|BMW TEAM RLL WINS AT LONG BEACH
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 16, 2011°ń Joey Hand and Dirk Müller drove BMW Team RLL to the top of the GT class podium for a second consecutive time this season at today°«s American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. The No. 56 M3 GT will be credited with the most laps led in the two hour contest, but not until the final minutes of the race were slowed by a caution flag was the outcome decided.
Hand started the race from the class pole and led for the opening laps, but lost the lead some twenty minutes into the race after an almost surreal set of circumstances. A few positions behind Hand, teammate Bill Auberlen, in the No. 55 M3 GT, was struck by a competitor and spun around 180 degrees in the tight confines of turn two. When he finally was able to get turned in the right direction Hand was back around and lost two positions as he avoided the accelerating Auberlen.
Hand gave chase and with a slick double pass in turn six regained the lead at the 40 minute mark. A second battle ensued with Patrick Long°«s Porsche and Hand lost the lead only to regain it a second time as Long slid into the wall.
He built up a seven second lead before pitting just past the hour mark. Müller took over and held the lead for the final hour of the race and the duo°«s second consecutive GT win.
Dirk Werner finished the race in the No. 55 M3 GT seventh in class, two laps in arrears.
°»This was a great win by Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in the No. 56 car today and a great position to be in going into the Le Mans break,°… said Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director. °»We are also confident that we had the possibility for a 1-2 victory today. Both cars are clearly very reliable, we have a strong team and strong drivers. With the result today, we are well positioned in both the ALMS and ILMC championships."
Bobby Rahal, Team principal, added, °»This was a big win for us as we didn°«t want to come to Long Beach and lose the advantage we fought so hard for in Sebring. Back-to-back wins are tough to come by in any series, but especially here in the GT class of ALMS, and this is a big victory for our team.°…
Following the traditional American Le Mans Series hiatus for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, BMW Team RLL will begin its defense the GT class lead at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn., on July 9.
Video: Joey Hand and Dirk Müller, No. 56 M3 GT (win)
About BMW Team RLL:
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. 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, 138 BMW motorcycle retailers, 105 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 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.
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 nearly two decades, compiling 22 victories, 31 poles and two series championships (1992, 2010) 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, and in 2010 won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category.
More information on their official website.