BMW Team RLL Finish Third and Fourth at Laguna Seca

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – May 12, 2012… Although both BMW Team RLL M3 GT’s lead the GT class for a signif­i­cant part of the six-hour Amer­ican Le Mans Monterey race, they ulti­mately finished in the third and fourth positions.

Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller completed 232 laps of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit bringing the No. 55 BMW M3 GT home in third place, scoring their first podium together and deliv­ering the team’s third consec­u­tive podium of the season.

Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished just behind their team­mates in fourth place. Both drivers were on the receiving end of aggres­sive contact by competi­tors during the race with Hand getting the worst of it while leading. Rear ended by the second place Corvette just past the mid-race mark the No. 56 M3 GT would ulti­mately lose the rear fascia and diffuser affecting the car’s aero­dy­namic balance for the remainder of the race.

Slowed by multiple caution periods during the first five-and-one-half hours, the race was ulti­mately decided in the last 15 minutes after the green flag waved following the last full-course yellow of the contest. With Müller firmly in control of fourth, Auberlen restarted the No. 55 M3 GT from second. Before the expe­ri­enced Cali­fornian could make a charge for the lead he was blocked by a proto­type entering turn one allowing the third place Corvette to squeeze by for the second spot. Losing more ground on the exit of the corner he had to settle for third.

BMW now stands second in Manu­fac­turer points. Hand and Müller are second in Driver points with Auberlen and Müller moving into a tie for fourth.

“Our competi­tors certainly are not making it easy,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We hung in there despite being hit many times and came away with valu­able points.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT (third): “This was a six-hour race and we treated as a 45 minute sprint. It’s unreal how compet­i­tive this series has become. On the last restart I got hung out to dry by a proto­type car and Magnussen took advan­tage of it. It is great to make the podium, but we still have two more steps to climb.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT (third): “I am happy to be back at Laguna Seca. This was a bril­liant week. This was not an easy race, but Bill and I leave with our first podium together.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT (fourth): “We really got knocked around today. Losing the rear bumper loos­ened the car up in a big way. The car got so free in the high speed stuff that Dirk and I really had to hang on and work hard. This cham­pi­onship is tight­ening up only three races in. We will leave in second place in the driver standing but a number of the tracks coming up have been very good to us.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT (fourth): “Even though our car was damaged we still had the poten­tial for a top-three finish, but just missed it. Congrat­u­la­tions to our team­mates for their first podium of the season. I look forward to the next race at Lime Rock Park where Joey and I can try to regain the lead in driver points.”

Following the tradi­tional break in the ALMS season for teams competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the series, the Amer­ican Le Mans North­east Grand Prix, will be held at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. on July 7th.

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.