BMW Team RLL Races in P3 and P10 at 12 Hours of Sebring Mid-Point; No. 55 Runs in Third, No. 56 Slowed by Crash Damage in Tenth

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – March 15, 2014 … At the mid-point of the 62nd annual 12 Hours of Sebring BMW Team RLL races in the third and tenth posi­tions in the GTLM class. The first race at Sebring for the new TUDOR United SportsCar Cham­pi­onship has been slowed by eight caution periods, the sixth bringing out a red flag that halted the race for six minutes, in the first six hours.

The No. 55 Z4 currently runs in the third posi­tion having had a rela­tively trouble free race so far. Bill Auberlen started the race from the third posi­tion, running two stints before handing off to Andy Priaulx, pitting from sixth. Joey Hand took over on lap 79 under the fifth caution period of the race at the 3.41-hour mark. He care­fully picked his way through the field, reaching second place before pitting for fuel just before the six-hour mark.

Dirk Muller started the race in the No. 56 Z4 from the second posi­tion. Just before the 3-hour mark the No. 56 Z4, with Dirk Werner now behind the wheel, was swept up in a wreck started by the No. 62 Ferrari inflicting damage to the left front of the BMW. He pitted for repairs, a new wheel and tire, and returned to the race in the seventh posi­tion as the field circu­lated under the fourth caution period of the contest. Werner was back in the pits a few minutes after the green flag waved for continued repairs, falling four laps behind the class leaders. Addi­tional pit stops cost him an addi­tional three laps. At the mid-point John Edwards is behind the wheel of the No. 56 Z4, racing in the tenth position.

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “At the begin­ning quite a few drivers were bumping into each other. I took it pretty easy and laid back. On my second set of tires, which were a medium compound, every­thing was great with the car. We just started fighting our way up the leader board and I was catching the Corvette. I think we have a very good, strong car. After Andy got in the door wouldn’t shut! All that work and we had to come in for a pit stop to shut the door.”

Andy Priaulx, driver No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “That was a very chal­lenging time. I was driven off the road in Turn 16 by a competitor who seemed to be obliv­ious to any other car on the track. On top of that we’ve lost a bit of the handling we had earlier in the week, but the crew will work to get us back to the sweet spot.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “I had a bril­liant start to the race. Unfor­tu­nately there was a mess in turn two and I got really hit hard from behind. We had minor damage to the rear of the car, but it was not affecting my driving.”

Dirk Werner, driver No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “It was a wild expe­ri­ence, but also a very disap­pointing one. At one point a Porsche drove into me in turn one, putting me into the wall. The entire front fascia had to be changed. Before that, the Z4 was running really good, I think we were in P2 and now we have some laps to the leaders. Still six hours to go. It will be tough to get back to the front, but we will try.”

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 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motor­cycle retailers, 119 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 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: Infor­ma­tion about BMW Group and its prod­ucts in the USA is avail­able to jour­nal­ists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and http://www.press.bmwna.com.