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Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – August 17, 2011… With three wins and two podium finishes in the first five races of the 2011 American Le Mans Series season, BMW Team RLL has proven that to get to the championship you’ll first have to get past two very fast BMW M3 GTs.
The team certainly won’t make it easy at this weekend’s Road Race Showcase at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis. BMW Team RLL has not been beaten at Road America in ALMS competition, winning the GT class in both 2009 and 2010. Not only did point leading teammates Joey Hand and Dirk Mϋller win last year, but Hand also scored the win in 2009 from the pole, co-driving with Bill Auberlen.
Hand and Mϋller have recorded three wins this season, but it has been Auberlen and Dirk Werner in the No. 55 M3 GT that have finished third in the last two races – one position ahead of Hand and Mϋller.
Both pair of drivers has the potential to win the four-hour race at the classic 4.048-mile road course and every crew member is highly motivated to prove why he is part of one of the best teams in all of motorsport.
“We have won each of the last two races at Road America so obviously we are optimistic, but the last two races have proven that if you don't put your best effort out there, you aren't going to win,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “If we can reduce our mistakes this weekend, it will increase our chances.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “I’m glad to be going to Road America where all the success began for BMW Team RLL. We return with better cars so we all are cautiously optimistic. Road America is a beautiful race track. It is fast and has a little bit of everything. Many of the corners are long and challenging - exactly what a driver looks for.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “I would say that Bill and I are on an upward trend, especially at the last two races. With two consecutive podiums I am highly motivated for the next race, as Road America seems to suit our car. The team won there in the last two years so I think that we have a very good chance to be successful this year. Road America is a great race track, and is - compared to the other circuits we race on - more of European standard. It is quite a fast track with a lot of challenging fast corners. I really enjoy racing there.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Before this season we had won two races in the ALMS and they both came at Road America. One in 2009, one in 2010 and I was in the winning M3 both times. Road America is definitely a special place for me, a favorite of mine and the team, and it has a lot of different things to love. The different types of corners – ninety degree, long duration and what I call a man-attack corner in the kink. I have been close to flat out there, but I don’t think anyone has gone flat through the kink. I think this may be the year.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT - “Road America is always a highlight of my American tour. This race track is like a combination of the Nordschleife and Spa on American soil. It is an extremely challenging and a very technical circuit. You also need a very good handling car, so it suits us very well. We experienced some bad luck in the last two races, but we still scored good points. It is time to score maximum points again. Joey and I are hungry. We have already celebrated three victories this year, but we just cannot get enough.”
Following a test session on Thursday, August 18, practice and qualifying for the American Le Mans Series Road Race Showcase will be held on Friday, Aug. 19. The four-hour race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:00 p.m. CT Saturday, Aug. 20. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and rebroadcast on ABC at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 21.