The August 4th Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge is next on the 2012 American Le Mans Series calendar for BMW Team RLL. Now standing second in the GT Class Manufacturer points, Mid-Ohio marks the beginning of the second half of the ALMS season for the 2010 and 2011 class champions. It also is a special homecoming of sorts for team principal Bobby Rahal, who attended the very first sports car race at the circuit in 1962.
Following a streak of three consecutive podium finishes in the first three races of the season, including a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, BMW Team RLL had two difficult races at Lime Rock Park and Mosport. Only fifth and sixth places were netted at Lime Rock Park and the post-race disqualification of the winner gave the team third and seventh at Mosport. Trailing the Chevy Corvettes by 13 points in the Manufacturer standings and 18 points behind in the Team standings, BMW Team RLL is looking for a strong result at Mid-Ohio to move closer to the top. Joey Hand and Dirk Müller stand third in the driver points. Teammates, Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller, are sixth.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal):
“We had a very productive test at Mid-Ohio about a month ago. I’m hopeful that will give us the insight we need to win. It’s a good track for the BMW M3 GT. We’ve shown in past years we can manage the pace – just not for a long enough time. Hopefully Dunlop and our team can produce a good handling car that will figure strongly in the race. Mid-Ohio is a handling course not a horsepower one like Mosport. I feel confident that from a handling perspective we’re better than anyone out there. This is a mature team. We’ve been racing a long time. We’ve seen it all. Some days you get a little good luck and some days you get a little bad luck, but you hate to rely on that. Frankly we got lucky in Mosport when the winner did not pass tech. All of our guys have been around and yes we have had some really tough races, but I don’t see any hand wringing. We can win this championship. It’s still wide open. We closed in on the Corvette a little bit at Mosport. We’ll just keep our heads down and focus on what we can do to make our car better every lap.”
Bill Auberlen (BMW M3 GT – No. 55):
“Mid-Ohio here we come. At the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park we had a fast car, but we had a bit of a drama. Now we’re all about fighting back. We tested at Mid-Ohio earlier this year and feel we have a pretty good car, but the competition will continue to be extremely tough.”
Jörg Müller (BMW M3 GT – No. 55):
“After the bad result at Mosport I’m really looking forward to the race in Mid-Ohio. Not only is it BMW Team RLL’s home track, but our test there went very well. Mid-Ohio is a very nice circuit and it definitely has a lot more possibilities to overtake than Mosport.”
Joey Hand (BMW M3 GT – No. 56):
“I like to drive Mid-Ohio. Of all the tracks in the US this one gives you an advantage if you have the knowledge of the circuit and some tricks learned from experience. I lived in Ohio, so in some ways it is my home track. We had a good test there a month ago and that’s always positive.”
Dirk Müller (BMW M3 GT – No. 56):
“Mid-Ohio is like Lime Rock because there are always a lot of fans, friends and family around. Our Dunlops always work well there, and I am looking forward to putting even more pressure on our competition and regain the lead in the championship.”