BMW V12 LMR Petit Le Mans preview

Munich. After a gap of 21 years a BMW Art Car will once again take to the racing track -- the BMW V12 LMR designed by Jenny Holzer will make its race debut at the Petit Le Mans in Road Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. Holzer, one of the most ...

Munich. After a gap of 21 years a BMW Art Car will once again take to the racing track -- the BMW V12 LMR designed by Jenny Holzer will make its race debut at the Petit Le Mans in Road Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. Holzer, one of the most famous contemporary artists in America, designed the open-top sports car in 1999 with her word art. The 15th and latest model in the BMW Art Car Collection took part in pre- qualifying for the 24-hour Le Mans race at Le Mans in May 1999 and completed a lap of honor before the race got underway.

Provocative text work is the trademark of this concept artist -- illuminated form walls or chiselled in stone, her ideas generally have a strong technical bias. Probably her best-known phrase "PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT" is one of the statements on the BMW V12 LMR and part of her relationship with the world of motorsport.

Jorg Muller (D) and JJ Lehto (FIN), who this season have enjoyed two victories to date and head the rankings in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), will drive the BMW Art Car bearing Holzer's logos. The artist will be at the track to see the debut of her work on one of the most beautiful circuits in America. Other BMW Art Car artists include Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Le Mans in miniature -- 1000-mile race at Road Atlanta

The Petit Le Mans on the 4.09-kilometre circuit to the northeast of the former Olympic city of Atlanta is the ninth race and the season's high point of the ALMS. The race distance on this miniature replica of the French 24-hour classic course is 1000 miles or a maximum of 10 hours. "If the weather is dry and there are no long full course yellows," says BMW Motorsport Team Manager Charly Lamm, "the distance can be covered in even less than nine hours."

The BMW team is looking forward to its second-longest race of the season. BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen explains, "In these long-distance races strategic skill and, above all the reliability of the equipment, drivers and team play a major role. Those are our strengths. Our team has already shone this year through its brilliant tactics and drawn benefits from race situations. That is how we have managed to defend our lead in the drivers' rankings up to now."

Muller leads the table with 182 points, followed by Lehto (179) and the four Audi drivers, McNish (177), Capello (171), Biela (167) and Pirro (164). The drivers in the second BMW V12 LMR, the American Bill Auberlen and Jean-Marc Gounon from France, are currently in ninth (125 points) and eleventh (117) position.

"Defending this lead is an extremely difficult challenge for us," says BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger. "Even if the drivers and team give their very best and the cars take all the punishment, that can still not make up for the fact that the new cars driven by our competitors are faster than our 1999 BMW V12 LMR's."

Together with the other top teams, the BMW crew will be testing this weekend before the race at Road Atlanta. "I like the circuit a lot," says Jorg Muller enthusiastically. "The uphill-downhill section is fantastic and the straight offers good opportunities for overtaking. I have fond memories of Petit Le Mans", continues Muller. "In 1998 I finished second and third place in 1999 was also a success although JJ and I should really have won. I was leading until I spun shortly before the end."

Stuck back on the starting grid in the BMW M3

Hans-J. Stuck has recovered from his back problem and will once again be driving the BMW M3 of BMW Team PTG at Road Atlanta. Stuck, who missed the last race and is now in 14th place in the rankings, will alternate behind the wheel of the M3 during the 1000-mile race with Johannes van Overbeek and Boris Said.

The race at Petit Le Mans will start on Saturday, 30 September 2000 at 12.30 pm local time (6.30 pm Central European Summer Time).

Eurosport will broadcast a report on the race on Thursday, 5 October from 9 pm to 10 pm.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Boris Said , Gerhard Berger , Jorg Muller , Johannes van Overbeek , Jean-Marc Gounon , Mario Theissen , Charly Lamm , JJ Lehto