Official release: Following the annual pause in the American Le Mans Series season for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, BMW Team RLL returns to action at Lime Rock Park on July 9th for the Northeast Grand Prix.
With BMW on top of the GT class point standings following wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Long Beach races, the team heads to Lime Rock Park with the lead in all ALMS GT class championships and fresh from a two-day Dunlop tire test at Road Atlanta on June 15 and 16.
“The BMW Team RLL guys have been champing at the bit to get back to the track after such a long hiatus, ” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We are the hunted instead of the hunter at the moment and we ‘ll have to be ready to take everyone ‘s best shots. We have had some good tests, gotten great support from BMW as well as good tire input from Dunlop, so the team and the drivers are confident that we will go to Lime Rock Park and have another chance to do well. ”
Lime Rock Park is not only important because it is the home track of BMW of North America, but it is the first of seven races in 13 weeks for the American Le Mans Series championship. Last year BMW Team RLL clinched the GT class championship in the final laps of the season-ending Petit Le Mans. This year, the third for the partnership of BMW of North America, BMW Motorsport and Rahal Letterman Lanigan, BMW Team RLL has already equaled its prior two season win total.
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “After Long Beach I haven’t been sitting around waiting for Lime Rock. Most of my time has been spent in an M3 getting podiums and winning races in GRAND AM competition. (Note: Auberlen and co-driver Paul Dalla Lana lead CTSCC GS points and stand fifth in Rolex GT points.) Let’s get back to dominating the ALMS. Lime Rock Park is a BMW track, we have been all over the podium there.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “I’m looking forward to drive with BMW Team RLL and my teammate Bill again after the Le Mans break. After the first two races we know that our car is fast and Lime Rock Park would be the ideal place for the No. 55 car’s first win. Lime Rock Park is always challenging. Traffic and how you handle it is critical to success.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “I feel awesome coming off Le Mans. We went to win, but a third place finish is just great. Racing and then standing on the Le Mans podium made me gain a huge respect for the event. Following Le Mans it was right back to testing at Road Atlanta with BMW Team RLL. Heading to Lime Rock we can put into play all we learned at Atlanta with the tires and new set-ups. Lime Rock Park is NA’s home track and we really get a good feeling from the crowds. There are seven more races this season and I know we can keep our great momentum going.”
Dirk Mueller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “lt has been a long break and l am really hungry to get more success in our BMW RLL BMW M3 GT. After a great third place finish at Le Mans with BMW Motorsport and a great race at the Nurburgring 24 its time to get back to business with the ALMS. We had a fantastic test in Atlanta the other day and l spend a lot of time with Joey at Le Mans which is good in order to get pumped for the rest of the season! I’m happy to see the Rahal boys again and we are going to Lime Rock to win this race!”
Practice and qualifying for the American Le Mans Series Northeast grand Prix will be held on Friday, July 8 with the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race scheduled to take the green flag at 2:05 p.m. ET Saturday. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and rebroadcast on ESPN2 from 1 – 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July, 10.