Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – August 5, 2013 . . . Following disappointing fifth and sixth place finishes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park three weeks ago, BMW Team RLL heads to Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., the site of three BMW Team RLL victories in the past four American Le Mans Series seasons.
The 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit is Bobby Rahal’s favorite track in North America and BMW Team RLL raced the BMW M3 GT to the top step of the podium in 2009, 2010 and 2012. In 2009, Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand drove to the program’s first victory at Road America from program’s first pole. The next year, Hand and Dirk Müller repeated as winners. In 2011, the second and third steps of the podium were reached. Last year, Auberlen and Jörg Müller roared back with the victory.
The first five rounds of the 2013 American Le Mans Series have seen the new BMW Z4 GTE race to the GT class victory at both Long Beach and Lime Rock Park. BMW stands second in GT Class Manufacturer points and Dirk Müller has a five point lead in the GT Driver standings. John Edwards will substitute for Joey Hand in the No. 56 Z4 GTE this weekend as Hand enjoys a week off following an excellent seventh place finish at the inaugural DTM race in Moscow, Russia on August 4th.
Bill Auberlen, co-driving the No. 55 Z4 GTE with Maxime Martin, will celebrate his 500th professional start at Road America as the BMW ace continues to add to one of the most impressive racing resumes in the world.
Auberlen, Edwards and Martin will also compete in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series that will share the bill with the ALMS at Road America. Auberlen and Edwards will also race in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series. The two series will merge to become United Sports Car Racing in 2014.
“We obviously have had good success in the four years at Elkhart Lake,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “I think the fast sweeping corners have always played to one of the strengths of a BMW. Getting through all the circuit’s fast corners; Turns 1, 3, 7, the Carousel, Turns 12, 13 and 14 has been a major reason for our success. This year the Z4 GTE has shown that it is also a very good handling car. We have been at a deficit on top speed but have been at a deficit on top speed years before with the M3 GT, especially 2009 and 2010, and yet we still won there so it will be interesting to see how we fare.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “Road America one of my favorite tracks in the world and I will get to race it three times this weekend – ALMS GT, Rolex GT and CTSCC GS. That will be a unique experience for me and my expectation is three first place finishes! 500 professional race starts is a record I will be extremely proud of.”
Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I’m really excited to discover this classic track. I think it is one of the longest of the year so it will not be easy to learn. As always, I will have the experience of Bill to help me.”
John Edwards, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “The last race I ran with BMW Team RLL was at Lime Rock a month ago, but it feels like 6 months! We knew that Lime Rock would suit us, and we capitalized on that with a win. Unfortunately we’ve been expecting both Mosport and Road America to be tougher tracks for us, so although we’re always competing for a win, we know that the competition will be as tough at Road America as they were at Mosport. My biggest goal is doing what I can to help Dirk maintain the lead in the championship. We will be racing hard to win, but I know we will all have our eye on the big picture with the championship as we enter the second half of the season.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “We are now starting the second half of the season and I am still leading the championship which feels great! Road America is one of my favorite race tracks in the world and I am thrilled to come back with our new BMW Z 4 GTE. The track should suit us a bit better than Mosport. John is back to help us out and its going to be a big weekend full of great racing.”
Qualifying and live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. The Orion Energy Systems 245 is scheduled to be broadcast on ABC television at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 11th. ALMS.com will stream in-car footage throughout the race and the full live feed for international views. More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.alms.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 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 119 MINI passenger car dealers, and 34 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: 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