BMW Team RLL Wins at Long Beach

 Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – April 16, 2011… Joey Hand and Dirk Müller drove BMW Team RLL to the top of the GT class podium for a second consec­u­tive time this season at today’s Amer­ican Le Mans Series at Long Beach. The No. 56 M3 GT will be cred­ited with the most laps led in the two hour contest, but not until the final minutes of the race were slowed by a caution flag was the outcome decided.

Hand started the race from the class pole and led for the opening laps, but lost the lead some twenty minutes into the race after an almost surreal set of circum­stances. A few posi­tions behind Hand, team­mate Bill Auberlen, in the No. 55 M3 GT, was struck by a competitor and spun around 180 degrees in the tight confines of turn two. When he finally was able to get turned in the right direc­tion Hand was back around and lost two posi­tions as he avoided the accel­er­ating Auberlen.

Hand gave chase and with a slick double pass in turn six regained the lead at the 40 minute mark. A second battle ensued with Patrick Long’s Porsche and Hand lost the lead only to regain it a second time as Long slid into the wall.

He built up a seven second lead before pitting just past the hour mark. Müller took over and held the lead for the final hour of the race and the duo’s second consec­u­tive GT win.

Dirk Werner finished the race in the No. 55 M3 GT seventh in class, two laps in arrears.

“This was a great win by Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in the No. 56 car today and a great posi­tion to be in going into the Le Mans break,” said Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motor­sport Director. “We are also confi­dent that we had the possi­bility for a 1 – 2 victory today. Both cars are clearly very reli­able, we have a strong team and strong drivers. With the result today, we are well posi­tioned in both the ALMS and ILMC championships.”

Bobby Rahal, Team prin­cipal, added, “This was a big win for us as we didn’t want to come to Long Beach and lose the advan­tage we fought so hard for in Sebring. Back-to-back wins are tough to come by in any series, but espe­cially here in the GT class of ALMS, and this is a big victory for our team.”

Following the tradi­tional Amer­ican Le Mans Series hiatus for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, BMW Team RLL will begin its defense the GT class lead at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn., on July 9.

 

Video: Joey Hand and Dirk Müller, No. 56 M3 GT (win)