BMW Rahal Letterman Team Utah Grand Prix Recap

Official Release: The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team soldiered to seventh and eighth place finishes in today’s American Le Mans Series Utah Grand Prix. Despite strong qualifying results, prospects for the race outcome were altered at the start.

When the green flag flew, a series of car-to-car contacts throughout the field culminated in an incident between the two BMW M3s in Turn One. As a consequence of the collision, teammates Tommy Milner and Bill Auberlen were forced to the pits for extensive repairs in the opening minutes of the race. Each M3 re-entered the race more than five laps down from the GT2 leader.

The balance of the race was without incident as Milner pitted the No. 92 M3 after 38 laps to hand over to Dirk Müller. Auberlen pitted eight laps later and Joey Hand took the wheel of the No. 90 M3. Although Müller and Auberlen made late stops for fuel, both drivers were able to regain two class positions over the course of their stints.

Martin Birkmann, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager:

“We began the race with high expectations because we tested on this track four weeks ago and achieved second-row qualifying yesterday. After a quarter-mile our hopes were dashed… if it had been a drag race we would’ve had a better outcome. We need to look carefully at what went wrong, but I am proud of the morale of the team. We fought to recover today and will look to a better result at Lime Rock in July.”

Bobby Rahal, Team Principal:

“It ruins your day when you have an incident in first corner with both team cars, but I guess they say ‘that’s racing.’ The cars ran reasonably well for the duration of the race and we moved each car forward two positions.”

The ALMS will return to competition at Lime Rock Park on July 17-18 for Round 5.

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  • Parker

    I was sitting on the clubhouse corner and all I saw was big clouds of dust, I had no idea what happened! Did get some shots of the big hole in the door of the 92 car, and was amazed to watch them change it out in a matter of minutes.

    Sad to see it happen during the first lap, but I felt they did a good job catching up throughout the race.

  • Sam

    Hats off to the team for entering in a tough class. I was at the race and there is some fierce competition from the Porsche 911 in the GT2 class. I wonder if BMW will add a turbo to that engine for next year’s season.

  • Sam, there are strict engine requirements and BMW was actually mandated to make a change to the intake prior to this race. The chassis is in many ways superior to the competition in turns but they do lose out on the straights because of the low torque coming out of turns. I personally rather have a better chassis and get on the brakes late then brake sooner and have the power coming out of the turn…. different driving style than most other makes but it actually helps with long term reliability and the advantage of being able to pass in the corners; not always needing to do so on the straights (where it is easier to block)…