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BMW Team RLL – Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR Preview

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Aug. 19, 2014 . . .  Up next for BMW Team RLL is the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship round at Virginia International Raceway, in Alton, Virginia, on August 24th – Round 9 of the 11-race 2014 season. The weekend will feature Grand Touring cars in a 2.75-hour standalone race for GTLM and GTD competitors at the venerable 3.27-mile, 17-turn permanent road course.

BMW Team RLL has raced twice before at VIR, in the 2012 and 2013 American Le Mans Series seasons, with a best finish of fourth in both years. Recently, the circuit was repaved and widened in certain places to offer more opportunities for overtaking. That is sure to increase the competitiveness of the GTLM class that on most weekends qualifies its field within one second.

BMW Team RLL arrested its fall in the standings with a well-deserved second place finish by the No. 56 Z4 of John Edwards and Dirk Müller, in the last round at Road America on Aug. 10th. Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx stand fourth in driver points, while John Edwards and Dirk Müller have climbed to fifth. BMW Team RLL is currently fourth and fifth in Team standings. BMW remains fourth in Manufacturer points, but gained four points at Road America, closing to within two points of third.

“We have had reasonable pace at Virginia International Raceway in qualifying over the years, but haven’t been that successful in the races,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal.
“At VIR you are always, frankly, worried about all of the traffic. It’s a very twisty circuit with a long straightaway, which again, doesn’t work in our favor but there are fast esses and corners which do, so I think there is every reason to believe we can have a successful race.”

Bill Auberlen, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “VIR is an amazing circuit that should play to the handling of the Z4.  I can’t wait to go flat out through those esses and feel the incredible down force and pinpoint handling. Andy and I are only three points out of third in driver points so one of our goals is to regain that position.”

Andy Priaulx, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “I am looking forward to VIR which will be another learning experience. It’s a new track for me and I’m told by many people in the sport it will require a lot of work. It’s not quite as long as Road America, as it is three and a quarter compared to four miles in length, but has a lot of turns and a lot of content. So far this year most of the tracks have been new to me but this hasn’t been an issue so I’m hoping that I can be up to speed as early as possible. We have some work to do in the championship and need to start scoring big points like we did at the beginning of the year.”

John Edwards, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “VIR is a great track, with flowing corners and plenty of elevation change. The track has all new pavement, which is supposed to have more grip, so we should be going quicker now than ever before. The format is a little different for this race as we won’t be on track with any prototypes, so we have a unique opportunity to win overall. Without any prototype traffic, I believe qualifying will be important this weekend, as there will be fewer variables to shake up the running order throughout the race. Dirk and I are coming off a strong weekend at Road America, where we scored pole and a second place finish, so we’ll be looking to stay strong again this weekend as the points are tight from third through seventh.”

Dirk Müller, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “If we can carry the momentum from our success at Road America to VIR we will be very happy. I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements that have been made to the circuit as it can only make that fantastic track even better.”

The 2.75-hour Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR will take the green flag at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, August 24th. The race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with coverage beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.imsa.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 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 120 MINI passenger car dealers, and 35 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 30 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.