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Aug 20, 2014 - 06:23 AM
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BMW Team RLL - Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR Preview
Posted by: newsla on Aug 20, 2014 - 06:22 AM
BMW Team RLL - Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR Preview

Up next for BMW Team RLL is the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship round at Virginia International Raceway, in Alton, Virginia, on August 24th – Round 9 of the 11-race 2014 season. The weekend will feature Grand Touring cars in a 2.75-hour standalone race for GTLM and GTD competitors at the venerable 3.27-mile, 17-turn permanent road course.


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BMW Team RLL has raced twice before at VIR, in the 2012 and 2013 American Le Mans Series seasons, with a best finish of fourth in both years. Recently, the circuit was repaved and widened in certain places to offer more opportunities for overtaking. That is sure to increase the competitiveness of the GTLM class that on most weekends qualifies its field within one second.

BMW Team RLL arrested its fall in the standings with a well-deserved second place finish by the No. 56 Z4 of John Edwards and Dirk Müller, in the last round at Road America on Aug. 10th. Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx stand fourth in driver points, while John Edwards and Dirk Müller have climbed to fifth. BMW Team RLL is currently fourth and fifth in Team standings. BMW remains fourth in Manufacturer points, but gained four points at Road America, closing to within two points of third.

“We have had reasonable pace at Virginia International Raceway in qualifying over the years, but haven’t been that successful in the races,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal.
“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 favor 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, driver, No. 55 Z4 GTLM – “VIR is an amazing circuit that should play to the handling of the Z4. I can't wait to go flat out through those esses and feel the incredible down force and pinpoint handling. Andy and I are only three points out of third in driver points so one of our goals is to regain that position.”

Andy Priaulx, driver, No. 55 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, driver, No. 56 Z4 GTLM – “VIR is a great track, with flowing corners and plenty of elevation change. The track has all new pavement, 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 seventh.”

Dirk Müller, driver, No. 56 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.”

The 2.75-hour Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR will take the green flag at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, August 24th. The race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with coverage beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET. Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend.

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