Woodcliff Lake, NJ Oct. 1, 2013 . . . BMW Team RLL will continue the battle for the 2013 American Le Mans Series GT championship at Virginia International Raceway, in Alton, Virginia, this weekend in the Oak Tree Grand Prix of VIR.
In the two latest ALMS rounds at the Baltimore GP and the Circuit of the Americas, the team started from the class pole with the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE, and came away with two third-place finishes for the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE. This has moved driver Dirk Müller to second place in driver’s points, and, with two superior finishes at VIR and the Petit Le Mans finale, may put the team within striking distance of Manufacturer and Team titles.
Last year was the inaugural ALMS race at the venerable VIR circuit, and BMW Team RLL finished fourth and ninth in the four-hour race with the now-retired M3 GT race cars. This year, the race will be 2.75-hours around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit that has become a favorite of Müller because VIR has many of the same challenges as the world-famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
“Despite the fact that there is a pretty long straightaway at VIR, there are a lot of fast corners which plays to the strengths of the BMW Z4 GTE,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Last year we were leading, got hit by a P2 car and taken out of winning the race. It’s a pretty narrow race track; there is not a lot of room and it’s very quick in places. It’s one of those tracks that you really have to qualify well and be able to maintain that position because passing can be difficult.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I absolutely love VIR. It’s fast and furious and great fun to drive. Our No. 55 machine is coming off two poles in a row and it’s time to convert that into a victory.”
Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I’m really looking forward to learn another circuit and helping BMW Team RLL chase another victory.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “Back to the States for VIR. Four weekends – four races – DTM, ALMS, DTM, and ALMS. I’m looking forward to the challenge of VIR and keeping Dirk and the team in the hunt for the championship.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “What a great racetrack. I love to race at VIR and after my pole there last year I am really looking forward to the second last event of the ALMS. The championship is still wide open and with Joey back in the 56 car we are well prepared.”
Qualifying and live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com at 3:35 p.m. ET Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2:00 p.m. respectively. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2 television at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 6th. 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.