John Edwards (US) and Lucas Luhr (DE) drove the number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM to a second in Sunday’s two-hour-and-forty-minute sixth round of the United SportsCar Championship at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CA). The duo took the chequered flag 15.5 seconds behind the winning Porsche of Nick Tandy (GB) and Patrick Pilet (FR), completing 122 laps of the 2.4-mile, ten-turn classic Canadian circuit during the contest.
Team-mates Bill Auberlen (US) and Dirk Werner (DE) finished fourth in the number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, losing a podium finish on the last lap of the race as Edwards in the sister car and a Corvette were able to get by the Californian as he struggled with the car’s balance.
Another successful weekend maintained BMW’s lead in the Manufacturer points standings. Auberlen and Werner drop to second in the driver points, while Edwards and Luhr remain in third. The number 24 car was awarded the DEKRA Green Challenge trophy as the most environmentally clean, fast and efficient GTLM competitor of the race.
The first round of pit stops occurred on lap 33 under the only caution period of the race. Werner pitted from second place and stayed in the number 25 car for a second stint. The crew fueled and changed the Michelin tyres quickly, almost beating the lead Porsche out of the pits. Luhr handed the number 24 over to Edwards, but the slightest of delays in release caused by a twisted shoulder harness lost the car two positions.
Werner continued to hound the leader as Edwards worked to regain the positions lost during the pit stop. On lap 63 he was successful, passing two competitors and placing the number 24 machine back into third place. As the clock wound down to show less than one hour to the end of the race Edwards was the first GTLM class car to make a second stop on lap 76. Werner followed the leader into the pits one lap later, handing over the number 25 machine to Auberlen. After the rest of the field cycled through their second stops Auberlen held second place, five seconds behind the leader. Edwards, followed in thirdten seconds back.
Everything remained as it was until Edwards was able to pass Auberlen on the penultimate lap to secure the first podium finish for the crew of number 24 since a win at Laguna Seca. The number 3 Corvette passed the number 25 car on the white flag lap to drop Auberlen to fourth.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“We have always struggled at this race. Dirk did a great job and really had a good second. The number 911 Porsche was just in a class of its own, that was really clear. It was all going according to plan, but then the plan unravelled at the end. John and Lucas did a great job to end up P2. It will be interesting to see what happened with the number 25 car, as we had ten seconds in hand with ten laps to go and lost it all. We earned some great points this weekend to stay ahead of Corvette in the manufacturer championship. This is the best result we have had here and is definitely a big improvement over where we have been in the past.”
John Edwards (Number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, 2nd place):
“We made it hard on ourselves with the pit stop, as when I got into the car the belt folded through the adjuster and I couldn’t tighten it. By the new rules, we have to tighten them part way before we leave, so I got held up with that. Then I had to work really hard to get around the Falken Porsche and the Ferrari, but I tried to stay patient because we knew tyre wear was going to be an issue. Luckily I had it in my mind enough that I could make them last to the end of my first stint. Once we put the new tyres on at our last pit stop the car was fantastic and I was running by myself. I think after the past few years second is a great result at Mosport for sure.”
Lucas Luhr (Number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, 2nd place):
“It was good starting P3 and coming in P2. Overall I think it is quite a good team result. If the two guys at the end would have been a little bit nicer to each other both could have stayed in front of the Corvette, which I think would have been an even better team result. If you see the way we started the weekend and now have finished second I will take that. Let’s bring on the next one. Everybody is focused and we all have the same goals, which are win the manufacturer and team championships, and if it happens to be a driver championship as well, whoever it is, then it is an awesome result. We cannot lose our focus, that is what we have to keep in mind and that is what is the most important thing.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, 4th place):
“Up until the end it was a picture perfect race for us. We didn’t have the pace of the Porsche, but we ran a solid second. Dirk did a fantastic job in qualifying and the first stint, and then I got into the car and we were fine, fine, fine until about the last 15 laps. I felt the fronts start to go, so I tried to baby it, and tried to stay ahead. Then within the last seven laps I was a sitting duck as the set-up went away.”
Dirk Werner (Number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, 4th place):
“To lose the podium on the last couple of laps is not nice, but Bill didn’t have anything left to fight with. This track has a high tyre degradation, we knew that, so we tried to make them last, but in the end it just didn’t work out for us. It is better to get a fourth place after a difficult race than come in worse. We lost two points in the driver standings to the Corvette, but that is no drama as we are still in a good championship position. We have to swallow that and am now looking forward to the next race.”