BMW triple championships in ALMS Munich/Braselton. BMW won three American Le Mans Series GT-class championships after collecting its seventh-consecutive Le Mans Series victory at the Petit Le Mans on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course. ...
BMW triple championships in ALMS
Munich/Braselton. BMW won three American Le Mans Series GT-class championships after collecting its seventh-consecutive Le Mans Series victory at the Petit Le Mans on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course. The win, sixth in North America, went to BMW Team PTG's trio of Hans Stuck (D), Boris Said (USA) and Bill Auberlen (USA) in the No. 6 BMW M3 GTR. BMW Motorsport finished second with the No. 43 GTR driven by Jörg Müller (D) and Dirk Müller (D), and fourth with the No. 42 car of JJ Lehto (FIN), Fredrik Ekblom (S) and Karl Wendlinger (A). One year after the announcement of the GTR at the 2000 Petit Le Mans, the results gave BMW the ALMS GT manufacturer championship, BMW Motorsport the GT team title and Jörg Müller the class driver championship.
The No. 43 GTR led most of the second half of the 1000-mile race, but relinquished the lead after eight of the nine hours when a penalty was assessed for too many crew members working on the car during a pitstop. The No. 42 car lost two laps during a pitstop after the seven-hour mark when the crew had to remove bodywork damaged by contact with a Porsche.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "It was a fantastic end to a fantastic year. One year ago the decision was made to build and develop the BMW M3 GTR. To think that one year after the project was decided, winning the manufacturer's title, the team title and the driver's title, you can imagine how happy we are. Congratulations to Jörg for the driver championship, but there should be two drivers up there - JJ and Jörg drove nearly all the season together and they together scored most of the points, so congratulations also to JJ who also deserved the championship. Thanks to Dirk and Fredrik and Karl who helped us to achieve this and to the crew who worked so hard for the year. It's a fantastic reward for them."
JJ Lehto #42: "At least one of us won the championship! Jörg and Dirk did a good job. They ran well, but unfortunately they got the penalty and didn't win the race but at least the championship was there. Our race was so difficult, it just didn't go our way. Even D-Day wouldn't be so difficult."
Fredrik Ekblom #42: "It felt good until the steering was bent when we had a little get-together with the Porsche. It was unfortunate that we had some things happen, and it wasn't our day, but you do what you can. It was a good day for BMW and great for Jörg to win the championship, which was important."
Karl Wendlinger #42: "A lot of things happened in the race. We touched the Porsche once and lost a little bit, and we had a misunderstanding when I went by the pits one time instead of coming in. I think it was lack of experience, a little bit, that we lost some time."
Jörg Müller #43: "We came here to win the championship. We saved our car, we drove quite good on fuel consumption, we didn't have any contact the whole race. I'm happy for the team, especially. We had quite hard work at the beginning of the season with a brand-new car. Atlanta doesn't seem to want me to win this race, but for sure I'm going to come back and try it again."
Dirk Müller #43: "We were really ready to win this race and we had the car to win. Unluckily, we got the penalty and that was really frustrating, waiting for 60 seconds in the pit lane and knowing the competitors were going by. I'm disappointed because I wanted to give the victory to the team. But BMW won, so congratulations to the team and to Jörg - at least a Müller won!"