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BMW Team RLL – Sports Car Showcase At Long Beach Preview

Wood­cliff   Lake, N.J. – April 7th, 2014 … BMW Team RLL arrives at the Sports Car Show­case At Long Beach leading both the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Cham­pi­onship GTLM Team and Driver stand­ings after podium finishes at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. A second place finish at Daytona was followed by a third at Sebring for the No. 55 BMW Z4 to lead the team stand­ings. Drivers Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx share the lead in driver points.

Less than two driving stints long, the 100-minute Long Beach race would seem to pale in compar­ison to the classic endurance contests at Daytona and Sebring, but it is exactly the inten­sity of the race that makes it so popular with fans and one in which BMW Team RLL has met with great success in past seasons. In four seasons of compe­ti­tion at Long Beach with the BMW M3 GT, the team finished on the podium every year – including a win in 2011. Last year, in only the second race for the new BMW Z4 GTE, the team posted a 1 – 2 finish as Bill Auberlen (co-driving with Maxime Martin) took his first victory at his home race. The win was also the first for the new BMW-Michelin partnership.

I don’t know if anybody expected us to win that soon, but it was obvi­ously a great victory for us and for BMW, and to finish 1 – 2 espe­cially.  That gives us a lot of enthu­siasm for the upcoming race. There is every reason that we should be compet­i­tive there again and can hope­fully repeat,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal.

This year the race will feature only Proto­type and GT Le Mans cars so there will be fewer cars, and espe­cially since there are no GTD cars, traffic will obvi­ously not play as much of a role as it has so far this season. For us frankly it’s always been a little bit of a struggle to get around the GTD cars which are as fast as we are on the straights so not having to navi­gate that is going to help us. All-in-all it should make for a really great GT Le Mans race.”

Bill Auberlen, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “What a great start to a great year.  We are leading the cham­pi­onship and we are heading to a race I won last year in my own back­yard. We have a great car in the BMW Z4, a great team with RLL and great momentum. Mix in a bit of luck and it should be another great Long Beach event.”

Andy Priaulx, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – I’m really looking forward to Long Beach. The track looks fantastic and it will be a real chal­lenge.  I will need to work really hard on my pre race prepa­ra­tions to make sure I’m as prepared as possible. I love street tracks, I’ve heard a lot of great things about Long   Beach and look forward to a great race.”

John Edwards, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – ‘I first raced at Long Beach seven years ago and I’m excited to finally be going back. Street courses are always exciting and Long Beach is one of the best. Sebring was a tough race for us in the 56 car, but we’re going back to the site of the Z4’s 1 – 2 finish and I’m confi­dent that we have an oppor­tu­nity to repeat success. Dirk and I are hungry for our first podium of 2014 so we’ll be using every inch of the track. We need to come away with a good result and move back up in the points after some bad luck in Sebring.”

Dirk Müller, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “I really enjoy driving at Long Beach and after all our tough luck so far this year with our 56 car I think it’s time to bring home a great result. We had a fantastic 1 – 2 finish there last year. The 36-hours of Daytona and Sebring are over and it’s now full concen­tra­tion on this short race for John and I.”

Part of the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend that is cele­brating its 40th anniver­sary this year, the Sports Car Show­case at Long Beach takes the green flag at 6:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 12th. Fox Sports 1 will carry live coverage of the race begin­ning at 6:00 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 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.

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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.