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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
'Turned on the TV to watch last couple hours of ALMS season opening race. WTF happended to Rahal/Letterman M3 GTR's??:dunno: They were both DNF and "out".

I know the Sebring 12 hours is a tough endurance test; and the 3.5 mile track is difficult and hard on race cars; but GEEZ, apparently one M3 GTR didn't get past 27 laps, and the other one quit before halfway point!! Was anybody actually there to SEE this BMW fiasco?? Did both cars break??

Please don't respond "teething issues". That'd be absolute BS. This was a much ballyhooed, BMW Motorsport, factory development/build for at least 2 years. Rahal/Letterman is one of the best racing teams in the world; and all drivers are top notch champions. By all reports, those M3 GTR's had undergone 100's of hours of testing; including @ Sebring earlier this year, along with other ALMS racing teams.

What's the excuse?? Perhaps they'll do better @ usual ALMS 2 3/4 hour races, on less difficult tracks (where endurance/reliability/durability is less of an issue).:rolleyes:
 

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'Turned on the TV to watch last couple hours of ALMS season opening race. WTF happended to Rahal/Letterman M3 GTR's??:dunno: They were both DNF and "out".

I know the Sebring 12 hours is a tough endurance test; and the 3.5 mile track is difficult and hard on race cars; but GEEZ, apparently one M3 GTR didn't get past 27 laps, and the other one quit before halfway point!! Was anybody actually there to SEE this BMW fiasco?? Did both cars break??

Please don't respond "teething issues". That'd be absolute BS. This was a much ballyhooed, BMW Motorsport, factory development/build for at least 2 years. Rahal/Letterman is one of the best racing teams in the world; and all drivers are top notch champions. By all reports, those M3 GTR's had undergone 100's of hours of testing; including @ Sebring earlier this year, along with other ALMS racing teams.

What's the excuse?? Perhaps they'll do better @ usual ALMS 2 3/4 hour races, on less difficult tracks (where endurance/reliability/durability is less of an issue).:rolleyes:

Milner's car developed an oil leak that could not be fixed....and Auberlan's car had drivetrain issues from the start...had to pushed back into garage for a fix....then just broke.
Good news was that when they were running Muller was able to pull the car up to second and was chasing down the 1st place GT2 car...so they are quick/fast.....reliability????????...hey they are 2 for 3...lol
Though I agree with you that not since the E36 M3 has an M3 finished the 12 hour race....
they are def. great sprint race cars...though.
Lets see how this pans out.
Regards
S
 

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Press release sent out:

Sebring, Fla. - March 21, 2009... Sebring International Raceway had best of the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team in its debut race today as both BMW M3s were forced to retire before half-distance of the 57th annual 12 Hours of Sebring.
Teething problems for the new cars began early. Despite exhaustive pre-race preparations and a trouble-free morning warm-up session, electrical problems struck the No. 90 M3 on the grid and Bill Auberlen was forced to relinquish his sixth starting position. (He had qualified seventh, but a competitor was moved to the rear of the field following an infraction in Thursday’s night practice.) The team rolled the car to paddock to affect repairs as the field took the green flag.

Dirk Müller started the No. 92 M3 from 13th in the GT2 field. By lap 17 and some 37 minutes into the 12-hour contest Muller was in sixth. He pitted for fuel and tires 20 minutes later and began a second stint.

Following diagnosis and yeoman’s work by the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team crew to the No. 90 machine, just before the one hour mark both M3s were on the track with Müller moving up to fifth and chasing after the fourth place car.

The first caution period of the race came at the 1:30 mark and both M3s came to the pits for fuel and tires. Milner replaced Müller and Hand took over for Auberlen.

As the green flag flew again Milner moved into third and at the two-hour mark had moved the No. 92 M3 into second, one lap behind the leader.

After a total of 27 laps, Sebring struck a fatal blow and Hand pitted the No. 90 M3 with an oil leak. The leak was unable to be repaired and the car was retired from the race. Sebring was proving to be especially difficult this year, taking its toll on many of the top GT2 class cars.

With some three hours of the race complete, the team took advantage of the second caution period of the race to pit Milner and send Müller out with a full tank of fuel and new tires. 30 minutes later he had the No. 92 M3 back into second position. Another pit stop saw Milner back behind the wheel and consolidating the No. 92’s hold on second place with 139 laps complete. Pitting just past the five hour mark Müller took over, but as he launched something broke and the car had to be retired.

“Sebring bettered us today, but it will definitely make us better,” said Martin Birkmann, BMW of North America Motorsports Manager. “Strategy, consistency and reliability are the keys to success here and it’s hard for a new car to be perfectly reliable. We know all BMW fans share our disappointment and we thank everyone who came out to cheer us on and be part of our return to the ALMS. Sebring is a big race, but BMW did not return for only one race. We came back for the season and are looking forward to Round Two.”

Bobby Rahal, Team Principal, added, “For almost half the race we put on a good show for all the BMW fans here at Sebring. To run as high as second, and for a number of hours, in our debut race is a very good sign and a testament to the team we have put together. Yes, we are disappointed, but on to St. Pete. Focus forward.”

“Sebring demands perfection”, said Tommy Milner. “We are a new team in a new car and everybody is working very hard. We aren’t perfect. We will figure this out. We’ve proven we have a good team.”

Dirk Müller said, “The M3 was running really great - the best all week - which is a big compliment to everyone’s efforts. We were running trouble-free in second place, no incidents, no scratches, nothing. I made it from the back to fourth place in two stints. Then we got a drive train issue that ultimately made us stop. It’s a new car and we need to investigate this problem, but I have no doubt St. Pete will be a better race for us.”

Round Two of the 2009 American Le Mans Series, The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg, is scheduled for April 3 – 5.

About Rahal Letterman Racing:

Rahal Letterman Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for more than a decade compiling 20 victories, 30 poles and one series championship (Bobby Rahal in 1992 in CART) and an Indianapolis 500 championship (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2008 Rahal Letterman Racing again won Rookie-of-the-Year honors at the Indianapolis 500 and partnered with Andersen Racing to run two entries in the Indy Pro Series. In 2009 the team has joined BMW North America to campaign the new BMW M3 as BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team in the American Le Mans Series and will as serve as the organizers of the Formula BMW Americas championship.

BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 335 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 142 BMW motorcycle retailers, 83 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.


 
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