Clean, Fast and Efficient — BMW Z4 GTE Wins ALMS Northeast Grand Prix and Michelin Green X Challenge Award; Müller and Edwards First, Auberlen and Martin Fourth

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – July 6, 2013… Dirk Müller and John Edwards, driving the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE, won today’s Amer­ican Le Mans Series North­east Grand Prix from the pole posi­tion. The win increases Müller’s lead in the GT driver point stand­ings and moves BMW to within (unof­fi­cially) three points of the lead in the Manufacturer’s Cham­pi­onship. Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin, in the No. 55 Z4 GTE, finished fourth. The victory also resulted in the No. 56 machine being awarded the Michelin Green X Chal­lenge Award adding an excla­ma­tion point on the story of the day.

On paper, the second victory in the debut season of the BMW Z4 GTE may look to have been an easy one as the No. 56 machine was almost always at the front of the GT field, but the 2.45-hour race at the Lime Rock Park circuit was never truly decided until the check­ered flag waved. The late after­noon race start meant extreme summer heat for both team and drivers. Seem­ingly as hot as the day, Edwards started the race from his first ALMS pole and ran a trouble free first stint, pitting on lap 76 for Müller. The final 1.45 hours of the race was not an easy one for the GT points leader as the race was slowed by multiple caution periods erasing every lead Müller amassed. A late caution closed up the field with some 14 minutes remaining, but when the green flag waved with four minutes to go Müller would not be denied, winning by .905 seconds.

Martin started the No. 55 Z4 GTE from the second starting posi­tion. Early on he was hit, but was able to stay on the lead lap in tenth place. He drove a fine stint to move up to fifth before pitting under green on lap 77 to hand off to Auberlen. A change in strategy was made during the race’s first caution period and Auberlen was pitted a few laps later to top off the fuel and change left side Miche­lins with the aim to run the remainder of the race. As others pitted, Auberlen moved to the front of the field and increased his lead to almost a full lap. Unfor­tu­nately, the plan went out the window when Auberlen was called into the pits for a ques­tion­able call by the offi­cials for avoid­able contact. He dropped back to ninth, ulti­mately finishing fourth to add a second top-five finish of the season.

This was a hard race but a great race,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “The Corvette guys gave us a good run but we were able stay ahead by cleanly working through the traffic. We had a pit stop that we weren’t plan­ning on but fortu­nately it didn’t penalize us because we had a lap on most of the field. I’m really pleased for BMW, pleased for the team, very pleased for John and Dirk …espe­cially Dirk for moving further ahead in the Drivers Cham­pi­onship. We needed a win here because next tracks may not be so friendly to our car.”

We are very pleased with our second win for the Z4 this season and a victory at our home track.” said Gordon McDon­nell, BMWNA Motor­sport Manager. “Congrat­u­la­tions to John Edwards for his first ALMS pole and his great stint in the No. 56 car today. Dirk did a great job of keeping the lead and bringing home the victory. It was a tough day for the No. 55 Z4 GTE but Maxime and Bill never stopped fighting back towards the front. What a great way to start the post Le Mans part of the season!”

John Edwards, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (1st) – “We were first in every session except warm-up! First ALMS win from my first ALMS pole. It was a hard race though. It was so humid! This track never gives you a rest. I was really feeling it after the stint. On a hot day like this, victory is that much sweeter. A huge thanks to the team this weekend!”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (1st) – “It is one of those days! Unbe­liev­able! John had a phenom­enal first stint that put pres­sure on me to bring home the victory. I have to give a very big thank you to the BMW Team RLL guys. We kept improving the car through each session and by the race it was perfect. Michelin gave us great tires, BMW gave us a great car and it all came together.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (4th) – “Very early into the race we were hit by the Ferrari which took us from the lead to the back. We managed to work our way back up to the front. Then I had the inci­dent with the GTC car that caused the penalty. I was three quar­ters of the way up beside him, I thought he saw me but obvi­ously he didn’t and we got a penalty that took us back to ninth. In the end, we fought back up to fourth, moved up in the cham­pi­onship and gained valu­able points. I feel sorry for the team. They worked very hard in very hot and humid condi­tions and we couldn’t give them a podium…but we’ll get it next time.”

Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (4th) – “We scored some good points with our fourth place finish. It’s a long cham­pi­onship and I think we have the car to be in front and chal­lenge for a win. This was my first time at Lime Rock. It’s a tricky, short and fun track.”

Round Five of the 2013 ALMS season, the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport, will be held on Sunday, July 20th at Cana­dian Tire Motor­sport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. ESPN3.com will live-stream the 2.45-hour race begin­ning at 11:45 a.m. ET. The race will be broad­cast on ESPN at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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, 119 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.

Jour­nalist note: Photog­raphy for edito­rial purposes as well as infor­ma­tion about BMW Group and its prod­ucts in the USA is avail­able to jour­nal­ists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com.