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.”

1 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 GTBMWNA 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.”

1 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 THE “CANADIAN SWING” OF 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 –