers’, team and manufacturer titles. Werner and Auberlen had been just three points behind the leaders going into the race. By winning at Petit Le Mans, Pilet won the 2015 drivers’ title, Werner/Auberlen finished second with 305 points – ten points behind the Frenchman. Edwards and Luhr concluded the season in fifth overall with 291 points. BMW Team RLL and BMW also finished second behind Porsche in the team and manufacturer classifications.
The iconic Petit Le Mans turned into the predicted water fight: When the race got underway at 11:10hrs local time, the track was already extremely wet due to the heavy rain. This made for tricky conditions. Several accidents caused full-course yellows, in which the USCC field was neutralised. Despite the terrible conditions, the BMW Team RLL drivers put in great performances without any mistakes, keeping their BMW Z4 GTLMs on track even in the heaviest periods of rain. Five hours and 22 minutes into the USCC season finale, however, the red flag was brought out due to bad track conditions. Another weather system bringing even heavier rain was visible on the radar, moving straight in the direction of Road Atlanta. After a one-hour break, the race was re-started. However, with darkness setting in, it was ultimately stopped for safety reasons at 19:01hrs local time – and the season came to an early end.
The season finale at Road Atlanta also marked the final race appearance of the BMW Z4 GTLM in America. In 2013 the car celebrated its debut in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and also proved to be a winner in the USCC. In total, BMW Team RLL scored eight pole positions, five wins – with three of them coming in the 2015 season at Long Beach (US), Laguna Seca (US) and Austin (US) – and 16 further podiums with this car. In 2016 the BMW Z4 GTLM is planned to be succeeded by the newly developed BMW M6 GTLM.