BMW Team RLL has scored back-to-back victories in the fiercely competitive GT Le Mans category of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. This time it was the black No. 24 Z4 GTE of Lucas Luhr and John Edwards that won for the German marque in the two-hour, 40-minute Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
After winning on the streets of Long Beach two weeks ago, the pole-winning white No. 25 of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner finished second today as the BMW team swept the top two spots. The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Michael Christensen completed the GTLM podium.
Luhr started the retro-liveried BMW Z4 GTE on the front row of the GTLM grid, and slotted in behind Werner. Thirteen laps later, Luhr passed his teammate and put the No. 25 in front. Edwards took over for the second stint and extended his lead, taking the checkered flag with a comfortable 22-second margin over Auberlen.
“I was fortunate to get through the traffic better than everyone else early in my stint, which is what gave me the gap,” Edwards said. “That was the key for getting this win. It’s been over two years since I got a win in this category. They don’t come easy.”
Luhr had high praise for his young teammate. “John had the longest stint today, I think the boy did pretty good,” he said. “After two races where we should have been on the podium but had little issues, it’s very rewarding to have a victory. It’s my first victory as a BMW works driver, so it’s really special.”
Michelin brought the newest generation of Michelin sports car-endurance tires to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and its technical partner teams from BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and Corvette Racing took full advantage to deliver a first through seventh place GTLM class sweep in the Monterey Grand Prix.
Expecting cool temperatures on the Monterey Peninsula, the BMWs split their Michelin tire strategies at the start with Luhr starting on the softer Michelin tire option before switching to the medium compound on the first pit stop. Both Michelin solutions proved successful as the pole-winning No. 25 of Werner and Auberlen started and stayed with the medium option tire sets and came home second.
“This was the first TUDOR Championship race for our newest generation Le Mans style tires, so having good performance across the board is very encouraging,” said Ken Payne, technical director motorsports, Michelin North America. The victory marked the 15th consecutive year for a Michelin win in the GT competition at the California track.