Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 20, 2013… The streets of Long Beach, California continue to be the favorite stomping grounds of BMW Team RLL as they finished 1-2 in today's American Le Mans at Long Beach race. In only the second race for the new BMW Z4 GTE, the team beat a very competitive GT class field with excellent strategy set in place during the first hour of the two-hour contest around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. BMW Team RLL has finished with at least one car on the Long Beach podium, including a win from the pole in 2011, for five consecutive years. Today's victory puts BMW in a tie with Chevrolet at the top of the GT Class Manufacturer points. The win was also the first for the new BMW-Michelin partnership.
Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin, driving the Frozen Black No. 55 Z4 GTE, won the race, finishing 6.578 seconds ahead of the No. 56 Z4 GTE of Joey Hand and Dirk Müller.
Martin started in the No. 55 car from the fourth spot. A spin on lap two dropped him to the rear of the field, but the first of three long caution periods in the first hour of the race gave the 55 crew the chance to reverse their fortune. Pitting Martin after 25 minutes, on lap 16, Auberlen got behind the wheel with a full tank of fuel and new Michelins. During the second caution period Auberlen pitted twice more for fuel only. When the race went green with 44 minutes run, the die was cast for the veteran to not return to the pits for the remainder of the race. A third caution during which the rest of field pitted allowed for a bit more breathing room for fuel conservation and Auberlen to cycle to the second position as the race went green just past the first hour. On lap 66 with 15 minutes left in the race, Auberlen took the lead and drove to his first win at the Long Beach.
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Posted: April 20, 2013, 5:36 pm
Ultimate performance it's the least we expect. Team spirit. Readiness to experiment. Perfectionism. With one goal: to surpass the highest demands. Yours. Ours. And the road's. There's nothing we...