BMW Team RLL Baltimore ALMS Preview

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – August 30, 2011… This Labor Day Weekend, GT class leading BMW Team RLL travels to the inau­gural Balti­more Grand Prix for the second street race of the 2011 Amer­ican Le Mans Series season.  The long estab­lished race on the streets of Long Beach, Cali­fornia has been part of the series for years, but the newly constructed tempo­rary 2.0-mile circuit winding through the streets of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area will be brand new to teams, drivers and fans alike.

The No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3 GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Mϋller won this April’s Long Beach race from the pole – the victory part of a three race win streak to start off the nine-race season. With two fourth place finishes and a return to the podium at the most recent race at Road America, the duo continues to lead the GT driver stand­ings by a margin of 22 points.

Team­mates Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner stand third in GT driver stand­ings – only 6 points from second – after a run of three consec­u­tive podium finishes in the No. 55 M3 GT.

With two-thirds of the season now complete, BMW Team RLL stands at the top of every GT cham­pi­onship cate­gory and looks to add the driver title to the Manu­fac­turer and Team cham­pi­onships won in 2010.

 “We have three races left in the season and there are some very good cars and great drivers that are trying to knock BMW Team RLL out of the top spot in the stand­ings. We have to be ready to deal with the best efforts that these teams have to offer, because time is running short,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “Balti­more is the only wild card left on the schedule, and we will all be starting from scratch on this new road-course layout. We are expecting a good turnout and great support from the fans in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area and we hope to give all the BMW fans a reason to cheer on Saturday.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “We have all looked at the track sketches for the new circuit and prepared as best we can, but at the end of the day it’s a mystery for all of us. Our advan­tage will be BMW Team RLL’s ability to analyze the first data collected and make the right changes fast. Dirk and I are gaining in points every race so we’ll keep our heads down and try to gain more.”

Dirk Werner, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “I hope that the upward trend we had at the last races – espe­cially with our car – will continue. After three consec­u­tive podiums we are heading in a good direc­tion in the cham­pi­onship. We are close to the second place in the overall clas­si­fi­ca­tion. And we aim to get this second posi­tion with a good result at Balti­more. The track itself is new for everyone. So it will be crucial who can adapt quickest to the new condi­tions. We already raced on a street course this year, at Long Beach. There, our car was fast, and that makes me confi­dent that this will be the case at Balti­more as well.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “This new race in Balti­more comes at a great time for us. We’re leading the cham­pi­onship, we’re on top of our game and ready for a new chal­lenge.  I have always been an outspoken lover of a street race. The limits are tighter. The margins are inches, not feet. I’m looking forward to the same success we had at Long Beach. In Balti­more every­thing will be new except how BMW Team RLL prepares. Top to bottom this is the talent a driver wants behind him. From the gear stacks to set ups they get it right faster. This race will be about who is the quickest — the quickest. We will be those guys.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT — “I am still smiling about the great weekend BMW Team RLL had at Road America. At this stage of the season we do not neces­sarily need to win every race, but we need to try and get good points. And what happened in that four hour race – that was motor racing at its best. I am glad to be a part of it. Now I am really looking forward to Balti­more, as I like the chal­lenge of new tracks and am a big fan of street racing. Balti­more combines both. There are not many possi­bil­i­ties to prepare for this race, but the team gave us draw­ings of the track which I studied intensely. At first sight, the track looks quite easy, but there can be tricky blind corners. As this circuit does not exist anywhere, you cannot drive it in a simu­lator. I am really opti­mistic about this weekend. Joey, me and the whole team are absolutely on our toes. We have one target — to extend our lead in the championship.”

Prac­tice and qual­i­fying for the Balti­more Grand Prix will be held on Friday, Sept. 2. The two-hour race is sched­uled to take the green flag at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 3. The race will be broad­cast live on ESPN3.com and rebroad­cast on ABC at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept 4.