Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 30, 2014 . . . BMW Team RLL will end the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season at this Saturday’s Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Georgia. In a departure from the previous year’s events, this year’s race will be run as a 10-hour race – not 1000 miles. BMW Team RLL will be racing to finish in a top-three position in the GTLM class Manufacturer championship as well as ending the season with all regular season drivers with a top-five place in Driver points.
With sixth and seventh place finishes at the last round at Circuit of the Americas, BMW is fourth in Manufacturer points, eight points separating the top-four manufacturers. Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx are fourth in Driver points. Teammates John Edwards and Dirk Müller stand fifth. The No. 55 Z4 and No. 56 Z4 stand fifth and sixth respectively in Team points.
Joey Hand will rejoin BMW Team RLL for Petit Le Mans before completing his third DTM season. Co-driving with Auberlen and Priaulx, the trio will be looking for the same success they had earlier in the season with a second at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and a third at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Dirk Werner will co-driver with Edwards and Müller in the No. 56 Z4. The trio also raced together at Daytona and Sebring this season. BMW Team RLL will also be racing for the program’s 50th podium finish.
“Over the years, we have qualified well for the Petit Le Mans and have had reasonable finishing positions, but no wins. We obviously hope to turn that around this time,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “It’s a very long, hard race and in many respects harder than Sebring. Road Atlanta is not as physically demanding on the car as Sebring, but for the drivers there are narrower speed differentials and I think the track has a bit more risk in it than Sebring or Daytona, so consequently the opportunity for mistakes or incidents is greater. It will be good to have Joey (Hand) and Dirk (Werner) back with us for Petit. We have a lot of experience with both drivers and both are really fast, and I think they will complement the team. From a driver lineup standpoint, once again, our guys are still the best guys.”
Bill Auberlen, Driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “Petit Le Mans is the race you wait all year for because it has become a fantastic event. On the other hand it means the end of our season. We finished second there last year so I have some unfinished business to take care of and will try to end our season on the top step of the podium. BMW Team RLL and all the drivers have done an amazing job in the most competitive series around making the 2014 season a special one.”
Andy Priaulx, Driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “I am looking forward to Petit Le Mans. As we still have a very narrow chance to win the championship I am going to go there feeling positive and will simply just concentrate on finishing the season on a high note. It’s a long race and a lot can happen so I am staying completely open minded. Though Austin proved to be extremely frustrating, the last races have gone very well for me personally and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the team and my team mate Bill for a very enjoyable first season in the US.”
John Edwards, Driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “It is always great to go back to Road Atlanta. The track is fast and challenging under normal conditions. The variables added by darkness and rain showers can really make the Petit Le Mans interesting. A lot can happen during the race, so qualifying and speed are never enough to bring home a win. I have a lot of family near the track, so this event feels a lot like a home race for me, which makes it very enjoyable. The season for Dirk and me has really been up and down, but we are hoping to be back on the podium again in Atlanta like we were last year and finish the season strong.”
Dirk Müller, Driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “We had a tough race at COTA – the last event – but I know the entire team is focused forward. This year the race is scheduled to finish at 10 hours – not 1000 miles – so that will mean an extra stint or two for the GT cars. I see this as a positive for BMW Team RLL as we have been very strong in the longer races this season.”
The Petit Le Mans will take the green flag at 11:15 a.m. ET Saturday, Oct. 4th. The race will be broadcast live (in progress) on FOX Sports 2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. A two-hour highlight program will be broadcast on FOX Sunday, Oct. 5th. 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, 140 BMW motorcycle retailers, 121 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.