Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 19, 2013 … BMW Team RLL will start in the fifth and seventh positions for tomorrow’s two-hour ALMS at Long Beach race, the second round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
Bill Auberlen, driving the Frozen Black No. 55 Z4 GTE, saved his best lap for last in this afternoon’s 15-minute qualifying session. Only 0.218 seconds from the class pole time, his lap of 1:19.063 minutes on his ninth lap of the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit was good enough for the fifth starting position. Always one of the most competitive races of the ALMS season, the entire GT class is only separated by 0.688 seconds. Auberlen will share the No. 55 machine with Maxime Martin.
Joey Hand struggled with the set-up of the No. 56 Z4 GTE and his fast lap of 1:19.258 minutes will see him and co-driver Dirk Müller roll off seventh. Hand and Müller won this race from the pole in 2011 and finished second last year.
The new machines had an excellent first race at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring in March. Running competitive lap times at the sharp end of the GT field for the first two-thirds of the race, the team ultimately finished fourth and seventh after mechanical problems hindered any chance at challenging for the podium.
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (5th) “I believe we made some good choices after this morning’s practice and the No. 55 Z4 GTE was a pleasure to drive. That I was able to set my quickest time on my last lap means we have something for the race. A few tenths off the pole in such a competitive class means we’ll start fifth, but we have a car that can reach the podium tomorrow.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (7th) “We just were not 100% this afternoon. I’m not sure why, but I was not comfy and I could not produce the lap time to do better than P7. We’re racing at a competition level in this class that does not allow you to be off even a little.”
Live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com. Follow us on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. Television coverage will be broadcast on ABC television on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. 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, 117 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.