BMW of North America announced today that it has signed Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Tommy Milner and Dirk Müller to drive for the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team in the 2010 American Le Mans Series. This will be the second season of competition for the Hilliard, Ohio-based team.
The experienced quartet piloted two GT-class BMW M3s to third in ALMS Manufacturer points in 2009 in a first-year season that delivered one victory, five podium finishes, two 1-2 M3 qualifying efforts, and three fastest race laps. Auberlen and Hand drove to the team’s first win at Road America on August 16th and finished the season 14th in Driver points. Milner and Müller finished fourth in Driver Points and brought home the team’s second 2009 victory on October 31st at the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series race in Okayama, Japan.
In 2010, BMW of North America will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the company’s March 1975 incorporation, as well as its first major sports car racing victory, the 12 Hours of Sebring, also in March of 1975.
“2009 was the inaugural season for this new M3 racing car and we needed to prove our competitiveness,” said Martin Birkmann, Motorsport Manager, BMW of North America. “Looking back this can be seen as accomplished. Looking forward, becoming better yet is a target. Using the well oiled machine of cars, drivers and team who all have developed tremendously over the past season is the best way to further raise the bar. And, if ‘09 is an indication then our fans should be ready for a great show delivered by the team, these four men, and the two cars.”
“Simultaneously developing a new race car and a new team is always particularly challenging to the drivers involved, but last year Bill, Joey, Tommy, and Dirk made things go much more smoothly than we had hoped,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal, Rahal Letterman Racing. “Continuity is a key component in building a championship race team, and we couldn’t be happier to see that all four of these talented drivers will be returning with us for 2010.”
The first official test of the 2010 American Le Mans Series will be held at Sebring International Raceway on February 22 – 23, four weeks before the season-opening race, the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 20th.