Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sato Finished Ninth in the Honda Indy Toronto


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy Toronto – Streets of Exhi­bi­tion Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES — Sunday, July 8, 2012

TAKUMA SATO FINISHED NINTH IN THE HONDA INDY TORONTO

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a tough race. We chose to start with the primary tire and tried to hold our posi­tion but a couple of people got by with the quicker alter­nate tire.  We settled into a pace and it was, in a way, surprising to see not much yellow at the begin­ning of the race.  It was good to see all of the cars get through Turn 1 and 3 but then we tried a little different sequence and made our first pit stop earlier and put on the alter­nate tire and tried to stretch the run but unfor­tu­nately we had a little balance issue on the second set of tires and lost quite a bit of time and grad­u­ally lost posi­tions which was a shame.  We need to look into it that but it also seems we have a small problem on the brakes because I am losing them too.  It was a tough race and in the end its good to finish in the top-10 but I wanted to be a little higher.  Good job by everyone though.”
 

FAST FACTS: This was Sato’s third race in Toronto and his best starting and finishing posi­tion here to date.  He qual­i­fied 11th but started 9th after two cars were assessed a 10-grid penalty for “unap­proved engine changes.” In the race, he ran as high as fourth after his first stop but grad­u­ally lost posi­tions late in his second, longer stint on alter­nate tires. He was 15th in the late stages of the race but moved into ninth after a couple of on-track inci­dents took out multiple cars… He started 19th and finished 20th in 2011 and started 18th and finished 25th after contact in 2010.  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:  “Given where we started and the promise we showed in qual­i­fying it was a disap­pointing result.  We had a lot of tire degra­da­tion on the scrubbed option tires we ran in the second stint and we did a long stint so I think we paid the price in terms of our pace towards the end of the second stint before going on to fresh rubber for stint three. We were fortu­nate with the full course yellow towards the end of the race and were able to claim back some posi­tions.  But to start ninth and finish ninth, I’m disap­pointed with that.”

NEXT UP:  The series will take next weekend off and return to action on July 22 for the Edmonton Indy in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Sato started from pole in Edmonton in 2012, led 18 laps but finished 21st after he was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was penal­ized for avoid­able contact.  It will be the second race in Edmonton for the team.  Ryan Hunter-Reay started 13th and finished eighth in the team’s lone start in 2008.  The race will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, July 8.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com 

BMW Team RLL Finish Fifth and Sixth at Lime Rock Park


Wood­cliff Lake
, N.J.
 – July 7, 2012…
BMW Team RLL fought back from a day of bad luck to finish fifth and sixth in the GT class at the Amer­ican Le Mans North­east Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Today’s result was the first time a BMW Team RLL M3 GT did not reach the podium at their home track, but a deter­mined effort kept the team in second place in manu­fac­turer points and very much in contention for a third consec­u­tive GT class title.

The two BMW M3 GT cars lined up at Lime Rock Park with a black ribbon attached to the right front fender of each car. This is in memory a BMW Motor­sport engi­neer who died suddenly in Munich on Friday night. The thoughts of his BMW Motor­sport colleagues are with his family during this diffi­cult time.

Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished fifth in the No. 56 M3 GT and now stand third in driver points. Hand started the race from the second posi­tion and pitted under the race’s first caution period for left side tires and fuel on the 21st lap of the 1.5-mile, 8-turn Lime Rock Park circuit. He returned to the race in P6 and continued until lap 62 when he handed over Dirk Müller after a punc­ture to his left front tire brought him to the pits. Müller had to make an unplanned pit stop on lap 70 to remove the hood after its mounting loos­ened and blocked his view. One lap down, he stayed in the car for the remainder of the race, ulti­mately completing 159 laps and finishing fifth.

Bill Auberlen qual­i­fied the No. 55 BMW Team RLL M3 GT on the GT class pole, but unfor­tu­nately the BMW ace had to start his 100th ALMS race from the pit lane after a fuel cell issue on the instal­la­tion lap stalled his best start of the season. He did not wait long to make time setting a new race record of 51.091 seconds on lap nine. He stayed out during the race’s first caution period to regain more track posi­tion. Pitting under the green flag on lap 61 he handed off to Jörg Müller. The BMW Motor­sport veteran was forced back to the pits 14 laps later with a punc­ture of the left rear tire at the cost of one lap to the leaders. Müller remained in the car to the check­ered flag, finishing sixth. Auberlen and Müller stand sixth in driver points.

“Today was one tough day,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We had a punc­ture on the 56 car and a fuel leak and a punc­ture on the 55 car. It was a long, hard day for us, but we scored points. We will need to finish in front of the Corvettes from here on out and that is going to be tough.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “That was a long two hour and 45 minutes. It always feels like that when it isn’t your day. A punc­ture to the left front tire and the hood coming loose caused us to make two pit stops under green. Still we powered back for a fifth place finish and really didn’t lose a lot of points to the class leaders. BMW Team RLL never gives up. Bob is always on the radio telling you to just keep pushing.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT “I deeply wanted to win this race again in front of Crowne Plaza and BMW crowd, but at the end, finishing P5, we scored a lot of very good points for the cham­pi­onship. It was a tough day today. Twice we fought back and that makes me proud.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “We won prac­tice. We won qual­i­fying. Unfor­tu­nately, today was not our day although BMW Team RLL gave Jörg and me a car that was fast and capable of winning. I’ve seen days end worse than this. We can be proud to have taken a car that started one lap down to the field and finish sixth.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “The race didn’t really come to us, but we never stopped trying. We were already one and one half laps behind when we started the race, but I’m happy with the points because normally when you start from that posi­tion you are not able to get much of anything.”

Round 5 of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series, the Grand Prix of Mosport, will be held at the newly reno­vated Cana­dian Tire Motor­sport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The race is sched­uled to 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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Sato Qualified 11th for the Honda Indy Toronto; Penalty Negated Two Fastest Qualifying Laps


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy Toronto – Streets of Exhi­bi­tion Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, July 7, 2012

 

SATO QUALIFIED 11TH FOR THE HONDA INDY TORONTO; PENALTY NEGATED TWO FASTEST QUALIFYING LAPS WHICH DROPPED HIM FROM EIGHTH TO 11TH
  

POLE:  Dario Fran­chitti   59.3510 / 106.451 mph               (Group 2; fastest time set in Round 3)
11th:     Takuma Sato     59.8197 / 105.617 mph                (Group 1; fastest time set in Round 2)

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Overall it was a good day and a good qual­i­fying session but unfor­tu­nately we had a penalty which was quite harsh. Obvi­ously I don’t want to impede anyone of course.  I went wide in Turn 1 and there were a lot of marbles. I went back on track when the Marshalls said to go. I couldn’t see much in the distance; not the closing speeds of any cars.  I tried my best to avoid impeding anyone but unfor­tu­nately I was penal­ized.  We worked through our run program and made good progress.  We were very strong in the wet as we have been this season.  Rela­tively, we lost a little speed at the end of the prac­tice session when the track dried but we came back and were strong in qual­i­fying.  Starting ninth (after the engine penal­ties) of two cars is a good effort.  I enjoy driving in Toronto and this was our best qual­i­fying posi­tion on a street course this season.  Hope­fully we can continue to learn in tomorrow’s warm-up and move forward in the race. Turn 3 is the best oppor­tu­nity for passing as it’s after the long straight and one of the heav­iest braking points on the street circuit. You go from sixth gear to first gear. Nothing is impos­sible but the other areas are pretty hard in terms of passing.”
  

FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s third race in Toronto and his best starting posi­tion here to date.  He set the eighth fastest time in Round 2 of qual­i­fying (-0.113 from 6th fastest time and the ability to progress to Round 3) but the series deleted his two fastest laps after they ruled he “impeded others” when he came back on track after driving in the run-off area in Turn 1.  He started 19th and finished 20th in 2011 and started 18th and finished 25th after contact in 2010.  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:  “In the morning session we didn’t manage to get a clean lap on new tires at the end of the session so it was disap­pointing not to be able to eval­uate all the changes we made overnight in dry condi­tions.  Going into qual­i­fying, we were fairly confi­dent that we got a direc­tion with the car in terms of the balance with the changes we made and it was nice to see that we could progress from Round 1 into Round 2.  We made some changes on the car between rounds and they helped us improve our overall lap time to the tune of four-tenths (of a second) but we weren’t quite quick enough to stay in the top six to progress to Round 3.  To have our two fastest times taken away because of impeding other drivers, I can’t really make comment on that as I haven’t seen the video to analyze it myself but those calls are always diffi­cult.  The series decided to take our two fastest times away so we finished 11th in the session. Given the two engine penal­ties of the people that finished in front of us, we should line up on the grid tomorrow ninth which is not too shabby either but I think there is still more time to come from the car in qual­i­fying trim.  We will work hard to give Takuma a good race car tomorrow and try to collect some cham­pi­onship points tomorrow and try to boost our perfor­mance and ranking.”

POLE, 5 PODIUMS FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT TORONTOIt will be the 13th Indy car race for the team in Torontoand first since 2003.  The team also competed in the Atlantic Series races here in 2003 and 2004.  The team earned a total of four second place finishes (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Michel Jour­dain Jr. 2003) and best start was pole in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 21 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). The team also prepared three Toyota Atlantic entries (Danica Patrick 2003 – 2004; Chris Festa 2004).  The team has earned FIVE podiums (3rd – Rahal 1996), 9 top-five’s and 16 top-10 finishes at the track.

NEXT UP:  The morning warm-up will take place tomorrow from 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. ET and the Honda Indy Toronto will be tele­vised live on ABC begin­ning at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, July 8.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com 

BMW Team RLL — Lime Rock Park — Qualifying

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 6, 2012… Bill Auberlen qual­i­fied the No. 55 BMW Team RLL M3 GT on the GT class pole for tomorrow’s Amer­ican Le Mans Series North­east Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Auberlen, who will be making his 100th ALMS start tomorrow, set his fast lap of 50.920 seconds around the 1.5-mile, 8-turn circuit on his fifth lap of the 15-minute qual­i­fying session. The 17-year BMW racing ace will co-drive the No. 55 M3 GT with BMW Motor­sport veteran Jörg Müller. Müller will be making his first start at BMW of North America’s home track.

Joey Hand qual­i­fied the No. 56 BMW M3 GT in the fourth posi­tion with a time of 51.334 seconds. Hand, last year’s Lime Rock Park winner with co-driver Dirk Müller, tried a different qual­i­fying strategy by waiting in the pits for the first half of the session. Unfor­tu­nately, a red flag brought a seven minute halt to the session with Hand setting his quick lap on lap six, just before the check­ered flag waved.

BMW Team RLL M3 GT has brought a streak of three consec­u­tive podium finishes in the first three races of the 2012 season, including a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, to the North­east Grand Prix. Since the team’s 2009 season debut, at least one BMW Team RLL M3 has finished on the podium at Lime Rock Park. A third place finish in 2009 led to a double podium 2 – 3 result in 2010. Last year even­tual GT driver co-champions Joey Hand and Dirk Müller won the race after starting from the pole and leading every lap.

Hand and Müller currently stand second in GT driver points following a win (with Jonathan Summerton) at Sebring, a second place finish at Long Beach and a fourth place finish at Laguna Seca in the No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3 GT.

Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller are coming off a season’s-best finish of third at Laguna Seca in the No. 55 BMW M3 GT. A fourth place finish at Sebring (with Uwe Alzen) and a disap­pointing 11th at Long Beach has the duo standing fourth in driver points.

“I am pleased for Bill to have scored the pole for his 100th ALMS race, “said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “He was clearly the quickest guy out there. Bill and Jörg haven’t had much luck this year. I hope they have nothing but good luck tomorrow starting from the pole. Lots of BMW people will be here tomorrow and having your favorite car on the pole is a great way to start the day. Joey did a good job too. His fourth place time is only a blink of an eye off of the front row.”

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motor­sport director added, “We learned a lot in the two prac­tice sessions and trans­ferred that infor­ma­tion to Bill. He put the lap together and the time held up to the end of the session. It is unfor­tu­nate for Joey that the red flag came out on his hot lap. I think P4 for him is still quite good. All together, the team is in a very good posi­tion for the race.”

 

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – BMWNA Motor­sport video.

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “We waited so we would have a clearer track because at Lime Rock Park you can have a big mess in traffic. The risk you take was demon­strated today. The red flag got me. Still I am pretty happy with how far we have come with the No. 56 M3 GT. The method­ical changes the engi­neers have been making are moving us in the right direc­tion. I think we would have been P1 or P2 if not for the red flag.”

The 2.45-hour Amer­ican Le Mans North­east Grand Prix race is the fourth round of the 2012 ALMS cham­pi­onship. The race will take the green flag at 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 7. ESPN2 will air the race same-day begin­ning at 4:00 p.m. ET. Live streaming coverage is avail­able starting at 2:45 p.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 Set the Tenth Fastest Time in Practice for the Honda Indy Toronto


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy Toronto – Streets of Exhi­bi­tion Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Friday, July 6, 2012


SATO SET THE TENTH FASTEST TIME IN PRACTICE FOR THE HONDA INDY TORONTO

FASTEST:         Dario Fran­chitti 1:00.2786 / 104.813 mph
10th:                 Takuma Sato     1:00.8783 / 103.781 mph
 

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a good day. Consid­ering the amount of time we had in prac­tice was rela­tively short, we learned a lot.  We tried a couple of different setups to find out ride height, gearing and etc. as the team hasn’t been here for a long time.  We made good progress; I’m reason­ably happy with the balance.  We will look at all of the data and hope­fully continue to make progress tomorrow.  (On Push to Pass:) Today we tried the extra boost; the extra power feels good.  We need to work on the gearing for that but it seems to be good for over­taking as well as defending. I’m not sure how many times we will be able to use it or how long it will last each time but it is defi­nitely a good tool for the race.”

FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s third race in Toronto.  He started 19th and finished 20th in 2011 and started 18th and finished 25th after contact in 2010.  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:  “Both Prac­tice 1 and Prac­tice 2 were produc­tive sessions for us although I think that with the lack of consis­tent running due to red flags, we haven’t done as much of the program as we would have liked. Obvi­ously it’s my first time here and I am having to come to grips with the partic­ular char­ac­ter­is­tics of this Toronto street circuit. We have worked through a number of items on our program and whilst we are a bit disap­pointed to have slipped a little further adrift of Dario, who was quickest in both P1 and P2, we feel that there are still a number of changes that can have an affect on the car and hope­fully we will continue to move forward in Prac­tice 3 and qual­i­fying tomorrow.”

POLE, 5 PODIUMS FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT TORONTOIt is the 13th Indy car race for the team in Torontoand first since 2003.  The team also competed in the Atlantic Series races here in 2003 and 2004.  The team earned a total of four second place finishes (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Michel Jour­dain Jr. 2003) and best start was pole in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 21 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). The team also prepared three Toyota Atlantic entries (Danica Patrick 2003 – 2004; Chris Festa 2004).  The team has earned FIVE podiums (3rd – Rahal 1996), 9 top-five’s and 16 top-10 finishes at the track.

NEXT UP:  Prac­tice will take place tomorrow from 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. ET and qual­i­fying will take place from 1:05 — 2:25 p.m.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The Honda Indy Toronto will be tele­vised live on ABC at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, July 8.

BMW Team RLL — Lime Rock Park ALMS Preview; Bill Auberlen Set to Make 100th ALMS Start

BMW Team RLL –  Lime Rock Park ALMS Preview; Bill Auberlen Set to Make 100th ALMS Start

 

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 2nd, 2012… BMW Team RLL will bring a streak of three consec­u­tive podium finishes in the first three races of the 2012 season, including a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, to the July 7th Amer­ican Le Mans Series North­east Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. Since the team’s 2009 season debut at least one BMW Team RLL M3 has finished on the podium at BMW of North America’s home track. A third place finish in 2009 led to a double podium 2 – 3 result in 2010. Last year even­tual GT driver co-champions Joey Hand and Dirk Müller won the race after starting from the pole and leading every lap.

Often described as a “bull ring”, Lime Rock Park’s 1.5 miles is a fast ride through just seven corners. Only turn three is left-handed. In fact, it will take longer to read this release than Joey Hand’s record setting pole time last year of 50.925 seconds.

Hand and Müller currently stand second in GT driver points following a win (with Jonathan Summerton) at Sebring, a second place finish at Long Beach and a fourth place finish at Laguna Seca in the No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3.

Team­mates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller are coming off a season’s –best finish of third at Laguna Seca in the No. 55 M3. A fourth place finish at Sebring (with Uwe Alzen) and a disap­pointing 11th at Long Beach has the duo standing fourth in driver points. This will be Müller’s first visit to Lime Rock Park, but he can count on Auberlen who has years of expe­ri­ence and many wins at the North­west Connecticut circuit. Auberlen is also set to make his 100th ALMS start at the North­east Grand Prix.

BMW Team RLL completed two test programs in conjunc­tion with tire partner Dunlop during the seven-week break in the ALMS season for teams partic­i­pating at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first was held at Virginia Inter­na­tional Raceway, the site of the four-hour Sept. 15 ALMS at VIR race. A second test was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, host to the round six Mid-Ohio Sports Car Chal­lenge on Aug. 4.

“Last year’s race was a great one for us,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “It’s a shame that Bill got hit and delayed as a result, but Joey and Dirk drove a great race and won. It was an impor­tant race for us because it was the first race without Scott Roembke in the pits. We missed him, but vowed to get a good result for him and a win was the best possible result. It was also an impor­tant victory on our path to winning the cham­pi­onship again. If you look at the results you would have to say there has been a lot of success at Lime Rock either for me as a driver or as an owner and we certainly hope that it remains that way.

Commenting on Bill Auberlen’s 100th ALMS start, he continued, “It’s a great mile­stone for Bill and shows his compet­i­tive­ness and longevity. That is a lot of seasons in the ALMS because there are only 9 or 10 races a year. It’s not like there are 35 a season. I really wish him a lot of success this season because he has worked hard for it. The No. 55 car has been singu­larly unlucky in a lot of races over the last couple of years through no fault of the drivers. I would be really happy to see him win his 100th race.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT –“I’m excited to have the oppor­tu­nity to get my 100th ALMS start at Lime Rock Park in a BMW M3 for Bobby Rahal. All have played an impor­tant role in my career. I think the top of the podium would be the best place to celebrate.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “ Lime Rock Park will be a new circuit for me, but I could not be in a better posi­tion than to have my co-driver show me around. I am a fast learner and no one knows Lime Rock better than Bill.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Last season nothing could stop the No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3 at Lime Rock Park. The compe­ti­tion has certainly stepped up their game this season, but we (BMW) still have home field advantage.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “I am looking forward to racing at BMW’s home track again. We are expecting a lot of BMW, Crowne Plaza and Dunlop guests which always gives us special moti­va­tion. We won last year’s race and I believe that our BMW Team RLL M3 is going to be strong there again. It’s time to start the second part of our cham­pi­onship run and we are perfectly prepared for it.” The 2.45-hour Amer­ican Le Mans North­east Grand Prix race is the fourth round of the 2012 ALMS cham­pi­onship. The race will take the green flag at 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 7. ESPN2 will air the race same-day begin­ning at 4:00 p.m. ET. Live streaming coverage is avail­able starting at 2:45 p.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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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.

 

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Sato Aims to Continue Street Course Competitiveness at Honda Indy Toronto; Inaugural Winner Rahal Looks Forward to First IndyCar Return Since 2003


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Honda Indy Toronto – Streets of Toronto
Round 10 of 15 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

DATE:                                         July 5 – 8, 2012

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

RACE BROADCAST:                 Live on Sunday, July 8 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:                      1.75-mile, 11-turn street course

RACE LENGTH:                         85 laps / 148.75 miles

2011 WINNER:                           Dario Fran­chitti

2011 POLESITTER:                   Will Power (106.047 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 TORONTO:                In two events here, Sato’s best start is 18th (2010) and best finish is 20th (2011)

RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT TORONTO:              Pole 1992 (Rahal) / 2nd (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Jour­dain Jr. 2003)


NEWS & NOTES:

FIVE PODIUMS AND ONE POLE IN TORONTO FOR RLL RACING
The 2012 Honda Indy Toronto will mark the 13th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) on the streets of Toronto’s Exhi­bi­tion Place and first since 2003.  The team also competed in the Atlantic Series races here in 2003 and 2004.  The team’s highest finish is second, four times (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Michel Jour­dain Jr. 2003) and best start was pole in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 21 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) and Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2002 – 03). The team also prepared three Toyota Atlantic entries (Danica Patrick 2003 – 2004; Chris Festa 2004).  The team has earned FIVE podiums (3rd – Rahal 1996), 9 top-five’s and 16 top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring the Indy car total to 22 entries in 2012.

INAUGURAL TORONTO WINNER RAHAL ON EVENT
Team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in Toronto from 1986 – 1991 as a driver and from 1992 – 1998 as a team owner/driver.  He earned one win (1986), two poles (1987, 1992), and seven podium finishes in 13 races here.  He also started on the front row three times, earned 10 top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in those 13 races.  He always looks forward to returning to one of the premiere races on the schedule.
         
“From the first year it was held, Toronto has always been a great race,” said Rahal.  “I think the biggest thing is that the Cana­dians truly under­stand and appre­ciate road racing so from our first time there it was always a very popular event and just got huge over the years.  I love going to Canada to race; I spent most of my early career racing in Canada so in some respects it’s a little bit like going home. I’m always excited to go there. I think the Toronto event is equal or similar to Long Beach. It’s certainly one of the premiere races that the series has.”

SATO ON THE BREAK BETWEEN RACES
After five races in a row, the IZOD IndyCar Series took a much-deserved break last weekend but is back in action with this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto, Round 10 of 15.  Sato was thankful for the “off weekend.”
         
“I went back home to Monaco finally after seven weeks and spent a good amount of time with family and friends which was really relaxing. It’s good for everyone in the team who worked so hard all that time as well. It was a good refresher for the second half of the season.”

SATO ON THE RETURN TO THE STREETS
Four of the past five IZOD IndyCar Series races were on oval tracks and the next five events are on road/street circuits.  Like many others, Sato is looking forward to the return to this type of course.
         
“After having some tough races for us on ovals, I am very much looking forward to getting back to road/street courses. It will be refreshing.”

BOBBY ON THE TEAMS RETURN TO TORONTO FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2003
“We haven’t raced in Toronto for many years but we had a good setup for street races in St Pete, Long Beach, Brazil and Detroit this year so I’m not too worried about us having a good car in Toronto even though we haven’t raced there in a while. I think our street course setup for the DW12 will be good in Toronto too.”
         
“Absolutely,” added Sato on whether he expects the compet­i­tive­ness on other street courses to carry over to Toronto.  “I think it will be another good race for the new DW12 package. It will prob­ably be a tough race for the drivers phys­i­cally but it will be a good, exciting race there.  Unfor­tu­nately it seems like I didn’t have much luck at Toronto the past two years so hope­fully this year that will change with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.”

BOBBY ON FINISHING IN THE TOP-FIVE ALL BUT THREE RACES IN TORONTO
“I don’t know why I had the success I had in Toronto; I just love the circuit.  We were always good there. Toronto is a street circuit that you can really attack and somehow it kind of fit my driving style. Phys­i­cally it’s a very demanding race. It’s just a good race track. I took to it, or it took to me. We gener­ally had good race cars and really good races there.”

BOBBY ON WHETHER TORONTO IS ONE OF HIS MOST SUCCESSFUL TRACKS
“The most successful track I raced at would be Laguna Seca, having won the Can-Am race and four Indy car races. Then after I retired we won there several times in Indy car with Max Papis and Bryan Herta so I prob­ably had the most success at Laguna but, in terms of overall posi­tions over the years, Toronto would have to be one of the top three or four. Mid-Ohio, Michigan and the Mead­ow­lands were good to me in terms of wins but day-in, day-out Toronto would have to be one of the better ones.”

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 Toronto. KV Racing Tech­nology, the three-car team he drove for the two previous seasons appeared to struggle at Toronto in 2011 with their top-qualifying posi­tion being 16th. Sato started 19th and finished 20th that year.  In 2010, he started 18th and finished 25th after contact.

SATO ON CANADA BEING ONE OF HIS FAVORITE FORMULA ONE DESTINATIONS
“It was really great to come to the Cana­dian Grand Prix when I was in Formula One. The atmos­phere at Montreal is absolutely fantastic, one of the best for sure. On track I just can’t forget the 2007 race with Super Aguri. We had a good pace the whole weekend but not for the sixth place!  But we had a very inter­esting race espe­cially at the final stint because of choice of tires. I really enjoyed a huge charge with a couple of great competi­tors include Fernando Alonso who drove for McLaren at the time. Who could imagine that the little Super Aguri car could over­take a giant defending cham­pion McLaren?  It was truly an exciting race for us. And I always enjoyed myself off track too. I loved down­town Montreal and I usually had an amazing time at Cirque du Soleil.  It’s always good to be back in Canada.”

SATO ON THECANADIAN SWINGOF TORONTO AND EDMONTON
“Both tracks are very different. Toronto is known as one of the bump­iest tracks and the change of track surface multiple times makes it very chal­lenging. It’s bumpy and slip­pery. We need to have a very good mechan­ical grip there.  Over­taking is possible at Toronto because of a heavy breaking area after a long straight so it will be a great, fun race.  Edmonton was bumpier too as it was on an airport runway but since the layout was changed last year, it is now a very smooth track except where we run on the old part of the track which is still quite bumpy. As I expe­ri­enced many good times previ­ously, I love racing in Canada and I love the atmos­phere from fans.”

SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Sato has run compet­i­tively in most races to date this season although his 18th place rank in series stand­ings with a total of 154 points does not reflect that perfor­mance.  He is only 39 points from a top-10 rank (10th: G. Rahal, 193 pts).  He led three races to date and ran as high as second and sixth in three others.  His top finish to date this season is a career-best finish of third in Brazil.

THE REINTRODUCTION OF PUSH TO PASS
The IZOD IndyCar Series will re-introduce the over­take assist feature for the remaining five road/street races on the 2012 schedule begin­ning at Toronto. The over­take assist feature, intro­duced to the series in 2009, allows a driver to add turbocharger boost and addi­tional RPM with the press of a button on the steering wheel to complete a pass. The addi­tional boost is added for a pre-determined amount of time which will be deter­mined by INDYCAR depending on the circuit. The sanc­tioning body will also deter­mine the total amount of time avail­able, recharge time and any delay in the system prior to each acti­va­tion, though the engine manu­fac­turers may adjust the settings below the require­ments to opti­mize their engine’s perfor­mance.
         
“Its great to have it back,” said Sato. “I think it will produce a great amount of extra power as it will raise some boost and allow us to have more oppor­tu­ni­ties for over­taking so I look forward to that a lot!”

- RLL –