BMW Team RLL Finishes One-Two in Sebring and Kicks Off 2011 Season in Style

Sebring, 19th March 2011. BMW Team RLL started the 2011 Amer­ican Le Mans Series season in style on a steamy Saturday night, storming to victory in the GT class of the famed 12 Hours of Sebring. The #56 BMW M3 GT, driven by Dirk Müller (DE), Joey Hand (US) and Andy Priaulx (GB), paced Dirk Werner (DE), Bill Auberlen (US) and Augusto Farfus (BR) to the check­ered flag, making it a clean sweep for BMW Team RLL in the 59th running of this classic endurance race.

The lead changed count­less times, and the field was brought together again and again during nine full-course yellows. Ulti­mately the BMW Team RLL combi­na­tion of a perfectly reli­able car, strong drivers, good strategy, excel­lent Dunlop tires and flaw­less pit stops carried the day. The two newly constructed BMW M3 GT racing cars completed the marathon in Florida without tech­nical prob­lems, passing their first major test with flying colors.

BMW Team RLL will try to build on this success in the second round of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series which will be staged at Long Beach (US) on 16th April 2011. In the Inter­con­ti­nental Le Mans Cup BMW Team Schnitzer will be in action for the first time this year at the 1,000-kilometer race in Spa-Francorchamps (BE) on 7th May 2011.

Mario Theissen (BMW Motor­sport Director): “This was a perfect start for us in the 2011 ALMS season. We won in a very hard-fought race against very strong competi­tors and cele­brated a fantastic one-two with our BMW M3 GT cars. A big compli­ment not only goes to our drivers but also to the devel­op­ment team in Munich and BMW Team RLL. Everyone did a great job here in Sebring, from the first to the last pit stop.”

Bobby Rahal (Team Prin­cipal): “I have won this race as a driver and now also as a team owner. This certainly is a great honor. The drivers and the team worked excep­tion­ally well, the Dunlop tires were excel­lent and the cars really didn’t miss a beat.. This is a great start to our season.”

Dirk Müller (Car number 56): “I’m incred­ibly happy now. It’s never easy to win a 12-hour race, but today it was extra tough. Over the entire race we were among the front-runners and believed in our chance. This victory is the perfect for reward for all the hard work which was put in by BMW Motor­sport and BMW Team RLL over the winter.”

Joey Hand (Car number 56): “I came to Sebring with a really good feeling that we could win this – and now it really worked out. The victory belongs to everyone in BMW Team RLL. In the off-season the guys built two brand-new BMW M3 GT cars that worked well from the word go. I also want to say thank you to Dunlop. The tyres played an impor­tant part today and we had this advan­tage on our side.”

Andy Priaulx (Car number 56): “What a great result. The team did a flaw­less job and didn’t make a single mistake over the 12 hours. Following our bad luck in the first stint, we managed to work our way up front. Our team-mates would have also deserved victory. But I think that we can all be very happy with this one-two.”

Dirk Werner (Car number 55): “This really was a great race. I’m satis­fied with second place and this fantastic overall result. The points we were able to score today, will be very valu­able over the course of the ALMS season. Ahead of this race we were really confi­dent to be compet­i­tive, but this one-two comes as a nice surprise to all of us.”

Bill Auberlen (Car number 55): “For the team and BMW Motor­sport this certainly is a dream result. As a driver you always want to make it to the top step of the podium, but overall I only take posi­tive impres­sions away from this race. The next ALMS event will in my back­yard Long Beach. We now know exactly how strong we are, and I will again push hard there.”

Augusto Farfus (Car number 55): “Racing here in Sebring was a great expe­ri­ence. The BMW M3 GT showed a strong pace, which makes me very opti­mistic for the coming races in Europe. We suffered a dose of bad luck on several occa­sions during the race. Never­the­less I really enjoyed every stint. I did one of my first tests with the BMW M3 here in Sebring. To come back and make it on the podium is fantastic.”>