View Full Version : Tommy Milner's M3 takes GT2 in Japan

10-31-2009, 09:52 AM
BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3 scores GT2 victory in the Asian Le Mans Series.

Okayama (JP), 31st October 2009. – Coming off a third-place finish in the American Le Mans Series championship, Dirk Müller (DE) and Tommy Milner (US) celebrated victory Saturday with the BMW M3 GT2 in the team’s first-ever entry in the Asian Le Mans Series, besting the field at the Okayama International Circuit in Japan.

The drivers of the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team put in a flawless performance and crossed the line as winners in the GT2 category after 113 laps, relegating Marc Lieb (DE) and Wolf Henzler (DE) in their Porsche 911 RSR to second with a gap of 0.292 seconds. Following this year’s ALMS victory at Road America (US), this is the second win for the new GT sports car, and also the car’s maiden win in Asia.

Both drivers contributed mightily to the win, as the final phase of BMW’s inaugural Asian Le Mans Series inaugural event was a thriller. After Müller, who was in the car at the start, had worked his way up from fifth on the grid to second in the early stages of the three-hour race, Milner took over the wheel of the BMW M3 GT2 on lap 52. The 23-year-old took the lead with a successful overtaking maneuver on Henzler on lap 78. In order to save time, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team decided not to change their Dunlop tires during his second pit stop on lap 103 when Milner remained in the car.

The bold strategy gave Milner a wide gap on the pursuing Porsche but things tensed up as the race clock wound down. Eight minutes before the end of the race Lieb, running on fresh tires, started to put Milner under constant pressure, But the BMW driver successfully defended the lead in a nail-biting finale, committed no mistakes and ultimately took the checkered flag as winner.

The second round of the Asian Le Mans Series will be held on Sunday. The red lights go out at 9:00hrs local time (0:00hrs GMT).

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal):

“This is a fantastic result. We had a little misfortune in qualifying, so it was important that Dirk gained some ground after the start. Our fuel economy and the pace of the car were very good. During our second pit stop we didn’t change our Dunlop tires. Tommy then drove the race of his life. The Porsche managed to close the gap, but just couldn’t get by. There’s only a little time to celebrate our win as there is a second race to contest tomorrow. Up to now Japan has proved excellent ground for us.”

Tommy Milner:

“This was a tough race. As we didn’t change tires during the pit stop I knew it would be a close finish. Marc Lieb put me under pressure, and I had to fend off his first attacks in order to keep my chances alive. I managed to do that. Finally I scored my first win. In the ALMS I finished on the podium five times, and many times I got close to victory. Now it has happened at last. A big thank you to my team. The guys are once again doing a great job.“

Dirk Müller:

“We knew that our package would be competitive. But it’s just great that it was strong enough for the win. After the start I gained several positions. In these close battles my experiences from the World Touring Car Championship are a bonus. I didn’t risk anything when behind the Porsche and patiently waited for my chance. That paid off. Tommy did a perfect job today and wrapped up our victory.”

Results Saturday race, GT2 category.

1 Müller/Milner, BMW M3 GT2, BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team, 3:00:43.317

2 Lieb/Henzler, Porsche 911 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton, 3:00:43.609

3 Farnbacher/Simonsen, Ferrari F 430 GT, Team Farnbacher, 3:01:58.089

4 Ried/Holzer, Porsche 911 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton, +1 lap

5 Tanaka/Hiranaka, Ferrari F 430 GT, Jimgainer Racing, +1 lap

6 Aoki/Fujii, Ferrari F 430 GT, Team Daishin, +2 laps

7 Kinoshita/Kageyama, Porsche 911 RSR, KTR, +4 laps

8 Robertson/Robertson/Murray, Ford GT Mk7, Robertson Racing, +5 laps

9 Lee/Ma/Enge, Aston Martin Vantage, Team Hong Kong Racing, +6 laps

Not classified: Koijma/Hori/Kimura, Porsche 911 RSR, Scuderia Forme

11-01-2009, 11:30 AM
Okayama (JP), 1st November 2009 - For more than two hours the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team had been on the way to score its second victory in the Asian Le Mans Series, before a problem at the second pit stop dropped the BMW M3 GT2 down in the classification. At the end of the day, Dirk Müller (DE) and Tommy Milner (US) finished fifth in Okayama (JP) after 110 laps. Dominik Farnbacher (DE) and Allan Simonsen (DK) secured victory in their Ferrari F 430. On Saturday Müller and Milner had won the maiden race of the new Asian Le Mans Series.

Again Müller was on duty during the first part of the three-hour race for the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team. From fifth on the grid the 33-year-old kept out of any trouble on the first lap, before setting his sights on the leaders and improving to fourth on lap six. Afterwards the competition involuntarily aided the progress of the BMW M3 GT2: First the Porsche 911 RSR with Wolf Henzler (DE) at the wheel stopped due to a technical problem, and then David Murry (US) also dropped back in his Ford GT Mk7. When Milner rejoined the race after the team’s first pit stop on lap 44, the BMW M3 GT2 was able to take the lead for the first time.

Like his teammate Milner put in another flawless performance and headed into the pits as leader on lap 78, in order to hand over the car back to Müller. However, the engine wouldn’t start after the pit stop was completed and the time needed to remedy the problem meant that Müller went back into action in the fifth spot. Four laps down on the front-runners the BMW works driver put in one quick lap after another, but there just wasn’t enough time to make up the lost ground. He ultimately brought the BMW M3 GT2 home in fifth and clocked the fastest GT2 lap in 1:32.136 minutes.

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal):

“Obviously we are disappointed, because we were again in a good position to win the race. But then the starter motor failed at our pit stop, and our chances were over. Of course we are happy with yesterday’s victory. However, if you are so close to scoring a second win you want that to happen. I hope that the Japanese fans liked the show we put in here in Okayama. For us it was a great experience.”

Dirk Müller:

“Everything went according to plan. We were in control at the front, and Tommy once again did a great job after my opening stint. But then the broken starter turned everything upside down and cost us several minutes. I had a good pace in my final stint, even setting the fastest lap time. But the gap to the front-runners was just too big. Overall our appearance in Japan was good fun and a nice conclusion to our successful season.”

Tommy Milner:

“Compared to the final 20 minutes of yesterday’s race, when I was under huge pressure and had to defend our lead, I had a much quieter stint today. Thanks to the great work from our pit crew I was able to take the lead and then opened up a gap. Unfortunately the problem during the second stop then ruined our race. However, thanks to our win on Saturday we can leave Japan on a positive note.”