BMW Motorsport is preparing to roll out the new M6 GTLM. And Americans will be the first to see it when it marks its debut during this week's IMSA test session at Daytona International Speedway. After that, two of the new competition machines will be campaigned by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Designed to compete at the top levels of sports car racing, the new M6 GTLM will be the successor to the Z4 GTLM and the M3 GT2 before it. And with its introduction, the quasi-works RLL outfit will have been there for all three. The team co-owned by Indy legend Bobby Rahal, talkshow host David Letterman, and industrial crane magnate Mike Lanigan, has won the IndyCar championship three times, the Indy 500 once, and has recorded dozens of race wins, poles, and podium finishes. RLL branched out into sports car racing in the American Le Mans series in 2009 and has won several titles since.
The new M6 racer will have some heady competition to deal with in the IMSA's GT Le Mans class next season. Among the new machinery we can expect to see on the grid in the coming year will be the new Ford GT, Porsche 911 RSR, Corvette C7.R, and possibly the new Ferrari 488 GTE, as well. Another version of the BMW entry is being prepared for privateer teams competing in the GT Daytona class, where it will have to contend with the likes of the Audi R8 LMS, Dodge Viper GT3-R, and Lexus RC F GT3. We're looking forward to seeing what the Bavarians will have to throw at 'em when the M6 GTLM debuts at Daytona this week. In the meantime, you can scope the machine out in its primer coat while undergoing a shakedown at Sebring in the gallery above.
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – November 13, 2015... BMW Team RLL will participate in the Nov. 17-18 IMSA test at Daytona International Speedway marking the first public test of BMW's latest endurance racing challenger, the BMW M6 GTLM. As announced during last season's Petit Le Mans weekend, BMW Team RLL is expected to campaign two M6 GTLM race cars in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The M6 GTLM recently completed its first US test at Sebring International Raceway in late October along with a M6 GT3 machine that will provide the foundation for BMW's worldwide customer racing program. 2015 season drivers Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner and John Edwards participated at Sebring along with 2014 GTLM driver champion Kuno Wittmer, who has signed with BMW of North America to compete in the three endurance classics of the IMSA Championship – namely the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans. Wittmer will also participate in the development of the new race car. At the Daytona test the drivers will be Auberlen, Edwards, Lucas Luhr and BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler. Spengler raced the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona with BMW Team RLL.
The three-day Sebring test was a successful one and was also notable as it provided the opportunity for 2015 BMW Motorsport Junior driver Trent Hindman to test last year's Z4 GTLM. The 20-year old proved to be a quick study and was rapidly up to speed in the No. 24 car after being briefed by BMW Team RLL driver John Edwards. Edwards co-drove with Hindman to the youngster's 2014 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport class drivers championship. Named as a BMW Motorsport Junior driver in 2015, Hindman raced twice in Europe with his Junior teammates. In October, one weekend after co-driving to the win at the season ending CTSC race at Road Atlanta in a BMW M3, Hindman co-drove to the victory in a BMW M235i Racing with his Junior teammates at the 12 Hour race in Brno, Czech Republic. Although not driving, Hindman will join BMW Team RLL to observe the Daytona test.
2016 will mark BMW Team RLL's eighth season of successfully racing for BMW in North America. The M6 GTLM will be the third BMW model campaigned by the team. In the past seven seasons, racing first with the BMW M3 and then the Z4, the team has amassed 57 podiums, including 13 wins. The team finished second in last year's GTLM class Manufacturer, Team and Drivers championships.
The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship begins with the 54th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 30-31, 2016. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for updates.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 148 BMW motorcycle retailers, 123 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
The BMW Group
With its three brands, BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world's leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2014, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.118 million cars and 123,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2013 was euro 7.91 billion on revenues amounting to approximately euro 76.06 billion. As of 31 December 2013, the BMW Group had a workforce of 110,351 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
BMW's partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan, has been competing for over two decades. Prior to the start of their 25th season of competition in 2016, the team has compiled 37 victories, 49 poles, 144 podium finishes, three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) and claimed an Indianapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the American Le Mans Series. The following year the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category and swept all three GT titles - Manufacturer, Team and Driver – in 2011. In 2012 the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. The 2014 season brought a new challenge with the creation of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the team finished on the podium six times including four second-place finishes. In 2015, the team earned three wins, two poles and a total of eight podium finishes to finish second in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships. Prior to the start of the 2016 season BMW Team RLL had won 13 races, 20 poles and 57 podium finishes.