BMW Team RLL Returns to 2013 ALMS with New BMW Z4 GTE; New Cars, Drivers and Management to Launch Fifth Season at Sebring

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – January 14,  2013 … BMW of North America and BMW Motor­sport today announced that BMW Team RLL will again campaign BMW’s Amer­ican Le Mans Series entries in 2013. The two car team will do battle with the best of North Amer­ican GT class sports car racing with the newly designed BMW Z4 GTE starting with the season-opening 12 hours of Sebring on March 16.
 
“We are really looking forward to this new chapter of BMW racing in North America,” said Ludwig Willisch, Pres­i­dent and CEO of BMW of North America. “After two Manufacturer’s cham­pi­onships, two Team cham­pi­onships, one Driver cham­pi­onship, and the Michelin Green-X cham­pi­onship for BMW Team RLL with the M3 GT, we now entrust the same strong team to deliver more trophies with our new Z4 GTE. We are absolutely convinced that BMW fans will again see great ALMS GT class racing in 2013.”
 
“With the BMW Z4 GTE, we are starting a new chapter in North America along­side BMW Team RLL,” said BMW Motor­sport Director Jens Marquardt. “We have cele­brated magnif­i­cent victo­ries and titles with the BMW M3 GT and BMW Team RLL over the past four years. The BMW Z4 GTE has every­thing it needs to continue this success story.”
 
The BMW Z4 GTE was devel­oped for the ALMS regu­la­tions, based on the BMW Z4 GT3, which has cele­brated multiple cham­pi­onship wins in Europe and Asia in the capable hands of profes­sional and priva­teer BMW drivers. This year’s ten-race ALMS season will also be used as a devel­op­ment year for the new car in order to lay the best foun­da­tion for the all-new face of North Amer­ican sports car racing in 2014.
 
“All of us at BMW Team RLL are very excited about the 2013 season with the new BMW Z4 GTE,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We had four great years with the BMW M3 GT and now want to compete on a par with our rivals with the BMW Z4 GTE as soon as possible.  With any new car there is going to be a period of devel­op­ment, but we are excited about the upcoming season. This will be our fifth year with BMW and it’s obvious we have a great working rela­tion­ship. In fact, some of the members of the team are in Munich working side-by-side with BMW Motor­sport building the cars. We share the same approach in terms of our desire to be successful and it’s a real honor and priv­i­lege to repre­sent BMW in motor­sport.”
 
This year, the BMW Team RLL driver line-up will feature a strong mix of expe­ri­ence and youth. Returning drivers Bill Auberlen (US), Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) will anchor the effort. Due to his full-time commit­ment to BMW in the DTM series, for a second consec­u­tive season, Hand will contest only some ALMS races in 2013. Twenty-one-year old New Yorker John Edwards (US) will join the team, replacing Hand for the races that don’t fit into Hand’s DTM schedule. Begin­ning his career in open-wheel racing, Edwards won the Star Mazda title in 2008 and the Atlantic series cham­pi­onship in 2009. Since 2010 he has focused on GT and GS class racing in the GRAND-AM series.
 
The newest BMW Motor­sport driver, Maxime Martin (BE), will join BMW Team RLL for the full 2013 season. The 26-year old finished second in the 2012 BMW Sport Trophy after a strong season racing a BMW Z4 GT3 in the Blanc­pain Endurance Series and a BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 in the ADAC GT Masters. For the long-distance races at Sebring and the Petit Le Mans, Uwe Alzen (DE) and Jörg Müller (DE) will return to the team.
 
Long-time BMW employee Gordon McDon­nell has been named the dedi­cated BMW NA Motor­sport Manager, respon­sible to lead the program from concept to the finish line. McDonnell’s diverse expe­ri­ence includes North Amer­ican manage­ment of BMW Motor­sport Parts, M Perfor­mance Parts, and BMW NA’s current GRAND-AM programs. Given the merger between ALMS and GRAND-AM, McDon­nell is well-positioned to maxi­mize BMW’s racing successes in the USA.
 
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, 115 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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