Auberlen P2 and Müller P4
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. - Bill Auberlen equaled his season’s-best qualifying effort today at Virginia International Raceway, driving the No. 55 BMW Team RLL Z4 to the outside front row starting position for tomorrow’s 2.75-hour TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Oak Tree Grand Prix. His lap of 1:44.053 minutes around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR circuit was only .256 seconds behind the pole-sitting Ferrari. The entire class was separated by only 1.015 seconds. Auberlen and co-driver Andy Priaulx currently stand fourth in GTLM driver points.
Dirk Müller qualified the No. 56 BMW Z4 in the fourth position, only .023 seconds behind Auberlen, with a time of 1:44.076 minutes. Müller and co-driver John Edwards, pole winner at the last round in Road America, currently stand fifth in GTLM driver points.
“This is a great qualifying result,” said Jay O’Connell, RLL VP Technology. “We couldn't quite get the pole like last year, but getting second and fourth is great. If you looked at the timesheet, a tenth of a second was going to cost us five places, so it is a tight field. Obviously Ferrari is out front after doing a really good job, but I am proud of Bill and Dirk for their drives today. Without the prototypes tomorrow, we are starting on the front row and there is no one ahead of us, so we can have a nice clean start, a really good race, and I am looking forward to a fun time tomorrow.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTLM – (2nd) – “We have done a lot of work here. We have tried different tires, different set-ups, all kinds of stuff - and we’ve earned P2 in a field separated by a mere second. This has all the ingredients for a great race. BMW is right at the front. To actually see daylight ahead of us from the front row will make it that much better racing into turn one tomorrow.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTLM – (4th) – “I am really happy as I wasn't expecting I could do that time. Twenty-three thousandths of a second to P2 and I am P4 is absolutely fantastic. I love racing in this GTLM class. Our focus was totally on the race and not a single second on qualifying. As a racer sometimes that is tough because you want to be on pole all the time, but our heads are on the race and our car is going to be a rocket.”
The 2.75-hour Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR will take the green flag at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, August 24th. The race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with coverage beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET.