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.