Monthly Archives: April 2013

Rahal and Jakes Aim To Bring RLL Consecutive Podium Finishes in Brazil After the Teams Third Place Result in 2012

Pre-Race Notes
Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Presented by Nestlé – Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Round 4 of 16 in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series
 
 
DATE:                                               Saturday – Sunday, May 4 – 5, 2013
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:           NBC Sports Network at 1 a.m. ET Sunday, May 5; live on the IMS Radio Network and
                                                          www.indycar.com (timing & scoring)
RACE BROADCAST:                       Live on NBC Sports Network, Sunday, May 5 at 11 a.m. ET
RADIO BROADCAST:                     The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM 211 & Sirius 211
TRACK LAYOUT:                             2.536-mile, 11-turn street course
RACE LENGTH:                               75 laps / 190.2 miles 
2012 WINNER:                                 Will Power
2012 POLESITTER:                         Will Power (1:21.4045 / 112.334 mph – Round 3; track record was set in R2)
RLLR’S BEST START/
FINISH AT SAO PAULO:                 25th / 3rd – both by Sato in team’s inau­gural event (2012)
G. RAHAL’S BEST START/
FINISH IN SAO PAULO:                  5th / 2nd  - both in 2011; will be his third race here
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES
START/FINISH:                                Pole at St. Pete 2009 & Kansas 2009 / 1st in St. Pete in 2008
JAKESBEST START/
FINISH IN SAO PAULO:                 18th / 15th – both in 2012; will be his third race here
JAKESHIGHEST SERIES
START/FINISH:                               8th at Motegi (road) in 2011 / 8th at Toronto (street) in 2012
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
SECOND INDY CAR RACE FOR RLL IN SAO PAULO; SEVENTH IN BRAZIL
The Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Presented by Nestlé marks Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s second time to compete on the streets of São Paulo.  In 2012, then-driver Takuma Sato was penal­ized 10-grid spots for an unap­proved engine change prior to qual­i­fying but was unable to make an attempt due to the engine change still being performed and ulti­mately started 25th of 26 cars. In the race he passed four cars at the start but was later given a drive-through penalty for exceeding the speed limit on his first of three stops.  He capi­tal­ized on mistakes of others and good pit strategy to move to fifth late in the race. On the second to last restart he passed Fran­chitti and Castron­eves for third and held the posi­tion for his best series finish to date.  Previ­ously the team competed in five CART-sanctioned events in Rio de Janeiro from 1996 – 2000 with Bobby Rahal (1996 – 1998), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 00), and Kenny Brack (2000).  The team will field the No. 15 blu eCigs entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry for James Jakes in Sao Paulo. 
 
GRAHAM RAHAL ON BOTH COMPETITIVE RUNS IN BRAZIL; BEST FINISH OF SECOND
The 2013 event will mark Rahal’s third Indy car race here.  He earned his best start and finish here in 2011 when he qual­i­fied fifth and finished second for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2012, he qual­i­fied sixth but was forced to drive through the runoff area during the race to avoid the colliding cars in front of him, lost 9 posi­tions and ulti­mately finished 16th for SCCGR.
                “Two years ago, it rained like crazy but in the end we got a good result and finished second; it was a good day for us as a team. It was only our fourth race together at Ganassi so it was pretty nice. Last year we were pretty quick again but we got caught out on a restart when (Mike) Conway plowed into the back of Dario (Fran­chitti) and I knew I wasn’t going to make the corner because they were on the inside of me so I had to go through the runoff and dropped a lot of places and that ruined my day unfor­tu­nately. That’s the way it goes. It’s a tough place; the weather is always a factor there.” 
 
JAMES ON TOP-10 RUNS THIS SEASON
In his two previous races on the streets of Sao Paulo, Jakes has two 15th place finishes. He qual­i­fied 18th in 2012 and qual­i­fied 24th in 2011 – both events with Dale Coyne Racing.  In the first three races this season, Jakes has earned his series-best start at each track and has run in the top-12 but various chal­lenges have prevented him from finishing as high as he and the team have shown they are capable of.  He is looking to turn that around in Sao Paulo, a track layout that has suited his driving style in the past.
               “Gener­ally we have been pretty good this year. I think we have had a top-10 car in all three events so far and I think that if we had converted every­thing to the finish we were capable of, we would be solidly in the top-10 of the stand­ings now which would have given us a solid plat­form for the year. Unfor­tu­nately things haven’t gone that way which is disap­pointing but I’m sure we can bounce back this year. I have always been quite strong in Brazil. The first year was diffi­cult learning the track. Actu­ally last year we should have been in the top-10 in qual­i­fying but I made a mistake, clipped the wall and bent the car. I have always been fairly confi­dent there; the track has suited my driving so I can’t wait to get back there in the No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts car. We have been compet­i­tive on tracks this year that haven’t always been my strongest, if you look at previous years, so this year I am really looking forward to going down there. I think that what we learned at St. Pete and Long Beach should defi­nitely help us to a point this weekend.”
 
GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE SAO PAULO COURSE
“It’s tough because in areas it’s partic­u­larly bumpy, espe­cially into Turn 1,” said Rahal. “There are a lot of high-speed, flowing corners. Even the 90-degree corners are rela­tively quick. The biggest thing is that with the back straight being as long as it is, it makes it really, really tricky to stay ahead. You get someone behind you that has Push to Pass — which we didn’t have last year — and I think it will make quite a differ­ence this year so it should increase the passing even more.”
                “You need to make sure that you have good top speed but also good braking stability in Sao Paulo,” added Jakes.  “To balance the outcome can be pretty diffi­cult but also the weather the last two years has been very unpre­dictable. The fore­cast looks a lot better right now but I guess you never know there.” 
 
GRAHAM ON THE DESIRED RESULT THAT FINALLY CAME AT LONG BEACH
After chal­lenging races in St. Peters­burg and at Barber Motor­sports Park, Graham was able to charge through the field in Long Beach from an 11th place start to earn his highest finish of second place since June 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway. The finish vaulted him from 19th to seventh in the series point stand­ings with a total of 66 points.  He attrib­utes that result to consis­tent hard work.
                “I think every­thing just came together in Long Beach. We have been working awfully hard but we weren’t seeing the fruits of our labor and every­thing just kind of meshed that weekend. And that’s the way we need it to be all the time. I was certainly proud of the effort that was put it and I think we need to keep up down that path the rest of the year.” 
 
GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE EXTRA CHALLENGES OFTWO-DAY STREET EVENT
“A two-day event puts even more pres­sure on teams to unload (a) quick (car),” said Rahal. “If you’re off the pace from the start I think you’re going to be in trouble. But it’s another street course so I antic­i­pate that a lot of the teams have prob­ably found a pretty good street course setup by now. Like every weekend so far, it’s going to be awfully compet­i­tive and tough to have any sort of advan­tage but I do feel good about our current state going there.  I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the blu eCigs car and picking up where we left off in Long Beach.”
                “To me, it doesn’t really change much,” added Jakes. “It just means that you have to roll out of the garage quite strong because there isn’t much time to work on the cars,” added Jakes. “It puts a little more pres­sure on the drivers and engi­neers to make sure to make the right deci­sions before qual­i­fying.”
 
GRAHAM ON WHAT IT’S GOING TO TAKE TO GETWIN IN BRAZIL AND ELSEWHERE
“The Sao Paulo course is a place where you can pass but I think we need to start up front.  If we can start up front, I think we can win these things; I just know it. If we can come from the back like we have and finish in the top-two in the case of Long Beach, there is no reason that if we start up front, we can’t move up those few spots.”
 
JAMES ON THE PASSING OPPORTUNITIES AT BRAZIL
“There are quite a few passing areas on the Sao Paulo course — the first corner, after the chicane, the long straight there and then the back straight into the last corner – which always makes for some exciting racing. You get a big tow off the car in front of you on the long back straight.  It is quite a high speed, prob­ably the longest straight of the season top-speed wise on a street course. That’s always fun.  That is one of the better passing zones because you get a tow from the car in front of you.”
 
JAMES ON HIS EARLY ARRIVAL TO BRAZIL
“I am going a day early to see a few things while I am there,” said Jakes who arrives to Brazil on Wednesday morning. “I am going to spend a couple of days with some good friends and play some golf before I head to the track.”
 

RLL

blu eCigs Expands Partnership with RLL; Primary Sponsor for No. 15 Car in Brazil and Major Associate at Indy

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 26, 2013) – After a successful part­ner­ship in the first three rounds of the IZOD IndyCar Series season, including primary spon­sor­ship for Mike Conway’s entry in Long Beach, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) and blu eCigs are expanding their involve­ment together. blu eCigs, the elec­tronic ciga­rette brand widely known for supe­rior style and quality, will become primary sponsor of the No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal in the Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Brazil and will increase its involve­ment in the 97th Indi­anapolis 500 Mile Race to major asso­ciate sponsor with enhanced branding on the race car.
 
“blu eCigs has been a great addi­tion to our program this season, and has been very well received by the race team as much as the fans – so we are very pleased to be expanding our rela­tion­ship together,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.  “We had the ability to bring on a primary sponsor for Graham’s car in Brazil and are thrilled that blu eCigs has jumped at the oppor­tu­nity, after an active weekend most recently at the Long Beach Grand Prix.”

Since its incep­tion in 2009, blu eCigs has consis­tently led the charge to intro­duce e-cigarettes as a new class of smoking alter­na­tive to the US market and has done so in a prag­matic way — always keeping the customer expe­ri­ence as the central focus. In April 2012, blu eCigs was acquired by Loril­lard, Inc., solid­i­fying blu eCigs as a market trail­blazer and further advancing the tremen­dous growth oppor­tu­nity repre­sented by the e-cigarette cate­gory.  Today, North Carolina-based blu eCigs can be found in over 80,000 retail loca­tions in addi­tion to online and continues to set the stan­dard for product inno­va­tion and respon­sible marketing.

We are very pleased with the posi­tive response by fans at this year’s Long Beach Grand Prix event where blu eCigs had its first ever pres­ence as an IndyCar primary sponsor. We saw the use of e-cigarettes throughout the event, including by our own pit crew, so the IndyCar demo­graphic appears to be the right match for blu,” said Matt Coapman, Vice Pres­i­dent of Marketing at blu eCigs. “We think the upcoming Sao Paulo IndyCar event can amplify both U.S. and inter­na­tional expo­sure and will be a good fit for the sport and our brand.”

Last year in Brazil, RLL’s then-driver Takuma Sato earned his best series finish to date of third place. Graham Rahal’s best finish in the event came in 2011 when he was second to Will Power. He matched that result this past weekend in Long Beach for RLL.   

RLL’s highest start and finish in the Indi­anapolis 500 came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addi­tion, the team has earned a total of four top-three finishes (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139 – 140 and laps 189 – 197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ulti­mately ended under caution when JR Hilde­brand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap.  In 2012, RLL driver Takuma Sato was along­side even­tual Indy 500 winner Dario Fran­chitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but limited trac­tion and possible tire contact cata­pulted him into a spin and he ulti­mately finished 17th after leading the third most race laps.
 
About blu eCigs Elec­tronic Ciga­rettes
blu eCigs® elec­tronic ciga­rettes offer the look and feel of tradi­tional ciga­rettes – without the tobacco smoke, ash, or smell.  blu eCigs provides a real­istic recre­ational alter­na­tive to smoking – creating a vapor “puff” that evap­o­rates within seconds. The prod­ucts have been featured in the presenter gift bags at the Grammy Awards and other celebrity events, and are used by a number of A-list actors, musi­cians, and athletes.  Avail­able online and at retailers nation­wide, blu eCigs come in conve­nient dispos­ables or recharge­able packs for regular use, with or without nico­tine and in a variety of flavors. blu eCigs provide inno­v­a­tive tech­nology for an improved consumer expe­ri­ence that enhances the social aspect of e-cigarettes.  The company is based in Char­lotte, NC, and blu eCigs’ flavors are made in the USA.  For more, visit www.blucigs.com.
 
About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Browns­burg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.  In 2013 the team will begin their 22nd year of open wheel compe­ti­tion and attempt to add to their 20 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles and 1992 series cham­pi­onship.  The team also competes in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 — Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Cham­pi­onship and third in the Manu­fac­turer Cham­pi­onship.
 

 – RLL -

 

Michel Jourdain Jr. Returns to RLL for the 2013 Indy 500; Office Depot Mexico to Again Sponsor Entry

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 23, 2013) – It was announced today in Mexico City that Michel Jour­dain Jr., who brought Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Indy car wins in Montreal and Milwaukee Champ Car World Series races in 2003, and who drove for the team in the 2012 Indi­anapolis 500 will again join the team for the 2013 500-mile event.  Office Depot Mexico returns as the primary sponsor of Jourdain’s No. 17 entry and Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi return as asso­ciate spon­sors.
 
“I am very happy to compete in the Indi­anapolis 500 again,” said Michel Jour­dain, 36.  “It has been a year since I have been in the car but I will take the same strategy as last year and build up speed little by little. We have good confi­dence because we ran pretty well last year, espe­cially Takuma (Sato).  I’m sure the car will be really good and with it being a three car team we should be able to progress much faster. I’m happy to be working with Bobby and the guys again as well as with Bruno (Couprie) my engi­neer, who I worked with last year. I have worked with Office Depot Mexico for over 11 years now and I am thankful that they will be the primary sponsor again. I’m also happy to have Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi back again as asso­ciate spon­sors. Hope­fully we can give them all a great result in the Indy 500.”
 
Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Colombia. By the end of April the company will operate 242 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.
 
“We are very excited about having Michel (Jour­dain) repre­sent us again in the most impor­tant race in the world,” said Arturo Hernández Martínez, Marketing Director, Office Depot® de México.
 
Jour­dain, who is from Mexico City, returns to compe­ti­tion for the first time since the 2012 Indi­anapolis 500 where he qual­i­fied 22nd and finished 19th. He became the youngest driver to start a Champ Car race to date when he drove at Long Beach in 1996 at the age of 19 years, six months and 12 days old. He made 152 starts in CART and Champ Car from 1996 – 2004 plus three Indy Racing League starts, including the 1996 Indy 500 where he qual­i­fied eighth and finished 13th and the 1996 race in Las Vegas where he finished second in a 28-car field.  He won races in Montreal and Milwaukee in 2003 with Team Rahal and moved to RuSPORT for 2004 when Team Rahal focused solely on the Indy Racing League that season.  With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nation­wide Series from 2005 – 2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series. 
 
“I am very pleased to have Michel join the team again for the Indy 500,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal.  “I think that last year for his first race back after a number of years out of an Indy car, he did a very good job. We made a bad pit call last year and let him down frankly which put him a lap down. He quickly got with the program at Indy and was running compet­i­tively in the race and I think that one year later most of the rust is off and he will be much more prepared because he knows what to expect. From a car stand­point, we should be even more compet­i­tive than we were last year so I am really pleased to have Michel back. He is a great young guy and it’s a plea­sure to have him, Office Depot Mexico, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi back. It should be a good event for every­body.”
 
Jour­dain will return to the cockpit of an Indy car on Opening Day for the 97th Running of the Indi­anapolis 500 on Saturday, May 11. 
 
RLL’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addi­tion, the team has earned a total of four top-three finishes (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139 – 140 and laps 189 – 197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ulti­mately ended under caution when JR Hilde­brand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap.  In 2012, RLL driver Takuma Sato was along­side even­tual Indy 500 winner Dario Fran­chitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but limited trac­tion and possible tire contact cata­pulted him into a spin and he ulti­mately finished 17th after leading the third most race laps.
 
About Office Depot Mexico…
Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Colombia. By the end of April the company will operate 242 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.
 
About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Browns­burg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.  In 2013 the team will begin their 22nd year of open wheel compe­ti­tion and attempt to add to their 20 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles and 1992 series cham­pi­onship.  The team also competes in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 — Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Cham­pi­onship and third in the Manu­fac­turer Cham­pi­onship.
 
 – RLL -

BMW Team RLL Finishes 1 – 2 at Long Beach; Z4 GTE Wins in Only Second Race of Debut Season

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. — April 20, 2013 … The streets of Long Beach, Cali­fornia continue to be the favorite stomping grounds of BMW Team RLL as they finished 1 – 2 in today’s Amer­ican Le Mans at Long Beach race. In only the second race for the new BMW Z4 GTE, the team beat a very compet­i­tive GT class field with excel­lent strategy set in place during the first hour of the two-hour contest around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn tempo­rary street circuit. BMW Team RLL has finished with at least one car on the Long Beach podium, including a win from the pole in 2011, for five consec­u­tive years. Today’s victory puts BMW in a tie with Chevrolet at the top of the GT Class Manu­fac­turer points. The win was also the first for the new BMW-Michelin partnership.

Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin, driving the Frozen Black No. 55 Z4 GTE, won the race, finishing 6.578 seconds ahead of the No. 56 Z4 GTE of Joey Hand and Dirk Müller.

Martin started in the No. 55 car from the fourth spot. A spin on lap two dropped him to the rear of the field, but the first of three long caution periods in the first hour of the race gave the 55 crew the chance to reverse their fortune. Pitting Martin after 25 minutes, on lap 16, Auberlen got behind the wheel with a full tank of fuel and new Miche­lins. During the second caution period Auberlen pitted twice more for fuel only. When the race went green with 44 minutes run, the die was cast for the veteran to not return to the pits for the remainder of the race. A third caution during which the rest of field pitted allowed for a bit more breathing room for fuel conser­va­tion and Auberlen to cycle to the second posi­tion as the race went green just past the first hour. On lap 66 with 15 minutes left in the race, Auberlen took the lead and drove to his first win at the Long Beach.

The No. 56 Z4 GTE had an equally exciting race. Hand started the car from the seventh starting posi­tion. He pitted during the third caution period and handed the car to Müller who began his stint from the third spot as the race went green. Charging for the entire second hour he took over second place with two laps remaining to give BMW Team RLL its first 1 – 2 finish since the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011.

This is a really good one,” said Bobby Rahal. “The 55 car called excel­lent strategy. We followed a different tact and at the end we put both cars at the front of the field and the Z4 GTE into the history books with a 1 – 2 finish in only our second race. We were able to run more than one stint on the Miche­lins and that was crucial to make our strate­gies work. There is nothing like winning at Long Beach. Sebring is the big one, but Long Beach is not far behind in my book.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “Today the Z4 GTE took me to the top of the Long Beach podium and that is some­thing I have tried to do for a very long time. Great strategy by the team and the Miche­lins were an absolute plea­sure to drive on all day.”

Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I had a little mistake in the begin­ning, but who was to know that it would set the stage for a great strategy call by Jay (O’Connell) and Bruno (Couprie). Today is a fantastic day for Bill and BMW.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “After qual­i­fying seventh I was not pleased, but I told the crew that I thought we could win. It wasn’t our win today, but I could not be happier for Bill to get his first win at his home track. Dirk did a great job to bring the car home second.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “Congrat­u­la­tions to Bill for his first win at Long Beach. At the end Bobby was on the radio telling me to push, but to make sure I brought it home. It was not easy to get by Dominick (Farn­bacher), but being old team­mates I knew he would be fair. I am delighted for the entire BMW Team RLL family.”

The race will be broad­cast on ABC tele­vi­sion tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. ET. More infor­ma­tion on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.alms.com.

Round Three of the 2013 Amer­ican Le Mans Series will be held at Laguna Seca Raceway, in Monterey, Calif., on May 11 with the running of the six-hour Amer­ican Le Mans Monterey race.

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, 117 MINI passenger car dealers, and 34 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.

Infor­ma­tion about BMW Group prod­ucts is avail­able to consumers via the Internet at: www.bmwgroupna.com

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 over two decades, compiling 28 victo­ries, 42 poles and three series cham­pi­onships (1992, 2010, 2011) 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.

Jour­nalist note: Photog­raphy for edito­rial purposes as well as infor­ma­tion about BMW Group and its prod­ucts in the USA is avail­able to jour­nal­ists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com.

Conway Qualified Fifth, Rahal 11th and Jakes 13th for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, April 20, 2013
IZOD IndyCar Series 
 
CONWAY QUALIFIED FIFTH, RAHAL 11TH AND JAKES 13TH FOR THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
 
POLE:  Dario Fran­chitti              1:07.2379 / 105.369 mph            (set in Round 3)
5th:       Mike Conway                1:07.5994 / 104.806 mph            (set in Round 3; fastest in Round 2 at 1:07.1937)
11th:     Graham Rahal               1:07.7799 / 104.527 mph            (set in Round 2)
13th:     James Jakes                 1:07.9185 / 104.313 mph            (set in Round 1)
                       
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We just seemed to squeak through in the first round of qual­i­fying and in the second, now that we had made it through the first, we thought we would be able to gain a little bit but frankly did the same lap time. I seemed to lose the balance a little bit but its not far off but it’s a game of inches nowa­days and unfor­tu­nately we didn’t quite have enough today. The Midas / Big O Tires guys did a good job today though and the car feels pretty compet­i­tive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
 
FAST FACTS: Will be his seventh Champ/Indy car race here, eighth overall, and first for his father’s team.  His best start/finish here came in 2007 when he started fifth but the pit strategy of others and slow fuel flow related to teething prob­lems for the all-new Panoz Champ Car on two stops limited his finish to eighth place.  In the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here he started seventh and finished fifth. He was in podium contention several times but various chal­lenges took him out of that possi­bility… This is Rahal’s first full season at RLL, sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series and seventh in a top open wheel racing series (CCWS 2007)… The Ohio native recorded 92 starts between the Champ Car World Series and IZOD IndyCar Series (2007 – 2012) capturing one win, two poles, 19 top-five and 44-top 10 finishes. He led a total of 28 laps in 2012 – 27 at Texas Motor Speedway where he nearly claimed his second series victory but brushed the wall and finished second — had an average start of 12.4 and average finish of 11.2, earned three podium finishes and completed 87.2 percent of the laps run (1,841 of 2,111).
 
JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We made some changes this morning and it wasn’t quite what we were looking for. Then I think we had a pretty good balance going into qual­i­fying. The first run was pretty good, I just didn’t quite put it together really from my point of view on the second set of tires using the reds (Fire­stone alter­nate tires). I think the Acorn Stair­lifts car is pretty good for the race and I’m looking forward to getting it a bit further up the field tomorrow.”
 
FAST FACTS: Will be his third race here, best start at this track and first with RLL after having driven for Dale Coyne Racing in the previous two. He qual­i­fied 22nd in 2012 but started 14th after grid penal­ties to Chevy-powered teams but made a mistake while running up front and finished 11th.  In 2011, he qual­i­fied 23rd and finished 15th… Jakes is competing in his third season in the IndyCar Series and first with RLL. In 31 Indy car starts with Dale Coyne Racing from 2011 – 2012, his best finish was eighth at Toronto and series-best start of eighth was at Motegi.
 
MIKE CONWAY, No. 17 blu eCigs Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Yeah it was all going good. We were very quick in Q2 and then in Q3 I think the tire pres­sures just went a little bit too high and we couldn’t get any more time. It’s a shame because I think we had a really good shot at pole there, but big thank you to the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team and blu eCigs for making this possible. I’m looking forward to a good race tomorrow.”
 
FAST FACTS: Will be his fifth race in Long Beach and first IndyCar Series race of 2013.  In 2012, he qual­i­fied 14th, started seventh after series penal­ties to Chevy-powered teams and retired in 22nd due to mechan­ical issues while driving for AJ Foyt Racing.  In 2011, he qual­i­fied third, led 14 laps and earned his first series victory with Andretti Autosport.  In 2010, he qual­i­fied 16th and finished 10th with Dreyer & Rein­bold Racing. In 2009, he qual­i­fied 16th and retired in 21st after contact… RLL expanded to three entries for Long Beach with primary spon­sor­ship from blu eCigs for the event. Blu eCigs is also an asso­ciate sponsor for the team for the full season.
 
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT LONG BEACH 2013 marks the 22nd consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team and 14th Indy car race in Long Beach… It is the second time for RLL to compete in the Indy car race at Long Beach since 2003 when Michel Jour­dain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ulti­mately retired in 15th place.  In total, the team won three poles (Bryan Herta 1998, Jimmy Vasser 2002, Michel Jour­dain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Kenny Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999). The team was in contention for a podium finish last year with Takuma Sato who led two times for a total of 16 laps and was third on the final lap but was the victim of “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay in Turn 8 and was ulti­mately scored with an eight place finish due to a multi-car pileup that blocked the track leading to the front straight.
 
NEXT UP:  Pre-race warm-up will take place tomorrow morning from 9:00 — 9:30 a.m. PDT. Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 4:00 PM ET Sunday, April 21.
 
PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photog­raphy and video. Register for access at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess
 
 

BMW Team RLL Z4 Qualifies 5th and 7th at Long Beach

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – April 19, 2013 … BMW Team RLL will start in the fifth and seventh posi­tions for tomorrow’s two-hour ALMS at Long Beach race, the second round of the 2013 Amer­ican Le Mans Series.

Bill Auberlen, driving the Frozen Black No. 55 Z4 GTE, saved his best lap for last in this afternoon’s 15-minute qual­i­fying session. Only 0.218 seconds from the class pole time, his lap of 1:19.063 minutes on his ninth lap of the 1.968-mile, 11-turn tempo­rary street circuit was good enough for the fifth starting posi­tion. Always one of the most compet­i­tive races of the ALMS season, the entire GT class is only sepa­rated by 0.688 seconds. Auberlen will share the No. 55 machine with Maxime Martin.

Joey Hand strug­gled with the set-up of the No. 56 Z4 GTE and his fast lap of 1:19.258 minutes will see him and co-driver Dirk Müller roll off seventh. Hand and Müller won this race from the pole in 2011 and finished second last year.

The new machines had an excel­lent first race at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring in March. Running compet­i­tive lap times at the sharp end of the GT field for the first two-thirds of the race, the team ulti­mately finished fourth and seventh after mechan­ical prob­lems hindered any chance at chal­lenging for the podium.

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (5th) “I believe we made some good choices after this morning’s prac­tice and the No. 55 Z4 GTE was a plea­sure to drive. That I was able to set my quickest time on my last lap means we have some­thing for the race. A few tenths off the pole in such a compet­i­tive class means we’ll start fifth, but we have a car that can reach the podium tomorrow.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (7th) “We just were not 100% this after­noon. I’m not sure why, but I was not comfy and I could not produce the lap time to do better than P7. We’re racing at a compe­ti­tion level in this class that does not allow you to be off even a little.”

Live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com. Follow us on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. Tele­vi­sion coverage will be broad­cast on ABC tele­vi­sion on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. More infor­ma­tion on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.alms.com.

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, 117 MINI passenger car dealers, and 34 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.

Infor­ma­tion about BMW Group prod­ucts is avail­able to consumers via the Internet at: www.bmwgroupna.com

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 over two decades, compiling 28 victo­ries, 42 poles and three series cham­pi­onships (1992, 2010, 2011) 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.

Jour­nalist note: Infor­ma­tion about BMW Group and its prod­ucts in the USA is avail­able to jour­nal­ists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com.

Conway, Jakes & Rahal Second, Sixth and 14th Fastest in Practice at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, April 19, 2013
 
 
CONWAY, JAKES AND RAHAL SECOND, SIXTH AND 14TH RESPECTIVELY IN PRACTICE FOR THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
 
FASTEST:        Ryan Hunter-Reay       1:09.4224 / 102.054 mph            (set in Prac­tice 2)
2nd:                  Mike Conway               1:09.4603 / 101.998 mph            (set in Prac­tice 2)
6th:                   James Jakes                1:09.7664 / 101.550 mph            (set in Prac­tice 2)
14th:                 Graham Rahal              1:10.1906 / 100.937 mph            (set in Prac­tice 1; 8th in that session)
                       
 
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I think the Midas / Big O Tires car is compet­i­tive. Clearly with Mike (Conway) and James (Jakes), the team has done a great job here. We are starting off awfully quick. I simply just didn’t get a lap in the second session but I feel confi­dent that with the things we are trying, we are going to find some good speed and tomorrow we will be right there.  If we can make a couple of minor improve­ments, I think it will be a good day for our team tomorrow.”
 
FAST FACTS: Will be his seventh Champ/Indy car race here, eighth overall, and first for his father’s team.  His best start/finish here came in 2007 when he started fifth but the pit strategy of others and slow fuel flow related to teething prob­lems for the all-new Panoz Champ Car on two stops limited his finish to eighth place.  In the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here he started seventh and finished fifth. He was in podium contention several times but various chal­lenges took him out of that possi­bility… This is Rahal’s first full season at RLL, sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series and seventh in a top open wheel racing series (CCWS 2007)… The Ohio native recorded 92 starts between the Champ Car World Series and IZOD IndyCar Series (2007 – 2012) capturing one win, two poles, 19 top-five and 44-top 10 finishes. He led a total of 28 laps in 2012 – 27 at Texas Motor Speedway where he nearly claimed his second series victory but brushed the wall and finished second — had an average start of 12.4 and average finish of 11.2, earned three podium finishes and completed 87.2 percent of the laps run (1,841 of 2,111).

 
JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “In the first session, we just strug­gled a little bit with the balance and then we made some small adjust­ments for the second session and they seemed to help for sure. It was pretty diffi­cult because we didn’t get to try anything that we planned to try because the session was so disrupted with red flags but I think we have a good base­line. The Acorn Stair­lifts car seems to be pretty good straight out of the box so we will just try to make improve­ments over night and go from there. Hope­fully we are in a strong posi­tion from qual­i­fying.  I’m excited to get out there tomorrow.”
 
FAST FACTS: Will be his third race here and first with RLL after having driven for Dale Coyne Racing in the previous two. He qual­i­fied 22nd in 2012 but started 14th after grid penal­ties to Chevy-powered teams but made a mistake while running up front and finished 11th.  In 2011, he qual­i­fied 23rd and finished 15th… Jakes is competing in his third season in the IndyCar Series and first with RLL. In 31 Indy car starts with Dale Coyne Racing from 2011 – 2012, his best finish was eighth at Toronto and series-best start of eighth was at Motegi.
 
 
MIKE CONWAY, No. 17 blu eCigs Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The blu eCigs car was great. From the outset we had a good balance in the car. In the end, we ended up top-two in both sessions so that was nice and encour­aging for the rest of the weekend.  It was a good start; a good job from all of the guys. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I got just one clear lap and I was lucky to get that. Some people didn’t even get that so it is kind of hard to know where we line up really in terms of pace but it felt good. We have a few areas to work on to be quicker tomorrow. If we can improve some areas, we will be good. ”
 
FAST FACTS: Will be his fifth race in Long Beach and first IndyCar Series race of 2013.  In 2012, he qual­i­fied 14th, started seventh after series penal­ties to Chevy-powered teams and retired in 22nd due to mechan­ical issues while driving for AJ Foyt Racing.  In 2011, he qual­i­fied third, led 14 laps and earned his first series victory with Andretti Autosport.  In 2010, he qual­i­fied 16th and finished 10th with Dreyer & Rein­bold Racing. In 2009, he qual­i­fied 16th and retired in 21st after contact… RLL expanded to three entries for Long Beach with primary spon­sor­ship from blu eCigs for the event. Blu eCigs is also an asso­ciate sponsor for the team for the full season.
 
 
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT LONG BEACH 2013 marks the 22nd consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team and 14th Indy car race in Long Beach… It is the second time for RLL to compete in the Indy car race at Long Beach since 2003 when Michel Jour­dain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ulti­mately retired in 15th place.  In total, the team won three poles (Bryan Herta 1998, Jimmy Vasser 2002, Michel Jour­dain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Kenny Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999). The team was in contention for a podium finish last year with Takuma Sato who led two times for a total of 16 laps and was third on the final lap but was the victim of “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay in Turn 8 and was ulti­mately scored with an eight place finish due to a multi-car pileup that blocked the track leading to the front straight.
 
NEXT UP:  Prac­tice will take place tomorrow morning from 10:40 — 11:25 a.m. PDT. Qual­i­fying will take place from 2:00 – 3:10 PM on Saturday and will be tele­vised by NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 4:00 PM ET Sunday, April 21.
 
PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photog­raphy and video. Register for access at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Klipsch Joins RLL as the “Official Audio & Headphone Partner” and Associate Sponsor of No. 15 Indy Car Program

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 17, 2013) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Klipsch, a leading global speaker manu­fac­turer, has entered into a multi-year strategic part­ner­ship with the IndyCar Series team. Klipsch will serve as the “Offi­cial Audio & Head­phone Partner” of RLL and become an asso­ciate sponsor of the No. 15 Indy car driven by Graham Rahal in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

I’m really thrilled to welcome Klipsch to our team,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.  “Klipsch is a name I first became familiar with many years ago when I was in college and they were clearly the crème de la crème in the industry. For them to join with us now is partic­u­larly satis­fying for me. We like to asso­ciate ourselves with winners and Klipsch is certainly that.”

As a partner to RLL, Klipsch will be highly visible among the team’s drivers, crew and at-track hospi­tality areas. Klipsch will supply the race team with its latest head­phones on an on-going basis, enabling RLL guests to expe­ri­ence the brand’s award-winning comfort and high-performance sound signa­ture during each race weekend. In addi­tion, Klipsch and RLL will collab­o­rate on the tech­nical devel­op­ment of the team’s race commu­ni­ca­tions plat­form lever­aging the industry expert’s signif­i­cant exper­tise.
 
“It’s a thrill to join an orga­ni­za­tion like Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, embodying the same family legacy and commit­ment to perfor­mance that we value in our end brand,” said Steve Klipsch, Senior Vice Pres­i­dent Oper­a­tions Devel­op­ment for Klipsch Group, Inc. “As we get set to hit the track with Graham, we look forward to having him repre­sent the Klipsch brand and creating a long-term rela­tion­ship with RLL in the IZOD IndyCar Series.”
 
About Klipsch Premium Speakers
For over 65 years, Klipsch has designed premium speakers for those who are passionate about great sound. Company founder Paul W. Klipsch started this legacy in 1946, and it continues today with sheer commit­ment to inno­va­tion and deliv­ering the world’s most powerful, detailed and emotional sound repro­duc­tion. Today, the brand’s diverse product port­folio encom­passes home theater, profes­sional cinema, installed whole-house contracting, commer­cial, computer speakers, iPod® docks and head­phones. As one of the first U.S. loud­speaker compa­nies, Klipsch continues to be the high-performance brand of choice for audio­philes and home theater aficionados around the world. Klipsch Group, Inc. is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of VOXX Inter­na­tional (NASDAQ: VOXX).
 
About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Browns­burg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2013 the team will begin their 22nd year of open wheel compe­ti­tion and attempt to add to their 20 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles and 1992 series cham­pi­onship. The team also competes in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 — Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Cham­pi­onship and third in the Manu­fac­turer Cham­pi­onship.
 

 – RLL -

RLL Expands to Three Indy Car Entries for Their 14th Toyota GP of Long Beach Event; And Five Total

Pre-Race Notes
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
Round 3 of 16 in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series 
 
DATE:                                                Friday – Sunday, April 19 – 21, 2013
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:           NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET Saturday, April 20; live on the IMS Radio
                                                          Network and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring)
RACE BROADCAST:                       Live on NBC Sports Network, Sunday, April 21 at 4 p.m. ET
RADIO BROADCAST:                     The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM 211 & Sirius 211
TRACK LAYOUT:                            1.968-mile, 11-turn street course
RACE LENGTH:                               80 laps / 157.4 miles 
2012 WINNER:                                 Will Power
2012 POLESITTER:                         Ryan Briscoe (1:08.6089 / 103.264 mph)
RLLR’S BEST START/
FINISH AT LONG BEACH:              3 poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jour­dain, Jr. 2003) / 2nd - three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993,
                                                          Vasser 2002)
G. RAHAL’S BEST START/
FINISH AT LONG BEACH:              5th / 8th  - both in 2007; will be his seventh Indy car race here and eighth overall
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES
START/FINISH:                                Pole at St. Pete 2009 & Kansas 2009 / 1st in St. Pete in 2008
JAKESBEST START/
FINISH AT LONG BEACH:              22nd / 11th – both in 2012; will be his third race here
JAKESHIGHEST SERIES
START/FINISH:                                8th at Motegi (road) in 2011 / 8th at Toronto (street) in 2012
CONWAY’S BEST START/
FINISH AT LONG BEACH:             3rd / 1st – both in 2011; will be his fifth race here
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
14TH INDY CAR RACE FOR RLL IN LONG BEACH; FIVE CARS ENTERED FOR ALMS/INDY CAR
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing began their 22nd consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion in 2013.  The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB) marks the team’s 14th time to compete in the event and their second since 2003 when Michel Jour­dain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ulti­mately retired in 15th place.  Although the team didn’t compete in Indy car races here from 2004 – 2011 while they fielded a full­time entry in the Indy Racing League (2004 – 2008), they did compete in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic races with Danica Patrick and in the 2007 Amer­ican Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. In 2009, the team returned to the streets of Long Beach in the ALMS with BMW Team RLL and finished on the podium each year since then including a win in 2011 with Joey Hand and Dirk Müller. 
 
In their 13 previous Indy car races in Long Beach, the team entered 22 cars for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992 – 1998), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 1999), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Kenny Brack (2000 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Jour­dain (2002 – 2003) and Takuma Sato (2012).  In total, the team won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jour­dain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999).  In 2012, Sato ran in the top-three most of the race and led two times for a total of 16 laps. He was en route to a then career-best series finish of third place on the final lap when he was the victim of “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay in Turn 8 and ulti­mately was scored with an eight place finish due to a multi-car pileup that blocked the track leading to the front straight.
 
The team has prepared five cars for the Long Beach weekend – three of which are entered in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series race on Sunday including the No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal,  the No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry for James Jakes and has added another entry for 2011 event winner Mike Conway – the No. 17 blu eCigs car. The team also prepares two entries under the name BMW Team RLL that will compete in the GT class of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series race on Saturday.
 
BOBBY RAHAL ON RUNNING FIVE CARS AT LONG BEACH
“Having an ALMS race on Saturday and an Indy car race on Sunday is like having the best of both worlds.  There is great compe­ti­tion on all three days so if you are a fan going to the event, there is some­thing for every­body. I really like the ALMS/IndyCar week­ends we have had in the past at Balti­more and Mid-Ohio. For us partic­u­larly — having a foot in both series — it’s going to be extremely busy. I will be involved in both so for me person­ally it is going to be one of the busiest race week­ends I can remember in a while.  Not just with the BMW cars running but also expanding to three Indy cars. It’s going to be a little crazy for sure but having Mike Conway join the team and blu eCigs as a sponsor is obvi­ously a big deal for us. We expect to have three very compet­i­tive Indy cars.”
 
GRAHAM RAHAL ON COMPETITIVE RUNS IN LONG BEACH AND CONTACT WITH MARCO IN 2012
The 2013 event will mark the seventh Champ or Indy car race here for Graham Rahal and first with his father’s team.  In 2012, he qual­i­fied 15th for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR), started eighth due to penal­ties to Chevrolet-powered teams and ran as high as fourth but contact with Marco Andretti limited him to a 24th place finish. In 2011, he qual­i­fied 16th for SCCGR and finished 13th.  In 2010 he started and finished 22nd for Sarah Fisher Racing after contact.  He started seventh and finished 12th for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing in 2009. In 2008 he started ninth and had a podium in sight when he was along­side third place but contact during this pass led to a 13th place finish.  He started fifth in 2007 but the pit strategy of others and slow fuel flow related to teething prob­lems for the all-new Panoz Champ Car on two stops limited his finish to eighth place.
                “My race last year was cut short because Marco and I got together but we ran very compet­i­tively and I’ve been compet­i­tive there almost every year in the race but I never quite get to the finish so this year I hope we make it happen for the Midas / Big O Tires team.”
 
JAKES HOPING TO FULFILL PAST POTENTIAL AT LONG BEACH
The 2013 race will be the third for James Jakes at this track.  He qual­i­fied 22nd, started 14th after grid penal­ties to Chevy-powered teams but made a mistake while running up front and finished 11th in 2012. In 2011, he qual­i­fied 23rd and finished 15th – both with Dale Coyne Racing.  After compet­i­tive runs this season and also at Long Beach last year, Jakes hopes to show the poten­tial of the Acorn Stair­lifts team.
                “The first year I raced in Long Beach, it was obvi­ously my first time to see the place so it was tough. Then last year, prac­tices were rained out on Friday. Some teams didn’t prac­tice in the first one and the second one was cancelled so it was tough just jumping in for the third prac­tice. We had a good race, we were running sixth and I made a mistake at Turn 1 and had to spin around and join the field again so that was disap­pointing. Gener­ally we have been quick there; we just haven’t been able to show it. I think we can do that this year. I’m looking forward to going back.”
 
CONWAY ON HIS 2011 WIN AND PAST RESULTS AT LONG BEACH
The 2013 event will mark the fifth for Mike Conway, 29, in Long Beach as well as his first IndyCar Series race in 2013.  In 2012 he qual­i­fied 14th, started seventh after series penal­ties to Chevy-powered teams and retired in 22nd due to mechan­ical issues while driving for AJ Foyt Racing.  In 2011, he qual­i­fied third, led 14 laps and won with Andretti Autosport.  In 2010, he qual­i­fied 16th and finished 10th with Dreyer & Rein­bold Racing. And in his first event on the streets of Long Beach in 2009, he qual­i­fied 16th and retired in 21st after contact.  Conway confesses that once he won, the memo­ries of the other events faded in compar­ison to his 2011 victory.
                “Last year, we burned down unfor­tu­nately. We had an engine issue and that kind of burned every­thing which stopped us so it was a shame.  But we didn’t really have the car that dialed in anyway. The years before were up and down really.  I can’t really remember the other races; they kind of all faded away after I won. It’s been a tough, tricky track; easy to make a mistake on.  I suppose I really felt like I got to know what the car needs more than anything the last few years; what the tires are after. I think I really dialed myself into a lot of circuits, just getting the setups right. Long Beach has got its own unique corners to it so it’s not the same setup you would run at St. Pete. Even though it looks similar, the corners are quite different. You have different surfaces there as well. It’s quite a unique place but similar char­ac­ter­is­tics in terms of other street courses with big curbs, bumps and walls every­where.”
 
RAHAL, JAKES AND CONWAY ON WHAT MAKES LONG BEACH SPECIAL
“Long Beach is special just because of the history of the event; it’s been around for so long,” said Rahal.  “It means a lot to be a winner at that track. To have any sort of success there is tough; it’s not an easy track to win at. It would feel good for us to get one under our belt there.”
                “It’s a great event,” added Jakes. “So many fans turn out. There is a real buzz about the race. It’s always fun to get there three or four days before the race and be a part of it. The layout always produces a great event. I am excited to get back out there espe­cially after a disap­pointing weekend in Barber consid­ering we were pretty quick. Hope­fully we can have a good result there.”
                “Long Beach is one of the stand-out events of the IndyCar season like the Indy 500,” added Conway.  “Its one of the biggest street races the series goes to because a huge crowd turns up and there are a lot of parties going on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. It’s a cool event and there are different cate­gories racing and a lot of things for the fans to do to keep them occu­pied. There is a lot of history at that place but I didn’t know how much history there was until I was up on the podium there. I was really able to appre­ciate it when I saw all of the faces of the winners embedded in the floor; it was cool.  Its one of the ones I look forward to.”
 
RAHAL, JAKES AND CONWAY ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE COURSE
“It’s tough because it’s like every other street course in that it is bumpy,” said Rahal. “It’s got some pretty high speed corners where it’s pretty easy to make mistakes. It’s prob­ably one of the less forgiving of the street courses, partic­u­larly the foun­tain section. If you get in a little too deep there is just not enough time to react so that’s what makes it so tough.”
                “Obvi­ously it’s a long race so it’s going to be phys­i­cally tough,” added Jakes. “The biggest chal­lenges are making sure you have a good balance in the low speed corners and good trac­tion, espe­cially for the race with full fuel on board. It goes without saying that the easier the car is to drive, the easier the race is going to be for you. I’m sure we will have a good car there and be in great shape.”
                “Its always different each time we go out because the grip level is changing due to the different cate­gories racing on the track with different tires,” said Conway. “It can change things up. There are the usual bumpy corners but there are lots of corners where you are braking turning in and lots of medium speed corners and low-speed corners.  It’s a tricky course, espe­cially in qual­i­fying. It’s really a rewarding lap because you run so close to the walls every­where from turn in to exit, using as much curb as possible in places. It’s pretty cool. That’s the reason why the hardest corners are the flowing complex in the last section, the last three corners. Even though you have a tight, square hairpin, it’s quite an art to get through the corners before that to really get the thing stopped for the hairpin. So that last section can be a lot of time — gained or lost.”
 
RAHAL ON GETTING THE RESULTS THE TEAM DESERVES AFTER CHALLENGING RACES
Rahal was in ninth place in the season-opener in St. Pete when the team discov­ered an elec­trical issue on Lap 22 under caution that shut the engine off inter­mit­tently and dropped him to 21st place. He soldiered on to finish 13th. At Round 2 in Barber, he set a lap time that was fast enough to progress to Round 2 and qualify in the top-12 at Barber if he had been in Group 2 but was in Group 1 and qual­i­fied 21st.  He had to pit for a new nose on the opening lap after the field checked up and he hit Servia but he was 12th on the final lap until the last two turns when he ran out of fuel and finished 21st.  Once the team returned to the shop, a malfunc­tion was discov­ered that prevented the car from taking the full amount of fuel expected on the final stop.
                 “Obvi­ously we are focused on improving as much as we can and we think that there is good speed in the car in race trim,” said Rahal. “We have to make it better in all of the prac­tice sessions and throughout the day but I feel good about it. We will start to get some of the results that we deserve. It’s a matter of time but hope­fully Long Beach will be a good turn for us.”
 
JAMES ON TURNING STRONG PERFORMANCES INTO RESULTS
Jakes ran as high as sixth in the St. Pete season-opener and finished 15th after fueling issues. He qual­i­fied 11th at Barber but had to pit early in the race when the camber shims fell out of the left rear upright which put him two laps down to the leader. He soldiered on, set the fastest lap of the race and finished 23rd.
                 “I think we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Jakes. “The guys have been working hard at the shop and I have got faith in them.  They will do all they can outside of the car and I will do my job inside the car. We have been pretty strong in certain areas but haven’t been able to show it. We’ll just keep working away and hope­fully this weekend we will be able to do that.”
 
CONWAY ON HIS FIRST INDYCAR RACE IN 2013 VERSUS OTHERS APPROACHING ROUND 3
“There will obvi­ously be people who are race ready having competed in the first two events, but I have been thinking about Long Beach since the start of the year. I don’t feel like I am rusty. When I jumped in the car at Barber it was all good during the one-day test.  I felt at home straight away in the car and that was the main thing. I felt comfort­able. I have been doing laps of Long Beach in my head for the last few months so I feel like I am in tune that way. Getting used to the new tires Fire­stone is using this year and getting myself up to speed as soon as possible shouldn’t take long. With all the little things you miss with setups here and there and key areas – I just have to quickly make changes and hope­fully have Graham help me get up to speed as quick as possible but I feel ready. I can’t wait to get in the car really. Racing at the six hour event at Silver­stone (April 14) helped get me ready for race condi­tions.”
 
RAHAL, JAKES AND CONWAY ON WORKING TOGETHER
“Mike is a past winner so he is obvi­ously quick there and had a great under­standing of the course and what it takes to be fast,” said Rahal. “While he hasn’t raced an Indy car this year, Mike is always quick. There is no doubt about that. I’m sure he will step in and go right to the front. So hope­fully we can learn from him.”
“Mike is going to be very quick around there,” added Jakes. “He won the race in 2011 and he’s going to be a great member to have on the team from a setup point of view and just extracting data from our car. All three of us will be very compet­i­tive so that should drive us forward on the grid. Everyone is looking forward to having him on board.”
                “I got a little taste of working with Graham and James at the one-day Barber test we had,” added Conway. “It seemed pretty good with what we were all feeling with the car. We all had similar comments so I think that is good. It will be good to know that if I make a change (to the car) and like it or if Graham makes a change and he likes it then we will be able to transfer that to the other cars and it will make us all quicker. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. I’m sure we will be more compet­i­tive as the weekend goes on and all want to beat each other but at the same time we are there all working as a team and trying to get every­body up to the front. We all want a good result at the end of the day. We want to come away with a good finish and put on a good show for the fans and obvi­ously the blu eCigs guys and show them a good time for their first Indy car race.”
 
EARLY ARRIVALS FOR RAHAL AND JAKES TO CALIFORNIA
“I will be keeping pretty busy in Cali­fornia when I’m not on track,” said Rahal.  “I shoot a TV show on Monday, play some golf on Tuesday and go to the Columbus Blue Jackets versus the Ducks on Wednesday night with Honda and people from our sponsor Norm Reeves Honda. I am going to see my friends at (golf apparel), there is a (Graham Rahal) Foun­da­tion event and the RRDC event with (sponsor) Tran­Sys­tems.  It will be kind of fun to be in Cali­fornia early and keep busy.”
                “I will arrive early in the week to Cali­fornia and will play some golf and may go surfing depending on the surf condi­tions,” added Jakes. “I have a little bit of work to do with Trav­is­Mathew; crash some golf carts with Graham in a little photo shoot so that should be fun.  Then I will just get ready for the weekend. I can’t wait.”

RLL