25.07.2010: From rear of the grid to the podium, BMW triumphs at Lime Rock Park once again.
In the biggest story of accomplishment at Saturday’s American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3 GTs scored 2nd a
From rear of the grid to the podium, BMW triumphs at Lime Rock Park once again.
In the biggest story of accomplishment at Saturday’s American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3 GTs scored 2nd and 3rd place finishes in a triumph of race strategy at BMW’s home track.
Recovering from an unfortunate qualifying result which placed the team at the rear of the starting grid, drivers Tommy Milner and Bill Auberlen finished 2nd,, while co-drivers Dirk Muller and Joey Hand scored 3rd place and set the fastest GT-class lap of the race (Hand) at 0:55.943 seconds.
With this result, the team continues the success streak of the BMW M3 at Lime Rock Park. BMW of North America has never raced an M3 at Lime Rock Park without scoring a podium finish, and today there were two. In five races elapsed this season, the two-car team has scored seven ALMS GT podium finishes.
“Today we showed the power of the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team, and to come back from such a frustrating qualifying session to battle for the lead all day is very satisfying,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “The entire team fought hard on a very tough and hot day on a race track where you are constantly in traffic. We extended our podium streak and are looking forward to picking back up at Mid-Ohio in two weeks.”
Tommy Milner (No. 92) started from the 9th spot on the grid and began the attack, quickly reaching 7th place by Lap 9. Also by lap 9, Dirk Mϋller (No. 90) had reached 9th place. Twelve minutes into the race saw the first full-course caution period, and both BMWs pitted for fuel.
During the stop, the No. 90 was able to rejoin just ahead of the No. 92, putting Mϋller in 5th and Milner in 6th at the 34-minute mark. The race’s 3rd full course caution period fell at the 40-minute mark, with Mϋller 3rd and Milner 4th. During the caution, the BMWs stayed out on track, boosting them to the 1st and 2nd places at the restart.
The team finally chose to pit the M3 GTs on Lap 91 (Car 90) and Lap 93 (Car 92), about one hour and forty minutes into the race. During the stops, Joey Hand took over for Mϋller and Bill Auberlen took over for Milner. The drivers re-joined the race in 4th and 3rd places, respectively.
After one of the lead competitors pitted, the BMW duo took over the 3rd and 2nd slots, and held them for the remaining 68 laps despite several attempts by Auberlen to challenge for the win, and several attempts by Hand to challenge for 2nd place. As if putting an exclamation point on the team’s accomplishment, Joey Hand was the only ALMS GT driver to set a lap time under 56 seconds Saturday.
“Today was full of good news,” said Martin Birkmann, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager. “We continued our streak of finishing on the podium this season, and we led a few laps which is something we’ve also done at all previous races this year. The bad news of course is that a win remains elusive. I keep promising the fans a win and as long as we continue to be in good shape I expect we will deliver. If you told me Friday night that today we would be able to pass so many competitors and challenge for the win, I wouldn’t have believed it. This is a good result and our team – especially our pit crew – is incredible.”
BMW-RLR on YouTube: Tommy Milner and Bill Auberlen discuss their 2nd-place finish at Lime Rock Park. 24 July 2010.
BMW-RLR on YouTube: Happy, but not satisfied, Joey Hand and Dirk Mϋller discuss their frustrating 3rd-place finish at Lime Rock Park. 24 July 2010.
With seven podium finishes in the first five races of the season, BMW is now second in GT Manufacturer points. Round Six of the 2010 American Le Mans Series is scheduled to run Saturday, August 7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Follow the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for real-time updates.
About BMW Rahal Letterman Racing:
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.
BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 336 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 143 BMW motorcycle retailers, 97 MINI passenger car dealers, and 31 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for more than a decade compiling 20 victories, 30 poles and one series championship (Bobby Rahal in 1992 in CART) and an Indianapolis 500 championship (Buddy Rice in 2004).
In 2008 Rahal Letterman Racing again won Rookie-of-the-Year honors at the Indianapolis 500 and partnered with Andersen Racing to run two entries in the Indy Pro Series. In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the BMW M3 as BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team in the American Le Mans Series.
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