BMW Team RLL Finish Fifth and Sixth at Lime Rock Park


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 5 of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series, the Grand Prix of Mosport, will be held at the newly reno­vated Cana­dian Tire Motor­sport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The race is sched­uled to take the green flag at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 22. ESPN2 will air the race same-day begin­ning at 1:00 p.m. ET. Live streaming coverage is avail­able starting at 11:45 a.m. ET on ESPN3.com.

The Series’ website offers addi­tional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch all ALMS races live on ALMS.com.

About BMW Team RLL:

BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975.  Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distrib­uting vehi­cles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and finan­cial service orga­ni­za­tions for the BMW brand of motor vehi­cles, including motor­cy­cles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; Design­work­sUSA, a strategic design consul­tancy in Cali­fornia; a tech­nology office in Silicon Valley and various other oper­a­tions throughout the country.  BMW Manu­fac­turing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manu­fac­turing network and is the exclu­sive manu­fac­turing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehi­cles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales orga­ni­za­tion is repre­sented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motor­cycle retailers, 113 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales head­quar­ters for North America, is located in Wood­cliff Lake, New Jersey.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for nearly two decades, compiling 22 victo­ries, 31 poles and two series cham­pi­onships (1992, 2010) as well as claiming an Indi­anapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series. In 2010 the team won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory. In 2011 the team swept all three GT titles — Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver.

 

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