Difficult ILMC race for BMW Motorsport at Silverstone

The fifth round of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) at Silverstone (GB) did not run according to plan for BMW Motorsport. After six hours, Andy Priaulx (GB) and Uwe Alzen (DE) finished fourth in the GTE class, driving the no. 56 BMW M3 GT. The no. 55 car, driven by Augusto Farfus (BR) and Jörg Müller (DE), crossed the line in sixth. The race was won by Ferrari’s Giancarlo Fisichella (IT) and Gianmaria Bruni (IT).Both BMW M3 GT cars started from the first row of the grid, but lost time in the early stages of the race. The starting drivers Priaulx and Farfus reported a lack of grip and dropped back in the classification. On top of that, Farfus experienced bad luck after approximately 50 minutes, as during a safety-car phase the second safety-car joined the track directly in front of him, cutting the Brazilian off from the leading group of the GTE class. Priaulx had to pit for an unscheduled stop, which also resulted in a bigger gap to the front-runners.As the six-hour race developed, the BMW drivers were then able to raise their game, building on their strong qualifying performance. They consistently put in competitive lap times and made up lost ground lap by lap. As the chequered flag came out final stint drivers Alzen and Müller were back in fourth and sixth.Two more ILMC rounds are scheduled for the rest of the season: On 1st October BMW Team RLL will not only fight for more ILMC points at the annual “Petit Le Mans” held at Road Atlanta (US), but also have their eyes on winning the American Le Mans Series GT titles. The ILMC season will then be concluded at the “Zhuhai International Circuit” in China on 13th November, with BMW Team Schnitzer again being in charge of fielding the two BMW M3 GT cars.Charly Lamm (Team Manager):“Obviously you can’t be satisfied when you start a race from the first row and finish fourth and sixth. In today’s quite cool conditions we were struggling to find the grip we needed. Due to this we lost a lot of time, especially in the first two stints. Over the course of the race we got back into our rhythm, but by this time the gap to the front-runners was already too big. The only safety-car phase of the race turned out unfortunate for the no. 55 car. With the number 56 car we had to do an unscheduled stop.”Andy Priaulx (car number 56):“I think today we got the maximum out of a difficult race. It would have been nice to finish my comeback in the BMW M3 GT on the podium – especially here in Silverstone - but fourth was all we could do today. In the beginning, it was not easy to get the maximum out of our tyres. However, then it got better and better, and during my second stint I had a really good feeling for the car. Unfortunately it was too late to fight for top positions.”Uwe Alzen (car number 56):“Unfortunately the grip level dropped dramatically after the first few laps. Then we managed to get over this issue and were able to start a fight back. Overall the BMW M3 GT worked very well here once again, and we were able to prove this at various stages of the race. If we would not have had the issues in the beginning of the race, the podium would have been possible, but now we have to be satisfied with the thankless fourth place.”Augusto Farfus (car number 55):“In the beginning we had no grip, and on top of that we had the bad luck during the safety car period. Normally our strategy would have worked out, but then the safety-car joined the track directly in front of me. When you lose so many positions there is not a lot you can do, but we were fighting hard and everybody in the team gave his best.”Jörg Müller (car number 55):“It is certainly a shame that we lost so much time due to the safety-car phase. Six hours is a long time, but it is really difficult to bridge such a big gap in this really close field. After the difficult start we found a good rhythm, but then it just wasn’t possible to achieve more than P6.”