Saturday, March 19th marks the start of the new campaign for BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL). BMW Team RLL will field two newly constructed BMW M3 GT cars in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) this season. The 12 Hours of Sebring (US) at “Sebring International Raceway” traditionally provides the stage for the curtain-raiser to this popular endurance championship. The Bobby Rahal (US) led team is focused on continuing last season’s success. In 2010, BMW Team RLL won both the Team and Manufacturer titles in the GT class with BMW M3 GT2 cars.
At the same time, Sebring will also see the first points awarded in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), in which BMW Motorsport will once again be competing this year. BMW Team Schnitzer will be responsible for the fielding two BMW M3 GT cars at the European rounds of the ILMC, which include the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours (FR), as well as the season finale in China.
In Sebring, the no. 55 BMW M3 GT will be driven by Dirk Werner (DE), Bill Auberlen (US) and Augusto Farfus (BR). Dirk Müller (DE), Joey Hand (US) and Andy Priaulx (GB) will alternate behind the wheel of the no. 56 car. Last year, BMW Team RLL started the season in style, finishing second and third in Florida.
Dirk Werner: “I’m very happy to drive a full championship season with BMW Team RLL and Bill Auberlen. With the practice starting on Monday there will be enough time to get rid of the winter-rust during the week. The field in the GTE class is impressive and the race is very demanding. To win everything has to be 100%.”
Bill Auberlen: “Last year at Sebring we were on the second and third step of the podium. This year the plan is to be on the first and second step. I’m looking forward to co-driving with Dirk Werner and Augusto Farfus as I know the BMW M3 GT will always be in perfect hands.”
Augusto Farfus: “It’s great to be back at the wheel of the BMW M3 GT. My season started well with victory in the Dubai 24 Hours. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling in ALMS and ILMC. We have a great team, great drivers and a great car – so I hope we can score a strong result in Sebring. I’m looking forward to driving in America. Sebring has a long tradition and the fans are enthusiastic.”
Dirk Müller: “I am extremely excited about the 2011 season. BMW did a superb job over the winter and gave as an updated BMW M3 GT to race. We are all looking forward to fight for a Sebring 12-Hour victory. Everyone on the team is working very hard to continue BMW’s positive momentum in the US.”
Joey Hand: “This is our third ALMS season together and I can feel the potential energy. Pre-season testing has shown we have longevity, strength, speed and reliability. We have worked hard and definitely raised the level of our game. I am excited to add Andy Priaulx onboard with Dirk Müller in my car for the 12 Hours.”
Andy Priaulx: “I’m really looking forward to the start of my season, racing with BMW Team RLL in the opening round. This year will be a new challenge for me. I’m going to Sebring with a very different focus compared to last year, when I just wanted to back up the other guys really well. Now we are fighting for ALMS and ILMC points together as one big team. Sebring is a bumpy and narrow track. It’s not like all the modern race tracks, but I really like that. It has a lot of character.”