NOTES & QUOTES: BMW RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TEAM PLEASED WITH RESULTS AT ALMS WINTER TEST
Woodcliff Lake, NJ -- January 30, 2009-- The first BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3 completed more than 850 miles of testing at Sebring International Raceway during this year's annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test, held on January 26, 27 and 28.
The new fourth-generation M3 racer spent almost 12 hours on the classic 3.7-mile endurance circuit over the three-day test. That number is important as the team will be aiming to race that same amount of time when it returns to Sebring for the ALMS season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring on March 21.
Dirk Muller set the team's best time of 2:03.654 minutes on the morning of the second day as he began an all-day Dunlop tire test. Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Tommy Milner shared the M3 throughout most of the first and third days of the test.
"My first impression of the new M3 race car is that BMW has done it again. Before my new road M3 arrived I thought 'how could it be any better than the previous generation M3?' The street car is better and the new race car is fantastic! Now, I don't think we will come to this tough GT2 class and show the competition how it is done. We have our work cut out for us, but I am delighted with the level of where we are working even at the start of the program. Down the line, as more of the pieces come together, I believe we will be right there."
"BMW has come back with full force! The quality of the team and the quality of the new M3 race car are the first ingredients to success. It's a pleasure to drive with BMW again, especially for Bobby Rahal. This new car has all of the abilities of past racers that I have crafted my driving style around. It stops and corners really well. It has slightly more roll than other M3's I've driven but that is due to the increased mechanical grip from the tires. The new aero package works are all working well. Durability so far is very good
"A great first test without a doubt! It's a brand new car and we did not encounter any major problems over the three days. We definitely learned a lot. We ran through many different items and all the drivers had good seat time. This M3 is a nice evolution versus earlier cars. It's easy to drive on the edge which is really important. The air conditioning system works very well. It is cooler out on the track than sitting in the pits. If I hadn't been told me about the new power steering engineering (assist is only applied in corners) I wouldn't have known anything had changed. The feeling is seamless."
"First of all I am really honored and pleased to be a part of this new team. Normally it takes some time to get to know everyone, but this team is working smoothly right from the start. We did nearly 300 miles every day. We are working strongly with Dunlop and we know the direction we need to go. They bring a great effort and don't hesitate to take one step back to gain two steps ahead."