BMW Team RLL Wins Road America for the Third Time in Four Years

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – August 18, 2012… For the third time in four seasons of Amer­ican Le Mans Series compe­ti­tion, BMW Team RLL drove a BMW M3 GT across the Road America finish line first to win the four-hour Road America Road Race Show­case.
 
Today it was Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller who took the GT class victory in the No. 55 BMW M3 GT, racing past the check­ered flag 2.63 seconds ahead of the No. 45 Porsche and the balance of the 13-car class. The duo completed 97 laps of the 4.048-mile circuit in the four-hour contest. Auberlen, who took the program’s very first win here with Joey Hand in 2009, started the race from the fourth posi­tion. He drove the opening 21 laps before handing off to Müller just before the race’s first full-course caution period. Müller cycled to the front as the balance of the field pitted and then drove 30 laps before pitting from the fifth spot to hand the No. 55 machine back to Auberlen. The Cali­fornian was forced back to the pits only one lap later to tighten the left rear wheel. He returned to the race in 11th with only the Team RLL mantra “Focus Forward” in mind as he stormed up to fourth-place in 17 laps. Auberlen pitted on lap 76 for new Dunlop tires and fuel, returning in fifth and, as luck would have it, just before the race’s third full-course caution flag flew.
 
With 38 minutes to go he cycled to the lead as the race went back to green. One more yellow flag slowed the race, but Auberlen was not to be beaten.
 
The No. 56 M3 GT of Dirk Müller and Jonathan Summerton ulti­mately finished 10th after Müller was forced off course by a competitor two laps before the finish and was unable to continue. The inci­dent dashed team hopes for a 1 – 2 BMW finish as the cars had been running in that order near the closing stage of the race.
 
With two wins and four addi­tional podium finishes in the first seven races of the season, BMW stands second in the GT Class Manu­fac­turer points and BMW Team RLL is second in Team points. Dirk Müller falls to third in Driver points. Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller move up one spot to fifth.
 
“I am really thrilled for Bill and Jörg,” said Team Prin­cipal Bobby Rahal. “In the last couple of years Bill has often been in the situ­a­tion to win some races and got some bad luck. I am really very happy for Bill and really proud of the team. In Friday’s prac­tice we were 2 seconds off the pace. Our engi­neers Jay O’Connell, Bruno Couprie, and Chris Yancher really went to work and made the right changes. I think we are still at a bit of a deficit against the Porsche partic­u­larly and the Corvettes, but today we had a really good strategy. When Bill had to go fast he did and he went really fast — kudos to him for doing a great job. I feel bad for Dirk and Jonathan as they were in a posi­tion to finish 1– 2 and were hit by both Corvettes. They severely damaged the #56 car. Frankly I am not sure it’s repairable. On that side of the equa­tion I am very, very disap­pointed. But in the end we are one big team. Every­body worked really hard and we were able to bring it home.”
 
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “These guys are awesome. It’s been a while since we were on top of the podium and we all deserve it. We were 2 seconds off the pace in prac­tice and I knew the team would figure it out.”
 
Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “Bill did a fantastic job. The team did their job so well and that makes us all proud to be a part of this win. This is everyone on this team’s victory. It was fun to be at Road America for my first time and the podium makes it sweeter. Thank you to everyone.”
 
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “I was running hard in P2 and was pushed right off the track. I hope the offi­cials are aware of what happened. Congrats to Bill and Jörg for a very well deserved victory. We were on a 1 – 2 run and that would have been so fantastic for the cham­pi­onship.”
 
Jonathan Summerton, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “It was an exciting race. Dirk did a great job. I had a little mistake in the pit, but it is all part of the learning curve. It’s a shame the day ended the way it did.” Round 8 of the 2012 Amer­ican Le Mans Series, the Balti­more Sports Car Chal­lenge will take the green flag at 4:30 p.m. ET on September 1st. Live streaming coverage is avail­able starting at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com. ABC tele­vi­sion will broad­cast the race at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept 2nd. 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, 114 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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