BMW Team RLL — Virginia International Raceway ALMS Preview

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – September 11, 2012… BMW Team RLL will contest its first race at Virginia Inter­na­tional Raceway (VIR), in Alton, Va., on Sept. 15. The four-hour VIR 240 is the penul­ti­mate round of the 2012 Amer­ican Le Mans Series season and only a strong finish will keep the team in the hunt for a third consec­u­tive GT class cham­pi­onship.
 
The team will face the weekend with heavy hearts following the death of Scott Roembke. Despite being away from most of the 2011 and 2012 seasons to battle his illness, Scott remained an inte­gral part of the RLL orga­ni­za­tion. Offi­cially he was Chief Oper­ating Officer, but everyone who was part of the first years of the BMW Team RLL program will never forget his reas­suring, “Okay, babe.” or continue to be amazed by the strategy calls he made. The team’s 2010 ALMS cham­pi­onship is a testa­ment to what Scott brought to the team and the sport.
 
Still standing second in GT class manu­fac­turer points, the team has shown it poten­tial to win in the most recent rounds. However, several setbacks have, despite excel­lent efforts, resulted in less than maximum results. A contro­ver­sial call for “avoid­able contact” by the series’ steward at the most recent race in Balti­more took the No. 55 M3 GT of Jörg Müller from the race lead to serve a one minute penalty and ulti­mately a eighth place finish. In the prior race at Road America, close compe­ti­tion resulted in contact that put the No. 56 M3 GT into the wall, ruining what would have been most certainly a 1 – 2 finish for the team. At Lime Rock, Bill Auberlen qual­i­fied the No. 55 M3 GT on the GT class pole, but unfor­tu­nately the BMW ace had to start his 100th ALMS race one lap done from the pit lane after a fuel cell issue on the instal­la­tion lap.
 
With two wins and an addi­tional four podium finishes in the first eight races of the season, Dirk Müller stands third in driver points. Joey Hand stands fourth, but will miss the race at VIR as well as Petit Le Mans due to conflicts with his DTM schedule.  Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller are seventh. Jonathan Summerton will substi­tute for Joey at VIR.
 
“The race at VIR is a first time event for us,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal.
“It’s a very fast circuit which, I believe, actu­ally works to our strengths. Like at Elkhart Lake, our car seems to like fast corners.  It will be a new expe­ri­ence, so gearing and other areas of the setup are still a little bit of an explo­ration.  We did have a good test there in June so I expect good things.  It’s a diffi­cult place to pass but it should make for a great race.”
           
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “VIR is my other favorite race­track in North America. Fast turns make it fun to drive. We have a great and tested team. I think good things will happen.”
 
Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “This track is bril­liant. I am fortu­nate that we tested there two months ago. I enjoyed the track and I am glad I have a few laps of expe­ri­ence for this race coming up. My team­mates like the track a lot so this will be posi­tive for everyone.”
 
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “I so enjoy this track. It is beau­tiful like Spa with uphills and blind corners. I think our car will do very well there. Since testing there in June I have been excited to go back again.”
 
Jonathan Summerton, driver No. 56 M3 GT - I really can’t wait to get back in the car and do what­ever I can to help the team. We had a test at VIR a while back and we learned a lot that will help us.”
 
The four-hour VIR 240 race will take the green flag at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 15 with live streaming coverage avail­able on ESPN3.com starting at 2:15 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will broad­cast the race at 5:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept 16th.

The Series’ website offers addi­tional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch all ALMS races live on ALMS.com.
 
About BMW Team RLL:

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 32 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.

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 nearly two decades, compiling 22 victo­ries, 31 poles and two series cham­pi­onships (1992, 2010) 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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