Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – August 27, 2013 . . . BMW Team RLL will look to the second street race of the year, the Grand Prix of Baltimore, to turn its fortunes and reignite the championship challenge in the second half of the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
Following disappointing fifth and sixth place finishes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) and seventh and eighth place finishes at Road America in the last two rounds, the team has fallen in the GT class standings. Dirk Müller, the driver’s point leader prior to CTMP, has suffered a 21-point loss in the last two rounds and he now stands in a three-way tie for third, five points in arrears of the Corvette drivers at the top. In the Manufacturer’s championship BMW stands second, 16 points behind Corvette and nine points ahead of Viper.
The team raced to the top of the podium at both Long Beach and Lime Rock Park this year and is looking to the similarly tight confines of the Baltimore temporary street circuit, where handling outweighs horsepower, to get the season heading back in the proper direction.
In the two previous years in Baltimore, BMW Team RLL only has one podium finish, a second place finish in 2011 (J. Hand / D. Müller), despite leading the race in both years.
“Baltimore is a track that we probably should have had a little more success than we have had,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “The first year we were leading and we got taken out by one of the Corvettes. Last year we were leading when the officials black flagged us for intimidating a slower car that spun and hit the wall in front of us. There was no contact and we didn’t agree with the call but that ended our podium chances. We have qualified well and finished reasonably well the past two years. I think that our new Z4 will be even better suited for the circuit than the M3 was so my expectation is that, like Long Beach, we should be competitive. Like any street circuit, there will be a lot of pushing and shoving and a lot of opportunities to make mistakes so it’s just going to be all about being smart.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “Perhaps the third time will be the charm. We showed what the Z4 GTE can do on circuits like this at both Long Beach and LimeRockPark, but we’ll need better luck than we’ve had in the last two years.”
Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I’m really looking forward to this street circuit. Last time on a street track (Long Beach) Bill and I got our first victory together and the first win for the new Z4 GTE. I hope we will have the possibility to do the same at Baltimore.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “I’m very pleased to return to BMW Team RLL and drive the Z4 GTE – especially in a street race. Dirk and I have had two strong races at Baltimore in the M3 GT and I believe the Z4 GTE will be stronger.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “Back to street racing and I am really looking forward to it. I love racing at Baltimore and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of our Z4 and race between those tight walls! Hopefully we’ve got our tough luck crossed out as the team is really motivated and well prepared.”
Qualifying and live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com at 4:20 p.m. ET Friday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Aug. 31 at 3:30 p.m. respectively. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. The Grand Prix of Baltimore is scheduled to be broadcast on ABC television at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 1st. ALMS.com will stream in-car footage throughout the race and the full live feed for international views. More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.alms.com.
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, 119 MINI passenger car dealers, and 34 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.
Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at: www.bmwgroupna.com
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 over two decades, compiling 28 victories, 42 poles and three series championships (1992, 2010, 2011) 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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