BMW 2010 Le Mans summary

BMW M3 GT2 secures ALMS titles. BMW claims first ALMS title since 2001. The season finale of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Road Atlanta (US) could hardly have been more exciting. The destination of the GT titles was only decided in...

BMW M3 GT2 secures ALMS titles.

BMW claims first ALMS title since 2001.

The season finale of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Road Atlanta (US) could hardly have been more exciting. The destination of the GT titles was only decided in the dying stages of the "Petit Le Mans". The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team came out on top when the leading Ferrari's race came to an end just a few corners before the finish. Dirk Werner (DE), Bill Auberlen (US) and Tommy Milner (US) finished fourth in the no. 92 BMW M3 GT2. That gave the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team the points it needed to triumph in both the manufacturer and team competitions on 158 points. "In the American Le Mans Series the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team celebrated a second successful year," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "By season's end the team had claimed not only victory in Road America, but GT titles in both the manufacturer and team classifications. It was a dramatic season finale, as the titles were only decided on the final lap."

In Road America (US), the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team repeated its success of the previous year. After 66 laps BMW M3 GT2 number 90, with Dirk Muller (DE) and Joey Hand (US) at the wheel, crossed the finish line as the winner in the GT class. BMW finished on the podium with at least one car after eight of nine ALMS races. Crucial for the successful outcome of the team's second season was the close partnership with Dunlop, allowing the engineers to optimise the way the car and tyres worked together so the full potential of the overall package could be maximised.

"All it takes is one point," said Team Principal Bobby Rahal. "If anyone doubted there isn't drama in motor racing... just look at this GT2 class this season. I think we showed we belong in endurance racing. We're really excited now to come back next year, because the competition will be even better." For BMW this was the first taste of ALMS title glory since 2001. Then Jorg Muller won the GT drivers' crown, while BMW also triumphed in the manufacturer and team standings.

24h Le Mans: The BMW Art Car back at the "Circuit de la Sarthe".

BMW M3 GT2 Art Car thrills Le Mans' racing enthusiasts.

At the Le Mans 24 Hours in France, Team BMW Motorsport lined up with a work of art on four wheels: BMW M3 GT2 number 79 was designed as a "rolling sculpture" by American artist Jeff Koons. The 17th BMW Art Car saw BMW continue a long tradition, which began in 1975 and celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2010. Back then, the auctioneer and racing driver Herve Poulain (FR) came up with the idea of having renowned artists design BMW racing cars. Alexander Calder (US) got the ball rolling with the BMW 3.0 CSL. Frank Stella (US), Roy Lichtenstein (US) and Andy Warhol (US) followed. All these cars lined up at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The biggest sporting success came with Warhol's BMW M1, which crossed the finish line in sixth. This year, Koons joined the illustrious list of Art Car creators.

For Team BMW Motorsport, the start in the LM GT2 class in 2010 was the first outing in Le Mans since the outright victory with the BMW V12 LMR in 1999. The comeback was a turbulent affair -- and lady luck did not necessarily smile on the two BMW M3 GT2s. Car number 78, with Jorg Muller, Augusto Farfus and Uwe Alzen alternating at the wheel, completed 320 laps to finish sixth in the LM GT2 class in front of 240,000 spectators.

The BMW M3 GT2 Art Car turned out to be a true fan favourite over the course of the Le Mans week. Dirk Muller made a good start in car number 79 and was in a promising sixth when he had an accident following a puncture, and lost a lot of time in the pits. Andy Priaulx then also struggled with technical problems. He eventually had to retire at the entrance to the Indianapolis curve shortly after 20:00hrs on Saturday. As a result, Dirk Werner is still to make his racing debut at the "Circuit de la Sarthe". The opposition, which included Porsche, Ferrari and Chevrolet, arrived at the 78th running of the event with the advantage of a wealth of experience. In contrast, Team BMW Motorsport had to work hard on the two BMW M3 GT2s in ACO specification, to make progress during the short preparation time.

Intercontinental Le Mans Cup: Maiden victory in China.

BMW Team Schnitzer claims win in ILMC debut season.

As well as lining up in the American Le Mans Series, the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nurburgring, and the three 24-hour classics, the BMW M3 GT2 also contested the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), which was held for the first time in 2010. The season featured three events in Europe, North America and Asia.

In Silverstone (GB) BMW Team Schnitzer was responsible for fielding the no. 78 GT sports car. Jorg Muller and Dirk Werner finished eighth in the LM GT2 class at the 1,000-kilometre race. The team's analysis after the turbulent season finale of the Le Mans Series, which was also the first race of the ILMC, had two sides. While the team wasn't satisfied with the result, the car's performance compared to the pace displayed at earlier LMS races this year, gave everyone reason for optimism.

The second round of the ILMC was the traditional "Petit Le Mans" held on 2nd October. At the season finale of the American Le Mans Series in Road Atlanta, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team bore the BMW colours. Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner finished fourth in the GT class with BMW M3 GT2 number 92, while their team-mates Andy Priaulx, Dirk Muller and Joey Hand had to settle for 13th following problems early on in the race. Fourth place was not only enough to secure the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team title glories in the American Le Mans Series, but was also the best result to date in the ILMC.

It was to get even better at the finale in Zhuhai (CN). Jorg Muller and Dirk Werner claimed victory in the LMGT2 class with the BMW M3 GT2. After 202 laps, final-stint driver Muller took the chequered flag in first, 1:32.141 minutes ahead of the second-placed Porsche. This was the first victory for the BMW M3 GT2 in this specification and the maiden win for BMW Team Schnitzer on mainland China. Starting from third on the grid, Muller laid the foundation for this excellent result with a strong first stint in sunny conditions. When he pitted at the end of lap 39 to hand over the wheel to his team-mate, the BMW M3 GT2 was already in the lead. Werner completed a double stint, consolidating the lead, and then Muller took over on lap 121. The BMW works driver came home to victory at the 4.319-kilometre "Zhuhai International Circuit". While some competitors were involved in incidents, the BMW M3 GT2 was able to finish the race without any problems, thus making for a successful end to the 2010 ILMC season.

-source: bmw

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