BMW Z4 GTE ends successful debut season

Saturday, October 19, 2013

BMW Team RLL finished second and fourth in the final round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series at Road Atlanta, the “Petit Le Mans”

The 16th annual 1000-mile race, held in Braselton, concluded the debut season for the new BMW Z4 GTE with BMW finishing second in the GT class Manufacturer standings and BMW Team RLL second in the Team standings. Dirk Müller finished second in the Driver points for the 2013 season.

Dirk Müller, Bill Auberlen and John Edwards alternated at the wheel of the number 56 car at Road Atlanta. The second BMW Z4 GTE was driven by Maxime Martin, Jörg Müller and Uwe Alzen.

Both BMW cars reached the top step of the podium once during the ten-race 2013 season. The number 55 BMW Z4 GTE won at Long Beach and the number 56 at Lime Rock Park. The team has also scored five additional podiums, four pole positions, and eight top-five finishes.

The first half of the race was slowed by four caution periods and intermittent rain that put a premium on smart strategy and pit work. The rain abated as the race entered its sixth hour and the track remained dry for the remainder of the race.

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):

“I think we can really be happy with the outcome of the 2013 American Le Mans Series. It was the debut year of our new BMW Z4 GTE – and BMW Team RLL managed to fight for victories from the word go. We were able to keep the title fight open until the very last race. In the end, it was very close and Dirk Müller missed out on his third ALMS GT title by just a few points. We had hoped to be competitive with the new car straight away, and that’s what happened. The race at Road Atlanta also marked the final chapter of the ALMS era. We are now looking forward to a new challenge and the season opener of the United SportsCar Championship at Daytona in January 2014.”

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL):

“This was a tough, hard race. But I have to say I’m pretty happy with second and fourth. We’ve really got a deficit on the straights and that’s a killer at Road Atlanta, so to have second is really darn good. It’s a shame we couldn’t win the championship for Dirk, but P2 for him is a good consolation. The first year with the BMW Z4 GTE was far better than the first year with the BMW M3 GT, that’s for sure, and I think if we will be allowed to use a little more power we can make it a truly great and competitive year in 2014.”

Dirk Müller (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 56):

“Hell of a race. I really, truly wanted to win this one. I spent the last two hours trying to catch the Falken car. They were very fast so congrats to them. I really opened everything up and drove at maximum attack. We had a very good second place and everybody knew we couldn’t do more. I’m happy for the team and for BMW; we’re all P2 now in the championships. Not a bad way to end the last year of the ALMS. Thank you to the organisers of the ALMS for an amazing run and for making it possible to see such great racing, and now we look forward to a bright future.”

John Edwards (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 56):

“It was really close. I was nervous at the end watching Dirk - I’m always more nervous when I’m out of the car. Of course we’re happy with second place; it was a good race and anything could happen. You try to stay out of trouble, but I was hit twice by the number 4 Corvette and it felt like we were qualifying for the entire two-plus hours of my stint. I’m a lot more confident now at the end of the year than I was going into Sebring. I’ve gelled with the team and I feel like we can really push together.”

Bill Auberlen (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 56):

“That is as perfect of a race as I’ve ever seen at Petit Le Mans. Everything came together and we squeezed out a P2 finish. I’m a little sad about the end of the ALMS; I’ve done these races from the series’ start to its finish. I’ve won and been beaten here, but the future brings new hope and, as long as I’m sitting in a car with a Roundel on the hood with my guys behind me, that’s all I care about.”

Maxime Martin (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 55):

“I’m a bit disappointed for the team. Thanks to lots of hard work by the crew, we had a good enough race to be there at the end, and I feel we earned a podium finish, so I’m sorry I cannot hand that trophy over to the guys.”

Jörg Müller (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 55):

“At the end, I’m half crying and half laughing. We were so close to holding onto the podium. The car handled fantastically, we always came back from bad spots, and we led the race at least once. On one hand I’m happy we earned points for BMW, but I really wanted us to be on the podium.”

Uwe Alzen (BMW Z4 GTE – car number 55):

“Well I’m a little bit disappointed we couldn’t push harder. We had a small problem with the brake balance, with a little bit too much brake to the rear, so we couldn’t attack like we wanted to, but Maxime and Jörg did a great job and we stayed in the fight as much as possible.”