Lucas Luhr executed his and BMW Team RLL’s alternative strategy to perfection to finish fourth at the latest TUDOR United SportsCar Championship round at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday (August 23).
The German, along with co-driver John Edwards, enjoyed a trouble-free two-hour 40-minute race by maximising the potential of his Z4, which once again struggled for pace compared to the other leading GTLM contenders.
On such days it’s important to deliver a mistake-free performance, and both drivers made good on that promise by finishing where Luhr qualified thanks to their flawless outing.
Indeed, Luhr maintained his fourth place until Edwards climbed aboard at half-distance and completed what turned out to be a trouble-free race for the BMW crew, who now lie joint-fourth in the GTE Drivers’ points.
Michelin’s new single-stint tyre offered an opportunity to try something different strategy-wise by pushing hard over a shorter period in order to negate the time incurred during an extra stop. Fast, mistake-free laps over a four-stop race were therefore imperative, and the #24 crew proved up to the challenge by beating the sister BMW that made one less pit visit.
“There was definitely an improvement from the last race,” confirmed Lucas, who was concerned at the updated Balance of Performance regulations introduced before the previous round. “There were times today where we were quite competitive. We split the strategy with the two cars, and we came out a little bit ahead of the 25 car, but we’re both still too far behind.”
Team principal Bobby Rahal was pleased with Luhr and Edwards’ performance, but conceded that BMW remains behind Porsche and Ferrari in the pecking order.
“Once again we beat the Corvettes and that is one thing we can be proud of,” he said. “It is now the fourth race in a row Porsche has won, so they obviously have found something. It was a good race for Lucas and John, they had a different strategy, that paid off and they ended up with fourth. For the number 25 car we ran a different strategy, and it wasn’t quite as good. The car’s pace was actually not bad, but we just don’t have the pace of the Ferrari or the Porsche. Also the Corvette hasn’t had the pace of those two cars for the last couple of races. We did the best with what we had today.”
Round nine of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will be held at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on September 17-19.