Monthly Archives: August 2012

Practice for the Baltimore GP Was Limited Due to Track Modifications; Sato Completed 19 Laps and Set the 21st Fastest Lap

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Baltimore Grand Prix – Baltimore, Maryland
IZOD IndyCar Series]
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Friday, August 31, 2012

 
PRACTICE FOR THE BALTIMORE GRAND PRIX WAS LIMITED DUE TO TRACK MODIFICATIONS; SATO COMPLETED 19 LAPS AND SET THE 21ST FASTEST LAP
 
FASTEST:         Will Power         1:21.0185 / 90.646 mph             
21st:                 Takuma Sato     1:23.0918 / 88.384 mph                        
 
TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a short day in terms of practice time. We had to try quite a few things like ride height – particularly over the bumps which you have to fight.  We need to look into the data but there are a number of things we have to improve quite a lot to get the balance right and get a little bit more grip overall. Let’s see how the chicane will change for tomorrow too. We will evaluate a few things and hopefully we are closer to having the right balance tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s second race at Baltimore. He qualified 26th and finished 18th here in 2011 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.

FIRST INDYCAR RACE AT BALTIMORE FOR RLL RACING: The Baltimore Grand Prix will mark the first IndyCar race for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and SECOND overall after competing in the ALMS race last year. Last year at Baltimore, the team’s ALMS GT program – BMW Team RLL — qualified on pole (No. 55) and in third (No. 56). The No. 55 car was taken out of the lead by contact from a Corvette and the team finished fifth (No. 55) and second (No. 56).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will be the first Indy car entry in this race.
 
NEXT UP:  Practice will take place tomorrow from 9:00-10:00 a.m. ET and qualifying will take place from 12:05 – 1:20 p.m.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The qualifying show for the Baltimore Grand Prix will be televised on NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET Saturday night and the 75 lap race will air live on the same network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, September 2.

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Rahal Appointed Chairman of USA Bobsled & Skeleton Foundation

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BMW Team RLL – Baltimore ALMS Preview

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – August 29, 2012… With only three races left in the 2012 American Le Mans Series season a third consecutive GT class championship remains the goal of BMW Team RLL. This weekend, the venue is the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge, a two-hour race through the city streets that surround Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. In comparison with many of the other tracks the series sees, Baltimore’s temporary two-mile, 12-turn circuit is analogous to a wrestling steel cage match. Concrete walls on both sides mean there is only one way out – forward to the checkered flag. There will be many competitors, but as the last year has demonstrated, only one real opponent – Corvette.
 
Last season, the inaugural ALMS race at Baltimore ended in disappointment for BMW Team RLL as the No. 55 M3 GT was punted from the lead by an overzealous pass attempt by one of the Corvettes with only 22 minutes remaining in the race. Bill Auberlen (and co-driver Dirk Werner) ultimately finished fifth. Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished second in the No. 56 M3 GT and BMW Team RLL would continue on to clinch a second consecutive GT class Manufacturer and Team title, adding the Driver’s championship for Hand and Müller.
 
This year, the rivalry escalated with the most recent episode at Road America when the Corvette of Oliver Gavin knocked the No. 56 M3 GT of Dirk Müller from second place and into the fence with only two laps remaining in the race. Auberlen and co-driver Jörg Müller would win the race to keep BMW second in Manufacturer points – only 10 points back of Chevrolet.
 
With wins at Sebring and Road America and an additional four podium finishes in the first seven races of the season, BMW stands second in the GT Class Manufacturer points and BMW Team RLL is second in Team points. Dirk Müller stands third in Driver points. Joey Hand stands fourth after missing the race at Road America due to a conflict with his DTM schedule. Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller are fifth.
 
“We qualified first and third in Baltimore last year and ran at the front all day but, once again, one of the Corvettes took us out of the position to win while we were leading,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Clearly our cars ran well there and I think there is every reason to believe we will be strong in Baltimore again.  Coming off of a win gives you a little bit of a boost. This championship isn’t over yet, that’s for sure. We just have to keep focused and do what we need to do.”
 
Commenting on the most recent race he continued, “Road America is a place we have had a lot of success in the past but clearly this year we haven’t been as competitive, for various reasons, as we have in previous seasons so we were frankly a little concerned about it given all of the long straights. But the one thing about Elkhart Lake is that it has a lot of fast corners and a good-handling car is very critical and I think our car excels on the types of corners that Elkhart has.  In the end, we took advantage of the yellow and had good strategy and Bill and Jörg drove a great race. They got themselves in a position to win the race and they stayed there. They were fast when they needed to be and ended up winning. Obviously the No. 56 car was not as fortunate as they were running second and were hit by both Corvettes, the last hit being the one that stuck us in the gravel trap for the rest of the race. It was a very disappointing finish for that car.  In the end, it was great to have a car win the race and, with the Corvettes finishing where they did, it closed the championship up.”   
           
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “The No. 55 M3 GT has been showing strength in the second half of the season. In the last four races, Jörg and I have two poles, a third place finish at Mid-Ohio and a win at Road America. Now it’s time to put our stamp on Baltimore.”
 
Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “I don’t think I could locate Baltimore on a map, but I do know that it is a street circuit. I’ve had success at many, including Macau and Monaco, and hope I can add Baltimore to the list.”
 
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Baltimore is a great street race venue – second only to Long Beach. The track is tight but it's a street track and I love street tracks of any sort. They did a really great job last year in only the first year of the event. Everything is close. I loved the fact that we could walk from our Holiday Inn through the Orioles stadium and into our paddock. Also we had the largest BMW CCA turn out I've ever seen at a race. The support from those BMW folks was great.”
 
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Baltimore was the best venue of the season last year. I like street tracks a lot and especially this one. Joey and I were on the second step of the podium last year. This year we’d like to move up to the top step.”
 
The Baltimore Sports Car Challenge will take the green flag at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 1st. Live streaming coverage will begin at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com. ABC television will broadcast the race at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 2.

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, 115 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 Looks Forward to Final Street Race of 2012 in Baltimore After Strong Street Course Efforts with RLL

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Grand Prix of Baltimore – Streets of Baltimore, Maryland
Round 14 of 15 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series
 
DATE:                                       August 31-September 2, 2012
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:  September 1 at 6 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing &
                                                  scoring with audio commentary)
RACE BROADCAST:               Live on Sunday, September 2 at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
RADIO BROADCAST:              The race will air on IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM (XM 94 & Sirius 212)
TRACK LAYOUT:                     2.4-mile, 12-turn street course
RACE LENGTH:                       75 laps / 150 miles
2011 WINNER:                          Will Power
2011 POLESITTER:                  Will Power (91.520 mph)
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET START:           Pole at Edmonton in 2011
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET FINISH:           2nd at Edmonton 2012, 3rd at Sao Paulo 2012
SATO AT BALTIMORE:           Started 26th and finished 18th here last year.
RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT BALTIMORE:         Will be first ICS race here. Started 1st & 3rd in ALMS GT class in 2011 and finished 5th
                                                  and 2nd (respectively). RLL pole sitter was taken out of the lead by contact.
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
FIRST INDYCAR RACE AT BALTIMORE FOR RLL RACING
The Grand Prix of Baltimore will mark the first Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and second overall race.  The team’s ALMS GT program qualified on pole (No. 55) and in third (No. 56) in 2011. The No. 55 car was taken out of the lead by contact from a Corvette and the team finished fifth (No. 55) and second (No. 56).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will be the first Indy car entry in this race.
 
SATO ON THE STREETS
This will be Takuma Sato’s second race here. He qualified 26th and finished 18th in 2011 with KV Racing Technology but has run well on street courses this season with RLL Racing including leading the St. Pete and Long Beach races. He finished third on the streets of Brazil and earned his series-best finish of second in Edmonton.  The team will be assessed a 10-grid penalty after qualifying in Baltimore due to an unapproved engine change – their seventh of the season.  All engine changes past a season limit of five, incur a 10-grid penalty.
 
SATO ON HIS EXPECTATIONS ON THE FINAL STREET RACE OF THE SEASON
“I believe we can have a very strong weekend. I expect we will be competitive in Baltimore based on our performance on streets courses this season and there are a number of positives that indicate we can do well. We just need to concentrate on every function we have, and work to the best of our ability and we can make the most of our potential. I am very motivated and really looking forward to the final street race of the season. We just need to make sure that we don't have any bad luck.”
 
VP TECHNOLOGY JAY O’CONNELL ON THE BENEFIT OF THE TEAM’S BALTIMORE ALMS EXPERIENCE
The team’s ALMS program started from pole in Baltimore last year but was taken out of the lead by contact from another car and finished fifth while the “sister car” qualified third and finished second.  Although it will be the first time for the IndyCar operation to compete in Baltimore, they have a good baseline of knowledge according to Vice President of Technology Jay O’Connell.
“Our ALMS program adapted quickly to the Baltimore street course last year,” said O’Connell. “You may recall that the first ALMS practice was cancelled last year since the circuit was still being completed so we had just one practice session before qualifying. Our drivers were still learning the course during qualifying and improved their best practice time by two seconds to take the GT class pole. The data and experience we gained from Baltimore last year has been shared with our IndyCar Series team in order to prepare for this year’s race. Several parts of the course have changed but the majority of the corners are the same. Our Indy car has been very competitive on street courses this season so we expect to have another strong weekend in Baltimore. The course has a mixture of concrete and paved surfaces which makes it challenging to adjust the balance to work well on both surface types.”
 
SATO ON THE SUCCESS OF THE 2011 BALTIMORE RACE
The inaugural Grand Prix of Baltimore took place last year and was well attended.  Sato is looking forward to the same support this year.
“It was very impressive and really great to see the massive attendance of fans and the very nice atmosphere. It was also great to see an incredible effort from the city and promoter. Their commitment to close the railway service over the weekend since it was part of racetrack and laying down asphalt on top of the railway crossing was impressive! It's a beautiful, great city with a lot going on over the course of the race weekend. And it’s a challenging track; I like it a lot.”
 
SATO ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE BALTIMORE COURSE
“I really enjoy the track. It is one of the very challenging street courses in the series and has a nice balance of smooth, high-speed sections and technical, bumpy, low-speed sections. It's a fast track too.  I think the physical demands were very high on this track with a lot of grip and a busy lap. It is very challenging and I really like it. Also there were a few more challenges last year like a tight high-speed, mammoth chicane on the main straight and a narrow pit entry which all are changed now and improved so it will now be more safe but still a great, fun street race track.”
 
SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Of Sato’s three seasons to date in the IndyCar Series, this has been his most competitive to date although his 15th place rank in series standings with a total of 243 points does not reflect that performance.  He is 43 points from a top-10 rank (10th: G. Rahal, 286 pts).  He led three races to date and ran as high as second, fourth and sixth in five others.  His top finish to date this season is a career-best finish of second in Edmonton.   
 

– RLL –

 
 

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Sato Retired From the GoPro Indy GP of Sonoma After Engine Failure and Finished 27th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, August 26, 2012
 
SATO RETIRED FROM THE GOPRO INDY GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA AFTER ENGINE FAILURE
 
TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a difficult weekend. The team worked so hard to find a good balance under speed. We made some good progress over the weekend but it was never fast enough to be what we wanted and in the end, unfortunately, we had engine failure so it was a very short race. It was a shame because we made some setup changes after the morning warm-up that I felt were positive changes.  I’m looking forward to returning to Baltimore. We should be competitive as we were in other street course races this year.”

  • FAST FACTS: This was Sato’s third race at Sonoma. He was on Lap 2 when he lost power and retired in 27th place.  He qualified 16th and finished 18th in 2011 and qualified 17th and finished 18th in 2010.  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.

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motorsport Operations: “Unfortunately it was a very disappointing weekend. We had a difficult test here and were unable to put a finger on the handling characteristics needed here to match the new 2012 car and Firestone tires and were a bit off all weekend.  Unfortunately when things are running downhill they run way downhill. This is going to compound our problem here with load-in being Wednesday at noon in Baltimore so there is a little extra work for the guys tonight to finish up with an engine change so we can get this engine back to Honda and we can investigate an un-characteristic problem here on this motor. This engine change is going to cost us a 10-grid penalty in Baltimore. We have been extremely strong on street courses this season and are looking forward to Baltimore and hope that we can qualify extremely well to overcome that 10-grid penalty and be a factor in the race.”
 
NEXT UP:  The Grand Prix of Baltimore will take place next weekend.  The race will be televised live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, September 2.

Sato Qualified 24th for the GoPro Indy GP of Sonoma; Will Be Assessed a 10-Grid Penalty for an Unapproved Engine Change and Will Start 26th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, August 25, 2012

 
SATO QUALIFIED 24TH FOR THE GOPRO INDY GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA; WILL BE ASSESSED A 10-GRID PENALTY FOR AN UNAPPROVED ENGINE CHANGE AND WILL START 26TH
 
POLE:  Will Power         1:17.2707 / 111.116 mph                       
24th:     Takuma Sato     1:19.2821 / 108.297 mph                                   
 
TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was another tough day. We really struggled in terms of finding the balance and speed, and finding the grip. We tried a lot of different things and changed philosophies on the set-up overnight and are working really hard to find a solution.  We made progress and certainly closed the gap to the top but the gains we made are small steps and are just not enough.  Now we have tried two practice and one qualifying sessions with quite different setups.  We need to go through all of the data and make the best out of it.  Hopefully we find a more comfortable balance and more speed in tomorrow’s warm-up and have a good race in the afternoon. (On 10-spot grid penalty:) Unfortunately it did not make a big difference on our starting our position.”

  • FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s third race at Sonoma. He qualified 16th and finished 18th in 2011 and qualified 17th and finished 18th in 2010.  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.

 
GERRY HUGHES, Race Engineer for Sato: “In qualifying this afternoon, while running the option tire Takuma managed to close the gap to the pole sitter and certainly close the gap to sixth place. We know we still have work to do to understand what to do with the car to improve the balance in ever changing conditions. Obviously tomorrow’s warm-up is going to be in much cooler conditions than the race. If the wind conditions are the same tomorrow as they were in qualifying today, we will see a reasonably different balance between morning and afternoon.  We have done a lot of work since Mid-Ohio to understand the differences between how we set the car up for a road course and street course and I think we are still finding our feet. Clearly we are not going to give up. We will keep analyzing the data to understand what we need to do to ensure we give Takuma the best car we can for tomorrow’s race.”
 
5TH INDYCAR RACE AT SONOMA FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING: The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will mark the fifth Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 8th and finished 18th for the team. The highest start and finish for the team here is by Buddy Rice in 2005 when he started sixth and finished second.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 9 Indy car entries for drivers Buddy Rice (2005-2006), Vitor Meira (2005), Danica Patrick (2005-2006), Jeff Simmons (2006), Scott Sharp (2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-2008).  The team has earned one podium (2nd – Rice 2005), 1 top-five and four top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring the Indy car total to 10 entries in 2012.
 
NEXT UP:  The pre-race warm-up will take place from 9:00-9:30 a.m. PT and the 85-lap race will take the Green Flag at 1:42 p.m. PT (4:42 ET).  The GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised live on NBC Sports Network at 4:00 p.m. ET Sunday, August 26.