BMW Team RLL – LimeRockPark ALMS Preview; Bill Auberlen Set to Make 100th ALMS Start
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – July 2nd, 2012… BMW Team RLL will bring a streak of three consecutive podium finishes in the first three races of the 2012 season, including a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, to the July 7th American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. Since the team’s 2009 season debut at least one BMW Team RLL M3 has finished on the podium at BMW of North America’s home track. A third place finish in 2009 led to a double podium 2-3 result in 2010. Last year eventual GT driver co-champions Joey Hand and Dirk Müller won the race after starting from the pole and leading every lap.
Often described as a “bull ring”, LimeRockPark’s 1.5 miles is a fast ride through just seven corners. Only turn three is left-handed. In fact, it will take longer to read this release than Joey Hand’s record setting pole time last year of 50.925 seconds.
Hand and Müller currently stand second in GT driver points following a win (with Jonathan Summerton) at Sebring, a second place finish at Long Beach and a fourth place finish at Laguna Seca in the No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3.
Teammates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller are coming off a season’s -best finish of third at Laguna Seca in the No. 55 M3. A fourth place finish at Sebring (with Uwe Alzen) and a disappointing 11th at Long Beach has the duo standing fourth in driver points. This will be Müller’s first visit to LimeRockPark, but he can count on Auberlen who has years of experience and many wins at the Northwest Connecticut circuit. Auberlen is also set to make his 100th ALMS start at the Northeast Grand Prix.
BMW Team RLL completed two test programs in conjunction with tire partner Dunlop during the seven-week break in the ALMS season for teams participating at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first was held at Virginia International Raceway, the site of the four-hour Sept. 15 ALMS at VIR race. A second test was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, host to the round six Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge on Aug. 4.
“Last year’s race was a great one for us,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “It’s a shame that Bill got hit and delayed as a result, but Joey and Dirk drove a great race and won. It was an important race for us because it was the first race without Scott Roembke in the pits. We missed him, but vowed to get a good result for him and a win was the best possible result. It was also an important victory on our path to winning the championship again. If you look at the results you would have to say there has been a lot of success at Lime Rock either for me as a driver or as an owner and we certainly hope that it remains that way.
Commenting on Bill Auberlen’s 100th ALMS start, he continued, “It’s a great milestone for Bill and shows his competitiveness and longevity. That is a lot of seasons in the ALMS because there are only 9 or 10 races a year. It’s not like there are 35 a season. I really wish him a lot of success this season because he has worked hard for it. The No. 55 car has been singularly unlucky in a lot of races over the last couple of years through no fault of the drivers. I would be really happy to see him win his 100th race.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT –“I’m excited to have the opportunity to get my 100th ALMS start at LimeRockPark in a BMW M3 for Bobby Rahal. All have played an important role in my career. I think the top of the podium would be the best place to celebrate.”
Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “LimeRockPark will be a new circuit for me, but I could not be in a better position than to have my co-driver show me around. I am a fast learner and no one knows Lime Rock better than Bill.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Last season nothing could stop the No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3 at LimeRockPark. The competition has certainly stepped up their game this season, but we (BMW) still have home field advantage.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “I am looking forward to racing at BMW’s home track again. We are expecting a lot of BMW, CrownePlaza and Dunlop guests which always gives us special motivation. We won last year’s race and I believe that our BMW Team RLL M3 is going to be strong there again. It’s time to start the second part of our championship run and we are perfectly prepared for it.” The 2.45-hour American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix race is the fourth round of the 2012 ALMS championship. The race will take the green flag at 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 7. ESPN2 will air the race same-day beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET. Live streaming coverage is available starting at 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com. 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. Video interviews and on-board clips are available at www.youtube.com/BMWNAMotorsport.
Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing and on Facebook at BMWUSA. Information about Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is available via at: www.rahal.com.
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