Up next for BMW Team RLL is the United SportsCar Championship (USCC) event at Virginia International Raceway, in Alton, Virginia (US), on 24th August, which is round nine of the 2014 season. The weekend will feature Grand Touring cars in a 2hour 45minute standalone race for GTLM and GTD competitors around the venerable 3.27-mile (5.26 kilometres), 17-turn permanent road course.
BMW Team RLL has raced twice before at VIR, in the 2012 and 2013 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) seasons, with a best finish of fourth in both years. Recently the circuit has be resurfaced and widened in certain places to offer more passing opportunities. That is sure to increase the competitiveness of the GTLM class that on most weekends qualifies its field within one second.
BMW Team RLL claimed a well-deserved second place finish by the number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM of John Edwards (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) at the last round at Road America (US) on 10th August. Bill Auberlen (US) and Andy Priaulx (GB) stand fourth in the driver points and Edwards and Müller have climbed to fifth. BMW Team RLL is fourth and fifth in the GTLM Team standings. BMW is still fourth in Manufacturer points, but gained four points at Road America to now be only two points from third.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL):
“We have had reasonable pace at Virginia International Raceway in qualifying over the years, but haven’t been that successful in the races. At VIR you are always, frankly, worried about all of the traffic. It’s a very twisty circuit with a long straightaway which, again, doesn’t work in our favour, but there are fast esses and corners which do, so I think there is every reason to believe we can have a successful race.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“VIR is an amazing circuit that should play to the handling of the BMW Z4 GTLM. I can’t wait to go flat out through those esses and feel the incredible downforce and pinpoint handling. Andy and I are only three points away from third in the driver points, so one of our goals is to regain that position.”
Andy Priaulx (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“I am looking forward to VIR which will be another learning experience. It’s a new track for me and I’m told by many people in the sport it will require a lot of work. It’s not quite as long as Road America, as it is three and a quarter compared to four miles in length, but has a lot of turns and a lot of content. So far this year most of the tracks have been new to me, but this hasn’t been an issue so I’m hoping that I can be up to speed as early as possible. We have some work to do in the championship and need to start scoring big points like we did at the beginning of the year."
John Edwards (Number 56 Z4 BMW GTLM):
“VIR is a great track, with flowing corners and plenty of elevation change. The track has an all new surface, which is supposed to have more grip, so we should be going quicker now than ever before. The format is a little different for this race, as we won’t be on track with any prototypes, so we have a unique opportunity to win overall. Without any prototype traffic, I believe qualifying will be important this weekend, as there will be fewer variables to shake up the running order throughout the race. Dirk and I are coming off a strong weekend at Road America, where we scored pole and a second place finish, so we’ll be looking to stay strong again this weekend as the points are tight from third through to seventh.”
Dirk Müller (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“If we can carry the momentum from our success at Road America to VIR we will be very happy. I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements that have been made to the circuit as it can only make that fantastic track even better.”