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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