BMW Rolex 24 Daytona







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: January 23, 2014
Categories: BMW, BMW Racing

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Jan. 23, 2014 . . . BMW Team  RLL brings a power-packed driver lineup to the 52nd Rolex 24 at  Daytona to pilot the two BMW Z4 GTLM racing machines.

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Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Maxime Martin and Andy Priaulx will share  the black No. 55 car. John Edwards, Dirk Müller, Graham Rahal and Dirk  Werner will co-drive the white No. 56 machine. Among them Auberlen has  two class wins (1997 GT3, 1998 GT3) and Müller one (1998 GT1) while  Hand and Rahal co-drove to the 2011 overall victory in a BMW-powered  Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley Daytona Prototype. Team  leader Bobby Rahal won the twice-around-the-clock classic as a driver  in 1981.

The 52nd annual Rolex 24 at Daytona starts at 2:10 p.m. Saturday,  Jan. 25th with FOX Sports 1 covering the first two hours of the race  live. A total of 15 hours of the race will be broadcast on FOX Sports channels.

Jens Marquardt, Director, BMW Motorsport – “BMW Team  RLL and our team in Munich have been working intensely towards the  start of the new United SportsCar Championship for months. The 24  Hours of Daytona is now just around the corner. We should be well  prepared with both our BMW Z4 GTLM. However, we are also well aware  that a 24-hour marathon like the one at the Daytona International  Speedway is a law unto itself, and that both man and machine will be  pushed to the limit. It is precisely this challenge right at the start  of the season that makes the race so attractive. After all, the  conditions are the same for everyone. The race in Daytona marks the  beginning of a new era for motor racing in America – and we are  delighted to be a part of it from the outset.” 

Bobby Rahal, Team Principal – “I think the Rolex 24  at Daytona is going to be a very tough race. The GTLM category is a  very, very competitive category. It’s going to be a very tough class  to win. I’m going into it being pretty realistic. Twenty-four hours is  a long, long time and as we’ve seen over the years the race win  doesn’t always go to the swiftest. It’s a real endurance test.”

Bill Auberlen, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM– “This is  certainly an important time for sports car racing in North America and  I’m proud to be part of it. I don’t believe BMW has ever come to the  Rolex 24 with a better driver lineup. Part of my preparation was to  run a 24-hour race in Dubai just two weeks ago. I’m at my “fighting  weight” and feel completely prepared.”

Joey Hand, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “For me it's  always exciting to start the season with Daytona. I think the biggest  thing this year will be staying clean the whole race. From the driving  standpoint you will always have in your head to watch out and make  very good decisions. This race will be much more mental than physical  from the driver’s seat -especially in a GTLM car where we will be  passing half the field and being passed by the other half. There will  be no time to rest.”

Maxime Martin, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “I'm really  looking to come back to Daytona. It will be my second time and I hope  we will have more success than last year. A 24-hour race is always  long and difficult so I did a special preparation to be 120% ready for  the race. I'm really happy to have Bill, Joey and Andy as teammates.  They have a lot of experience and I think it can be the key for the race.”

Andy Priaulx, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “I’m very much  looking forward to starting my season this weekend at Daytona 24 and  the new championship campaign. I think the race will be very  challenging, with lots of traffic and lots of overtaking.  Concentration will be the key, zero mistakes and being there at the  end. I think it’s fair to say that this track won’t ideally suit our  package with the long straights and nature of the circuit this will be  a challenge for us. But we have a great team, a great driver line up  and a very reliable car so I’m staying very optimistic and looking  forward to this weekend very much!!”

John Edwards, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM   – “I'm excited to finally get back to racing! It  feels like it's been a long time since Petit back in October, so I'm  ready to get back to competing. 24 hour races are always difficult,  but this year's Rolex 24 will be especially hairy since we'll see a  high number of cars and a lot of different cars running at different  speeds, which will make traffic a bigger deal than it, has been in the  past. That will especially be true at night when it is difficult to  know what kind of car is behind the lights that you see in your  mirror. Combine that with the fact that the night lasts a long time in  Daytona in January, and it makes for some difficult stints, especially  around 4am. However, I'm excited about our lineup and I know that I  can trust my teammates. Anything can happen in 24 hours, so we'll see  where we stand Sunday afternoon.”

Dirk Müller, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM   “I am very excited about the new championship that  starts this weekend in Daytona. In the past it was just the 24-hour  race for me, but now it’s the start of the new season. We have a very  strong line up, a good team and a great car. We are all very motivated  and hungry for the big success.”

Graham Rahal, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “I’m looking  forward to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. I won with BMW in 2011 so, as a  past champion, it’s pretty cool for me to go back and be in a BMW  again. We’re going to have our work cut out for us -- there is no  doubt about that – we are lacking a little bit of straight line speed  but everyone is going to work very hard. I know the team is going to  give us a good strategy like they always do and I think we will be in  a good place twenty-four hours later. The goal of this race is to stay  clean for 23 of those hours and then go race that last hour. I’m  excited; it’s a good opportunity for me. I hope this is the first race  of many to come that I can do with BMW the rest of my career.”

Dirk Werner, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “Already last  year I was hoping to be part of the BMW-lineup for this year’s Daytona  24h race. It will be my sixth time and I hope I can finally carry home  that watch. With the BMW team RLL preparing and operating the Z4 GTLM  we have a very good chance to win. I am ready to go and in full  24-hour mode since I was part of the BMW Team Schubert 24h effort in  Dubai two weeks ago."