John Joins BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan for ALMS in 2013 !

BMW Team RLL will again be running BMW’s American Le Mans Series (ALMS) entries in 2013. The two car team will do battle with the best of North American GT class sports cars with the new BMW Z4 GTE starting with the season-opening 12 hours of Sebring on 16th March.
“With the BMW Z4 GTE, we are starting a new chapter in North America alongside BMW Team RLL”, said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “We have celebrated magnificent victories and titles with the BMW M3 GT and BMW Team RLL over the past four years. The BMW Z4 GTE has everything it needs to continue this success story.”

“We are really looking forward to this new chapter for BMW racing in North America”, said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America. “After several championship wins for BMW Team RLL and the BMW M3 GT, we now entrust the same strong team to deliver more trophies with our new BMW Z4 GTE. We are absolutely convinced BMW fans will again see great ALMS GT class racing in 2013.”

The BMW Z4 GTE was developed for the ALMS regulations, based on the BMW Z4 GT3, which has celebrated multiple championship wins in Europe and Asia in the capable hands of professional and privateer BMW drivers. This year’s ten-race ALMS season will also be used as a development year for the new car in order to lay the best foundation for the all-new face of North American sports car racing in 2014.

“All of us at BMW Team RLL are very excited about the 2013 season with the new BMW Z4 GTE”, said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We had four great years with the BMW M3 GT and now want to compete on a par with our rivals with the BMW Z4 GTE as soon as possible. With any new car there is going to be a period of development, but we are excited about the upcoming season. This will be our fifth year with BMW and it’s obvious we have a great working relationship. In fact, some of the members of the team are in Munich working side-by-side with BMW Motorsport building the cars. We share the same approach in terms of our desire to be successful and it’s a real honour and privilege to represent BMW in motorsport.”

This year, the BMW Team RLL driver line-up will feature a strong mix of experience and youth. Returning drivers Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Dirk Müller will anchor the effort. Due to his full-time commitment to BMW in the DTM series, for a second consecutive season, Hand will contest only some ALMS races in 2013.  Twenty-one year old New Yorker John Edwards will join the team, replacing  Hand for the races that don't fit into his DTM schedule.  Beginning his career in open-wheel rcing, Edwards won the Star Mazda title in 2008 and the Atlantic series championship in 2009.  Since 2010 he has focused on GT and GS class racing in the GRAND-AM  series.

The newest BMW Motorsport driver, Maxime Martin, will join BMW Team RLL for the full 2013 season. The 26-year old finished second in the 2012 BMW Sport Trophy after a strong season racing a BMW Z4 GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series and a BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 in the ADAC GT Masters. For the long-distance races at Sebring and the Petit Le Mans, Uwe Alzen and Jörg Müller will return to the team.

Long-time BMW employee Gordon McDonnell has been named the dedicated BMW NA Motorsport Manager, responsible for leading the programme from concept to the finish line. McDonnell’s diverse experience includes North American management of BMW Motorsport Parts, M Performance Parts, and BMW NA’s current GRAND-AM programmes. Given the merger between ALMS and GRAND-AM, McDonnell is well-positioned to maximize BMW’s racing successes in the USA.

Source: bmw-motorsport.com

 


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