Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sato and Jourdain Pleased with Progress on Opening Day of Practice for the Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indinapolis 500 — Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE — NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, May 12, 2012

SATO AND JOURDAIN PLEASED WITH PROGRESS ON FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

 

1)         Josef Newgarden      220.250 mph / 40.8627          46 laps
12)       Takuma Sato             217. 180 mph / 41.4403         4 laps
21)       Michel Jourdain        214.8856 mph / 41.8856        33 laps

 

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a short day of work with a long amount of time waiting which is natural. It was the very first day of practice and we obviously rebuilt the car for the oval and the boys did a fantastic job.  I am so pleased to see all the functions working really well. Michel did a great job through his first day of practice which produced the basic setup from April. And he developed it nicely. I only did three timed laps but the car felt good which is important for the first day.  The conditions were definitely good because it was the end of the day and more than 500 laps of rubber was on the track and the temperatures were cooler so I expected to be quick. I look forward to beginning to work on the setup.”

 

FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07.. In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led two of the first three races but failed to finish due to mechanical failure (St. Pete & Barber) and “avoidable contact” by Hunter-Reay ( Long Beach) on the final lap en route to a career best finish of third.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We started off exactly where we finished Thursday. We just trimmed the car a couple of times to gradually get it to the setup we are going to run.  We are doing it slowly to maintain our confidence.  Unfortunately we had a cut in the left rear so we had to use more tires than we wanted but I am happy to get through the first official day. We are better than I thought we would be at this point so I am happy about that.”
 

FAST FACTS: Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nationwide Series from 2005-2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series. 

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engineer:  “Michel has now had more time in the car with the opening day of practice. We completed another 34 laps today over and above the mileage we accrued on the rookie orientation day so that has been good for him. Whilst he is still getting comfortable in the car, and getting his confidence in the car, we are making a number of changes on the car, both aerodynamic and mechanical, to understand more about how the car behaves on the Super Speedway. I think today has been another productive day for him and, I’m sure tomorrow, given the right weather conditions he will go another step quicker again.
    
“Takuma hasn’t run here since the April test. We have taken a long time to rebuild the car and get the car to the state of preparation that we wanted and he went out for the first time with essentially four minutes to go in the session. He did just one outing which we utilized as a warm-up run, admittedly on fresh rubber and, of course at the end of the day when there are more laps down and more rubber on the circuit and felt that the car was not too far out of the window from a balance perspective. There is a lot of work to do but I think it is an encouraging start.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Practice will take place from May 12-18 for the 96th Indianapolis 500.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

 

Sato Carries Momentum of Best Series Result to the 96th Indianapolis 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season & 15th Indy 500
Pre-Race Notes – TAKUMA SATO
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Round 5 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                      Opening Day — May 12; Pole Day – May 19; Race Day – May 27

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:  May 19 from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET and 4:30-6:30 p.m. and on May 20 from 12:00-6:30

                                                 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring)

RACE BROADCAST:              Live on Sunday, May 27 at 11:00 a.m. ET on ABC

RADIO BROADCAST:            The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212

TRACK LAYOUT:                    2.5-mile oval

RACE LENGTH:                      200 laps / 500 miles 

2011 WINNER:                         Dan Wheldon

2011 POLESITTER:                 Alex Tagliani (2:38.2613 average; 227.472 mph avg.)

SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL START:                          Pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011

SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL FINISH:                          Fifth at Texas Motor Speedway in 2011 (race 1)

SATO IN INDY:                        Highest Indy 500 start is 10th (2011) and highest finish is 20th in 2011. Competed in five

                                                  F1 races here, including his best start/finish of third place in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500.

RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT INDY:                     Won the 2004 race from pole with Buddy Rice

NEWS & NOTES:

1 POLE & 1 WIN AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (IMS) FOR RLL RACING
The 2012 entry will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap.

SATO AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Sato will compete in his EIGHTH race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and THIRD Indianapolis 500 event.  IMS is the site of his best finish of third place in Formula One in 2004 – the same year RLL Racing won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice from pole.  He competed in the Indy 500 two times with a best start of 10th in 2011 when he narrowly missed progressing to the Fast Nine and his best finish of 20th came in 2010 – both with KV Racing Technology.  He competed in five F1 races at IMS (2002, 2004-2007; chart available).  All eight races will have been powered by Honda.

SATO IN 2012 – BEST SERIES FINISH TO DATE
Sato led two (St. Petersburg, Long Beach) of the first three races in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season but had yet to see a checkered flag. When he was able to do so, he earned his best career finish to date in the series of third place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and vaulted to his highest rank in the series of seventh place with a total of 83 points entering Round 5 of 16 – the Indianapolis 500.


Takuma answers a few questions on his season to date and the upcoming 96th running of the Indianapolis 500:

SATO ON HIS BEST SERIES FINISH TO DATE OF THIRD PLACE IN THE PREVIOUS RACE IN BRAZIL
“I am still just very excited about the result.  A big part of that was the relief that we achieved the result we had been waiting on since the beginning of the season. It’s especially great to get the result before coming to the Indy 500. That’s what we needed. It’s a good source of motivation for the team. I was very pleased with the reaction of the fans and media all over the world. It felt very good to share the moment with them and give something back in exchange for their loyalty and support. There were just tons of messages on my website and Twitter.”

SATO ON THE TEAM’S PROGRESS SINCE THE START OF THE SEASON
“It’s a new group of people working together for the first time and we get stronger with every race. There are so many things to learn about each other when new people start working together.  The result in Brazil was a little bit extreme compared to the other races because the first three races we were able to show our performance capability but unfortunately we had a couple of mechanical problems. Other than that, we were racing up front. Brazil is a great example; we were very strong and our strategy was very strong and we raced really hard and were able to finish in a very high position from the back of the grid. It was a fantastic result.  The pit stops are improving and our communication is improving.  Basically everything is improving each time we work together. I’m sure our improvements are part of the learning curve that was very steep. There is still a lot more to come and I am looking forward to it.  I went through this in F1.  It’s great fun to see all of the improvements. You can see it and feel it – a lot!  The team is working really hard. If things didn’t go the way we wanted, we have been able to learn from those things and come back stronger.  I am very happy with the progress that we have seen.”

SATO ON HIS THIRD PLACE FINISH IN THE FORMULA ONE RACE AT IMS IN 2004
“Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a special place.  When I first came to the Indy 500, I already had a special memory of the place from 2004 when I finished on the podium. That was a great day.  It wasn’t an easy finish. At one stage, in the middle of the race, we were at the back of the grid.  Every time I come back to Indy I think of that memory. It was very special and now coming for the Indy 500 – there are no words to describe how special it is. The event is always very impressive.”

SATO ON THE INDY 500 AND HIS FIRST MEMORIES OF THE RACE
“The 2010 race was my first experience at the Indy 500 and it is just a massive event with such a large group of spectators. I had never raced in front of such a large crowd.  It was very impressive. To go through the weeks of practice, then qualifying and the media tour and all of the things was exciting. The build up is just unbelievable. Then on race day, the events before the start are very impressive. It was an exciting moment.
            “All over the world, everybody knows about the Indy 500. It’s such an iconic event.  I saw it a couple of times on TV as a kid in Japan but it is completely different in person. You can’t feel the excitement as much on TV as when you are there. That’s why 2010 was so great.”

ON FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO WILL WATCH THE RACE
“Gaora network will air the race live in Japan in the middle of the night so I think there will be many people who have a short amount of sleep that night. And in Monaco where I live, it will take place evening into nighttime so I am sure my family and friends will watch on TV.”

SATO ON THE DW 12 OVAL PACKAGE AND PROGRESS SINCE THE IMS TEST IN APRIL
“Because the car is brand new, the test we had at the Speedway was very important.  We just did a basic, fundamental session to gather data and it helped a lot to understand the basic setup we will start with this weekend.”

SATO ON WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THE INDY 500
“It would mean a lot to win the Indy 500! I haven’t won an IndyCar race yet so any win would be special but winning the Indy 500 would be even more so because it is such an iconic event. I can’t imagine how it would be to win. Certainly that is the ultimate goal and what we will race for.” 

– RLL –

BMW Team RLL — Laguna Seca ALMS Qualifying Report


Woodcliff Lake
, N.J.
– May11, 2012… BMW Team RLL will line up in the third and seventh GT class starting positions for tomorrows six-hour American Le Mans Monterey race at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Jörg Müller posted a 1:22.905 minute lap in the No. 55 BMW M3 GT for the third fastest time in the 12-car GT class. This weekend is Müller’s first time back at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit since 2001 when he co-drove to a victory with JJ Lehto in the No. 42 BMW M3 GTR. He will co-drive this weekend with Bill Auberlen.

Joey Hand set the seventh fastest time in today’s 15-minute qualifying session. He drove the No. 56 BMW M3 to a 1:22.939 minute lap. Hand and co-driver Dirk Müller sit atop the GT class driver points after a win at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring and a second place finish four weeks ago at Long Beach. The duo has finished second in this race in the previous two seasons.

BMW has shared a significant history with the classic Laguna Seca circuit, beginning with a win by Hans Joachim Stuck and Dieter Quester in a BMW CSL in 1975. BMW Team RLL arrives to Laguna Seca tied for the lead in GT Manufacturer point standings and is looking for the team’s first victory at Laguna Seca.

“I don’t know why but six hours here seems harder than twelve hours at Sebring,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Tomorrow will be difficult, but we have good handling cars and I have no doubt that there will be lots of yellows. We have been here before and gotten close. We would like to finish the job tomorrow and get the win.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT (third): It was 11 yrs ago that I raced here and I was surprised how quickly I got back into the rhythm of the circuit even though there was quite a bit of traffic. I am quite happy with my performance so far. Laguna Seca is one of the nicest circuits in North America.  I walked up to the corkscrew yesterday just to watch at such a unique turn.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT (seventh): We had a decent qualifying session today. We made a lot of changes through practice and the car got better and better. We are still working on getting rid of a little bit of understeer, but I know Chris Yanchar (car chief) has a few good ideas about that.”

The American Le Mans Monterey race will take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 12. ESPN2 will air the race at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13. Live coverage is available starting at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

The Series’ website offers additional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch all ALMS races live on ALMS.com.

 

About BMW Team RLL:

BMW Group In America

BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975.  Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 113 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.



Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for nearly two decades, compiling 22 victories, 31 poles and two series championships (1992, 2010) as well as claiming an Indianapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the American Le Mans Series. In 2010 the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category. In 2011 the team swept all three GT titles – Manufacturer, Team and Driver.

#      #      #

Journalist note:

Information about the BMW and its products is available to journalists on-line at www.bmwusanews.com.  

Video interviews and on-board clips are available at www.youtube.com/BMWNAMotorsport.

 

Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing and on Facebook at BMWUSA.

Information about Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is available via at: www.rahal.com.

 

Jourdain Jr. Pleased With Return to Open Wheel Racing For First Time Since 2004; Completed Refresher Program in Preparation for Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM / REFRESHER — NOTES/QUOTES – Thursday, May 10, 2012

JOURDAIN JR PLEASED WITH HIS RETURN TO OPEN WHEEL RACING FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2004; COMPLETED REFRESHER PROGRAM IN PREPARATION FOR THE 2012 INDY 500

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was fantastic! I was thinking in the car when I was doing the laps ‘This is so much fun.’ I’m not going to say that it feels like yesterday that I was here but it doesn’t feel like 16 years ago.  The car feels really stable. The team did a test here about a month ago with Takuma and the car feels really stable; perfect to do the refresher phases today.  I thought I was going to be much more nervous but it felt really good.  I was quite comfortable and relaxed – at home. I treated it with a lot of respect and built up to the speed.  In the beginning I tried to not feel any pressure to do a certain lap time.  I just tried to be smart and patient. The only goal was to get through these phases today.  Tonight I have a lot to sleep on. The last couple of years I haven’t been sleeping that good but I slept through the night last night and woke up to the alarm which was really good.  These things make me quite happy. I feel relaxed; I don’t know how I look but I feel really good.  I felt at home in the car and I’m very, very happy.”

FAST FACTS: Jourdain completed all three phases of the refresher course with a best lap time of 213.633 mph over the 73 laps he completed… He will attempt to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500 race this year. He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 race… Today he turned the first laps behind the wheel of an Indy car since 2004 and his first laps in an Indy car on an OVAL since two Champ Car World Series oval races in 2004 at the Milwaukee Mile and Las Vegas Motor Speedway… Jourdain made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nationwide Series from 2005-2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series. 

BOBBY RAHAL, Team Co-Owner:  “Michel did what he needed to do. Obviously we have a long way to go yet but it’s a good start. He’s comfortable in the car and today was all about making that happen frankly. We got through all of the phases. We don’t have the car set up to go fast other than to get through these phases so I think there is a lot more to come obviously. Now we start to work on the car and now he can go away and think about it and be ready to go on Saturday.  It was definitely a good start.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Opening Day for practice for the 96th Indianapolis 500 race is Saturday, May 12.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

Michel Jourdain Jr. to Drive an IndyCar For the First Time Since 2004 Tomorrow; Indy 500 Jourdain Jr. Advance


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes – MICHEL JOURDAIN JR
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Round 5 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                         Rookie Orientation/Refresher – May 10; Opening Day — May 12; Pole Day – May 19;

Race Day – May 27

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     May 19 from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET and 4:30-6:30 p.m. and on May 20 from 12:00-6:30

p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring)

RACE BROADCAST:                 Live on Sunday, May 27 at 11:00 a.m. ET on ABC

RADIO BROADCAST:               The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212

TRACK LAYOUT:                       2.5-mile oval

RACE LENGTH:                         200 laps / 500 miles 

2011 WINNER:                           Dan Wheldon

2011 POLESITTER:                   Alex Tagliani (2:38.2613 average; 227.472 mph avg.)

JOURDAIN JR’S HIGHEST
OVAL START:                           2nd at the Milwaukee Mile in 2003

JOURDAIN JR’S HIGHEST
OVAL FINISH:                           1st at the Milwaukee Mile 2003

JOURDAIN JR AT INDY:          Competed in the 1996 race where he started eighth and finished 13th

RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT INDY:                      Won the 2004 race from pole with Buddy Rice

NEWS & NOTES:

1 POLE & 1 WIN AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (IMS) FOR RLL RACING
The 2012 entry will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap.


MICHEL AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Office Depot / RLL Racing driver Jourdain Jr., 35, will attempt to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500 race this year.  Indianapolis Motor Speedway will also be the site of his first laps behind the wheel of an Indy car on an oval since two Champ Car World Series oval races in 2004 at the Milwaukee Mile and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  He will participate in a “refresher test” during the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) on Thursday, May 10 from 9:00-2:30 p.m. ET.


WHAT IS THE ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM (ROP) & “REFRESHER?”
Jourdain will participate in ROP from a “refresher” standpoint on Thursday, May 10 since he hasn’t driven an open wheel car since 2004.  The IndyCar Series describes the process as follows: In addition to Car control, placement and a consistent driving pattern, the rookie orientation Test shall consist of three phases, totaling 40 laps: Phase One 10 laps, Phase Two 15 laps and Phase Three 15 laps. The laps do not have to be consecutive. The phases and corresponding speeds will be determined based on Track/weather conditions. Rookie Drivers must successfully complete a minimum of two of the three phases to be eligible to participate in practice when the facility opens for practice. No rookie Driver will be eligible for a qualifications attempt prior to completing the final phase.

 

Michel answers a few questions on the upcoming 96th running of the Indianapolis 500:


HAVE YOU FULLY REALIZED THAT YOU WILL COMPETE IN THE INDY 500?
“Not really; just a little bit but not 100 percent.  It’s hard for me to really get the feeling that I will be driving at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again on Thursday.”   


MICHEL ON WORDS THAT DESCRIBE INDY 500 AND HIS FIRST MEMORY OF THE RACE
“Tradition. Speed. Champions. I remember Josele Garza leading 13 laps in 1981. I remember it perfectly! I was in bed watching the race with my dad and I remember him telling me ‘That’s Josele Garza leading the Indy 500.’ I remember it perfectly and I was four years old.”


MICHEL ON PREPARATION FOR HIS RETURN TO INDY CAR RACING – PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY
“The last three years I have been training very hard because I have been doing triathlons and things like that.  Now I have added some exercises for driving. Mentally I am just trying to approach it as if I was a rookie. I am trying to be very patient and not hurry anything up.”


MICHEL ON PRE-“REFRESHER” PREPARATION
“I just want to go step-by-step as if I was a rookie. I will try to not think of anything that happened in the past and take it easy to just get the first laps out of the way. For me every time I drove a car for the first time, or on a track for the first time, being able to go to bed the first night and ‘sleep on it’ made a big difference because I was able to think through all that had happened and come back the next day and apply what I had learned.”


BRUNO COUPRIE ON INDY 500 AND WORKING WITH MICHEL Bruno Couprie will be Michel’s race engineer for the Indy 500. Couprie is a fulltime engineer for the team’s ALMS program and is focused on the car of Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller. He will be at the ALMS race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca over the weekend and will take over engineering duties from Monday, May 14-onward. Couprie was the race engineer for Oriol Servia’s front row qualifying effort at the 2011 Indy 500 as well as Servia and Newman/Haas Racing’s season-ending fourth place series rank. He joined RLL at the conclusion of the 2011 season and is excited about participating in another Indy 500.  
    
“I am definitely excited to do the Indy 500 again after the results we got last year with Oriol Servia,” said Couprie. “There is a lot of potential at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team I have joined this year, and it should be an exciting month. It is really exciting to work with Michel. I have gotten to know him since Long Beach. We have kept in touch closely since then. The nice part is that he seems to be a driver that wants to bond with his engineer and that is the way I operated last year with good success (with Oriol Servia) and that is the way he has operated in the past with good success so I am looking forward to the experience.
    
“The focus is to get Michel back in the saddle to build confidence. If we can do that and have a trouble-free month of May I think the results will naturally come so we shouldn’t try to chase a result hard. We should just focus on doing a nice job together and everything should happen automatically.”


RACE ENGINEER GERRY HUGHESON MICHEL’S “REFRESHER” COURSE
Gerry Hughes, Takuma Sato’s race engineer for 2012, will oversee Michel’s refresher test on Thursday. He explains the team’s approach to the test day.

“It has been a while since Michel has been in an open-wheel race car but, speaking to him and looking at his biography in terms of his race experience, he is a vastly experienced race car driver and certainly has done a number of oval races in a number of different formulas so I feel that tomorrow our plan of attack is for him to build up his confidence in getting into the DW12, an all new car,” said Hughes.  “He has got a little bit of time that he is going to require in the car to get up to speed and build up his confidence. Ideally we would like to go through all three phases and successfully complete those in the allotted time that we have for tomorrow during the ROP test event.  Safety is of paramount importance and comes first but we will build up the drivers confidence and successfully go through Phases 1, 2 and 3 in a methodical, efficient and safe manner.”

MICHEL ON RLL’S HISTORY AT THE INDY 500
”I had a lot of mixed feelings when Buddy Rice won the race in 2004. I was very happy for the team because I knew everybody on the team because I was with the team the two years before but I had mixed feelings because I had a chance to be with the team.  It was tough because I knew I would have had a chance, not in that car, but as his teammate with the same equipment. But I was happy for all of the guys because I knew how good the team was.”

MICHEL ON WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THE INDY 500
“It would mean everything to me.  I grew up watching more Indy car racing that Formula One. Many people in the world think of Formula One when they think of open wheel racing but for me, because of Josele (Garza) and because of the races my father and uncle Bernard did, I was focused on Indy car racing much more than F1.  I remember standing in the race car when my father drove in the Mexico City race and the guys were pushing it. It was 1980 and 1981. I always grew up watching the Indy 500 so for me it would be the biggest thing ever to win the Indy 500!”

MICHEL ON DRIVERS WHOSE PERFORMANCE HE ADMIRES AT INDY SPECIFICALLY
“It is amazing that Mario Andretti only won the race one time and Michael (Andretti) never won it.  I was always a big fan of little Al so I was very happy when he won the race.  I remember, of course, when my uncle (Bernard) raced in 1989 and I came to Indy in 1989.  It was my birthday present to come.  My birthday was in September but I got the present in advance.  There are so many memories from watching the Indy 500.”

MICHEL ON THE REACTION BY FRIENDS AND FANS ABOUT HIS PARTICIPATION IN THE INDY 500
“The reaction has been fantastic! It was amazing, much, much bigger than I expected. After the announcement in Mexico, every where I went people knew I was doing the Indy 500. The guys I train with, at the airport and even when I got on the airplane to come to Indy people were like ‘Good luck.’ There has been a very nice reaction.”

MICHEL ON FAMILY AND SPONSORS COMING TO THE INDY 500 TO SUPPORT HIM
“Between my family and sponsors, the total is going to be around 70 or 80 people coming from Mexico. Of course my direct family is coming, my parents, my brothers too. My older sister is the only one not coming right now.  My two kids (of three) are coming and they haven’t really seen me race much ever because Michel (oldest at seven) was too little when I was doing NASCAR and then I went to Europe for rally racing and that is pretty much impossible to see as a spectator so they are very, very happy about coming to see me at the Indy 500. They wanted to come with me to Indy right away but it is not possible so they will come for race weekend. There are a lot of uncles that have never seen me race ever and they are coming so there will be a lot of people here to support me. It’s very good.”

 

-RLL-

BMW Team RLL – Laguna Seca ALMS Preview


Woodcliff Lake
, N.J.
– May 8, 2012…
Despite sweeping the American Le Mans Series GT class championships in 2011 and the Manufacturer and Team titles in 2010, one important victory has thus far eluded BMW Team RLL. In both seasons Joey Hand and Dirk Müller have finished in the runner-up spot, but never on the top step of the Laguna Seca Raceway podium.  BMW Team RLL is hoping to change that for 2012.

BMW has shared a significant history with the classic 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course beginning with a win by Hans Joachim Stuck and Dieter Quester in a BMW CSL in 1975. Nothing would please the Bobby Rahal-led team as much as adding one more Laguna Seca victory during BMW Motorsport’s 40th anniversary year.

The six-hour American Le Mans Monterey race will be held on May 12th, returning to the third round of the series, as it was in 2010, rather than being the penultimate round of the championship last year. The team arrives tied for the lead in Manufacturer point standings. Hand and Müller sit atop the Driver points after a win at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring and a second place finish four weeks ago at Long Beach.

Teammates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller finished fourth in the ALMS class at Sebring, but an early race collision at Long Beach knocked them out of a points-paying finish. Both BMW veterans know the way to victory lane at Laguna Seca having both won in significant BMW racing machines of previous years. In 1998, Auberlen co-drove with Didier de Radigues to the first BMW-powered prototype win at Laguna Seca proving the engine package that would power BMW to the 1999 Le Mans victory. Müller shared a GT win with JJ Lehto at Laguna Seca in 2001 in the BMW M3 GTR on his way the that season’s driving title.

“The last two years we were in a position to win the race but we failed to do so, so I’m hopeful that the third time is the charm,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “The track has suited the car and we are hoping for a great result.  Personally, and as a team, whether it be with BMW Team RLL or with the Indy car team, we have had a lot of success at Laguna Seca so we are hopeful that the tradition continues.” 

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT “Our team was first and second with just minutes remaining in last year’s race when we had a mechanical problem and the other M3 GT fell back.  Those days are over and we intend fully on completing what we missed out on last year.  The RLL team has been and the Dunlop tires are even better so I am very positive about our potential.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GTMy first time at Laguna Seca was 1998 in the GT1 World Championship in the Porsche GT1 and my last time was  in 2001 in the BMW GTR. That was a few years ago, but Laguna Seca is a track you never forget with its famous Corkscrew chicane. I'm really looking forward for this ace because the points we have in the championship at the moment do not show the pace and the performance of No. 55 M3 GT.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Laguna Seca always gives the fans some of the best racing of the season. The circuit is especially suited to the strengths of the BMW M3 GT and our Dunlop tires so we have always been in the hunt. We’ve come close to the win in the previous two years, but just have not closed the deal. With a bit of luck we will get the win this year.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT “I am really up for the race in Laguna Seca. The season has started brilliantly for me with the win in Sebring and second place in Long Beach. I have also finished on the podium at all my outings so far in the VLN Endurance Championship on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Long may this run continue. In 2010 and 2011 we finished runner-up to secure the title in Laguna Seca. As this year's event comes earlier in the calendar, we can take a more aggressive approach. I am really looking forward to it.”

The six-hour American Le Mans Monterey race is the third round of the 2012 ALMS championship. The race will take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 12. ESPN2 will air the race at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13. Live coverage is available starting at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

The Series’ website offers additional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch all ALMS races live on ALMS.com.


About BMW Team RLL:


BMW Group In America

BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975.  Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 113 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for nearly two decades, compiling 22 victories, 31 poles and two series championships (1992, 2010) as well as claiming an Indianapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the American Le Mans Series. In 2010 the team won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category. In 2011 the team swept all three GT titles – Manufacturer, Team and Driver.

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