BMW Goes Back-to-Back with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Win






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    BMW Goes Back-to-Back with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Win

    BMW Goes Back-to-Back with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Win













    For BMW Team RLL, when it rains it pours – both literally and figuratively as it turns out, in Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.

    No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims took their second consecutive GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory in the two-hour and 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and led a 1-2 class sweep for BMW Team RLL.

    Auberlen started the race from second on the class grid but got past polesitter Dirk Werner’s No. 911 Porsche on the opening lap and quickly jumped out into the lead ahead of his teammate Martin Tomczyk in the No. 24 BMW. Auberlen held the lead throughout his 46-minute opening stint before turning the car over to Sims.

    The 29-year-old native of London, England briefly trailed the pair of Corvette Racing entries, which were on a slightly different pit strategy, but eventually regained the lead. He had his hands full with changing weather conditions – the skies opened up two different times over the final hour of the race – as well as a charging Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 machine and his own teammate, John Edwards in the No. 24.
    He found his way past Edwards and back into the lead with 35 minutes remaining, and then kept Pilet at bay for the next 25 minutes before Pilet retired with a mechanical failure. Sims then managed to hold off Edwards in the race that finished under full-course caution.

    “Bill gives me a lot of praise, but it was still pretty sketchy in the first stint of my race, but I was still learning the car on full tanks and new tires. It’s a bit of a different animal. It’s not as easy as it looks from the outside. Then the rain came and spiced things up a bit more.

    “We had a bit of a problem on the pit stop and dropped us back to third. And then coming back on slicks passing the Porsche and the other BMW, we took some risks but kept it on the black stuff and were able to take things home.”

    It was Auberlen’s 57th career victory in major North American sports car competition, moving him to within three of leader Scott Pruett on the all-time list. It was BMW’s first 1-2 sweep in GTLM since the 2015 WeatherTech Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and was the first sweep of the top-two spots for any GTLM team since the Porsche GT Team went 1-2 at Circuit of The Americas last September.

    Edwards and Tomczyk were second in GTLM and No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT co-drivers Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook rounded out the podium with a third-place run. Briscoe and Westbrook won the GTLM race last year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

    A scary incident involving Jordan Taylor in the overall race-leading No. 10 Cadillac DPi and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in Turn 4 brought out the second of the race’s three full-course cautions with slightly more than 20 minutes remaining. Milner crashed heavily into the tire barrier but was not injured.

    The GTLM class headlines the next WeatherTech Championship round, joining the GT Daytona class for a two-hour and 40-minute race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut on Saturday, July 22.

    Complete race results are available at results.imsa.com.
    Audi Wins GTD with Davis, Aschenbach and Stevenson Motorsports
    The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix weekend couldn’t have gone much better for Stevenson Motorsports. On Saturday, the team picked up the first IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory for the new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R race car with drivers Robin Liddell and Matt Bell.
    Less than 24 hours later, a new set of Stevenson drivers – Andrew Davis and Lawson Aschenbach – and a different car, the No. 57 Audi R8 LMS GT3, pulled into victory lane after a two-hour and 40-minute battle at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
    Davis qualified the car second on the class grid and slotted in behind TOTAL Pole Award winner Sage Karam in the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RCF GT3 for the entirety of his stint before pitting 47 minutes into the race to hand over the controls to Aschenbach.
    A key moment in the GTD race came when Karam pitted from the class lead to turn the car over to co-driver Scott Pruett. The No. 14 team incurred two drive-through penalties – one for spinning the wheels while the car was up on its jacks and a second for leaving the pits with equipment attached – dropping the car out of contention for the victory.
    Aschenbach eventually cycled back into the lead in the No. 57 as the pit-stop sequence played out for the rest of the class, then briefly surrendered the lead again when he made his second and final pit stop. He regained the lead with 54 minutes remaining and overcame the challenging weather conditions to take the victory.
    “It was very tricky conditions, especially on the restart with the rain,” Aschenbach said. “After knowing we had a good car, it’s very difficult to gauge what will happen in the rain because the tires cool down a bit during cautions and you don’t know what it’s going to be like on the track until after going through it at full speed. We knew we needed green flag pit stops with a bit of a gap because our fueling takes a little more than everybody else.
    “Getting gaps was really important. We had a big lead and I was a little bit too conservative with some lappers, but there was no need to make a big move. I came out behind a bunch of guys trying to stay on the lead lap so dealing with them was something I wanted to stay away from. I didn’t see a need to take a risk. I’m so happy with the win, it’s my first win with Stephenson Motorsports.”
    It was the first WeatherTech Championship victory for both Aschenbach and Davis and the first win for Audi since the race at Lime Rock Park last July. It was Aschenbach’s third win in major North American sports car competition with one previous victory each in GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series, and the 10th win for Davis, joining nine previous GRAND-AM wins.
    Andy Lally and Katherine Legge saw their two-race winning streak snapped but came home second in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3. GTD points co-leaders and defending class champions Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan finished third in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.
    It was the third consecutive race that two women – Nielsen and Legge – finished on the podium.
    Last edited by senor honda; 07-13-2017 at 05:02 PM.
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