BMW Team RLL Looks to Repeat Past Success at Road America with Z4 GTE; Auberlen to Mark 500th Professional Start, Edwards in for Hand

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – August 5, 2013 … Following disap­pointing fifth and sixth place finishes at Cana­dian Tire Motor­sport Park three weeks ago, BMW Team RLL heads to Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., the site of three BMW Team RLL victo­ries in the past four Amer­ican Le Mans Series seasons.

The 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit is Bobby Rahal’s favorite track in North America and BMW Team RLL raced the BMW M3 GT to the top step of the podium in 2009, 2010 and 2012. In 2009, Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand drove to the program’s first victory at Road America from program’s first pole. The next year, Hand and Dirk Müller repeated as winners. In 2011, the second and third steps of the podium were reached. Last year, Auberlen and Jörg Müller roared back with the victory.

The first five rounds of the 2013 Amer­ican Le Mans Series have seen the new BMW Z4 GTE race to the GT class victory at both Long Beach and Lime Rock Park. BMW stands second in GT Class Manu­fac­turer points and Dirk Müller has a five point lead in the GT Driver stand­ings. John Edwards will substi­tute for Joey Hand in the No. 56 Z4 GTE this weekend as Hand enjoys a week off following an excel­lent seventh place finish at the inau­gural DTM race in Moscow, Russia on August 4th.

Bill Auberlen, co-driving the No. 55 Z4 GTE with Maxime Martin, will cele­brate his 500th profes­sional start at Road America as the BMW ace continues to add to one of the most impres­sive racing resumes in the world.

Auberlen, Edwards and Martin will also compete in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series that will share the bill with the ALMS at Road America. Auberlen and Edwards will also race in the Conti­nental Tire Sports Car Chal­lenge Series. The two series will merge to become United Sports Car Racing in 2014.

We obvi­ously have had good success in the four years at Elkhart Lake,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “I think the fast sweeping corners have always played to one of the strengths of a BMW. Getting through all the circuit’s fast corners; Turns 1, 3, 7, the Carousel, Turns 12, 13 and 14 has been a major reason for our success. This year the Z4 GTE has shown that it is also a very good handling car. We have been at a deficit on top speed but have been at a deficit on top speed years before with the M3 GT, espe­cially 2009 and 2010, and yet we still won there so it will be inter­esting to see how we fare.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “Road America one of my favorite tracks in the world and I will get to race it three times this weekend – ALMS GT, Rolex GT and CTSCC GS. That will be a unique expe­ri­ence for me and my expec­ta­tion is three first place finishes! 500 profes­sional race starts is a record I will be extremely proud of.”

Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE “I’m really excited to discover this classic track. I think it is one of the longest of the year so it will not be easy to learn. As always, I will have the expe­ri­ence of Bill to help me.”

John Edwards, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “The last race I ran with BMW Team RLL was at Lime Rock a month ago, but it feels like 6 months! We knew that Lime Rock would suit us, and we capi­tal­ized on that with a win. Unfor­tu­nately we’ve been expecting both Mosport and Road America to be tougher tracks for us, so although we’re always competing for a win, we know that the compe­ti­tion will be as tough at Road America as they were at Mosport. My biggest goal is doing what I can to help Dirk main­tain the lead in the cham­pi­onship. We will be racing hard to win, but I know we will all have our eye on the big picture with the cham­pi­onship as we enter the second half of the season.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “We are now starting the second half of the season and I am still leading the cham­pi­onship which feels great! Road America is one of my favorite race tracks in the world and I am thrilled to come back with our new BMW Z 4 GTE. The track should suit us a bit better than Mosport. John is back to help us out and its going to be a big weekend full of great racing.”

Qual­i­fying and live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. The Orion Energy Systems 245 is sched­uled to be broad­cast on ABC tele­vi­sion at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 11th. 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.

Jour­nalist note: Photog­raphy for edito­rial purposes as well as infor­ma­tion about BMW Group and its prod­ucts in the USA is avail­able to jour­nal­ists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com