20.4.2015. Whether in the DTM, the United SportsCar Championship, or countless other championships: week after week BMW teams and drivers around the world do battle for points, victories and titles. Away from the track too, members of the large BMW Motorsport family around the world are also creating headlines. The “BMW Motorsport News” allows us to regularly summarise all the action for you in a compact and informative manner. This way, you are always up to speed.
USCC: BMW Team RLL enjoys impressive outing in Long Beach.
BMW Team RLL claimed its first win in the GTLM class at the Long Beach (US) round of the United SportsCar Championship (USCC):
Bill Auberlen (US) and Dirk Werner (DE) were victorious at the iconic street circuit. Lucas Luhr (DE) and John Edwards (US) finished fifth in the team’s second car.
Three questions for… Bill Auberlen.
Bill, you are second in the list of drivers with the most number of wins in North American sports car racing, as you have 54 and Scott Pruett has 59. What does that mean to you?
Bill Auberlen: “It means an awful lot. Yes it is close and I really would love to lead that list. The problem is it is hard to get wins in this series. Scott Pruett gets them and I get them, so it is difficult to close the ground on him. I really want that record and, if I could get it, it would be a real honour to be anywhere in the same mention with a guy like Scott.”
How did it feel to win again after you were last on the top step of the podium in Long Beach back in 2013 at your home event?
Auberlen: “It feels great – particularly as Long Beach is my home race and I have had to wait a long time for this win. This feeling doesn’t ever get old, so everybody should know it keeps feeling just as good. In the race I went from being reasonably okay in second place and then we had a problem with the car and the fuel fill at the pit stop and dropped back to fifth. I had an anxiety issue where I was going into deep depression! But then Dirk started moving up the field and I started to come out of this depression. I thought we had a chance of this win. Bobby Rahal is like a rock, as he just stuck with it, hung in there and got the strategy perfect. Dirk put his head down. He is a fantastic driver, super fast and he just ground away at it. Just kept plugging away. Hunted the Ferrari down and made a beautiful pass.”
How do you see the rest of the season panning out?
Auberlen: “If we can somehow find the right set-up on this car going into Laguna Seca, we stand a chance of repeating this success. We finished P2 there last year and just have to go one better, but that is going to be a tight battle. I think it could be a great year.”
DTM: BMW drivers fine tune their fitness.
The BMW DTM drivers went straight from the test in Oschersleben (DE), from Tuesday to Thursday, to their next appointment on Lanzarote (ES). They will remain on the Canary Island until Tuesday, where they will work on their fitness under the guidance of team doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli (IT) and his Formula Medicine team, in order to ensure they are perfectly prepared for the first DTM race weekend of the year in Hockenheim (DE) on 2nd/3rd May.
The focus is on the physical strengths of the drivers, as they put themselves to the test in such disciplines as cycling, kayaking, swimming, running, water polo, squash, football, beach volleyball and orienteering. The DTM drivers will also be given valuable tips on how to prepare mentally for the 18 races that make up the 2015 season. “The training on Lanzarote is great fun,” said reigning DTM champion Marco Wittmann (DE).
“It is exactly what you need to clear your head just before the start of the season. It is noticeable how everybody in the team is fully focussed. The tools we acquire here will definitely help us over the course of the season.” DTM rookie Tom Blomqvist (GB) added: “I really enjoy this training programme. It helps me to get to know my new BMW team-mates even better. The spirit among the eight drivers is amazing. We will certainly be in excellent shape when we line up on the grid for the first time in Hockenheim.”
BTCC: Collard most successful BMW driver in fourth place in Donington.
The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) was in Donington for the second race weekend of the season. In the opening race of the day, Sam Tordoff (GB) crossed the finish line fifth in the BMW 125i M Sport, making him the best-placed driver from the West Surrey Racing Team. Rob Collard (GB) also made it into the top ten, finishing eighth.
A technical problem in qualifying meant BMW works driver Andy Priaulx (GB) was forced to start the race from down in 23rd. However, he was then able to fight his way back through the field to end the race in 12th. After sixth (Collard), ninth (Tordoff) and tenth (Priaulx) in race two, Collard ended the day with the best BMW result of the weekend in race three: the experienced Englishman came home fourth. Both Priaulx and Tordoff failed to finish the final race of the weekend.