BMW Team RLL had a rough day at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on July 6th, where their two M3 GT’s finished fifth and sixth in the GT class.
Each M3 had a black ribbon hanging from the right front fender in memory of BMW Motorsport engineering who died suddenly in Munich on Friday night. The No. 56 M3 GT driven by Joey Hand and Dirk Müller landed fifth place after starting from second place. When Hand pitted on the first caution for new left tires and fuel, where he returned the race in sixth position. A punctured tire forced Hand to the pits where he gave the wheel to Müller for the remainder of the race.
Unfortunately the bad luck continued when the hood became loose and blocked Müller’s view on lap 70. He was forced to remove it but continued the race but still managed to secure fifth.
Even more unlucky is the series of events for the No. 55 M3 GT, where Bill Auberlen qualified pole in the GT class, but Auberlen started his 100th ALMS race from the pits due to a fuel cell issue. He was driving the hardest, which was obvious on his ninth lap where he set the race record of 51.091sec around the 1.5-mile track. After a lap 61 driver change to Jörg Müller, more unfortunate luck came with a right-rear tire puncture, giving one lap to the race leaders and leaving Müller in sixth position across the finish line.
Despite the bad hand dealt at the race, BMW Team RLL still persevered through a painful race and kept their second place spot in manufacturer points for the series. Sure, the results aren’t on part with an expected third consecutive GT class title and this race was the first time a BMW Team RLL M3 GT didn’t make it to the podium at their home track, but so goes the fight. On to the next one.