The win was the 14th for the BMW Team RLL programme since 2009 and the first for the BMW M6 GTLM. The driver duo completed 186 laps of the classic Watkins Glen International circuit during the six-hour race, finishing 3.156 seconds ahead of the number 67 Ford GT. BMW Motorsport driver Sims celebrated his first sports car win in North America while Auberlen added another record to his illustrious career. With this BMW M6 GTLM victory, Auberlen has co-driven three BMW Team RLL racing cars to their first win (BMW M3 GT, Road America 2009; BMW Z4 GTLM, Long Beach 2013 and BMW M6 GTLM, Watkins Glen 2016).
Team-mates John Edwards (USA) and Martin Tomczyk (GER) had a strong race in the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM, leading the competitive class for a host of laps before being forced to retire the car on lap 161 after suffering radiator damage.
The two BMW M6 GTLM cars had started from second (number 25) and third (number 24) on the grid respectively. To honour the American July 4th holiday, both cars were livered in a special holiday fireworks theme.
In the GTD class, the Turner Motorsport team secured another great result. Jens Klingmann (GER) and Justin Marks (USA) claimed third place with the number 96 BMW M6 GT3.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “I’m very happy that the first win for the BMW M6 GTLM in North America is there. Everyone at BMW Team RLL and at BMW Motorsport always knew about the huge potential of the car. At Watkins Glen the squad managed to turn this potential into a well-deserved win, rewarding itself for all the hard work in the past months. This victory brings fresh momentum for everyone involved. Therefore I’m really looking forward to the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “I am extremely proud of this team. It was a tough fight with the win not assured until that last yellow helped us with fuel mileage. Alexander and Bill did a great job, but it could have equally been John and Martin’s day if not for an errant piece of a competitor’s car puncturing the radiator. Now back to the shop to prepare for Mosport.”
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, first place): “I have been lucky enough to share the first win the BMW Team RLL M3, Z4 and now the M6. This victory has been a long time coming and I could not be happier to have played a part.”
Alexander Sims (No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, first place): “It really feels like we earned the win today. It was close until the last caution that allowed me to breathe a bit easier. Big credit to everyone at BMW Team RLL. They really nailed the BMW M6 GTLM this weekend.”
John Edwards (No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, eighth place): “BMW Team RLL had two great BMWs today, but Martin and I had some bad luck. I’m afraid the guys may have some extra work ahead of them to ready the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM for Mosport, but I hope the first win makes it a bit easier.”
Martin Tomczyk (No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, eighth place): “It was not the number 24 car’s day, but we celebrate as a team so congratulations to Alex and Bill! It was a deserving win for BMW and BMW Team RLL. I know we have the pace and I hope our luck will change at Mosport.”