Hand Returns to Co-drive with Muller
The opening four rounds of the 2013 American Le Mans Series have seen the new BMW Z4 GTE race to the GT class victory at both Long Beach and Lime Rock Park. Round Five will be held at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, on July 21 with BMW Team RLL focusing on increasing Dirk Muller’s lead in Driver points and moving to the top of the Manufacturer and Team points.
BMW stands three points behind Chevrolet in Manufacturer points and is tied with Corvette Racing in Team points. Dirk Muller now leads the Driver standings by a 16-point margin. To date, Muller has scored a seventh at Sebring co-driving with Joey Hand and John Edwards, a second with Hand at Long Beach, a third with Edwards at Laguna Seca and the most recent win with Edwards at Lime Rock Park. Joey Hand, returning stateside from his DTM duties, will co-drive the No. 56 machine at Mosport.
Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin scored the first victory for the Z4 GTE at Long Beach in the No. 55 car, but a broken differential at the next round at Laguna Seca saw them finish out of the points. They began the season with a fourth (along with Jörg Muller) at Sebring and scored another fourth place finish most recently at Lime Rock Park. Without the disappointment of Laguna Seca the duo would certainly be standing higher than fifth in Driver points, 18 markers in arrears of Muller.
“Historically, Mosport was our most challenging race with the M3 GT,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “I think that the demands of the circuit made it very tough on the tires that we had and as a result, while we could qualify well, we were hampered by those demands in the race so we really couldn’t maintain the pace. We showed well in terms of pure pace but we didn’t have the longevity. This year on the Michelin tires, that won’t be as much of an issue.
"Mosport will be the first circuit of the season with a very long straightaway and, knowing our deficit in straight line speed against the Corvette, Porsches and others, it’s going to be very interesting to see whether we can make up for that through the fast corners where the Z4 GTE excels. Points and performance-wise we are doing much better than I thought we would be so far this season. Dirk is leading the driver’s championship and we are close to the lead in both manufacturer and team standings, but now the real tests come starting with Mosport.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “The new Z4 GTE has been as amazing as we had hoped and we have had a few very good performances. Now Max and I need a bit more luck. We had a long, hard day at Lime Rock and managed a good finish. Now we are going to an incredible track - Mosport. I can't wait to put the throttle down and put a giant smile on my face.”
Maxime Martin, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – “I'm really looking forward to race in Mosport. I have heard a lot about the track. It looks like it is a really impressive one. Bill knows it well and will help me to get to speed quickly.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “I'm excited to get back in the Z4 with my BMW Team RLL boys. It feels like forever since the Long Beach race. I really want to do my part to keep my buddy Dirk Muller in the lead of the championship along with the team. Mosport is a fun track and it has definitely had its ups and downs for us as a team. We've led there many times but I've never won there. I'd love to change that statistic!”
Dirk Muller, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – “l am really looking forward to one of my favorite race tracks – Mosport. This one is a big driver’s track and we definitely would like to keep the momentum going! Our win at Lime Rock was a big push. John will be there to observe and help Joey and me. No doubt that will be a big help.”