BMW Team RLL – Circuit of the Americas Preview
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 16, 2013 . . . BMW Team RLL will face the 3.4-miles and 20 turns of the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), in Austin, Texas, for the first time this weekend in Round 8 of the 2013 American Le Mans Series. Completed in 2012, the track is notable for being the current home of the Formula 1 US Grand Prix.
Most recently, BMW Team RLL finished third and fourth at the Grand Prix of Baltimore to keep BMW Motorsport driver Dirk Müller in the GT class title hunt. The podium finish by Müller and Joey Hand sees Müller standing only eight points from the leaders.
This weekend’s race will run 2.45-hours long and for the first time since the 2009 season see Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand share a BMW Team RLL BMW. Hand will substitute for Maxime Martin in the No. 55 Z4 GTE as Martin races for the Blancpain Endurance Series championship with the MarcVDS team at the Nurburgring. Müller will co-drive the No. 56 Z4 GTE with John Edwards.
Auberlen and Edwards have experience at COTA, having both competed in the GRAND-AM event there earlier this year. Auberlen co-drove to both the Rolex GT and Continental Grand Sport victories with Paul Dalla Lana in Turner Motorsport M3s.
“We’re looking forward to racing at Circuit of the Americas,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “It’s a new circuit for us and it looks fantastic from what I have seen. I’m not quite sure what to expect; it’s a fast track. There are a lot of fast, sweeping corners which is good for our BMW Z4 GTE but there is also a long straightaway, which isn’t so good for us. It will be interesting having Joey join Bill. Obviously John and Dirk have shown that they are a good pairing so it made the most sense to keep them together for this race.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I've already won twice in Austin and I’d love to make it three. Earlier in the year I raced both the GRAND-AM GS and GT races on the same day and managed to win them both, so Austin has been great to me. I am counting the days down until I get to race the BMW Z4 GTE with my old teammate and friend Joey Hand. I think the two of us together again should make for a winning combination.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “This was a race I had planned to miss because it falls in between two DTM events, but Maxime (Martin) has a chance at a championship with MarcVDS and I’m happy to support him and BMW Team RLL at COTA. John (Edwards) will substitute for me in the No. 56 car and I’ll join Bill (Auberlen) in the 55 machine. I’ve never driven there, but I’ll fly back from Europe on Monday and make the Tuesday test. I’m sure that testing time and Bill’s experience will get me right up to speed.”
John Edwards, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “I’m excited to get back in the Z4 at Austin. COTA is a world class track and should provide great racing in the GTE class. There are some tight sections as well as lots of quick changes of direction through the esses which should benefit the handling of the Z4. This will be a crucial round for the No. 56 car as we've dropped behind a little bit in points. Dirk and I will be pushing hard for the win, but it is most important for us to beat the Corvettes and get Dirk and the No. 56 car solidly in the fight for the championship. I'm looking forward to working with BMW Team RLL again after watching the Baltimore round from the outside.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “I am really thrilled to race at COTA as it will be a new race track for me and I love like this kind of challenge. I have heard a lot of good things about the circuit and I watched the F1 and Grand Am races to get to know the place. I can’t wait to get our BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE out on the track. It’s going to be a great race week.”
Qualifying and live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com at 2:40 p.m. ET Friday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 21 at 3:45 p.m. respectively. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2 television at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 22nd. 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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