BMW Rahal Letterman will return to Sebring this week, confident of avenging a difficult 2009 race with two cars GT2 cars and re-jigged driving line-ups for the 58th running of the Floridian road racing classic.
A debut year that ultimately saw the ultimately saw clinch two poles, five podiums and a maiden win (at Road America) got off a slow start, both cars suffering what Martin Birkmann of BMW North America's Motorsport division as “gremlins”.
Last year saw drivers Joey Hand and Bill Auberlan share the no.90 car, with Tommy Milner and Dirk Muller in the sister no.90 M3. However, this year's race, which starts at 2pm GMT Saturday will seen Auberlan and Muller swapping seats.
The team will also welcome back multiple Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx as third driver in the no.92 car. In the no.90 Dirk Werner moves across from the Farnbacher-Loles team for 2010.
And with new line-ups and twelve extra months of preparation the team believe they can challenge for honours in, arguably, the most competitive class in the ALMS.
“In our second year as a team, everything is moving faster,” explains Hand. I feel like I’m the best I’ve ever been and I’m excited because I know my teammate and I will be contenders from the start of the season.”
“We have worked on reliability and successfully completed a 12 hour test,” adds his former driving partner. “We have some staff with F1 background on our team and it is stellar to watch an idea form in their minds, and then see it almost immediately put into the race car.”
“Just when you think it can’t get any better, they do something completely different and revolutionary.”
The team have already completed a full 12 hour simulation and a relatively trouble-trouble free run at the two day winter test.
“Our preparation has been excellent,” concludes Bobby Rahal. “The cars are strong, the drivers are ready to go, and the entire organization is looking to start the season in style in one of the world’s great endurance races.”
Photo credit: James Boone