Dunlop Tires and the BMW Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing Team scored a fifth consecutive podium finish at Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge in Lexington, Ohio.
A torrential downpour stopped the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race with 13 minutes remaining, leaving the No. 55 BMW M3 GT of Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen to finish third and the No. 56 BMW M3 GT of Dirk Müller and Joey Hand in fourth.
Now half-way through the 2011 ALMS season, the team still leads the manufacturer, driver and team championship standings in the competitive GT class.
The number 56 M3 GT started from the pole position for a fourth consecutive race, with its teammate starting second. The team lost its lead in the first few laps, but soon recovered to third and fifth positions as the race began to develop.
The rain at Mid-Ohio began to intensify just before the two-hour mark, leading Hand to pit for rain tires on lap 76 and Auberlen on lap 77.
Auberlen and Hand charged forward on their Dunlop rain tires as competitors continued to slide off the wet track, reaching the third and fourth positions before the fourth yellow flag waved. A red flag brought all the cars to the pits—and ultimately ended the race.
“It was another good day for BMW Team RLL, despite the fact that we were subjected to our annual summer rainstorm at Mid-Ohio,” said BMW Team RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal. “The Dunlop tires performed well again in both the wet and the dry and helped us maintain our spot at the top of the standings as we begin the second half of the season.”
Dunlop has been BMW Team RLL’s technical partner 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.
BMW Team RLL now looks to retain its lead in the ALMS standings during the next race, the Road Race Showcase on August 20 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.