Munich. Fresh enthusiasm, anticipation and piece-work are the three factors that dominate the preparations of the BMW team for the tenth of twelve races in the American Le Mans Series, which will be held on 15 October at Laguna Seca. After ...
Munich. Fresh enthusiasm, anticipation and piece-work are the three factors that dominate the preparations of the BMW team for the tenth of twelve races in the American Le Mans Series, which will be held on 15 October at Laguna Seca.
After intensive testing and a great deal of detailed work on the set-up, the lap times of the 1999 BMW V12 LMR in its last race at Road Atlanta were closer to the new cars driven by the team's rivals than they have been for a long time. "That gives us additional motivation for Laguna Seca", said BMW Motorsport Team Manager Charly Lamm. Secondly, the 3.6 kilometre hilly track at Laguna Seca near Monterey in California is one of the most beautiful racing circuits in the world and was also the scene of one of five victories gained by the team in 1999. Thirdly the time until the start of the race will be filled with an enormous amount of additional work because the team is having to rebuild one of the BMW V12 LMR cars.
The set-up of the two sports cars at Road Atlanta improved with every practice session while the driver pairings of JJ Lehto (FIN)/Jorg Muller (D) and Bill Auberlen (USA)/Jean-Marc Gounon (F) went to the start at Petit Le Mans full of confidence. While Lehto and Muller were in second position before Muller had a spin towards the end of the race, taking them back to fifth, Auberlen had long since retired. His car had turned right over backwards and landed back on its wheels. "It is not a total write-off," said Lamm, "But we will be building the car on a different chassis for Laguna Seca, because we haven't the time to repair the car properly." This work is being prepared in Germany and will then be completed in California.
BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen: "The analysis of the telemetry data and all the information from the drivers show that our car still developed downforce on this infamously critical hill at Road Atlanta. However, if another car suddenly crosses the track less than a car's length in front of it, this downforce naturally dies completely. So as far as that is concerned, the accident will not result in any technical modifications."
Jorg Muller lost his lead in the rankings and is now eight points behind Audi driver Allan McNish (210 points). Rinaldo Capello (Audi) is second with 202 points with Lehto in fourth with 200 points.
Hans-J. Stuck will also be hoping for better luck with the BMW M3 in the GT class after his retirement at Road Atlanta. He will be alternating behind the wheel for the BMW Team PTG with Boris Said at the race in California, which will last for two hours and 45 minutes.
The race will start on Sunday, 15 October at 12.30 pm local time.