BMW Motorsport the BMW Z4 GTE American Le Mans Series

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BMW Motorsport the BMW Z4 GTE race debut in Sebring – BMW Team RLL ready for fifth ALMS season

Munich (DE), 12th March 2013. The 2013 season of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is not the only thing kicking off at the 12 Hours of  Sebring (US) this weekend. The race also marks the start of a new era  in BMW Motorsport’s programme in North America: This is the first time  BMW Team RLL will line up against opposition in the GT class with the  newly developed BMW Z4 GTE.

American Le Mans Series

The BMW Z4 GTE debuts in the wake of an extremely successful Sebring  scorecard for its predecessor, the BMW M3 GT. BMW Team RLL won the GT  class at the endurance classic in Florida in both 2011 and 2012. This  year, the 61st staging of the race at the “Sebring International  Raceway” will serve as a marker to determine the strength of the new  car. At the wheel of a sinister No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE finished in BMW’s  Frozen Black will be Bill Auberlen (US), Maxime Martin (BE) and Jörg  Müller (DE). The No. 56 car – in classic, Alpine White BMW Motorsport  livery – will be driven by Dirk Müller (DE), Joey Hand (US) and John  Edwards (US).

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):

“After all the months of development and preparation with the new BMW  Z4 GTE, we are obviously now looking forward to testing ourselves  against the opposition for the first time in Sebring. We have been  very successful at this 12-hour race in recent years. I am excited to  see whether the BMW Z4 GTE will cope as well with the specific demands  of this race as its predecessor the BMW M3 GT did. We would like to  start the season with a good result. However, the priority is to  capitalise on the potential of the new car. This will obviously take a while.”

BMW Motorsport

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal of BMW Team RLL):

“We had a reasonably good test at Sebring. The new BMW Z4 GTE ran  relatively reliably, which is the first battle at a place like  Sebring. I don't know how we stack up against the competition, because  we didn't run with many of them and track conditions changed. The  drivers seemed to be happy with the handling of the car. I guess I'm  never confident going into any race – and particularly not going into  Sebring. However, we can be quite happy with the way our preparation  program went. Let’s wait and see what the season opener has in store  for us.”

Bill Auberlen (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 55):

“This year will be my 20th time at the 12 Hours of Sebring and, after  driving the new BMW Z4 GTE at our tests, I’m looking forward to my  anniversary even more. I think we’re looking quite good, considering  the early phase in our development program. It’s a lot of fun to drive  the car and my new teammate, Maxime Martin, is fantastic. There are  not many things someone can do for 20 years without it ever getting a  little boring. Racing is one of those things. I am more passionate  about it every year.”

Maxime Martin (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 55):

“I’ve heard many great things about Sebring. The track is completely  ‘American Style’. By that I mean it is very bumpy with walls  everywhere. It is quite different to the European circuits I’m used  to. The BMW Z4 GTE made a good impression on me in our two-day test at  Sebring. I’m really looking forward to the race.”

Jörg Müller (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 55):

“I really enjoyed my return to Sebring in 2012. The atmosphere in  Florida is simply sensational. You can sense just how pleased the ALMS  fans are that the winter break is finally over. The new season is  welcomed with a big party. BMW Team RLL has prepared intensely for  this weekend. We will do our best.”

Dirk Müller (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 56):

“I’m always excited to start the season, especially at Sebring. This  year almost everything is new, from the car and tyres to my two new  team-mates. We are obviously well aware it will be very difficult to  win the GT class three years in a row, especially with a new car.  However, I know everyone in the team is extremely motivated to do well.”

Joey Hand (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 56):

“Sebring has become a very special place for me with two consecutive  wins. In fact, I still hear from people about how exciting last year’s  finish was. GT racing in the ALMS – especially at Sebring - is  outstanding. It is a race and a place that makes me drive every lap as  hard as I can.”

John Edwards (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 56):

“I’ve raced in support races to the 12 Hours in previous seasons, but  have not been here for four years. Because of this, it was very nice  to be able to test here and familiarise myself with the Sebring  circuit. I’ve kept my eye on ALMS competition in past years and I’m  delighted to make my debut at Sebring with BMW and BMW Team RLL.”

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