We ‘re on the ground this week at Laguna Seca following the action of Rahal Letterman Racing. The ALMS Series is set to pick up where it left off after racing around the Baltimore Harbor, fast exciting racing but this time on one of the world ‘s greatest tracks; Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The six hour race will see teams race into the sunset and then into darkness which always brings about some interesting results. BMW has qualified well this season with the two M3 GT entries and this session was no different. A huge thanks to Chris Woolman for covering this event and sharing his photos with us.
The No. 56 BMW M3 GT will start on the pole in tomorrow’s ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The No. 55 BMW M3 GT will start third on the grid.The six-hour endurance race into the darkness is round eight of a nine race season.
Joey Hand qualified the No. 56 M3 GT in first position with a lap of 1:22.226 (97.984 mph) around the famous racetrack.Hand and co-driver Dirk Müller lead the GT driver point standings with 124 points, which is a 25 point lead over Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R. Gavin qualified the C6.R in second position with a lap of 1:23.124 (96.925 mph).
BMW Team RLL driver Bill Auberlen qualified the No. 55 M3 GT in third position with a lap time of 1:23.132 (96.916) around the 2.238-mile track. Auberlen and co-driver Dirk Werner are currently third in the driver point standings.
In addition to the six-hour race around one of the world’s most renowned circuits, Championships are also on the line this weekend in Monterey.Currently, BMW Team RLL leads the GT Team Championship over Corvette Racing with a total of 133 points. BMW has a 30 point advantage over Porsche for the GT Automobile Manufacturer Championship.
SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE POLE FOR BMW TEAM RLL AT ALMS MONTEREY
Monterey, CA. – September 16, 2011… BMW Team RLL driver Joey Hand recorded the sixth pole of the season for the No. 56 M3 GT in this afternoon’s qualifying session for the American Le Mans Monterey to extend the BMW Team RLL qualifying streak to a total of seven consecutive poles in 2011. His lap of 1:22.226 minutes around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit bested the 12-car GT field by a margin of .898 seconds. Hand and co-driver Dirk Muller lead the GT driver point standings with a total of five podium finishes that include three consecutive victories to start off the season.
Teammate Bill Auberlen qualified the No. 55 M3 GT in the third position with a 1:23.132 minute lap. Auberlen and co-driver Dirk Werner have finished on the podium in three of the last four races, including a second at Road America and stand third in GT driver points.
“Well, this is another great performance by BMW and the team,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Joey nailed the laps. It’s a big margin to be ahead. Like Dirk Werner did at Baltimore…Joey found a shortcut. I am really pleased the cars have been up front all weekend long, we just need to stay there tomorrow. We just hope for a problem free race”.
“On the pole again! It’s great!” said Joey Hand. “I have a cold and haven’t been feeling great this week but didn’t want that to be an excuse. So I gave it everything I had. It’s a testament to our team how the car came out of the trailer, we were on the money from the beginning. We kept fine tuning through the practice sessions and the guys really nailed it. The No. 56 BMW M3 GT has led every session and we have one more very important session to lead: the race. My wife and kids are here, we have a lot of Crown Plaza and Avnet friends here and we want to give them a great race at my home racetrack.”
With only two races to go, BMW, BMW Team RLL and Dunlop lead the GT Manufacturer, Team and Tire championship standings respectively.
The six-hour Modspace American Le Mans Monterey is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. PDT Saturday. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and rebroadcast on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 18.