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Drivers: Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Tommy Milner, Jr., Oriol Servia
Car #: 90, 92, 17
Sponsors: Bell Micro, NEC, Escort, DAFCA
Championship Finish: 14th, 4th
Rahal Letterman Racing changed its full-time focus to the American Le Mans Series in 2009, partnering with BMW of North America on the German manufacturer’s return to U.S.-based sportscar racing. The team ran a pair of BMW M3s in the GT class of the ALMS, while also returning to Indianapolis for a one-off with former Champ Car race winner Oriol Servia. The sportscar program had its share of hiccups early on, but as the season wore on, the team and its drivers found its way to the front of the grid. The pairing of Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand suffered through a myriad of problems in their first year, but they erased those with one big weekend in August as they won from pole at Road America, giving BMW the first U.S. sportscar win of its return. The pairing of Dirk Müller and Tommy Milner, Jr. had more consistent success, finishing fourth in the GT class championship on the strength of five podium finishes – three of those being second-place efforts. The team was joined by Andy Priaulx and Jörg Müller for the endurance races at Sebring and Road Atlanta. After the season, the team journeyed to Japan to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series event at Okayama, which it won. At Indy, the team’s car turned heads with a stunning paint job that paid homage to the Dan Gurney Eagles of the late 1960s, and Servia drove it like the legendary Californian over the first 80 laps, coming from 26th on the grid to run in the top 10 before a fuel pump failure ended their day in 25th place.