Lime Rock: BMW Rahal Letterman Racing preview

BMW RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TEAM LOOKS TO CONTINUE HISTORY OF BMW M3 SUCCESS AT LIME ROCK PARK Woodcliff Lake, N.J. July 14, 2009... The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team is well- prepared to continue the momentum made in the first half of its...

BMW RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TEAM LOOKS TO CONTINUE HISTORY OF BMW M3 SUCCESS AT LIME ROCK PARK

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. July 14, 2009... The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team is well- prepared to continue the momentum made in the first half of its inaugural season following the traditional two-month break in American Le Mans Series action. Adding to the excitement of getting back on track, the July 18 ALMS Northeast Grand Prix will be held at BMW of North America's "home" track Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, CT.

BMW of North America M3s have raced at Lime Rock Park in nine previous seasons in five series never failing to reach the podium - taking six wins, including 1-2-3 GT class finishes in 1997 and 1999.

"Lime Rock Park provides the perfect stage for an excellent handling car and the BMW M3 has always had an affinity for the track," said Martin Birkmann, BMWNA Motorsport Manager. "We believe the progress made during the break will help us continue to close the gap to our competition and give the fans at Lime Rock an excellent show. The "mountain season" has begun! Up to this point, we have not seen any elevation changes but, starting with Lime Rock, every track will include up and down hill sections that better suit the balance and handling strengths of the BMW M3."

BMW stands fourth in ALMS GT2 Manufacturer point standings. Finishing a two-day test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last week, Joey Hand and Dirk M ller shared time behind the wheel of the No.90 M3 to run through final checks and optimize suspension settings for the latest Dunlop tires.

The Bill Auberlen/Joey Hand combination in the No.90 M3 is an especially strong one at Lime Rock Park. Auberlen is one of the most dominant drivers in track history, with more wins at Lime Rock in a BMW than any other driver.

"I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but Lime Rock is like a close friend," said Auberlen. "It may sound strange. I just seem to know what the track is thinking. And in a BMW everything becomes just that much more focused."

Hand said, "Lime Rock is a track where the first priority is to get a good qualifying result. The circuit is quite narrow and starting up front allows for a much more refined race strategy. Passing is difficult and often not in traditional places. I've found that you can make a pass stick on the outside of Big Bend and don't be surprised to see drivers take to the grass on the inside of Turn Three."

Dirk Muller, driver of the No.92 M3, echoed Hand's comments. "A race at Lime Rock can quickly become a traffic management issue. With fewer prototypes in the field this year perhaps we will be able to focus more on our race, but you must always drive with your mirrors there."

Two one-hour official practice sessions are scheduled for 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday. A single 20-minute qualifying session is scheduled to begin at 3:35 p.m. that afternoon. The two-hour-and-forty minute race is scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. Saturday and will be broadcast on SPEED television beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.

-credit: bmw/rlr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Dirk Müller , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand