BMW V12 LMR Las Vegas race report

Munich/Las Vegas. BMW Motorsport had mixed fortunes in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Las Vegas. Bill Auberlen (USA) and Jean-Marc Gounon (F) finished third after a strong race in the No. 43 BMW V12 LMR. Gounon drove the first and ...

Munich/Las Vegas. BMW Motorsport had mixed fortunes in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Las Vegas. Bill Auberlen (USA) and Jean-Marc Gounon (F) finished third after a strong race in the No. 43 BMW V12 LMR. Gounon drove the first and third stints in the two-hour 45-minute race on the 2.25-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Auberlen took the middle stint. JJ Lehto (FIN) had a good start in the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR and moved to second during his double-stint. Jorg Muller (D) took the final stint and moved to the lead after the second full-course caution but then was involved in a multiple-car incident that required lengthy repairs. Lehto and Muller finished eighth in class.

BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "We are happy that Bill and Jean-Marc made it to the podium in the 43 BMW V12 LMR. Also, our BMW 42 was very strong in the race: JJ had a very good start and was fighting in the leading group. Quick pit work and a good restart by Jorg put him in the lead, but not for very long because he was involved in an accident in the infield. We had to replace the right rear suspension, the radiator, the right-side ducting and the underwing in the front and rear, which put our car out of contention. Congratulations to Audi and Allan McNish for winning the manufacturer and driver championships. We are glad we could give them a hard fight all season."

JJ Lehto #42: "It was nice to drive because we were fighting all the time and we were able to keep up with Panoz and Audi. I think the fight was very fair and clean, and we could have won the race as well as Audi and Panoz. Jorg did a great job on the restart, but it only lasted for half a lap. It's a shame, we could have had a good race."

Jorg Muller #42: "Unluckily, the GT cars were ahead of all the prototypes at the restart. In the fight for position, I got hit from the rear so I hit Katoh; there was nothing I could do. It was just a race accident. Otherwise, we would have looked good for the race result."

Q!Bill Auberlen #43: "This is the only team you can race for all year long and have zero failures. What made this year so enjoyable, even though we had such a tough time, was to get in a car that was so well-prepared by such a great team."

Jean-Marc Gounon #43: "I'm quite pleased to finish the series in the U.S. with this result. This year we did the best with the car we had. The Audis were nearly impossible to beat today, but we made no mistakes and stayed on the road. It's good to be on the podium with Bill. Our mechanics were perfect all during the year, so it's very good to say thanks to them with this result."

Hans-J. Stuck #7 GT: "I'm very thankful for third place. I overtook a car under yellow, which was totally my fault, but we can't do anything about it now. Then when I passed another car, I flat-spotted my front tires and it's a miracle they survived to the end. Big compliment to Yokohama, they gave us a great tire."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Allan McNish , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Jean-Marc Gounon , Charly Lamm , JJ Lehto