Munich (DE), 18th September 2014. BMW Team RLL will visit the Circuit of the Americas (US), in Austin, Texas, on 20th September for the Lone Star Le Mans race, the penultimate round of the 2014 United SportsCar Championship (USCC).
BMW Team RLL finished third and fourth in last year’s inaugural American Le Mans Series race at the 5.513 kilometre, 20-turn circuit that is host to the Formula One United States Grand Prix. John Edwards (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) finished third after starting from the back of the 33-car field following a miscue with the qualifying tyres that lost Edwards his fourth place qualifying position. Bill Auberlen (US) and Joey Hand (US), substituting for Maxime Martin (BE), started from the class pole and finished fourth.
On 10th September the team completed a one-day test at COTA. Müller and Priaulx completed more than 100 laps of the circuit in preparation for the 2 hour 45 minute race. IMSA made a number of Balance of Performance adjustments to the class on the same day with two changes made to the BMW Z4 GTLM. The weight was increased by 25 kilograms to 1,255 kilograms. And, the cars received a larger air restrictor.
Following two consecutive podium finishes, with second at Road America (US) and third at Virginia International Raceway (US), Edwards and Müller have climbed up to a six-way tie for third place in the driver points that includes teammates Auberlen and Priaulx. BMW Team RLL is third with the number 56 car of Edwards and Müller and fourth with the number 55 car of Auberlen and Priaulx in the Team standings. BMW is still fourth in the Manufacturer points, with only four points separating the top-four places.
BMW Team RLL will also be racing for the programme’s 50th podium finish at COTA, after the result at VIR raised the number of podium finishes since the programme began in 2009 to a total of 49.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL):
“COTA is a really great circuit with a premium on handling, although there is a very, very long straightaway and that is always a factor for us. It will be a tough race for us as every race has been. Our guys literally have to drive 100 per cent every lap to maintain the pace of the others, but I look forward to the event and hope it will bring success.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“I am disappointed with the recent BoP changes, as it appears we remain a significant underdog to the rest of the GTLM class. The BMW Z4 GTLM looks like it will have to continue its role as an overachiever. We’re sitting third in the championship, but it will continue to be a battle to finish on the podium.”
Andy Priaulx (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“We are now entering the final two races of the year and, thanks to BMW, COTA will not be a new track for me. I had a very good test on Wednesday and feel completely at home on this wonderful circuit. I really can’t wait for the race weekend. I suspect it will be an extremely tough fight now for the final races. Corvette and Viper are really strong and a race win still eludes us at BMW this year. However, as always, we will fight hard.”
Dirk Müller (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“John and I bring good momentum to COTA with podiums in our last two races. We finished third there last year after a great race, and I believe we are well prepared for this year’s event based on our test. The championship battle continues!”
John Edwards (Number 56 BMWZ4 GTLM):
“Austin is a great town and COTA is a fantastic track to drive, especially in our BMW Z4. Our car really excels through the esses, easily handling the multiple changes of direction, and gives us a lot of confidence as drivers. Dirk and I finished P3 there last year after starting from the rear, and we were in the battle for the lead at the end of the race. This season, we are tied for P3 in the championship so we need two more good results in the last two races to solidify a top-three championship spot in the first year of the series. I think we’re in a good spot to carry our momentum from the last two races into COTA.”