BMW Team RLL — Laguna Seca ALMS Preview


Wood­cliff Lake
, N.J.
 – May 8, 2012…
Despite sweeping the Amer­ican Le Mans Series GT class cham­pi­onships in 2011 and the Manu­fac­turer and Team titles in 2010, one impor­tant victory has thus far eluded BMW Team RLL. In both seasons Joey Hand and Dirk Müller have finished in the runner-up spot, but never on the top step of the Laguna Seca Raceway podium.  BMW Team RLL is hoping to change that for 2012.

BMW has shared a signif­i­cant history with the classic 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course begin­ning with a win by Hans Joachim Stuck and Dieter Quester in a BMW CSL in 1975. Nothing would please the Bobby Rahal-led team as much as adding one more Laguna Seca victory during BMW Motorsport’s 40th anniver­sary year.

The six-hour Amer­ican Le Mans Monterey race will be held on May 12th, returning to the third round of the series, as it was in 2010, rather than being the penul­ti­mate round of the cham­pi­onship last year. The team arrives tied for the lead in Manu­fac­turer point stand­ings. Hand and Müller sit atop the Driver points after a win at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring and a second place finish four weeks ago at Long Beach.

Team­mates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller finished fourth in the ALMS class at Sebring, but an early race colli­sion at Long Beach knocked them out of a points-paying finish. Both BMW veterans know the way to victory lane at Laguna Seca having both won in signif­i­cant BMW racing machines of previous years. In 1998, Auberlen co-drove with Didier de Radigues to the first BMW-powered proto­type win at Laguna Seca proving the engine package that would power BMW to the 1999 Le Mans victory. Müller shared a GT win with JJ Lehto at Laguna Seca in 2001 in the BMW M3 GTR on his way the that season’s driving title.

“The last two years we were in a posi­tion to win the race but we failed to do so, so I’m hopeful that the third time is the charm,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “The track has suited the car and we are hoping for a great result.  Person­ally, and as a team, whether it be with BMW Team RLL or with the Indy car team, we have had a lot of success at Laguna Seca so we are hopeful that the tradi­tion continues.” 

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT “Our team was first and second with just minutes remaining in last year’s race when we had a mechan­ical problem and the other M3 GT fell back.  Those days are over and we intend fully on completing what we missed out on last year.  The RLL team has been and the Dunlop tires are even better so I am very posi­tive about our potential.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – My first time at Laguna Seca was 1998 in the GT1 World Cham­pi­onship in the Porsche GT1 and my last time was  in 2001 in the BMW GTR. That was a few years ago, but Laguna Seca is a track you never forget with its famous Corkscrew chicane. I’m really looking forward for this ace because the points we have in the cham­pi­onship at the moment do not show the pace and the perfor­mance of No. 55 M3 GT.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Laguna Seca always gives the fans some of the best racing of the season. The circuit is espe­cially suited to the strengths of the BMW M3 GT and our Dunlop tires so we have always been in the hunt. We’ve come close to the win in the previous two years, but just have not closed the deal. With a bit of luck we will get the win this year.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT “I am really up for the race in Laguna Seca. The season has started bril­liantly for me with the win in Sebring and second place in Long Beach. I have also finished on the podium at all my outings so far in the VLN Endurance Cham­pi­onship on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Long may this run continue. In 2010 and 2011 we finished runner-up to secure the title in Laguna Seca. As this year’s event comes earlier in the calendar, we can take a more aggres­sive approach. I am really looking forward to it.”

The six-hour Amer­ican Le Mans Monterey race is the third round of the 2012 ALMS cham­pi­onship. The race will take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 12. ESPN2 will air the race at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13. Live coverage is avail­able starting at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

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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Jour­nalist note: Infor­ma­tion about the BMW and its prod­ucts is avail­able to jour­nal­ists on-line at www.bmwusanews.com.