BMW Team RLL Seek GT Le Mans Title Defense At Mazda Raceway
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

John Edwards and Lucas Luhr will have a new car and will compete in a different race format when they defend their GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory for BMW Team RLL in Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Round 4 of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will see the GTLM class paired with the Prototype (P) class in a two-hour race at 11:15 a.m. PT on Sunday, May 1 (live, FS1, 2 p.m. ET), while the Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) competitors take the green flag at 3:45 p.m. PT (live, FS2, 6:30 p.m. ET).

After winning last year’s event with all four classes competing simultaneously in the No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, Edwards and Luhr return in the No. 100 IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GTLM, joining Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM on the two-car team.

“We are returning to the site of our last win, and this weekend is always an enjoyable one,” Edwards said. “It’s been a tough start to the season, but I don’t see any way we could have any more bad luck the rest of the year. I think Laguna Seca’s configuration will suit the M6 much better than the last two races, so we have an opportunity to repeat our win. We’ll be pushing hard for it as usual, but especially after our unlucky start to the season.”

After a second place finish in the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach, Corvette Racing is looking to regain its race-winning momentum. Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin won the opening two races of 2016, the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R to forge an 18-point lead in the standings. Corvette Racing also fields the No. 3 Corvette for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, second-place finishers in the Rolex 24.

Porsche North America’s No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Frederic Makowiecki and Earl Bamber is tied with the No. 25 BMW for second in the GTLM standings. Patrick Pilet is the defending GTLM champion, and is currently fifth in the standings with his No. 911 co-driver Nick Tandy. Pilet and Tandy won the GTLM class at Long Beach.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is coming off the best showing of its new Ford GT, with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe finishing fourth at Long Beach. Westbrook is the 2015 overall winner at Mazda Raceway, capturing last year’s race in a Corvette DP. Sacramento driver Joey Hand and Dirk Muller pilot the team’s No. 66 Ford GT.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander are coming off a podium finish at Long Beach to lead the two-car Ferrari entry in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE. Fisichella finished fourth for the team at Mazda Raceway in 2015. Scuderia Corsa will field the No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE for Daniel Serra and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

GTD Returns To Action With 17-Car Entry Led By 2015 Winners Lindsey, Pumpelly

After sitting out the race at Long Beach, the GT Daytona (GTD) class returns to action with seven manufacturers and a 17-car entry. Defending Mazda Raceway class winner Patrick Lindsey has a new teammate and a new car for Park Place Motorsports. Veteran factory driver Joerg Bergmeister now co-drives the No. 73 Park Place Porsche/Justice Brothers Inc. Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“I always enjoy spending time in Monterey and relaxing, but since we are in the most competitive class in the WeatherTech Series – with superb driver lineups and machinery to match – we will have to be 100-percent focused on the task at hand in order to successfully defend our win from last year,” Lindsey said. “Qualifying will be a bigger factor with the shortened race length and the fact that passing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca isn't an easy task. The circuit requires a lot of momentum to get around and that means the traditional passing opportunities are few and far between.  It is somewhat of a home track for us since we live a few hours down the road in Santa Barbara and there's nothing like putting up a big result in front of your family and friends.”

Joining Park Place in the Porsche camp are Alex Job Racing’s two-car team, the No. 22 WeatherTech entry for Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen joined by Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas in the No. 23 Team Seattle/Heart of Racing Porsche. Rolex 24 runner-up Black Swan Racing fields the No. 540 Arts Enterprises/Boston Athletic Club Porsche 911 GT3 R for Nicky Catsburg and Timothy Pappas.

Spencer Pumpelly, who co-drove with Lindsey in last year’s victory, has a new ride for 2016. Pumpelly now shares the No. 16 Change Racing Pertamina/Monster Energy Lamborghini Huracán GT3, one of four of the new Lamborghinis in the field. Others include the No. 48 Castrol/Universal Industrial Sales Huracán for Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, the No. 27 Dream Racing machine for Lawrence DeGeorge and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and the No. 11 Change Racing entry with drivers to be announced.

Scuderia Corsa, winners of the most recent GTD race at Sebring, will have the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan. TRG-AMR returns to GTD competition with the No. 007 LaSalle Solutions Aston Martin GT3 for James Davison and Brandon Davis.

Stevenson Motorsport won the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Mazda Raceway with Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis. Both drivers return to head the team’s two-car GTD entry in the No. 6 Stevenson Auto Group Audi R8 LMS GT3. The team also fields the No. 9 Audi for Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell. Magnus Racing has the No. 44 Audi Tire Center/Auric Solar Audi R8 LMS GT3 for Rolex 24 class winners and current point leaders John Potter and Andy Lally.

The field will feature two entries for both BMW and Dodge. Turner Motorsport fields two cars, the No, 96 aFe Power BMW M6 GT3 for Bret Curtis and Jens Klingmann, plus the No. 97 Alvarez & Marsal/IHG Rewards Club entry for Michael Marsal and Markus Palttala. Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R will be joined by Dan Knox in Long Star Racing’s No. 80 ACS Manufacturing Dodge Viper.

Practice for the Continental Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda begins at 8:45 a.m. PT on Friday, April 29, with qualifying on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT. Also competing are the IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo.