Monthly Archives: July 2012

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, 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.

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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):
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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.”

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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


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 RACING… The 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

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


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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