BMW Team RLL Names Driver Lineup for the 2012 American Le Mans Series Title Defense


HILLIARD, Ohio, January 16, 2012 — BMW Team RLL will return to the Amer­ican Le Mans Series in search of its third consec­u­tive GT class Team and Manu­fac­turer cham­pi­onship with a team of expe­ri­enced drivers. Dirk Müller (DE) and Joey Hand (US) will repre­sent BMW Team RLL as reigning GT Driver cham­pions. As in the past three seasons, Bill Auberlen (US) will also start in a BMW M3 GT. New to the team are 2001 ALMS GT cham­pion Jörg Müller (DE) and Uwe Alzen (DE). The sixth driver, which will be used in selected endurance events, will be announced at a later date.

In addi­tion to his driving duties in the DTM in Europe, Hand will contest his fourth season with BMW Team RLL in North America, but will defer to his DTM duties in cases of schedule conflicts. Alzen will bolster boss Bobby Rahal’s team at the curtain raiser to the season in Sebring, as well as the season ender at Road Atlanta.

The 2012 Amer­ican Le Mans Series gets underway on March 17th with the 60th running of the iconic 12-hour race at Sebring Inter­na­tional Raceway. Nine races later, the season ends with the 12th running of the Petit Le Mans in Road Atlanta, which takes place on October 20.

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motor­sport Director):
“After winning all three titles in the GT class, BMW Team RLL will now start as the defending cham­pion in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series in 2012. We line up with the BMW M3 GT against the strong compe­ti­tion in this thrilling cham­pi­onship for the fourth time. Our goal is obvi­ously to success­fully defend the titles. The driver lineup certainly gives us every chance to achieve that goal. The reigning cham­pions, Dirk Müller and Joey Hand, have been regular members of the team since 2009, as has Bill Auberlen. They are joined by two expe­ri­enced GT drivers in Jörg Müller and Uwe Alzen. I am certain that ALMS fans can look forward to more thrilling races in 2012.”

Ludwig Willisch (Pres­i­dent BMW of North America LLC):
“For more than 25 years North America has loved the BMW M3 and cheered every one of its many racing victo­ries, most recently our sweep of all Amer­ican Le Mans Series GT cham­pi­onship titles in 2011. That kind of competition-proven success inspires us to return to the ALMS grid in 2012 – on the 40th anniver­sary of BMW M with an even stronger program and continue to prove that BMW is indeed the ulti­mate driving machine.”

Bobby Rahal (Team Prin­cipal):
“We are proud to start our mission to defend the titles in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series together with BMW. It is our fourth season with the BMW M3 GT and, with the 2011 titles behind us, everyone in the team is more moti­vated than ever. As always, we worked hard to improve even further during the winter months. The oppo­si­tion will certainly not make it easy for us. However, we are well prepared. The teaming of Dirk Müller, Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen has been very successful in recent years, and I am delighted that they will also be racing with us in 2012. Jörg Müller has already won the ALMS Drivers cham­pi­onship and he and Uwe Alzen will strengthen our team. We are now preparing inten­sively for the offi­cial test in February, before the season really kicks off at the 12 Hours of Sebring.”

Dirk Müller:
“It’s that time again. Following our great success last season, all the other teams will obvi­ously have their sights set on us. They will be going all out to take our titles off us. However, we have not been resting on our laurels this winter. BMW Team RLL has become some­thing of a second family to me. In 2011, the team’s hard work really paid off. Long may it continue.”

Joey Hand:
“I am really looking forward to the ALMS. After all, it is some­thing very special when you line up as the defending cham­pion in a series. To win a title is one thing, but to defend it is perhaps even more diffi­cult. BMW Team RLL has what it takes to main­tain the immensely high stan­dards it set last year. Everyone on the team is doing all they can to ensure we are successful. The fact that I will also be racing in the DTM gives me addi­tional moti­va­tion. As a racing driver, you simply cannot spend enough time out on the track – espe­cially at the wheel of a BMW M3.”

Bill Auberlen:
“I am pleased to return to BMW Team RLL for a fourth season and defend our GT class cham­pi­onships. Jörg and Uwe will be excel­lent addi­tions to the lineup as they both have proven expe­ri­ence in the BMW M3 GT. Our test at Sebring in December showed that Bobby’s team has worked hard since Petit Le Mans and I’m confi­dent we will be able to take on all challengers.”

Jörg Müller:
“I have nothing but good memo­ries of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series. In 2001 we also achieved a hat-trick of titles with the BMW M3 GTR, just as BMW Team RLL did last year. It is great to return to this fantastic cham­pi­onship after all the successful years with BMW. I am sure I will soon feel at home again on the circuits of North America.”

Uwe Alzen:
“I know the BMW M3 GT and my team-mates very well from the last two years and also gained expe­ri­ence in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series in 2008, so I feel well primed for my starts with BMW Team RLL. The compe­ti­tion in the GT class is extremely fierce – and that is precisely what I am really looking forward to.”