BMW Team RLL Finish Third and Fourth at Petit Le Mans

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – October 21, 2012… BMW Team RLL finished its fourth season of Amer­ican Le Mans Series compe­ti­tion with third and fourth place GT class finishes at the 15th annual 1000-mile Petit Le Mans. The team’s seventh podium finish of the year, that included victo­ries at Sebring and Road America, gave BMW third place in the GT class Manufacturer’s Cham­pi­onship. BMW Team RLL finished second in the Team Cham­pi­onship.
 
Bill Auberlen, Jörg Müller and Jonathan Summerton co-drove the No. 55 BMW M3 GT to a third place finish in today’s race completing 374 laps of the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit. The result was the fourth podium finish of the season for the No. 55 machine. Auberlen and Müller shared the win at Road America.
 
The No. 56 machine was shared by Dirk Müller, Uwe Alzen and Summerton. The trio finished fourth, completing 373 laps to make it three podium finishes for the No. 56 M3 GT this season, including the victory at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring.
 
All three of the season-long drivers finished in the top half of the GT Driver Cham­pi­onship. Dirk Müller, last season’s co-champion with Joey Hand, finished fourth. Auberlen and Jörg Müller share the sixth posi­tion.
 
The race began with qual­i­fying drivers Jörg Müller, in the No. 55 M3 GT, and Dirk Müller, in the No. 56 M3 GT, starting from the second and seventh posi­tions respec­tively. The day quickly went side­ways – liter­ally – for the No. 56 car when it was hit by a proto­type car on lap 12 and, after sliding through the gravel trap in turn 10, was forced to the pits to change a broken right front brake caliper. The repair took three laps and the No. 56 car crew, led by Bobby Rahal, began the long fight back from the rear of the field.
 
As the race passed the half-way point, the No. 55 M3 GT was in fifth and the No. 56 machine in 10th. The No. 55 machine, with Jonathan Summerton behind the wheel at the time, had completed 200 laps or 508 miles – one lap behind the GT class leader. In the No. 56 M3 GT Dirk Müller was scored in the 10th spot with 198 laps completed, three laps behind the class leader.
 
Contin­uing its strong perfor­mance, the No. 55 car, with Bill Auberlen now behind the wheel, inher­ited the GT class lead on lap 296, and would continue to race in the top-three spots for the remainder of the contest. Auberlen would make his final stop for new Dunlop tires only eight laps from the check­ered flag to bring the No. 55 M3 GT home third.
 
Uwe Alzen ran a strong double-stint as the race entered dark­ness to continue to move the No. 56 car forward. He would even­tu­ally hand off to Dirk Müller who would bring the car across the finish line in fourth.
 
“It was a tough day for us,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We lost a brake line early in the race on the 56 car and dropped three laps. A couple of times the yellow came out and could have given us a chance to catch up again and everyone else got all the good luck. We kept being caught in the wrong spot. The 55 guys did a good job today. They went from being a lap down to leading the race. We ran right with the Corvette and Ferrari and if you get that close to the win, it is disap­pointing not to be able to close the deal.”
 
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT “We had some trou­bles early this weekend, but RLL always keeps their focus forward and they got the best result that we could. Third is a great result. Thanks to everyone for making my 17th season racing for BMW such a fast one. I hope my 18th is even faster.”
 
 Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT “I didn’t expect today’s result because at the begin­ning of the race we were strug­gling with lots of little prob­lems. The team did a bril­liant job to get us back on to the lead lap. This has been a great year. Defi­nitely my pole at Mid-Ohio, our win at Road America and today’s podium are high­lights.”
 
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “We wanted to fight back for another cham­pi­onship, but we had tough luck this year. A really a big thank you to everyone. Today could have ended badly, but we came back to finish fourth. Third and fourth is a great way to finish the season.”
 
Uwe Alzen, driver No. 56 M3 GT “This is a very tough race. We had trouble in the begin­ning with the brake caliper. That cost us three laps, but we finished fourth. Road Atlanta is a great circuit. The people and the atmos­phere are great.”
 
Jonathan Summerton, driver No. 55/56 M3 GT – “With the win at Sebring to start the season and a podium to finish up makes this a great season for me.  It was defi­nitely very exciting to drive both cars in the same race. It was a unique expe­ri­ence and some­thing I will always remember.”
 
ABC will broad­cast a review and high­light show of the race at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 21.

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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