Race Sunday Round 7, American Le Mans Series 9 September 2001, Monterey, Calif. BMW Motorsport third double and manufacturer title Munich/Monterey. BMW clinched its first American Le Mans Series GT manufacturer championship, with BMW ...
Round 7, American Le Mans Series
9 September 2001, Monterey, Calif.
BMW Motorsport third double and manufacturer title
Munich/Monterey. BMW clinched its first American Le Mans Series GT manufacturer championship, with BMW Motorsport's one-two finish in the penultimate race of the 2001 American Le Mans Series, held on the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca road course.
JJ Lehto (FIN) started the No. 42 BMW M3 GTR from the GT class pole position and opened up a nineteen-second lead before pitting during the first caution period halfway through the two-hour 45-minute race. Fredrik Ekblom (S) started second in the No. 43 GTR and set a class race-lap record before he pitted during the caution. Jorg Müller (D) took over the No. 42 car and maintained first place until he was passed by Dirk Müller (D) in the No. 43 when both cars were caught in traffic at 1h40. With a close race for the GT driver championship, the drivers followed team strategy and Jörg Müller passed Dirk Müller for the win on the last lap.
BMW Team PTG drivers Bill Auberlen (USA) and Boris Said (USA) finished fourth in the No. 10 BMW M3 GTR and Hans-J. Stuck (D) and Niclas Jönsson (S) were seventh in the No. 6 GTR, after retiring early with a mechanical failure.
Both teams were driving with a smaller restrictor size (29 mm) mandated by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "This is difficult to believe, but another fantastic race result for us that secured the manufacturer's title for BMW. It wasn't as easy as it looked: Jörg had to be gentle with his BMW 42, as there was a vibration approximately half an hour to the end, so he really had to conserve the car to bring it to the finish. Thanks to Dirk and Fredrik, in BMW 43, who really have a fantastic team spirit. JJ and Jörg are still fighting for the driver championship and in that respect we had to ask Dirk and Fredrik to give them as many points as possible. Now we will go for the team and driver championships at the Petit Le Mans in Atlanta."
JJ Lehto #42: "A hat-trick is a hat-trick. Winning three in a row is a nice thing! We had a very good weekend, the team did a fantastic job setting up the car. It just came towards us all the way to the race. I had a good first stint and got a good gap, but we lost the advantage with the cautions. Jörg jumped in and did a good job. Porsche were third, so they still scored a lot of points and the gap between us isn't very big. We need all the points we can get, and we thank our teammates who let us by in the end. That was team spirit."
Jörg Müller #42: "It was a good stint for me. Thanks to Dirk and Fredrik, they let us by at the end. I had a little bit of tire vibration, so I took it easy. I just cruised around when I saw I could get away from the 23 Porsche and the 10 BMW wasn't in any more. I didn't want to risk my car any more."
Fredrik Ekblom #43: "We had a good car and it was a very good team effort today, to finish one-two. I'm happy I got the fastest lap, which gives us a point. I had a problem with pick-up of rubber inside the wheels, which gave me a big vibration in braking. In the end of the day, Dirk was very quick as usual."
Dirk Müller #43: "I'm very happy, finishing one-two like in qualifying. It was a good race, Fredrik did a good job and our car was great. We were able to win this race."
Hans Stuck, BMW Team PTG #6: "Forty minutes into my stint, something failed in the rear of the car and sent me into the barriers bloody hard. I may have some bruises tomorrow, but I am okay."
GT leading results
1. JJ Lehto (FIN) / Jörg Müller (D), BMW M3 GTR, 110 laps
2. Dirk Müller (D) / Fredrik Ekblom (S), BMW M3 GTR
3. Lucas Luhr (D) / Sascha Maassen (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RS
4. Boris Said (USA) / Bill Auberlen (USA), BMW M3 GTR, - 1 lap
5. Johnny Mowlem (UK) / Timo Bernhard (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RS
6. Randy Pobst (USA) / Christian Menzel (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RS, - 2 laps