BMW Team RLL is hoping their new for this year Z4 GTE can replicate the success of the M3 GT as the ALMS charges to Road America.
Coming off a fifth and sixth place finish in the last round at Mosport the team will be hoping to add to class victories at Lime Rock Park and Long Beach at a track described by team boss Bobby Rahal as one of his favourites.
The two cars will again by piloted by Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin in the number 55, with the #56 being driven by Dirk Müller and John Edwards – the American replacing regular Joey Hand for the weekend following Hand’s exploits in the DTM at Moscow.
Indeed this weekend is off special significance to Auberlen – the ALMS race will be his 500th professional start in all forms of racing – he is also racing the same weekend in Grand Am and the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge Series.
He said: “Road America is one of my favourite tracks in the world and I will get to race it three times this weekend – ALMS GT, Rolex GT and CTSCC GS. That will be a unique experience for me and I hope for three first place finishes. Five hundred professional race starts is a record I will be extremely proud of.”
On a side note, it will be interesting to see the time comparison between Grand Am and the American Le Mans Series as they race at the same track on the same weekend before they merge to form the United Sports Car Racing Series in 2014.
Team boss Rahal said of his teams chances: “We have obviously had good success in the four years at Elkhart Lake. I think the fast sweeping corners have always played to one of the strengths of a BMW. Getting through all the circuit’s fast corners – Turns 1, 3, 7, the Carousel, Turns 12, 13 and 14 – has been a major reason for our success. This year the BMW Z4 GTE has shown it is also a very good handling car. We have been at a deficit on top speed but have been in the same situation years before with the BMW M3 GT, especially 2009 and 2010, and yet we still won there, so it will be interesting to see how we fare.”
The Orion Energy Systems 245 at Road America will start at 8pm UK time and last 2 hours and 45 minutes.