BMW Team RLL did all it could today at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, but ultimately ended the 2.45-hour race fifth and sixth in the GT class.
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Both Z4 GTE race cars held the lead during the mistake free race. Maxime Martin set the fastest lap of the race (1:15.907 minutes, L102) in the closing minutes of the contest. Unfortunately, the top speed deficit of the BMWs to the Corvettes and Vipers was very evident on Mosport’s long straights and, while able to run a single quick lap, were unable to stay in front of the larger displacement cars.
Dirk Müller and Joey Hand, driving the No. 56 Z4 GTE, finished fifth, completing 123 laps of the 2.46-mile, 10-turn circuit during the race to retain (unofficially) Müller’s lead in the GT driver standings by five points. Müller started the car from the third starting position, after qualifying fourth and moving up at the green flag after the second place qualifier moved to the rear of the grid. Hand took over just past the one hour mark and ran a strong third before being demoted to fifth in the closing stages of the race.
Bill Auberlen started the No. 55 Z4 GTE, moving up to start the race in fourth after qualifying fifth. The Californian ran a strong stint to hand off to Maxime Martin from the fourth position on lap 46, one hour into the race. Martin raced into the lead, but dropped back to sixth after his pit stop on lap 90 for fuel and new Michelin tires. He was unable to improve his position in the final 45 minutes of the race.
“The Corvettes and Vipers are 10kmh faster than we are up the straightaway,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “When the Z4s are by themselves we can make up that difference, but when you get in traffic, they get a run on you and there is nothing you can do. They just drive by us. Obviously there needs to be a change in the restrictor in both the Corvette and the Viper because how can you make up 10kmh? Now we go to Elkhart Lake and that will probably be more of the same. It’s pretty disappointing that these straightline speed advantages continue. We just have to make the best of it and see what we can do at Road America.”
“Despite an excellent, mistake-free effort by BMW Team RLL we were denied a chance at the Mosport podium,” said Gordon McDonnell, BMWNA Motorsport Manager. “The next circuits we face will not be any easier so we will have to redouble our efforts to keep us in the hunt for the championship.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (5th) – “I was very happy to come back to this program. It was good to see all the boys, all my teammates. The car this weekend was the best I’ve had here, but it picked up a lot of understeer towards the end of the race. I think the track rubbered up and as the rear got better it created a ton of understeer. I definitely earned those points. I will miss Road America, my favorite track, and come back for Baltimore.”
Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (5th) – “I was hoping for more for sure. It was a tough day. We did everything right. Joey did a great job. The team did a great job, but we couldn’t defend. P5, P6 was the best we could do. I was hoping for a podium, but we collected the points and stayed clean. Not one touch to the cars. No penalties. We still have a long season ahead we’ll fight every lap.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (6th) – “This is what we suspected would happen. We could race – and win – at the slower speed tracks. Mosport indeed showed we don’t have the straightline speed.”
Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (6th) – “For sure it was not an easy race for us. With the lack of speed to our competitors it is really difficult to defend during the race. So we have a good car during one lap, but that does not win a race.”
Round Six of the 2013 ALMS season, the Orion Energy Systems 245, will be held on Sunday, August 11th at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The 2.45-hour race will be broadcast on ABC television beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET.