MULLER, MILNER FILL M3 SEATS FOR 2009

Tommy Milner and former American Le Mans Series class champion Dirk Muller will fill out the full-season lineup for BMW Rahal Letterman Racing team, Rahal Letterman and BMW of North America announced Wednesday. The pairing will join Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand as the drivers for the team's inaugural two-car effort with the new BMW M3 in the Series' GT2 class for 2009.

"With the high level of competition already established in the American Le Mans Series' GT2 class, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team is moving into a very fast lane," said Martin Birkmann, BMW of North America Motorsports Manager. "Previous BMW M3 and American Le Mans Series GT racing experience were critical parameters in our driver selection process. The addition of Tommy Milner and Dirk Muller to Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand gives us a highly qualified driver lineup."

Milner, 22, of Leesburg, Va., began his racing career in 2004 as a Formula BMW USA Junior driver. The son of Prototype Technology Group owner Tom Milner, Tommy joined PTG later that year and qualified on pole position in his very first professional sports car race. He made his American Le Mans Series debut in 2006, and went on to join Rahal Letterman Racing in 2007 and co-drove the team's Porsche to five podium finishes and fourth place in GT2 driver points. When RLR decided to forego the Series in 2008, Milner joined the Panoz effort where he co-drove with Hand, finishing on the podium in the season's final race.

"I'm very pleased to be racing for BMW," said Milner. "Following the start of my career as a Formula BMW Junior driver in 2004, I've also had some of my best results driving previous generation M3s. I hope to continue those successes in 2009 for the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team."

Muller, 33, originally from Burbach, Germany, is considered to be one of the best GT drivers in the world. With vast experience in sprint and endurance racing series in both North America and Europe, he has raced in five previous Series seasons between 1999 and 2008. Winning the GT driver's championship in 2000, Muller became a BMW driver for the first time in 2001, continuing through 2005. Driving a BMW M3 GTR in 2001, Muller raced to five podium finishes in a season that saw the BMW sweep all American Le Mans Series GT class titles. Muller also co-drove the M3 GTR to victory in the 2004 Nurburgring 24 Hours.

"I am honored to be part of the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team and to be working with BMW of North America and Bobby Rahal," said Muller. "I enjoyed being part of the BMW family from 2001 until 2006 so this makes me feel like I am home again. I am also happy to have the engine back at the front of the car!"

The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team is currently preparing its BMW M3 race cars at its Hilliard, Ohio shop in advance of the January 26-28 American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway. The team recently conducted its initial M3 testing by making runs at Road Atlanta and Sebring.

Adding a pair of drivers with the skills and road-racing acumen of Dirk Muller and Tommy Milner really increases the overall talent level of the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team," said Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal. "We have worked with Tommy over the last two years in a number of different cars, and he has been a quick study and taken each of our cars straight to the front! Dirk has long been recognized as one of the top talents in road racing and we think the addition of Milner and Muller to our team gives us one of the best lineups in the GT2 class."

The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team will begin the 2009 American Le Mans Series season on March 22 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida.

-credit: alms