BMW Team RLL is ready to defend its ALMS GT class lead at Long Beach.
The contrast between racing the 12 Hours of Sebring (US) and racing on the streets of Long Beach (US) could not be greater, but BMW Team RLL is looking for a similar outcome - a one-two finish in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT class with the BMW M3 GT.
In the four weeks since its strong performance at Sebring, the team has been preparing for a race only two hours long. Quick acceleration out of the tight temporary street circuit corners is critical to fast lap times at Long Beach, especially exiting the hairpin turn that leads onto the longest straight. Both cars will be aerodynamically trimmed to maximise downforce.
Last season the race at Long Beach produced a third consecutive podium finish for the team. With the one-two at Sebring, BMW Team RLL enters Long Beach in the lead of every ALMS GT championship category.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal): "We could not have asked for a better result in Sebring but that was just the first round of a long fight for the championship. I think the win definitely helped our confidence and at the same time, it also put the target on our back, so we will need to keep improving every week if we want to be in the hunt at the end."
Bill Auberlen (Car number 55): "Long Beach is my home track. I've been all over the victory podium, but never on the top spot. I believe this is our year. We have the car, the team and the tire to win it."
We could not have asked for a better result in Sebring but that was just the first round of a long fight for the championship.
Dirk Werner (Car number 55): "A street circuit is always a challenge and experience is quite valuable. You don't have a lot of practice time to feel comfortable and to set up the car. This will be only the second time I've raced at Long Beach, but with Bill being my teammate, I'm sure I'll get some valuable information how to race in his 'living room'."
Joey Hand (Car number 56): "Long Beach is great fun. The tight corners and big field makes it a street fight! My momentum could not be better with my two biggest career wins leading me into this race. BMW Team RLL is making a big push for Long Beach. Our focus is on the championships and we want to win each race."
Dirk Muller (Car number 56): "I am very excited about Long Beach. It has always been a very special event for me. I very much like street circuits and especially Long Beach. I know after our fantastic result in Sebring the whole team will be highly motivated again to repeat this great success."