The contrast of racing the 12 Hours of Sebring to racing in the streets of Long Beach, California could not be greater, but BMW Team RLL is looking for a similar outcome – a 1-2 BMW finish in the American Le Mans Series GT class.
In the four weeks since the success at Sebring, the team has been preparing for a race only two hours long with increased attention to maximizing the application of the M3 GT’s V8 power to the rear Dunlop tires. Quick acceleration out of the tight temporary street circuit corners is critical to fast lap times at Long Beach – especially exiting the hairpin turn that leads onto the longest straight. Both cars will be aerodynamically trimmed to maximize downforce.
Last season the race at Long Beach produced a third consecutive podium finish for the team. With the 1-2 finish at Sebring, BMW Team RLL enters Long Beach in the lead of every ALMS GT championship category.
“We could not have asked for a better result in Sebring…but that was just the first round of a long fight for the championship,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “I think the win definitely helped our confidence and at the same time, it also put the target on our back, so we will need to keep improving every week if we want to be in the hunt at the end.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “Long Beach is my home track. I’ve been all over the victory podium, but never on the top spot. I believe this is our year. We have the car, the team and the tire to win it.”
Dirk Werner, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “A street circuit is always a challenge and experience is quite valuable. You don’t have a lot of practice time to feel comfortable and to set up the car. This will be only the second time I’ve raced at Long Beach, but with Bill being my teammate, I’m sure I’ll get some valuable information how to race in his “living room”.
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “Long Beach is great fun! The tight corners and big field makes it a street fight! My momentum could not be better with my two biggest career wins leading me into this race. BMW Team RLL is making a big push for Long Beach. Our focus is on the championships and we want to win each race.”
Dirk Mueller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “I am very excited about Long Beach. It has been always a very special event for me. I do very much like street circuits and especially Long Beach. I know that after our fantastic result in Sebring the whole team will be highly motivated again to repeat this great success.”
Practice and qualifying for the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will be held on Friday, April 15 with the two-hour race scheduled to take the green flag at 4:30 p.m. PT Saturday, April 16. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and rebroadcast on EPPN2 from 5 – 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 17.