It was a perfect start to the season for BMW Team RLL in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The no. 56 BMW M3 GT, driven by Dirk Muller (DE), Joey Hand (US) and Andy Priaulx (GB) claimed the GT-class victory in the 12-hour race in Sebring after 312 laps.
Dirk Werner (DE), Bill Auberlen (US) and Augusto Farfus (BR) came second with the no. 55 BMW M3 GT, making it a clean sweep for BMW Motorsport in this classic endurance race.
With this strong result, the BMW drivers scored valuable points for two championships. The race at the "Sebring International Raceway" not only counts towards the American Le Mans Series, but also the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
For BMW Team RLL - the 2010 ALMS GT Team and Manufacturer champions - this is their third ALMS win after scoring back-to-back victories in Road America (US) in 2009 and 2010. Now the Bobby Rahal (US) led squad celebrated its maiden triumph in Sebring.
Class wins for the BMW M3 at this event dates back to 1998, when Boris Said and Bill Auberlen won the GT-3 category. In the following year, BMW Motorsport secured the overall win with the BMW V12 LMR.
Over the entire 2011 race at the 3.7-mile circuit, the two BMW M3 GT cars were involved in thrilling fights with the opposition. The lead changed countless times, and the field was brought together again and again during nine full-course yellow flags.
Ultimately the BMW Team RLL combination of a reliable car, strong drivers, good strategy, excellent Dunlop tyres and flawless pit stops proved to be invincible.
The two newly-constructed BMW M3 GT racing cars completed the marathon without technical problems, passing their first major test with flying colors.
BMW Team RLL will try to build on this success in the second round of the American Le Mans Series, which will be staged in Long Beach on 16th April 2011. In the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup BMW Team Schnitzer will be in action for the first time this year at the 1,000-kilometre race in Spa-Francorchamps (BE) on 7th May 2011.