Monthly Archives: July 2011

BMW Team RLL Take Third and Fourth at Mosport

Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada – July 24, 2011… Despite a stop-and-go penalty for contact served by each BMW Team RLL M3 GT during today’s Amer­ican Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport the team still finished the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race third and fourth in the 14-car GT class to retain the lead in manu­fac­turer, driver and team cham­pi­onship standings.

Starting from the class pole for a third consec­u­tive time the No. 56 M3 GT of Joey Hand led the first 30 laps of the race with the No. 55 M3 GT of Bill Auberlen running third, less than three seconds behind. The race’s only caution period brought both M3s to the pits on lap 31 for fuel and tires, but a touch with a competitor exiting the pits brought Hand back to serve a stop-and-go penalty for “avoid­able contact”. As Auberlen moved up to second, Hand fell back to eighth.

Auberlen held second through the fuel load and Hand moved up to seventh before both drivers pitted one hour later. Dirk Werner took over the No. 55 machine and moved into the lead just before the two-hour mark. Unfor­tu­nately, Werner made contact with a slower class car with 20 minutes remaining in the race and the offi­cials called him to the pits for an “avoid­able contact” stop-and-go penalty.

He returned to the race losing two posi­tions to finish third and score the second podium finish for the No. 55 M3 GT this season. Dirk Mϋller took over for Hand, moving the No. 56 M3 GT as high as third before falling back to fourth in the closing stages of the race.

Round Five of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series will be held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6.  

Video: Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner discuss their third place finish.

BMW Team RLL Prin­cipal Bobby Rahal sums up today’s race.

BMW Team RLL Sweeps GT Front Row Again. This Time at Mosport

Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada – July 23, 2011…The Number 56 BMW M3 GT with Dirk Müller at the wheel picked up right where it left off two weeks ago – at the front of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series GT field after qual­i­fying on the class pole for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Mosport outside of Toronto, Canada. With a 1:17. 08 second lap of the 2.459-mile, 10-turn Mosport Inter­na­tional Raceway circuit, Müller will lead the 14-car GT class to the green flag for the start of the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race tomorrow.

The No. 55 M3 GT of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner will line up second for an all BMW GT front row for the second consec­u­tive race. Bill Auberlen qual­i­fied the car with a 1:17.14 second lap.

Dirk Müller, Qual­i­fying Driver No. 56 M3 GT — “It felt so great getting the pole! Joey and the BMW Team RLL guys did a great job tuning the car in the test session and first prac­tice, I did the final bit of tuning this after­noon. The car is really nice in the quick corners so I knew we had a chance at the pole today. I am extremely happy looking forward to tomorrow.  We have a strong racecar, great Dunlop tires and the best team, but we also have a lot of enemies against us…so we need to take care, stay focused and we will see if we can get another podium.”

Bill Auberlen, Qual­i­fying Driver No. 55 M3 GT —  “The 55 M3 GT car is awesome! BMW has really devel­oped an amazing machine and when you put BMW and Rahal Letterman Lanigan together and then add Dunlop tires it really creates an effec­tive weapon as the compe­ti­tion has seen. When you hold the front row your outlook couldn’t be better, but anything can happen tomorrow. The compe­ti­tion is fierce, we’ve seen it race after race. Dirk Werner and I just need to drive well tomorrow and let the BMW Team RLL guys do their job in the pits and we should be at the front”.

Dirk Müller along with co-drivers Joey Hand and Andy Priaulx, won the opening round of the 2011 ALMS season, leading a 1 – 2 BMW Team RLL GT class finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Hand and Mϋller scored two more consec­u­tive victo­ries at Long Beach and Lime Rock to lead the GT point standings.

The two-hour-and-forty-five-minute Grand Prix of Mosport is sched­uled to take the green flag at 3:05 p.m. EDT Sunday July 24th. The race will be broad­cast live on ESPN3.com and rebroad­cast on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. EDT.

BMW Team RLL Mosport Preview

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 20, 2011… This weekend BMW Team RLL will bring its M3 GT win streak north of the border to the vener­able Mosport Inter­na­tional Raceway for the Grand Prix of Mosport. The only Amer­ican Le Mans Series event in Canada, the historic road course has only given up only one podium finish to the team in two previous seasons – a third place result last year by Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner.

Following a domi­nating perfor­mance at Lime Rock Park and a third consec­u­tive victory for Joey Hand and Dirk Mϋller the team is committed to race for their best Mosport result yet.

Of partic­ular impor­tance, the defending GT Manu­fac­turer and Team cham­pions will look to expand on what is a 33-point lead for Hand and Mϋller in the Driver stand­ings.  Team­mates Auberlen and Dirk Werner enter the weekend tied for fourth in the stand­ings with 33 points on the basis of a strong second place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Following the North­east Grand Prix, IMSA, the sanc­tioning body, released bulletin #11 – 14 requiring a reduc­tion of .4mm in the M3 GT restrictor.  This change will not take place at Mosport, but will happen at the next round in Mid-Ohio on August 5.

“While we have had a great start to the 2011 season, this weekend’s event at Mosport will be a chal­lenge for our entire team,” Bobby Rahal said. “We are confi­dent in our setup and our drivers there, but we haven’t gotten the results we have hoped for in our previous visits, so we are working hard to change that this weekend. We have had a strong start in the cham­pi­onship but in this field, you can’t drop your guard for a minute, and we don’t intend to let down this weekend.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT — “I can’t wait to go to Mosport. It is a track that sepa­rates the men from the boys.  It’s fast, hairy and perfect for the great handling of our BMW M3 GT.  With three straight victo­ries for BMW Team RLL, I’m sure the compe­ti­tion is scratching their heads, but it is pretty tough to beat a team that is so on its game. I’m proud to be a part of such an amazing program.”

Dirk Werner, driver No. 55 M3 GT — “It is great that we are now racing every 14 days in the ALMS. One high­light is followed by the next. Having been unfor­tu­nate in the last two races, it goes without saying that Bill Auberlen and I would now like to finally harvest the fruits of our labor.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT — “The epic year continues — three races — three wins. Our points lead is promising, but not promised and there’s no reason to think that we won’t be a contender for another victory at Mosport. Our BMW M3 GT is strong on high speed Mosport corners. I get asked if I change my strategy or outlook because of our points lead.  I don’t think we are at that point yet in the season.  We are not settling in by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. The car was so strong at Lime Rock Park. It was a plea­sure to drive. I’m sure the guys will be ready with another great set-up for Mosport.”

Dirk Mueller, driver No. 56 M3 GT — “The circuit in Mosport is the fastest on the ALMS calendar. I am confi­dent that our BMW M3 GT will run just as well there as in Sebring, Long Beach and Lime Rock. We want to continue where we left off, and will be doing every­thing in our powers to ensure that, after three wins in a row, we are also on top of the GT podium in Canada. However, we are also well aware that the oppo­si­tion has not been sleeping. What­ever happens, we are extremely motivated.”

Following a Promoter’s Test Day on Friday, July 22, prac­tice and qual­i­fying for the Amer­ican Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport will be held on Saturday, July 23. The two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race sched­uled to take the green flag at 3:05 p.m. ET Sunday, July 24. The race will be broad­cast live on ESPN3.com and rebroad­cast on ESPN2 begin­ning at 10:00 PM ET.

BMW M3 for Three – BMW Team RLL Wins at Lime Rock Park

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 9, 2011… Joey Hand and Dirk Müller length­ened BMW’s lead in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series GT class manu­fac­turer, team and driver cham­pi­onship with their third consec­u­tive win this season in today’s North­east Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. The No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3 GT started from the pole and led every lap in the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race at BMW of North America’s home track. The duo completed 176 laps of the 1.474-mile circuit in the run to the check­ered flag, finishing 20.387 seconds ahead of the second place Porsche.

The No. 55 M3 GT of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner became a victim of circum­stance as Werner was hit by a competitor on lap 23, only 20 minutes into his opening stint. The duo soldiered on after exten­sive repairs, ulti­mately finishing eighth, 13 laps down to their teammates.

Bobby Rahal, Team prin­cipal, added, “It’s another great day for BMW and Rahal Letterman Lanigan. It’s too bad the 55 car got in the middle of that scrum. I have no doubt that they would have been right there and I’m just really pleased that we had a rela­tively trouble free weekend. Dunlop did a super job for us again. It’s three in a row, wow, that doesn’t happen very often in racing, so I’m really thrilled for Dirk and for Joey and this helps them out even more in the drivers’ cham­pi­onship. BMW has given us the great equip­ment and our guys have done a great job and the results show.”

BMW Team RLL returns to action on July 24 at Mosport Inter­na­tional Raceway for Round 4 of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series.

Video:

Joey Hand and Dirk Mϋller discuss their victory

 

BMW Team RLL Sweeps GT Front Row At Lime Rock

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 8, 2011… Joey Hand picked up right where he left off nine weeks ago – at the front of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series GT field after qual­i­fying the No. 56 BMW M3 GT on the class pole for tomorrow’s North­east Grand Prix. With a 50.925 second lap of the 1.474-mile, 7-turn Lime Rock Park circuit Hand set a new qual­i­fying record and will lead the 15-car GT class to the green flag for the start of the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race.

The No. 55 M3 GT of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner will line up second for an all BMW GT front row. Dirk Werner qual­i­fied the car with a 51.179 second lap.

Hand along with co-drivers Dirk Müller and Andy Priaulx, won the opening round of the 2011 ALMS season, leading a 1 – 2 BMW Team RLL GT class finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Hand and Mϋller scored a second consec­u­tive victory at Long Beach and lead the GT point standings.

Video: Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT (pole)

http://youtu.be/7PVFk3hDK-0

Video: Dirk Werner, driver No. 55 M3 GT (second)

http://youtu.be/IZq9M5R6nNI

The two-hour-and-forty-five-minute North­east Grand Prix is sched­uled to take the green flag at 2:05 p.m. ET Saturday. The race will be broad­cast live on ESPN3.com and rebroad­cast on ESPN2 from 1 — 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July, 10.

 

Pippa Mann Completes First Indy Car Test With RLL at Loudon

LOUDON, NH (July 5, 2011) - With 20 Indy Car race wins and 150 top-10 finishes on tracks around the globe, there isn’t much that is new to Rahal Letterman Lanigan. But the addi­tion of New Hamp­shire Motor Speedway to the IZOD Indy Car Series schedule and the blos­soming rela­tion­ship between RLL and Indy Lights star Pippa Mann brought many new vari­ables to today’s test at the one-mile oval in Loudon, New Hampshire.

The British pilot will open a three-race deal with RLL to drive the team’s #30 Dallara/Honda/Firestone Indy Car at Loudon on August 14, so Mann and the Ohio-based squad took the oppor­tu­nity today to join Will Power for a one-day test session. The young driver had a solid day in her first outing in the RLL Indy Car, turning 168 laps on the chal­lenging oval. Mann logged 75 laps in the morning and 93 in the after­noon, whit­tling tenths of seconds off of her time until she was able to circum­nav­i­gate the Loudon layout in less than 23 seconds.

“We had a pretty good day overall today,” reported Mann. “We worked on a lot of things, but most impor­tantly, in getting good commu­ni­ca­tion between myself, (engi­neers) Jay (O’Connell) and Adam (Schaechter). It was great also having Penske here as a bench mark for us, and it looks as though on our very first day working together we are most defi­nitely in the ball park. I felt good and I look forward to coming back here next month!”

The full day’s effort allowed Rahal Letterman Lanigan to try many different vari­ables on the car, which will give the team a base­line to work from when it returns for the August 11 – 14 race weekend. It was impor­tant not only for the comfort level of working with a new driver, but also for working at a new track, since RLL has not been to Loudon since 1995. The track does have fond memo­ries for the team’s co-owner Bobby Rahal however, as the three-time Indy Car cham­pion won the inau­gural open-wheel race in Loudon in 1992. Rahal was on hand today for the test and was encour­aged by the day’s results.

“We finished our first test with Pippa at Loudon, and I thought it went very well,” Rahal said. “Pippa did well with her feed­back and we were able to sort a great number of items including several key engi­neering planned test items. Obvi­ously this test gives both her and the team a good starting point when we come back here for the race weekend. Anything you can do to help improve your chances in this field in a posi­tive step for all of us.”

Mann had also never seen Loudon in her racing career, but a day’s worth of orbiting the oval gave her a good bit of knowl­edge about what to expect from the track the locals call ‘The Magic Mile’ upon her return.

“The track itself is a very cool, tough little track. There’s a fairly nice bump between one and two, which while not Iowa-esque is going to have quite a few people playing catch when we come back here for race weekend,” said Mann. “It will be extremely inter­esting to see whether pole ends up being a flat out lap, or whether the pole sitter will still have to lift. Defi­nitely not an easy place to try and run full throttle! The pit in and pit out are very tight, and that will almost certainly affect the race, and it will be inter­esting to see whether we can run two wide through the corners here! One things for sure– it’s certainly not going to be easy!”

The team will go back to its Hilliard, Ohio shop to continue prepa­ra­tions for the Loudon race, while also readying to fend off chal­lenges to its points lead in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series GT class. The team’s BMW M3s will get back to compe­ti­tion this weekend as Lime Rock Park hosts the North­east Grand Prix.

BMW Team RLL Carries ALMS GT Class Win Streak To Lime Rock

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 6th, 2011… Following the annual pause in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series season for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, BMW Team RLL returns to action at Lime Rock Park on July 9th for the North­east Grand Prix.

With BMW on top of the GT class point stand­ings following wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Long Beach races, the team heads to Lime Rock Park with the lead in all ALMS GT class cham­pi­onships and fresh from a two-day Dunlop tire test at Road Atlanta on June 15 and 16.

“The BMW Team RLL guys have been champing at the bit to get back to the track after such a long hiatus,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We are the hunted instead of the hunter at the moment and we’ll have to be ready to take everyone’s best shots. We have had some good tests, gotten great support from BMW as well as good tire input from Dunlop, so the team and the drivers are confi­dent that we will go to Lime Rock Park and have another chance to do well.”

Lime Rock Park is not only impor­tant because it is the home track of BMW of North America, but it is the first of seven races in 13 weeks for the Amer­ican Le Mans Series cham­pi­onship. Last year BMW Team RLL clinched the GT class cham­pi­onship in the final laps of the season-ending Petit Le Mans. This year, the third for the part­ner­ship of BMW of North America, BMW Motor­sport and Rahal Letterman Lanigan, BMW Team RLL has already equaled its prior two season win total.

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT — “After Long Beach I haven’t been sitting around waiting for Lime Rock. Most of my time has been spent in an M3 getting podiums and winning races in GRAND AM compe­ti­tion. (Note: Auberlen and co-driver Paul Dalla Lana lead CTSCC GS points and stand fifth in Rolex GT points.) Let’s get back to domi­nating the ALMS. Lime Rock Park is a BMW track, we have been all over the podium there.”

Dirk Werner, driver No. 55 M3 GT — “I’m looking forward to drive with BMW Team RLL and my team­mate Bill again after the Le Mans break. After the first two races we know that our car is fast and Lime Rock Park would be the ideal place for the No. 55 car’s first win. Lime Rock Park is always chal­lenging. Traffic and how you handle it is crit­ical to success.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT — “I feel awesome coming off Le Mans. We went to win, but a third place finish is just great. Racing and then standing on the Le Mans podium made me gain a huge respect for the event. Following Le Mans it was right back to testing at Road Atlanta with BMW Team RLL. Heading to Lime Rock we can put into play all we learned at Atlanta with the tires and new set-ups. Lime Rock Park is NA’s home track and we really get a good feeling from the crowds. There are seven more races this season and I know we can keep our great momentum going.”

Dirk Mueller, driver No. 56 M3 GT — “lts has been a long break and l am really hungry to get more success in our BMW RLL BMW M3 GT. After a great third place finish at Le Mans with BMW Motor­sport and a great race at the Nurbur­gring 24 its time to get back to busi­ness with the ALMS. We had a fantastic test in Atlanta the other day and l spend a lot of time with Joey at Le Mans which is good in order to get pumped for the rest of the season! I’m happy to see the Rahal boys again and we are going to Lime Rock to win this race!”

Prac­tice and qual­i­fying for the Amer­ican Le Mans Series North­east grand Prix will be held on Friday, July 8 with the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race sched­uled to take the green flag at 2:05 p.m. ET Saturday. The race will be broad­cast live on ESPN3.com and rebroad­cast on ESPN2 from 1 — 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July, 10.