BMW Team RLL comes third and fourth at COTA


BMW Team RLL comes third and fourth at COTA – Dirk Müller moves into second in the ALMS GT driver standings.


Munich (DE), 22nd September 2013. BMW Team RLL finished third and  fourth in the inaugural American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at the  Circuit of the Americas in Austin (US). Both BMW Z4 GTEs ran strongly  for the majority of the race, only to fall victim to the top speed  advantage of the Corvettes and Vipers in the closing stages. John  Edwards (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) claimed third in the number 56 BMW  Z4 GTE for Müller’s second consecutive podium appearance. The result,  combined with the withdrawal of the number 4 Corvette during the race,  moves Müller to second in the GT driver standings, 13 points behind  the leaders.

Despite qualifying fourth, Edwards had to start the number 56 car  from the back of the entire field of 33 cars due to a miscue of the  team with the qualifying tyres. He charged back to fifth in class  before pitting on lap 24, some 50 minutes into the race. Müller  re-joined the race in ninth and drove an equally strong first stint to  be in third before making his final pit stop on lap 48. Müller then  moved into second and hounded the leading Corvette for the remainder  of the race. On the last lap, he was unable to defend from the Viper  on the long, uphill front straight and was forced to settle for the  last step of the podium.

The number 55 car of Bill Auberlen (US) and Joey Hand (US) finished  fourth. Auberlen started the race from pole position earned by Hand in  Friday’s qualifying session. When the green flag waved, the car  experienced a mechanical issue that, despite clearing up within  minutes, cost Auberlen six positions. He kept his head down and moved  back near the front before pitting on lap 19. Hand re-joined the field  in ninth and at the one-hour mark was fifth. One half-hour later he  was in second, only five seconds from the lead. He made his final stop  on lap 49, at the 1.45 hour mark. He ran strongly behind Müller for  the remainder of the race before being relegated to fourth only four  laps from the chequered flag. Round nine of the 2013 ALMS season will  be held at Virginia International Raceway in Danville (US) on 5th October.

BMW Racing

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL):

“I’m disappointed for the team. There’s such a deficit in  straight-line speed, it just hurts our ability to race those other  guys. But the BMW Z4 GTE ran beautifully and handled well. The pit  strategy was solid; we passed the Ferrari and both Vipers in the pits,  so we made up a lot of places. We did our best; third and fourth are  not so bad, and we’ll try again at VIR. The Circuit of the Americas is  fabulous… world class. I haven’t been to anything else built like this  in this country, perhaps ever.”

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

“What a race. It was like a roller coaster. Just shortly before the  race I got the message that we were starting from the back of the  grid, and at that point I was really down and wanted to go home. But  when I saw John challenging through traffic to the front, and  absolutely on top of it, he really showed me that his mind was  switched on, and I was fully motivated by that. When I got in the car  after he had done 55 minutes, I knew it had to be maximum attack. I  did what felt like one hour, fifty-five minutes of qualifying. I had  that yellow machine in front of me, but first I had Joey in front of  me. It was a lot of fun to race him and I really enjoyed it. Then I  was just trying to chase the Corvette down and I wanted to catch him,  like a terrier – and I did it, tenth by tenth. I got caught in traffic  a bit and used all my experience, but in the end the Viper passed me  on the straight like it was a GT1-class car. I wanted to win, but I’m  happy with P3 because I gave it my all.”

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

“It was a pretty intense day at the office today. We had a little mix  up with the tyres and so we had to start last in the GT field. I could  tell our car was really quick and I started moving up through the  field. The team called a great race and put us in a position to  challenge for the win at the end, but at the end of the day there’s no  replacement for pure horsepower and we saw what happened. The BMW Z4  GTE is unbelievable in the corners and through the Esses. It’s a dream  to drive and I could see myself gaining on any car around that wasn’t  a prototype, but those corners are the toughest places to pass people.”

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

“It’s kind of unusual, but I had a crazy start in the first few laps  and I dropped back quite a bit. But then it straightened out and we  were quick enough to stay with the others. Then Joey did the two next  stints and earned P2, but eventually we just got run down by these  competitors that are so fast.”

Joey Hand (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 55):

“I’ve had a good time all week. I’m glad I had the chance to be here  with BMW Team RLL. I got comfortable really early at this new race  track, including the laps in the rain. Bill had a tough go of it in  the race with some tyre pressure issues at the start. I got in the car  and got a good roll going in the first stint, and the strategy was  good too. On the second stint, the heavy fuel load started putting a  lot of heat into the brakes and we basically ran out of front brake  pads at the end. All I could do was try to save it to come home. It’s  a shame because the race was really good at the end and my car was  improving overall. I had tried to save my car for the end but that’s  the way it goes. I appreciate the effort everybody gave here and  that’s all we had.”