Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – May 12, 2009…
In the four-week break between Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2009 American Le Mans Series, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team has focused on testing and continued development of the new BMW M3 GT2 race car. The team feels well-prepared for this weekend’s Larry H. Miller Utah Grand Prix.
Immediately following the team’s second consecutive GT2 class podium finish at Round 3 in Long Beach, a team transporter made the journey to Tooele, Utah for two days of tire testing at Miller Motorsports Park, the site of the upcoming Round 4 race on May 17. Drivers Dirk Müller and Tommy Milner completed almost 900 test miles in two days. Dunlop engineers used the opportunity to test a variety compounds and constructions to identify and develop the optimum tires for upcoming races. Team technicians gathered fresh data at the circuit’s 4300 ft. altitude.
The following week, the team met drivers Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand for two more days of testing at Laguna Seca, which will host the ALMS season finale on October 10.
Adding another 539 miles to the log, Auberlen and Hand tested more tire compounds and constructions as well as changes to the M3’s specifications. On April 24 IMSA announced a competition adjustment to the two BMWs, allowing the M3 a larger air intake restrictor and requiring a 25 kilogram weight increase.
Hand praised Dunlop, “I have done a significant amount of tire testing in my career and the way Dunlop goes about their business is impressive. The engineers know how to speak with a driver and they are very open-minded. The fact that Dirk and Tommy tested at Miller will help Bill and me get up to speed right away. Having data from Miller and Laguna Seca moves us further along.”
Auberlen added, “At Miller you need a little bit of everything to be successful, both from your car and your team. We’ll be racing on the shortened configuration this year, and as much as I love driving the long track, the key corners are the same. Getting on to the front straight first is as important as being the last to brake for Turn One because you can set up a pass and then can carry a lot of speed through that turn. Not only are our M3s excellent under braking, but the car’s balance will lend itself to keeping the momentum all the way through the long, sweeping turns two, three and four.”
BMW stands fourth in ALMS Manufacturer point standings. Milner and Müller stand sixth in GT2 Driver points, with Auberlen and Hand in 15th.
Two test sessions begin the weekend on Friday, with two one-hour official practice sessions scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. Saturday. A single 20-minute qualifying session is scheduled to begin at 3:20 p.m. that afternoon. The two-hour-and-forty minute race is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. Sunday and will be broadcast on SPEED television at 10:00 p.m. ET.