BMW Team RLL Returns to 2013 ALMS with New BMW Z4 GTE







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: January 14, 2013
Categories: BMW, BMW Racing

BMWNew Cars, Drivers and Management to Launch Fifth Season at    Sebring. Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – January 14, 2013 . . . BMW of  North America and BMW Motorsport today announced that BMW Team RLL  will again campaign BMW’s American Le Mans Series entries in 2013. The  two-car team will battle among the best of North American GT-class  sports car racing with the newly designed BMW Z4 GTE, starting with  the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring on March 16.

“We are really looking forward to this new chapter of BMW racing in  North America,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North  America. “After two Manufacturer’s championships, two Team  championships, one Driver championship, and the Michelin Green-X  championship for BMW Team RLL with the M3 GT, we now entrust the same  strong team to deliver more trophies with our new Z4 GTE. We are  absolutely convinced that BMW fans will again see great ALMS GT-class  racing in 2013.”

“With the BMW Z4 GTE, we are starting a new chapter in North America  alongside BMW Team RLL,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.  “We have celebrated magnificent victories and titles with the BMW M3  GT and BMW Team RLL over the past four years. The BMW Z4 GTE has  everything it needs to continue this success story.”

The BMW Z4 GTE was developed for the ALMS regulations, based on the  BMW Z4 GT3, which has celebrated multiple championship wins in Europe  and Asia in the capable hands of professional and privateer BMW  drivers. This year’s ten-race ALMS season will also be used as a  development year for the new car to lay the best foundation for the  all-new face of North American sports car racing in 2014.

“All of us at BMW Team RLL are very excited about the 2013 season  with the new BMW Z4 GTE,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We had  four great years with the BMW M3 GT and now want to compete on a par  with our rivals with the BMW Z4 GTE as soon as possible.  With any new  car there is going to be a period of development, but we are excited  about the upcoming season. This will be our fifth year with BMW and  it’s obvious we have a great working relationship. In fact, some of  the members of the team are in Munich working side-by-side with BMW  Motorsport building the cars. We share the same approach in terms of  our desire to be successful and it’s a real honor and privilege to  represent BMW in motorsport.”

This year, the BMW Team RLL driver line-up will feature a strong mix  of experience and youth. Returning drivers Bill Auberlen (US), Joey  Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) will anchor the effort. Due to his  full-time commitment to BMW in the DTM series, for a second  consecutive season, Hand will contest only some ALMS races in 2013.  Twenty-one-year old New Yorker John Edwards (US) will join the team,  replacing Hand for the races that don’t fit into Hand’s DTM schedule.  Beginning his career in open-wheel racing, Edwards won the Star Mazda  title in 2008 and the Atlantic series championship in 2009. Since 2010  he has focused on GT and GS class racing in the GRAND-AM series.

The newest BMW Motorsport driver, Maxime Martin (BE), will join BMW  Team RLL for the full 2013 season. The 26-year old finished second in  the 2012 BMW Sport Trophy after a strong season racing a BMW Z4 GT3 in  the Blancpain Endurance Series and a BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 in the ADAC GT  Masters. For the long-distance races at Sebring and the Petit Le Mans,  Uwe Alzen (DE) and Jörg Müller (DE) will return to the team.

Long-time BMW employee Gordon McDonnell has been named the dedicated  BMW NA Motorsport Manager, responsible to lead the program from  concept to the finish line. McDonnell’s diverse experience includes  North American management of BMW Motorsport Parts, M Performance  Parts, and BMW NA’s current GRAND-AM programs. Given the merger  between ALMS and GRAND-AM, McDonnell is well-positioned to maximize  BMW’s racing successes in the USA.