BMW Rahal Letterman Finishes 2nd at Laguna Seca

While it ‘s not a win, 2nd proves that BMW will be a continue force to be reckoned with throughout the season. The combination of Joey Hand and Dirk Müller led most of the race and were only passed as their M3 GT2 got up to speed on the last restart due to a caution. It was a bittersweet ending to a day that began with a crash in morning warm-up and an immediate rebuild of the No. 90 car by the BMW-RLR crew.Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner finished eighth after a late-race punt dropped the No. 92 M3 down the order. The duo led the GT class twice during the day.

Official Release: The six-hour race dealt competitors a total 10 caution periods and the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team played every opportunity to its benefit. Splitting strategies on the third yellow flag near the two-hour point, the team pitted the No. 90 M3 GT for fuel with rest of the class and elected to keep the No. 92 M3 on track and gain position. It paid off with the GT lead for Milner, who had replaced starting driver Auberlen just past the one hour mark.

When Milner was hit by a competitor and forced to the pits, Hand took over the lead from his teammate. The race gave fans a roller coaster ride through four more caution periods before the four hour mark as the M3 GTs ebbed and flowed at the front of the GT field based on the differing fuel and tire strategies.

In the fifth hour, the No. 90 M3 GT took the lead with some thirty minutes remaining, but in the final caution period of the race, Hand’s safe lead evaporated and the team was eventually forced to settle for second place.

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  • I wish I could have watched this race, rather than just watching the timing/scoring and twitter feeds; the advertised online streaming did not work for me- kept saying stream not available. From the info I have read, it looks like on that final caution Hand left the lower line open into a corner and the Lizard’s car took the line and the victory. It is amazing to see that after 6 hours the difference between 1st and 2nd was less than .5 seconds!

    The E85 switch did not seem to hurt or benefit the cars, but kept them at about the same level of performance compared to running E10- shows that ALMS has balanced that out well for the Green Car Challenge.

    There is over a month break until the July 11th race at Miller in Utah, but unlike years past- BMW will be racing in the 24 hours or Le Mans with two cars entered by the BMW Motorsport/ Team Schnitzer- one being the new BMW Art Car. Stay tuned for coverage of the June 12-13th race.

    -M

  • lava

    I peaked at the live stats about halfway through and BMW was leading the GT class, on the same lap and just a few seconds behind the LMPC class (prototype privateers?) – impressive.

  • Roland Renno

    Well 2nd is not bad but I hoped for a win. Anyway, well done guys!

  • Chris W.

    It was a very exciting race. I was there freezing my butt off till the end. Would have liked to see the guys do better, but 2nd was great considering the problems they had this weekend. In addition to the #90 crash, I watched them pull the #92 motor after qualifying. Not sure what they did to it, but they were quick mechanics! A condensed version of the race will be on CBS next weekend.

  • Chris W.

    Just in case anyone is interested, you can watch the entire six hours on-demand. Check it out here: http://www.americanlemans.com/primary1.php?cat=news|14818