BMW Team RLL Qualifies on Top at Wet, Slippery Circuit of the Americas; Joey Hand on Pole, John Edwards Fourth

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 20, 2013 . . .  Joey Hand, driving the No. 55 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE, topped the GT class in today’s qualifying session for Saturday’s inaugural American Le Mans Series race at the Circuit of the Americas. The session was held during a slight break in the rain that had been falling the entire day. The BMW Team RLL Z4 GTEs were both shod with Michelin wet-weather racing tires.  Hand’s pole time (2:17.178 minutes) came on his second timed lap of the 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit and is the third pole for the team this season (Lime Rock Park, Baltimore, COTA). Substituting for Maxime Martin this weekend, Hand will co-drive with long-time teammate Bill Auberlen.

John Edwards qualified the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE fourth, with a 2:18.002 minute lap. He will co-drive with Dirk Müller who is in a battle for the GT driver’s championship, currently standing only eight points from the class leaders.

“In the rain, it says a lot about the driver and the handling of the car, so it’s kind of a great equalizer,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We’re about 5-mph slower down the straight than the Viper and the Corvette, so that equalizer helps. I hate to say it but I partly hope it rains tomorrow. Tomorrow will be very tough, but it’s a good handling course with tough corners. We’ll keep working on the car and we should be competitive.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (P1) – “My DTM boys over at BMW Team RBM say, ‘I wish I was Joey Hand,’ and today it feels good to be Joey Hand. I’m happy to be here with BMW Team RLL, my race track family for six years now. I wasn’t planned to do this race… they asked me if I wanted to do it and I said absolutely. On a program where the team knows how to win, you never turn down an opportunity to drive for them. Of course I’m excited to get back in the car with Bill Auberlen, a guy that taught me a lot since I’ve been racing for BMW. We were both kind of giddy to get back in the car together and having the chance to win. We haven’t won together since 2009 but we sure enjoy it when it happens.”

John Edwards, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (P4) – “We knew there was some more rain coming, so I think we made the safe choice for qualifying setup, but not the fastest choice. We know the Z4 is fast in the wet, and even though I feel disappointed with fourth, I know we’re in better shape than we would have been if qualifying had been dry.”

Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. Live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com beginning at 3:45 p.m. CT. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2 television at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 22nd. 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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