BMW Team RLL - Grand Prix of Baltimore Preview
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – August 27, 2013 . . . BMW Team RLL will look to the second street race of the year, the Grand Prix of Baltimore, to turn its fortunes and reignite the championship challenge in the second half of the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
Following disappointing fifth and sixth place finishes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) and seventh and eighth place finishes at Road America in the last two rounds, the team has fallen in the GT class standings. Dirk Müller, the driver’s point leader prior to CTMP, has suffered a 21-point loss in the last two rounds and he now stands in a three-way tie for third, five points in arrears of the Corvette drivers at the top. In the Manufacturer’s championship BMW stands second, 16 points behind Corvette and nine points ahead of Viper.
The team raced to the top of the podium at both Long Beach and Lime Rock Park this year and is looking to the similarly tight confines of the Baltimore temporary street circuit, where handling outweighs horsepower, to get the season heading back in the proper direction.
In the two previous years in Baltimore, BMW Team RLL only has one podium finish, a second place finish in 2011 (J. Hand / D. Müller), despite leading the race in both years.
“Baltimore is a track that we probably should have had a little more success than we have had,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “The first year we were leading and we got taken out by one of the Corvettes. Last year we were leading when the officials black flagged us for intimidating a slower car that spun and hit the wall in front of us. There was no contact and we didn’t agree with the call but that ended our podium chances. We have qualified well and finished reasonably well the past two years. I think that our new Z4 will be even better suited for the circuit than the M3 was so my expectation is that, like Long Beach, we should be competitive. Like any street circuit, there will be a lot of pushing and shoving and a lot of opportunities to make mistakes so it’s just going to be all about being smart.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “Perhaps the third time will be the charm. We showed what the Z4 GTE can do on circuits like this at both Long Beach and Lime Rock Park, but we’ll need better luck than we’ve had in the last two years.”
Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I’m really looking forward to this street circuit. Last time on a street track (Long Beach) Bill and I got our first victory together and the first win for the new Z4 GTE. I hope we will have the possibility to do the same at Baltimore.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “I’m very pleased to return to BMW Team RLL and drive the Z4 GTE – especially in a street race. Dirk and I have had two strong races at Baltimore in the M3 GT and I believe the Z4 GTE will be stronger.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “Back to street racing and I am really looking forward to it. I love racing at Baltimore and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of our Z4 and race between those tight walls! Hopefully we’ve got our tough luck crossed out as the team is really motivated and well prepared.”
Qualifying and live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com at 4:20 p.m. ET Friday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Aug. 31 at 3:30 p.m. respectively. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. The Grand Prix of Baltimore is scheduled to be broadcast on ABC television at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 1st. ALMS.com will stream in-car footage throughout the race and the full live feed for international views. More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.alms.com.
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