BMW Team RLL’s M3s finished third and fourth in the GT class in the six-hour American Le mans series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The #4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner won the class, ahead of their teammates Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in #3.
Both BMWs led the race; Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller in car #55 and Joey Hand and Dirk Müller in car #56 waged an epic battle with the Vettes and two Porsches for the final 90 minutes of the race, with the leading cars just seconds apart. Bill Auberlen was caught behind a prototype as he tried to charge into the lead with less than fifteen minutes left; Magnussen seized the opportunity to get by Auberlen, making it a Corvette one-two at the end.
Auberlen observed “This was a six-hour race and we treated it as a 45 minute sprint. It’s unreal how competitive this series has become. On the last restart I got hung out to dry by a prototype car and Magnussen took advantage of it. It is great to make the podium, but we still have two more steps to climb.”
Car #56, leading just past the halfway point in the race, was rear-ended by the #3 Corvette. As a result, it eventually lost the rear fascia and diffuser; the aerodynamic balance of the car was affected for the balance of the race.
After Laguna Seca, BMW remains second to Chevrolet in manufacturers’ points, while Joey Hand and Dirk Müller drop to second in drivers’ points behind Gavin and Milner. Müller said, “Even though our car was damaged we still had the potential for a top-three finish, but just missed it. Congratulations to our teammates for their first podium of the season. I look forward to the next race at Lime Rock Park where Joey and I can try to regain the lead in the driver points.”
He will have to wait for almost two months; the series now takes a long break to allow time for those ALMS competitors who plan to run at Le Mans in June (BMW Team RLL will not make the trip to France). ALMS competition resumes at Lime Rock on July 6-7.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.org.Back to News