Bill Auberlen scored a pair or repeat class poles Friday in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM, earning his second-straight top qualifying effort of 2016 and second GT Le Mans class pole in a row on the Long Beach street circuit in qualifying for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race.
Auberlen withstood a tough challenge from both Porsche North America entries and ultimately prevailed by a scant 0.003 seconds over the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber.
Auberlen, who won the pole at last month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, scored today’s Long Beach pole with a lap time of 1:17.272. Bamber was just behind at 1:17.275.
Patrick Pilet qualified third in the No. 911 Porsche with a lap time of 1:17.458.
Corvette Racing completed the top-five in class with Oliver Gavin fourth in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R and Jan Magnussen fifth in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
The top-five GTLM qualifiers were separated by less than half a second.
Auberlen will be seeking his second-consecutive Long Beach win tomorrow. Co-driving with current teammate Dirk Werner, Auberlen won last year’s race from the pole.
Absent from qualifying was the No. 67 Ford GT that caught fire this morning near the end of opening practice.
Driver Richard Westbrook was uninjured in the incident and the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team expects to have the car repaired in time for tomorrow’s race.
The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach for the WeatherTech Championship is scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m. PDT Saturday with a scheduled race length of 100 minutes.