Dunlop Tires remain undefeated in ALMS
Dunlop Tires and the BMW Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing Team continued their dominance of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT Class with a third consecutive win during the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
The number 56 BMW M3 GT started from the pole position and led every lap in the nearly three-hour race at Lime Rock. Drivers Dirk Müller and Joey Hand completed 176 laps of the 1.474-mile circuit, finishing 20.387 seconds ahead of the second place Porsche.
The team’s number 55 BMW with drivers Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen was pushed out of contention after being hit by a competitor on lap 23. The duo completed the race after extensive repairs, finishing eighth.
Saturday’s win at Lime Rock leaves BMW Team RLL undefeated in the GT Class, further securing their position atop the team, manufacturer and driver standings, after wins during the season’s first two races at Sebring and Long Beach. Saturday’s race came after the nearly three-month “Le Mans Break” in the ALMS schedule, where the team took third place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
“Dunlop has proven its ability to provide a championship-caliber tire that allows us to maximize the performance of our BMW M3s on every corner of the race track,” said BMW Team RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal. “We had a long break since the last ALMS race, but Dunlop joined us in continuing to work on making the car, the tires and the team better and it showed this weekend.”
Dunlop has been BMW Team RLL’s tire provider since the launch of the M3 GT program in 2009, and the racing tires have been credited for helping the team mature and develop into a consistent performer and winner.
Because most ALMS races are lengthy in laps and overall racing time, the teams switch drivers throughout the competition during pit stops. The tires, especially, must be consistent for long runs, and the Dunlops have been praised by the team for their continuing improvement.
“We are in a good spot in the championship at the moment, but we know we have more work to do,” said Rahal. “We are confident that Dunlop is more than prepared to help us defend our championship lead.”
“The success of the team this season is really a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved,” said Jonathan Lee, Dunlop brand general manager. “Dunlop has strived to consistently deliver a winning tire, and we’re proud of our performance on the track this year.”
The BMW Team RLL now looks to carry the momentum of its winning season to the series’ next challenge, the Grand Prix of Mosport. The fourth race of the 2011 ALMS campaign will be held July 24 at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.