The 2010 season for the American Le Mans Series has been one that, first and foremost, centered around the incredible battle in the GT(GT2) class. The season saw the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Jaguar and General Motors all shoot for the constructors championship. The result was a thrilling season that resulted in battles that made endurance racing look more like sprint races as M3’s, GT3 RSR’s and F430GT’s went wheel-to-wheel across tracks like Mosport, Road America, and Sebring throughout the 9 race season.
For the BMW Rahal Letterman Team, it has been an especially productive year with the #90 and #92 M3 GT’s snatching podium finishes at every race with the #90 car of Joey Hand and Dirk Muller taking a first place at Road America. In only the second year of collaboration, BMW and RLR have managed to find a balance of reliability and consistency which powered the team to the final race, the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans held at Road Atlanta.
The team came into this past weekend with one goal in mind: “we have to finish in front of the Porsches and the Ferraris.” While the goal may seem simple and direct in its nature, the execution of such can be anything but over the span of 10 hours and 1,000 miles. The BMW’s only trailed the Flying Lizard’s Porsche GT3 RSR’s by a single point coming into the weekend and the Ferraris were just close enough to create some potential problems with their outright speed. For those looking for a dramatic end to the ALMS season, they found it with BMW, Porsche and Ferrari stacked so close and then the duel of the Peugeots and Audis for LMP.
We were lucky enough to be embedded with the team for the duration of the race saw firsthand the highs and lows a team goes through on just a 10 hour race, much less one stretching 24 hours. I was there to see the anticipation of a team carrying with them the momentum of an entire season and the emotional lows when the #90 car of Muller, Priaulx and Hand came into the pits only 2 hours into the race for a misjudged drive through penalty which revealed a failed starter motor. Ultimately, the #90 car found themselves behind by a wide margin but soldiered on in an effort to help the team.
By the end of the race, nobody quite knew what would happen until the last 30 minutes when the Ferrari F430GT ran out of fuel. Keep watching this space this week for our video and race impressions in their entirety. But for now, enjoy these pictures we were able to snap at the Petit Le Mans (special thanks to Misha from TeamSpeed for helping with some of these!)
BMW have also forwarded these videos below of Bobby Rahal and Bill Auberlen reflecting on the season and the unbelievable Petit Le Mans.