Munich/Fort Worth. BMW Motorsport finished fifth in the GT class in the American Le Mans Series season opener at Texas Motor Speedway. JJ Lehto (FIN) started the race in the No. 42 BMW M3, after qualifying third in class on the 2.324-mile...
Munich/Fort Worth. BMW Motorsport finished fifth in the GT class in the American Le Mans Series season opener at Texas Motor Speedway. JJ Lehto (FIN) started the race in the No. 42 BMW M3, after qualifying third in class on the 2.324-mile course. He drove the first 70 minutes of the two-hour 45-minute race before handing off to Jorg Muller (D), who drove the final double stint.
The team used a double-stint strategy on its Michelin tires, too, and moved up to second place after its second pit stop. Unfortunately, Muller later braked hard to avoid contact with another car and flat- spotted the front tires, forcing an unplanned third stop just 30 minutes before the finish. He then made up a second per lap to move from seventh to finish fifth.
The Texas event was BMW Motorsport's first race in the GT class of the series, after two successful seasons with the BMW V12 LMR prototype car. The team raced last year's model of the BMW M3 in Texas, but hopes to introduce its new BMW M3 GTR at the 12-hour race at Sebring International Raceway on March 17. Having celebrated overall series victories, the team is now focused on topping the GT podium.
Hans-J. Stuck (D) finished third in the GT class in No. 6 BMW M3 that he drives with Boris Said (USA) for BMW Team PTG.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "I have mixed emotions. I'm happy we could finish the race and get points, which was our target prior to the race. For two hours, we were fighting for a podium position until we had to make an unscheduled pit stop to replace a flat-spotted front tire. Then Jâ€rg again closed with the group that was fighting for third position, but we just ran out of time. Today's racing gave us a preview of what is ahead of us in GT racing, and I think this season will be very exciting and challenging."
JJ Lehto #42: "The beginning of the race was okay, but the Porsches have more power and straightaway speed, so it's difficult to keep them behind. We were running strongly behind the factory cars, but we still have a lot of work to do. Hopefully, we'll get our new car soon, so we will be able to challenge the Porsches a little bit better."
Jorg Muller #42: "We came here to get points, but we didn't get as many as I hoped. Speedwise, we were not much slower than the factory Porsches. The problem is our top speed is not there, so at the restarts we got passed so easily and then it was difficult for us to overtake. We had to take a lot of risk and brake very late."
Hans-J. Stuck #7 BMW Team PTG: "I am thankful for third place. I want to thank the team for doing such a great job to get me into third place, and I want to thank Nic Jonsson for keeping the Porsches back."