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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 GTLMVIR 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 GTLMVIR 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.