Published by Autobahn Buzz (American Le Mans Series)
For more than eight hours a leading outcome was in reach for BMW Team RLL at the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season opener at the “Sebring International Raceway” (United States). While in the end technical troubles in the final third of the race nixed Bobby Rahal’s (US) team a shot at a feasible podium finish, BMW Motorsport was able to draw a positive conclusion after the race launching of the newly developed BMW Z4 GTE.
Costs Auberlen (United States), Maxime Martin (BE) and Jörg Müller (DE) were able to battle it out at the front of the field with the Frozen Black No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE for many of the endurance classic, before the trio lost time and positions due to an issue with the power steering. The No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE, driven by Dirk Müller (DE), Joey Hand (United States) and John Edwards (United States), provided an equally solid race, leading for numerous kilometers in the BMW Z4 GTE’s maiden ALMS race. Corvette’s Oliver Gavin (GB), Tommy Milner (United States) and Richard Westbrook (GB) claimed victory in the GT course.
American Le Mans Series
BMW Motorsport and BMW Team RLL, nonetheless, had every reason to be pleased with the first trip of the BMW Z4 GTE in race conditions– on one of North America’s most demanding circuits. All six motorists, including the series rookies Martin and Edwards, had the ability to record competitive lap times with the brand-new vehicle and test the stiff competition at the front of the GT pack. In addition, the engineers collected valuable insights over the course of the weekend, which will now be used for further development of the vehicle and getting it ready for the second American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Long Beach (US) on 20th April.
For the first time since 2010, BMW Team RLL had to cede GT triumph at this 12-hour race to another team. The BMW 3.0 CSL scored total success in 1975, as did the BMW V12 LMR prototype in 1999.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“We didn’t always anticipate to be able to set our sights on top positions with the brand-new BMW Z4 GTE in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series from the word go. The lap times and the consistency of our motorists was appealing, both vehicles had the ability to battle among the front-runners in the first two thirds of the race. They lost ground due to technical gremlins. However, it hardly comes as a surprise that such problems could occur on a vehicle that hasn’t completed a lot of kilometers of testing. In any case, BMW Team RLL and the BMW Motorsport staff showed their fighting spirit until the very end and delivered a good performance. The BMW Z4 GTE showed its capacity, which is exactly what we had actually all wished for. In addition we saw just how strong our driver line-up is. All six of them were running really well. Now we will draw the right conclusions from this race and are expecting our second ALMS outing in Long Beach. It’s everything about getting closer to the limit of the BMW Z4 GTE on a race by race basis, and today we have actually taken the first step.”
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL):
“Sebring typically puts the most significant needs on the cars, and that’s exactly what we saw today. This race was a real test for our brand-new car. When the vehicle was out on the track, it ran competitively.
Bill Auberlen (BMW Z4 GTE– car number 55):
“I think everyone is amazed about how great it went for us generally right here in Sebring. BMW Motorsport came up with a competitive car from the word go.”
Maxime Martin (BMW Z4 GTE– vehicle figure 55):
“This has actually been an extremely amazing weekend for me. I appreciated my first ALMS look and instantly felt at house at BMW Team RLL. Fourth is a good result to begin with. Perhaps we might have scored an even better outcome under regular circumstances.”
Jörg Müller (BMW Z4 GTE– car figure 55):
“During my first stint I hit an additional automobile with the front of our BMW Z4 GTE, which had an unfavorable effect on the balance. With every pit stop we enhanced our position that much more. For many hours the automobile went like clockwork and we had the ability to push really hard. Finishing 4th is rather all right considering the issues we had.”
Dirk Müller (BMW Z4 GTE– automobile number 56):
Things like that just occur at the debut of a brand new race car. I’m truly happy that the new season is finally underway, and the BMW Z4 GTE makes me actually look forward to the upcoming races.
Joey Hand (BMW Z4 GTE– vehicle number 56):
“This has been a nice launch of our BMW Z4 GTE. I’m sure the BMW Z4 GTE has got every little thing that is required to be back at the front really quickly.”
John Edwards (BMW Z4 GTE– automobile number 56):.
“It’s been a wonderful feeling to race this extraordinary vehicle in Sebring. I was able to discover a nice rhythm, and the BMW Z4 GTE actually made life simple for me. I’m delighted that I slotted in well in this brand-new environment. The engineers and my teammates helped me in a sensational means. Experience is just such a vital aspect at this track. Normally we could have challenged for a better result. Still we ought to be pleased with this promising first result.”
In any case, BMW Team RLL and the BMW Motorsport crew proved their fighting spirit until the very end and delivered a great performance at the American Le Mans Series 12-Hours at Sebring race.