Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sato Heads to the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio With Momentum From Second Place in Previous Race

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Honda Indy 200 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Round 12 of 15 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series
 
DATE:                                         August 3 – 5, 2012
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commen­tary)
RACE BROADCAST:                Live on Sunday, August 5 at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC
RADIO BROADCAST:               The race will air on IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM (XM 94 & Sirius 212)
TRACK LAYOUT:                      2.258-mile, 13-turn road course
RACE LENGTH:                         85 laps / 191.25 miles
2011 WINNER:                           Scott Dixon
2011 POLESITTER:                   Scott Dixon (119.405 mph)
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET START:            Pole at Edmonton in 2011
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET FINISH:            2nd at Edmonton 2012 (4th at Mid-Ohio 2011 was best prior to 2012 with RLL)
SATO AT MID-OHIO:                 In two events here, Sato’s best start is 3rd in 2010 and best finish is 4th in 2011
RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT MID-OHIO:               Highest start is pole (Herta — 1997); highest finish is 3rd (Rahal — 1997, ’98)
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
15TH INDYCAR RACE AT MID-OHIO FOR RLL RACING
The Honda Indy 200 will mark the 15th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 15th and finished 10th for the team. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race here in 2003 with Danica Patrick, has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009 – 2011 and one SCCA event in 2008 as part of the ALMS weekend.  The highest IndyCar finish for the team here is two third place finishes (Rahal 1997, 1998) and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997).  Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd).  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 23 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992 – 98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2002 – 03) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007 – 2008). The team also prepared a Toyota Atlantic entry (Danica Patrick 2003), seven entries for ALMS events in 2007 and 2009 – 2011, and one SCCA entry in 2007 (details avail­able upon request).  The team has earned TWO Indy car podiums (3rd – Rahal 1997, 1998), 9 top-five’s and 13 top-10 Indy car finishes at the track as well as three ALMS podiums (3rd – 2009, 2010, 2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring the Indy car total to 24 entries in 2012. 
 
SATO ON THE CHALLENGES OF MID-OHIO AND HIS BEST SERIES FINISH PRIOR TO JOINING RLL
The 2012 Honda Indy 200 will mark Sato’s third race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Prior to joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2012, his previous series-best finish was fourth at Mid-Ohio in 2011 after he started ninth.  He qual­i­fied third in 2010 but retired in 25th due to contact.  Both races were with KV Racing Tech­nology. Since joining RLL he has bettered his 2011 Mid-Ohio finish of fourth place – first with a third place in Round 4 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and again with a second place finish in the previous race in Edmonton.  He enjoys the Mid-Ohio course and hopes to carry the momentum to this event.
“It was a tough-one,” said Sato of last year’s race. “It was a good race but we did every­thing we could and still ONLY finished 4th which was actu­ally quite disap­pointing espe­cially I was very compet­i­tive in my first year here so we expected more.  Mid-Ohio has got a bit of every­thing. There are high-speed corners, a rela­tively long straight, heavy braking, and a good complex (series of corners) with eleva­tion changes.  Some of the corners don’t have a big run-off so it makes for a good chal­lenge but it’s a typical beau­tiful road course. You need a good rhythm to go fast espe­cially in the complex part. A couple of corners are blind and the braking zone for one of them is off camber so that makes for a good chal­lenge too.”
 
SATO ON WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO BRING RLL THEIR FIRST INDYCAR WIN AT MID-OHIO
“Any win means a lot but I think a win at Mid-Ohio would be very nice as Rahal Letterman Lanigan has a race shop very close by.  And I am sure there will be many guests and family members of the team that come this weekend. Put no more pres­sure (on me) please!” Sato added jokingly.
 
SATO ON EXPECTATIONS FOR MID-OHIO AFTERSECOND PLACE FINISH IN THE PREVIOUS RACE
“Well, we should be very compet­i­tive. We were gener­ally quite strong in street course races and not so much on road courses but I thought it was quite a posi­tive test last week and I feel team has good momentum too. Mid-Ohio is typi­cally very close racing and everyone else will be very compet­i­tive too but there is no reason why we won’t be there right on the top group.”
 
SATO FINDS SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MID-OHIO AND OTHER COURSES HE RACES ON IN ENGLAND
“Perhaps it’s not a huge track like some of the Formula One tracks where I raced but I like this little Mid-Ohio course.  It reminds me of the time when I was racing in Great Britain.  The track scenery and atmos­phere has got so many simi­lar­i­ties; like maybe an Oulton Park. The fans here are great, very knowl­edge­able and genuine big motor racing fans which is very much like those British F3 days too!”
 
SATO ON THE MID-OHIO TEST – A FEW DAYS LATER
A total of 24 drivers tested at Mid-Ohio last Thursday, July 26, including Takuma Sato. After a few days to absorb the expe­ri­ence, Sato is pleased with the outcome and expects the infor­ma­tion that has been analyzed by Tech­nical Director Jay O’Connell, Race Engi­neer Gerry Hughes and assis­tant engi­neer Wayne Gross will put the team many steps ahead when the first prac­tice session takes place on Friday, August 3.
            “It was a produc­tive test. Although we could achieve prob­ably only half of what we wanted to due to the weather condi­tions, still it was very valu­able for us — specif­i­cally at Mid-Ohio but gener­ally on other courses too. We haven’t done any testing at road courses after the season started so we have a long list of things to go through and try.  So even though we only tested a few items, our initial set-up here is much more prepared than if we had not run. It was very good test to under­stand how this new DW12 works at Mid-Ohio.”
 
SATO ON IF THE TEST PROVIDED THE USUAL ADVANTAGE SINCE EVERYONE TESTED
“Maybe the test was not neces­sarily an advan­tage since everyone tested but it defi­nitely reduced our disad­van­tages. Our engi­neers are care­fully analyzing all the data we collected from the test and that gives us good under­standing of the car and the track char­ac­ter­is­tics. Our initial set-up this weekend is much higher quality than at other events so that we can go straight into the outstanding testing programs right away when prac­tice starts.”
 
SATO ON THE IMPORTANCE OF EARNINGGOOD MID-OHIO PIT LOCATION FROM EDMONTON QUALIFYING
“Mid-Ohio has very tight pit boxes so every­thing will help. It will be useful even in prac­tice that we won’t need to wait until everyone goes (on track) to make space so we can make the most of the session time. But no doubt about, the race will be the most bene­fi­cial time for us and we will race hard to make use of that for sure. I am very much looking forward to it.”
 
SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Sato has run compet­i­tively in most races to date this season although his 13th place rank in series stand­ings with a total of 216 points does not reflect that perfor­mance.  He is only 21 points from a top-10 rank (10th: G. Rahal, 237 pts) and 52 from fifth place Hinch­cliffe who has 268.  He led three races to date and ran as high as second, fourth and sixth in five others.  His top finish to date this season is a career-best finish of second in Edmonton.   
 
MID-OHIO DOUBLE-HEADER FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING
The team will compete in two races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  BMW Team RLL will compete in the GT-class of Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Chal­lenge ALMS race from 1 – 4 and the Indy car team will take the green flag on Sunday’s for the Honda Indy 200 IZOD IndyCar Series event.  BMW Team RLL fields two BMW M3’s for drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Bill Auberlen. The team has finished on the podium (third) each of the past three years and started from pole last year (Hand/D. Müller).
 
STARS SUPPORT RAHAL’S “RALLY FOR THE RANCHWEDNESDAY TO BENEFIT THE BUCKEYE RANCH
The inau­gural “Rally for the Ranch,” hosted by the Bobby Rahal Foun­da­tion for the benefit of The Buckeye Ranch, will take place at Easton Town Centre on Wed., Aug. 1.  The honoree for this inau­gural event is three-time Indy 500 winner and racing legend Johnny Ruther­ford. The event will show­case 75 of the area’s most exotic collectible auto­mo­biles from local car clubs and private collec­tors and will support programs at the Ranch to help area youths and their fami­lies dealing with behav­ioral issues. The event will begin at 4 p.m. on the streets of Easton with classic and collectible cars featured as well as race cars.  To view the display of cars will be free-of-charge and open to the public for view until 8 p.m. In addi­tion, the fundraising compo­nent will be a private dinner by the Bobby Rahal Foun­da­tion begin­ning with cock­tails at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Easton. Ruther­ford will be honored during the dinner program.  Current RLL drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller are expected to attend in addi­tion to former team drivers Graham Rahal, Bryan Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tom Milner.  In addi­tion, other drivers who are lending their support include Dario and Marino Fran­chitti, Justin Wilson, Katherine Legge, Graf Klaus, Lucas Luhr, Martin Plowman, team owner Mike Shank and others.
 
 – RLL -

Bobby Rahal on 50 Years of Mid-Ohio Memories

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Honda Indy 200 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Round 12 of 15 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                      August 3 – 5, 2012
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:  LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commen­tary)
RACE BROADCAST:              Live on Sunday, August 5 at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC
RADIO BROADCAST:             The race will air on IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM (XM 94 & Sirius 212)
TRACK LAYOUT:                    2.258-mile, 13-turn road course
RACE LENGTH:                       85 laps / 191.25 miles
2011 WINNER:                         Scott Dixon
2011 POLESITTER:                 Scott Dixon (119.405 mph)
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET START:          Pole at Edmonton in 2011
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET FINISH:          2nd at Edmonton 2012 (4th at Mid-Ohio 2011 was best prior to 2012 with RLL)
SATO AT MID-OHIO:               In two events here, Sato’s best start is 3rd in 2010 and best finish is 4th in 2011
RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT MID-OHIO:             Highest start is pole (Herta — 1997); highest finish is 3rd (Rahal — 1997, ’98)

NEWS & NOTES:

15TH INDYCAR RACE AT MID-OHIO FOR RLL RACING
The Honda Indy 200 will mark the 15th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 15th and finished 10th for the team. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race here in 2003 with Danica Patrick, has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009 – 2011 and one SCCA event in 2008 as part of the ALMS weekend.  The highest IndyCar finish for the team here is two third place finishes (Rahal 1997, 1998) and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997).  Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd).  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 23 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992 – 98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2002 – 03) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007 – 2008). The team also prepared a Toyota Atlantic entry (Danica Patrick 2003), seven entries for ALMS events in 2007 and 2009 – 2011, and one SCCA entry in 2007 (details avail­able upon request).  The team has earned TWO Indy car podiums (3rd – Rahal 1997, 1998), 9 top-five’s and 13 top-10 Indy car finishes at the track as well as three ALMS podiums (3rd – 2009, 2010, 2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring the Indy car total to 24 entries in 2012.

BOBBY RAHAL ON 50 YEARS AT MID-OHIO
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has been a part of Bobby Rahal’s life since he was a child.  He was inspired by his expe­ri­ences at the track and went on to compete in races there, including 16 Indy car events from 1983 – 1998.  Nine of those races were as a driver and the following seven were as a team owner/driver.  He won two Indy car races (1985 from pole, 1986), two poles (1983, 1985), made three front row starts (2nd in 1987), finished on the podium in eight of his 16 races for a 50 percent average, and earned 9 top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes.

Before being relo­cated to an Indi­anapolis suburb this season, the Indy car oper­a­tion was based in Hilliard, Ohio, 50 miles from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The championship-winning ALMS program – BMW Team RLL – is still based there.  Bobby shared a few memo­ries of his time at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in advance of Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Chal­lenge ALMS race and Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 IZOD IndyCar Series event.

BOBBY RAHAL ON THE THOUGHTS THAT COME TO MIND ABOUT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE
“When I was driving into Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course today, I was thinking that it was the 50th year I have been coming here. My father was here for the first ever race in 1962 and I came as a little kid. I don’t know if I have been to Mid-Ohio every year since then but it has to be pretty close.  Person­ally I have some big wins here. Brian Redman and I drove here in the 1979 Lumberman race which was a ‘You bring it, you run it’ sort of race and won it and I think I won more prize money in that than I did in most Indy car races until I won the Indy 500 in 1986.  If I look back, winning two Indy car races here in a row, the Lumberman’s 500 with Redman and then I won again later on with Jim Trueman in 1983; I have a lot of success here over the years. It’s a special place for me.
      
“In the old days, you couldn’t run here until you were 21 years old even though every where else was 18.  Having said that, when I finally did get to run at Mid-Ohio in 1974, I loved the track and was imme­di­ately successful. And then my mentor Jim Trueman bought the track in 1982, and he certainly trans­formed it from being just a race track to a place that was great for spec­ta­tors. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has really been part of the fabric of my life; coming here as a kid with his father to being a profes­sional.
      
“My expe­ri­ences at Mid-Ohio, for sure, are part of what inspired me to be a profes­sional race car driver. I would come to the track to watch Can Am races while in college because my univer­sity ( Denison Univer­sity) is only about 30 miles south.  And we came here a lot in part because my grand­par­ents lived in northern Ohio so it was a place we always went to. I saw a lot of great racing at Mid-Ohio — Can-Am, USRC, Formula 5000 — you name it. It’s certainly one of the better circuits in North America.”

RAHAL ON SUCCESS AT MID-OHIO
Rahal finished on the podium six times in nine races as a driver (1983 – 1991) and went on to compete seven more times once he founded what is now Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.  He sites his imme­diate enjoy­ment of the track as a key to his success here.
      
“I’m not sure what led to the success at Mid-Ohio; I just always liked the track. I should have won three (IndyCar races) in a row instead of two. In 1987 I made a mistake and tried to pass a guy I was lapping and he came down on me and flat­tened the tire with a few laps to go and (Roberto) Guer­rero won instead and I had been well in the lead.  When I first came to Mid-Ohio in 1974 and drove my first race here, I won and have liked the track ever since then.  A very good driver in a less-than-competitive car can still make a differ­ence here. Aside from that, phys­i­cally it is by far one of the most – if not THE most — demanding tracks in Indy car racing. They say ‘horses for courses’ and I guess this is one of my courses.”

RAHAL ON WHAT WINNING AT MID-OHIO WOULD MEAN TO HIM
Although the team has 20 Indy car wins, it has yet to earn one at Mid-Ohio.  In addi­tion, the ALMS team has finished third each of the past three years at Mid-Ohio. A win here would be his first as a team co-owner as well as his first since he won here in 1986.
      
“It would great to win at Mid-Ohio. We have certainly been compet­i­tive over the years in the races we have run here. When you have had success as a driver here, you think you could have the same success as a team.  Unfor­tu­nately it hasn’t been that way. We have been in a posi­tion to win races here; we just have to finish it off.  We qual­i­fied well here with BMW Team RLL but strug­gled during the race on occa­sion. It’s a tough track. In Indy car, the same thing could be said.  We have to do the whole job; not just part of it. I’m looking forward to another go at it!”

BOBBY ON TAKUMA SATO BEINGCONTENDER AT MID-OHIO
“I think Takuma can be a contender at Mid-Ohio this year. He finished well here last year and I think this is his kind of track so absolutely I think he can be a contender in the race, espe­cially if we run a race like we did in the last race in Edmonton. I don’t think there is any doubt we can be compet­i­tive; I’m certainly opti­mistic. We tested last week and found some things out which gave us a good place to start for race weekend. I don’t see any reason why we can’t be competitive.”

- RLL – 

Sato Completed Approximately 120 Trouble-Free Miles of Testing at Mid-Ohio Today Before Heavy Rain Brought an End to the Test


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
IZOD IndyCar Series – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
TESTING NOTES/QUOTES – Thursday, July 26, 2012
 

TAKUMA SATO COMPLETED APPROXIMATELY 120 TROUBLE-FREE MILES OF TESTING AT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE BEFORE HEAVY RAIN BROUGHT AN EARLY END TO THE TEST
 

Takuma Sato, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a good test day despite being cut short by the weather.  We were able to check a number of things like ratios, ride heights and the other initial things you check in the first prac­tice session of a race weekend so it was nice to get it done this morning.  Then we started to work a little on the setup which was inter­esting. Actu­ally it was quite good fun making the changes; you can feel the changes improving the car and know you are collecting very valu­able data so it was a produc­tive day.  It’s just a shame that it was cut short because there was quite a lot of things left that we wanted to get done.  The team will go back to the shop and analyze the good data from today and come back well-prepared for race weekend.
      
(On DW12 at Mid-Ohio:) “We already broke last years qual­i­fying time so the car is quick. There is a little more down­force. There are different char­ac­ter­is­tics but we have seen this at a number of tracks.  I wanted to explore a deeper setup and usually you can’t do it on a race weekend. It’s a shame this process was inter­rupted by weather but there is nothing we can do about it.”
 

·         FAST FACTS: Sato completed 35 laps of testing on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course before the lunch break and 18 after for a total of 53 laps.  Heavy rain at approx­i­mately 3 p.m. ET brought an end to the test… The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will mark Sato’s third race at the track… Prior to his third place finish in Brazil and second place in Edmonton this year, his best series finish was fourth at Mid-Ohio in 2011 after he started ninth.  He started third in 2010 but retired in 25th due to contact.  Both with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best road/street course qual­i­fying is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is second in Edmonton this year… Sato led two street races this season (St. Pete & Long Beach) and at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway where he nearly won with a last lap pass. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

JAY O’CONNELL, Tech­nical Director:  “We made good progress today to get ready for the Honda Indy 200 next week. We were able to dial in the gearing, the ride heights, the spring plat­form, front and rear suspen­sion geom­etry and get a great, solid starting point for next week.  Our quickest lap of 67.44 was on tires that were one fuel stint old so we think the car is going to be better on long runs than it was in Barber which was what we needed to make some progress. The car is better on used tires than it was at Barber where we seemed to have tire degra­da­tion on long runs whereas here at this track, we seemed to be turning our best laps on used tires which should help us prepare for Mid-Ohio to reduce tire degra­da­tion.
      
(On Push to Pass at Mid-Ohio:)  “We don’t know how much Push to Pass we are going to have at Mid-Ohio yet but they happened to carry it over from Edmonton so we could try it today so we tried it just to see the effect it had on gearing but we have no idea how much we are going to get.  Mid-Ohio has typi­cally been a really tough track to pass on because you have limited oppor­tu­ni­ties and it’s just tough to get close to other cars so the Push to Pass should help the situ­a­tion but, if you were to compare this track with last week, Edmonton prob­ably allows for more passing. In general, Push to Pass is always going to help although too bad the car is front also has it to defend.  In Formula One, they have a drag reduc­tion system where the car in front cannot do anything; only the car behind. That way the car behind always has a chance. If that was done here it would add excite­ment because the guy behind always has the chance to pass the guy in front.”

NEXT UP:  The team will return to Indi­anapolis to continue to prepare for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 3 – 5.  The team’s highest result is third in 1997 and 1998 by team co-owner Rahal… Sato will make his third start at the track. Prior to his third place finish in Brazil this year, his best series finish was fourth at Mid-Ohio in 2011 after he started ninth.  He started third in 2010 but retired in 25th due to contact.  Both with KV Racing Tech­nology…. Bobby Rahal won two races (1985, 1986), two poles (1983, 1985) and finished on the podium at Mid-Ohio eight times — or 50 percent of his 16 races.

BMW Team RLL Comes Third and Seventh at Grand Prix of Mosport

Munich, 23rd July 2012. BMW Team RLL perse­vered through Sunday’s 2.45-hour Amer­ican Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport (CA) to cross the line fourth and eighth in the GT class. Following the exclu­sion of the winning Porsche, the two BMW M3 GT cars were ulti­mately clas­si­fied third and seventh.

Limited by tech­nical regu­la­tions that have reduced the BMW M3 GT’s top speed, the fans that lined Mosport’s 2.459 miles were unable to watch the 2010 and 2011 GT class cham­pions in their familiar posi­tions at the front of the field.

Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) were clas­si­fied third in the no. 56 BMW M3 GT. Dirk Müller started the car from sixth and ran as high as third before pitting on lap 30 for fuel and tyres. On lap 62 he pitted to turn the car over to Hand. Hand pitted once more for tyres and fuel in the final 49 laps of the race.

Bill Auberlen (US) and Jörg Müller (DE) finished seventh in the no. 55 BMW M3 GT. Auberlen started the car from third spot and took advan­tage of the race’s first caution period to pit for fuel and tyres on lap 14. Running as high as second he was only seven seconds behind the class leader at the one hour mark. Forced into the pits under green on lap 51 for new tyres he handed over to Jörg Müller who returned to the race in ninth one lap down on the leaders. Müller moved up to sixth before needing new tyres just before the two-hour mark. He rejoined the race in eight, holding that posi­tion to the chequered flag.

Round six of the 2012 Amer­ican Le Mans Series will be held Saturday, 4th August, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington (US).

Dirk Müller (BMW M3 GT – No. 56):
“I think everyone has seen we’ve had a tough weekend, but we never gave up. Fourth was the maximum we could have achieved. It was a tough race. We played it lap by lap and in the end we were able to gain on second place in the cham­pi­onship because of tough luck for one of our competi­tors. Quite a few times today I was quicker than another car in the corners but not on the straights, once I’m behind I get dirty air and can’t drive behind them. If they are behind they can slip­stream on the straights and get by.”

Joey Hand (BMW M3 GT – No. 56):
“It was obvious we didn’t have the pace today. We did what we had to do to get as many points as possible, and on that front we executed really well. We are really, really not compet­i­tive on the straights. Everyone can pass us wher­ever they choose. We have to work so hard every­where else and it’s too hard on the car. It will be tougher at the next tracks, but this team is, for sure, not giving up. We just need to continue to focus forward as Bobby would say and work on the next races.”

Jörg Müller (BMW M3 GT – No. 55):
“We had a very good qual­i­fying and that was promising, but during the race we started to get into trouble. We tried to pit early to get out of the rhythm of the others. We got stuck coming out of the pits behind slower cars. I was stuck behind one car for 15 laps. Mosport is a narrow circuit so it is tough. You always lose your down force following someone into these fast corners so you can never really close in. It’s nearly impos­sible to over­take and you can lose 20 to 30 seconds. The race was over for us at that point.”

Bill Auberlen (BMW M3 GT – No. 55)
“We put our car up on the ragged edge to try and get the lap time back. These guys are so good at making the time, but you can’t make every­thing live like that. Tyre wise, brake wise, you name it, we got it on the ragged edge, and you can’t make it to the end of races like that in one piece. They have to balance this thing up, from the series point of view, that would make life a little more even, and that’s the way it should be.”

Sato Earned His Best Series Finish of Second in the Edmonton Indy; Pressured Eventual Winner Castroneves in Closing Laps


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Edmonton Indy – City Centre Airport, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES — Sunday, July 22, 2012


SATO EARNED HIS BEST SERIES FINISH OF SECOND PLACE IN TODAY’S EDMONTON INDY; PRESSURED EVENTUAL WINNER CASTRONEVES IN FINAL LAPS

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It is a fantastic result. I am very pleased for the team and very proud of our effort today.  It wasn’t an easy race. Tagliani made a great start and I was in fourth but then I over­took Ryan (Briscoe) in the hairpin and settled in third which was great.  The first and second stint was all about saving fuel but driving as fast as possible.  It was a very controlled race for us.  I had a great battle with Dario.  I could see he was pushing really hard and sliding. I had an oppor­tu­nity and over­took him which was great.  The last stint was very exciting. We had a battle with (Alex) Tagliani and then Helio.  I had to go as fast as I could; I pushed as much as I could and tried to get an oppor­tu­nity to pass Helio but it was just not quite there yet.  I knew he had a little bit longer sequence of the push to pass. I used it bit by bit, but also he’s reacting all the time the last few laps and he used it every single straight. It was very diffi­cult to catch him. Once we were very close, but it was not close enough to make a maneuver.  After May we had some diffi­cult races and came back very strong and made good progress and shall keep our head down and do the job for the next four races which will be very exciting. I’m very happy for second place today.”

·         FAST FACTS: This was Sato’s third race in Edmonton.  He started third and briefly ran fourth on the opening lap but regained third when he passed Briscoe and held the posi­tion until his first stop on Lap 26 of 75.  Even­tual winner Castron­eves passed Sato in the pits and Sato ran fourth until he passed Fran­chitti on Lap 36 for third. He passed Tagliani for second after the final pit stop on Lap 52 and proceeded to close a 3.2-second gap to race leader Castron­eves to 0.5 seconds by the end of the race but was unable to get close enough to make a pass.  He took the check­ered flag in second place for his best series finish to date.… He won pole in 2011 and led 18 laps but was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was penal­ized for “avoid­able contact” with a “drive-through” on Lap 41/80 but went on to finish seventh.  Sato was in second place at the time and ulti­mately finished 21st.  In 2010, he started 13th and finished ninth.  Both with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best road/street course qual­i­fying is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is second in Edmonton this year… Sato led two street races this season (St. Pete & Long Beach) and at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway where he nearly won with a last lap pass. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

BOBBY RAHAL, Team co-owner:  “Takuma did a very good job and the whole team did a good job.  It just shows you that if we can help him in the races, the guy has got the speed.  It’s just a matter of us collec­tively under­standing the flow of the race.  The pit stops were good, he drove well and we’re obvi­ously very pleased with the outcome.  It looked to me like Helio was a little stronger than we were under braking.  Either he was able to put the power down a little bit better, or some­thing, to gap us enough that we couldn’t really get close enough on the straight.  It was a great battle though.”

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato: “Whilst it’s disap­pointing that we still haven’t managed to be the first to take the check­ered flag, I think there are a lot of posi­tives that we can take from the race today. Every­thing went very smoothly from the pit wall. Our pit stops were better than we’ve seen in previous races and I was happy in terms of the perfor­mance of the prime and option tire.  Clearly every­body was running to fuel targets in the first two stints and Takuma did a very, very good job certainly in the first stint following Dario and going as long as Dario, stop­ping at the end of Lap 26.  I think we could not have asked any more from Takuma; he did a very good job today. We just weren’t quite quick enough to make a pass on Castron­eves and make it stick but we can be very proud as a team today.”

SECOND RACE IN EDMONTON FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACINGThe Edmonton Indy marked the second Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 13th and finished eighth for the team… Team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in his first profes­sional race at Edmonton Inter­na­tional Speedway in May 1975 where he qual­i­fied on the front row in second place in the Player’s Cana­dian Formula Atlantic Series. Elec­trical issues ended his race.

NEXT UP:  The series will take a weekend off and recon­vene for Round 12 of 15 at RLL’s long­time home track — Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The team’s highest result is third in 1997 and 1998 by Rahal… Sato will make his third start at the track. Prior to his third place finish in Brazil this year, his best series finish was fourth at Mid-Ohio in 2011 after he started ninth.  He started third in 2010 but retired in 25th due to contact.  Both with KV Racing Tech­nology…. Bobby Rahal won two races (1985, 1986), two poles (1983, 1985) and finished on the podium at Mid-Ohio eight times — or 50 percent of his 16 races.  The team will test at Mid-Ohio on Thursday, July 26.

BMW Team RLL — Mosport ALMS — Qualifying


Wood­cliff Lake
, N.J.
 – July 21, 2012… BMW Team RLL will start in the third and sixth GT class posi­tions in tomorrow’s 2.45-hour Amer­ican Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport.

With a lap of 1.16.011 minutes around the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit, Bill Auberlen qual­i­fied the No. 55 BMW M3 GT third, only .533 seconds off the class pole time. He will co-drive with Jörg Müller. Dirk Müller qual­i­fied the No. 56 BMW M3 GT sixth, .387 seconds behind his team­mate, with a time of 1:16.398 minutes. He will co-drive with Joey Hand.

Now at the mid-point of the 2012 ALMS season, BMW stands second in manu­fac­turer points, trailing Chevrolet by 10 points. BMW Team RLL is second in ALMS team points. Joey Hand and Dirk Müller are third in driver points. Team­mates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller stand sixth.

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “The guys have done an amazing job. Dunlop has given us tires that are very secure. I’m so happy with how much grip this car is making. I think the series has us over-restricted a little bit. They have us on smaller restrictor than the compe­ti­tion and we lack straight line speed. Tomorrow we will need the right strategy and perfect pit work.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT  “We are defi­nitely not the fastest on the straight so we knew we couldn’t fight for the pole. On my second flying lap I caught a little traffic, but I’m not complaining because that can happen. I could have had another tenth without the traffic there, which would have brought me to P5. How we prepared our car was different than the 55. We opti­mized our car for the race instead of qual­i­fying and we were expecting a much bigger gap but it’s very close.”

The Grand Prix of Mosport race will take the green flag at 12:00 p.m. ET tomorrow. ESPN2 will air the race same-day begin­ning at 1:00 p.m. ET. Live streaming coverage is avail­able starting at 11:45 a.m. ET on ESPN3.com.

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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Sato Earned His Best Qualifying Position of 2012 of Fourth for the Edmonton Indy; Set Fastest Time in Round 2 and Will Start Third Due to Penalty of Competitor


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Edmonton Indy – City Centre Airport, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, July 21, 2012

 

SATO EARNED HIS BEST QUALIFYING POSITION OF 2012 OF FOURTH FOR THE EDMONTON INDY; SET FASTEST TIME IN ROUNDAND WILL START THIRD DUE TO PENALTY OF COMPETITOR

POLE:  Ryan Hunter-Reay          1:17.2338 / 103.664 mph            (Group 2; Time set in Round 3; 10-grid penalty)
4th:       Takuma Sato                  1:17.5526 / 103.238 mph            (Group 1; Time set in Round 3; fastest in R2)
 

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I really enjoyed qual­i­fying. It’s a fantastic result for the team. The boys are working really well together. After a couple of diffi­cult races, I’m really pleased to be back in the top-six.  It was a good qual­i­fying session.  We were absolutely happy with the balance in the prac­tice session but still we made good progress and showed good perfor­mance in Round 1 of qual­i­fying.  And then of course, Round 2 was my favorite.  I was actu­ally grin­ning under the visor because I love to drive in the wet so much!  I had absolutely no problem in Round 2 and wish we had wet qual­i­fying in Round 3.  But never the less in was a tricky situ­a­tion in Round 3.  Some of the people main­tained a full wet setup on the car with dry (slicks) tires. Some people maybe tried a partial dry (condi­tion) setup. And some, like me, went out first because of the weather predic­tion and some people, like the pole sitter, waited until late. There was a little gambling going on.  Still, to qualify fourth was an outstanding job by the team.  I’m very pleased to start on the inside on the second row which is a great place to start here.  Now we are in the best place to try to avoid the confu­sion going into Turn 1, which is extremely tight, on the opening lap. The farther front you start the better chance you have of having a clean race so I’m partic­u­larly pleased with that.  Whether it will be dry or wet in the race, we know that we will be compet­i­tive.  Having my best start of the season will hope­fully transfer into my best result of the season so far.”

·         FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s third race in Edmonton.  He won pole in 2011 and led 18 laps but was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was penal­ized for “avoid­able contact” with a “drive-through” on Lap 41/80 but went on to finish seventh.  Sato was in second place at the time and ulti­mately finished 21st.  In 2010, he started 13th and finished ninth.  Both with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best road/street course qual­i­fying is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is third in Sao Paulo, Brazil this year… Sato led two street races this season (St. Pete & Long Beach) and at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway where he nearly won with a last lap pass. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato:  “We had a produc­tive prac­tice session this morning and we were able to show our true poten­tial in terms of lap time on new tires at the end of that session.  We made a couple of small changes going into qual­i­fying. It was our first time in Round 3 and the condi­tions were constantly changing through the first two sessions.  We managed to put it all together and Takuma did a very good job to get into Round 2. Obvi­ously it was nice to be quickest in the wet although fairly unrep­re­sen­ta­tive condi­tions.  We saved a good amount of tires for the race tomorrow and we will try to give him a good race car to ensure we can capi­talize on our great grid position.”

SECOND RACE IN EDMONTON FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACINGThe Edmonton Indy will mark the second Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 13th and finished eighth for the team… Team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in his first profes­sional race at Edmonton Inter­na­tional Speedway in May 1975 where he qual­i­fied on the front row in second place in the Player’s Cana­dian Formula Atlantic Series. Elec­trical issues ended his race.

NEXT UP:  Morning warm-up will take place tomorrow from 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. MT and the Edmonton Indy will take the Green Flag at 12:47 p.m. MT.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The Edmonton Indy will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, July 22.

Sato Set the 18th Fastest Time in Practice for the Edmonton Indy


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Edmonton Indy – City Centre Airport, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Friday, July 20, 2012

SATO SET THE 18TH FASTEST TIME IN PRACTICE FOR THE EDMONTON INDY
 

FASTEST:         Helio Castron­eves         1:16.4920 / 104.670 mph
18th:                  Takuma Sato                 1:16.9741 / 104.014 mph

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a produc­tive day as well as a little frus­trating.  The session was cut in half by red flags and making some changes but never­the­less we made some progress between the sessions.  It’s the first time for the team on this track since they didn’t run here last year.  I had a good feeling (in the car) here last year and the car is already coming to a very similar level which is nice.  Looking at the overall view, every­body is very compet­i­tive so we are not showing as strong as we wish but we will put all of the data together and make good progress for tomorrow.  (On new tire compound:) Gener­ally I think the car gener­ates more down­force, plus the tires are working good and we should have a little bit more power too so, as a package, the car is going faster than last year’s lap times.  The feeling I had last year in the car, with the pole time in terms of the complete view, we are already there. But it’s only rela­tive; we are not quick today. We need to improve.”
 

·         FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s third race in Edmonton.  He won pole in 2011 and led 18 laps but was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was penal­ized for “avoid­able contact” with a “drive-through” on Lap 41/80 but went on to finish seventh.  Sato was in second place at the time and ulti­mately finished 21st.  In 2010, he started 13th and finished ninth.  Both with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best road/street course qual­i­fying is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is third in Sao Paulo, Brazil this year… Sato led two street races this season (St. Pete & Long Beach) and at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway where he nearly won with a last lap pass. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato:  “We had two diffi­cult sessions, again spoiled by a number of red flags, partic­u­larly in the after­noon session. We worked through a number of items on our test list for Friday. As always, we would have liked to have done more work.  We feel that our true pace has not been reflected in the lap times at the end of P1 (prac­tice 1) and P2 (prac­tice 2) and prob­ably feel a little more confi­dent about the pace of our car. We will attempt to put a lap together in qual­i­fying tomorrow and get a good grid position.”

SECOND RACE IN EDMONTON FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACINGThe Edmonton Indy will mark the second Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 13th and finished eighth for the team.  The circuit layout was revised in 2011… Team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in his first profes­sional race at Edmonton Inter­na­tional Speedway in May 1975 where he qual­i­fied on the front row in second place in the Player’s Cana­dian Formula Atlantic Series. Elec­trical issues ended his race.

NEXT UP:  Prac­tice will take place tomorrow from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. MT and qual­i­fying will take place from 1:00 — 2:15 p.m.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The Edmonton Indy will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, July 22.

2011 Polesitter Sato Returns to Edmonton in Hopes of Picking Up Where He Left Off


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Edmonton Indy – Edmonton City Centre Airport
Round 11 of 15 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                       July 20 – 22, 2012

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:    LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)

RACE BROADCAST:                Live on Sunday, July 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network

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

TRACK LAYOUT:                      2.224-mile, 13-turn street course

RACE LENGTH:                        75 laps / 166.8 miles

2011 WINNER:                          Will Power

2011 POLESITTER:                  Takuma Sato (101.971 mph)

SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET START:            Pole at Edmonton in 2011

SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET FINISH:            Third in Sao Paulo 2012

SATO AT EDMONTON:             In two events here, Sato’s best start is pole in 2011 and best finish is ninth in 2010

RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT EDMONTON:           Highest start of 13th and finish of eighth came in 2008 by Ryan Hunter-Reay

 

NEWS & NOTES:

SECOND INDYCAR RACE IN EDMONTON FOR RLL RACING
The Edmonton Indy will mark the second Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 13th and finished eighth for the team.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will be the team’s second entry in Edmonton.

EDMONTON WAS THE SITE OF RAHAL’S SUCCESSFUL CAREER
RLL Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in his first profes­sional race at Edmonton Inter­na­tional Speedway in May 1975 where he qual­i­fied on the front row in second place in the Player’s Cana­dian Formula Atlantic Series. Elec­trical issues ended his race.  Three Indy car cham­pi­onships, a win in the 1986 Indy 500 and other acco­lades followed.

SATO ON THE NEW EDMONTON LAYOUT AND HIS 2011 POLE-WINNING EFFORT
This will be Sato’s third race in Edmonton after having competed here with KV Racing Tech­nology the previous two years. He won pole in 2011 and led 18 laps but was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay while second.  Hunter-Reay was penal­ized for “avoid­able contact” with a “drive-through” on Lap 41/80 but went on to finish seventh while Sato ulti­mately finished 21st.  In 2010, he started 13th and finished ninth.
      
Edmonton used to have a series of ultra high-speed corners but now it’s all about low speed turns.  It has got a couple of long straights followed by very tight hair­pins so to have strong braking stability and trac­tion are very impor­tant.  The new pave­ment and new part of the course is very smooth but we still use the old part of the complex and they are quite bumpy. After the radical course change last year, although it still includes the old part of the track, it’s almost a brand-new circuit. No one had an advan­tage or knowl­edge of the new track and everyone started from a clean sheet of paper which helped me a lot. I usually love the high speed corners so the new track layout isn’t neces­sary my favorite (of the two) but I do enjoy this new track because of heavy braking and it did work pretty well for me.”

SATO ON HIS 2011 RACE AND WHAT LED TO HIS DROP FROM SECOND PLACE TO THE BACK
“I led the race after starting from the pole but lost some posi­tions when I strug­gled with the balance of the car, then we lost another few places during the pit stop but I made a good restart and gained back my posi­tions on the first lap. After the restart I over­took a few cars and I thought I made my race a new race as I was running second but I was hit by another car from the back at the first hairpin – Turn 3 I think — and I lost the drive. By the time the marshal started my engine, I was already a lap down so I could do a very little from there.”

SATO ON GETTING OFF TOFAST START IN EDMONTON
“Although we lost the very first prac­tice session due to rain I felt very posi­tive in the second prac­tice session in dry condi­tions.  I was very comfort­able in the car so I was able to commit right away to working on the qual­i­fying setup and was very happy to achieve the pole. We cele­brated my second pole and that was special memory.”

SATO ON EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS YEAR’S EDMONTON INDY
“I expect we will be compet­i­tive at Edmonton. Obvi­ously the team doesn’t have last year’s data but we were in good shape in the street course and heavy braking track so we should be strong there.”

SATO ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIS POLES IN IOWA AND EDMONTON
Takuma earned his first two series poles last season. The first came on the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway oval and the second came two races later at Edmonton.
      
“Winning the pole in Edmonton meant a lot.  The Iowa pole was very special as it was my very first one but the Edmonton pole was not only the second pole, it was my first on a road course and it was such a great feeling.”

SATO IN CANADA; FORMULA ONE AND INDY CAR
Sato competed in five Formula One events in Canada, at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve between 2002 – 2007 with his best start of sixth coming in 2005 with British Amer­ican Racing (Honda) and his best finish of sixth coming in 2007 with Super Aguri (Honda) where he scored three cham­pi­onship points.  He competed in four IndyCar Series races in Canada from 2010 – 2011 with his best start of pole in Edmonton in 2011 and best finish of 9th at Edmonton in 2010.  This will be Sato’s third race in Edmonton.

SATO ON THE PHYSICALITY OF DRIVING THE DW12 COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS CHASSIS
The DW12 chassis was intro­duced this season and Sato believes driver input was increased.  “As steering kick-back is much more than last year and the car goes faster too, we are required to keep and improve good phys­ical perfor­mance. It requires more stamina and more from the whole body too.”

SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Sato has run compet­i­tively in most races to date this season although his 17th place rank in series stand­ings with a total of 176 points does not reflect that perfor­mance.  He is only 39 points from a top-10 rank (10th: Servia, 215 pts).  He led three races to date and ran as high as second, fourth and sixth in four others.  His top finish to date this season is a career-best finish of third in Brazil.

CANADIAN DOUBLE-HEADER FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING
The team will compete in not one but two races in Canada on Sunday, July 22.  The IndyCar Series team will race in the Edmonton Indy while BMW Team RLL will compete in a 2 hour 45 minute race at Mosport Inter­na­tional Raceway that will take the check­ered flag two minutes (12:00 – 2:45 ET) before the Green Flag is waived in Edmonton at 12:47 MT.  BMW Team RLL fields two BMW M3’s for drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Bill Auberlen.

- RLL – 

BMW Team RLL — Mosport ALMS Preview

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 17, 2012… Round five of the ten race 2012 Amer­ican Le Mans Series will be held at Mosport Inter­na­tional Raceway on July 22 at the newly reno­vated Cana­dian Tire Motor­sport Park, in Bowmans­villeOntario, Canada. Mosport is a very fast 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit that has chal­lenged drivers since 1961 and has only given up two third place finishes to BMW Team RLL in the previous three seasons of ALMS competition.

Following a streak of three consec­u­tive podium finishes in the first three races of the season, including a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, BMW Team RLL had a diffi­cult day at the most recent race at Lime Rock Park. With only a fifth and sixth place finish, BMW stands second in manu­fac­turer points, trailing Chevrolet by 10 points. BMW Team RLL is second in ALMS team points. Joey Hand and Dirk Müller are third in driver points. Team­mates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller stand sixth.

“Mosport has been one of our most chal­lenging races every year in terms of getting the results we have been capable of,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We have qual­i­fied well but haven’t earned the finishes we deserved. Last year we were in the lead with 15 minutes to go and we made contact with a competitor.  As a result we were given a drive through penalty which ended our chances for a victory. Hope­fully this year we won’t make those kinds of mistakes.”

Commenting on the chal­lenges ahead in the second half of the season Rahal continued, “The ALMS made a number of changes to the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of our compe­ti­tion even as recently as the last race.  As a result, our car has suffered in terms of the perfor­mance it had at one point. The Corvettes are very strong.  The Ferrari’s have been given bigger restric­tors at the last race which will have much more of an effect at Mosport than it would at Lime Rock Park so that will be a diffi­cult chal­lenge for us.  Porsche has always run well there and they have been given a number of upgrades over the course of this year so I think it will be a tough race for us given all of that. All we can do is do our best. Frankly, we really seem to be competing against Corvette at this point in time in terms of the cham­pi­onship.  However, having said that, Porsche won the last race and I don’t think we can take our eyes off of them either.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “I finished third at Mosport in the past two seasons, but we should have been higher up on the podium. Mosport always offers many chal­lenges, but every real driver accepts them because to race hard and finish well there is some­thing that does not happen often.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “Mosport is the fastest track on our calendar and aero­dy­namics is the most impor­tant thing there. All the corners are quick and this should suit our BMW M3 GT. I’m really looking forward to come back to Canada. JJ Lehto and I finished second in 2000 in the V12 LMR and won there in 2001 in our BMW M3 GTR.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “In previous years we’ve had the speed at Mosport, but, for a host of reasons, not the success. This year because of the strength our tire partner Dunlop has demon­strated at races like Sebring and Long Beach, I think we can add one more ingre­dient to the mix that may change things in our favor. These races are so compet­i­tive that having a tire that we can push longer in a stint or know that we can splash-and-go towards the end of the race without changing tires may just make the differ­ence we need.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT  I always enjoy racing at Mosport. We have been quick there and over the last three years I have been twice on pole. This race is a tough one and we need to work together to achieve a good result. The really impor­tant time in the cham­pi­onship has started and we need to score every point we can.”

The 2.45-hour Grand Prix of Mosport race is the fifth round of the 2012 ALMS cham­pi­onship. The race will take the green flag at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 22. ESPN2 will air the race same-day begin­ning at 1:00 p.m. ET. Live streaming coverage is avail­able starting at 11:45 a.m. ET on ESPN3.com.

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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