The 2010 American Le Mans Series season is just past halfway over, with the next race this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The BMW M3 GTs of Rahal Letterman Racing are riding a high after a double podium at Lime Rock Park, but the Porsches, Corvettes, and Ferraris will be pushing as hard as ever as the fight for the year-end points championship heats up.
After Lime Rock Park's success, BMW is now in second place in the manufacturer's GT championship, just one point behind Porsche and seven points ahead of Ferrari. Chevrolet is sitting back at 68 points, but could still pose a threat for the race win. BMW drivers Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner are in second in the driver's points race, behind the Flying Lizard Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in the other BMW are tied for second place with Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni in the Risi Competizione Ferrari, just four points out of second place.
So, as the season draws closer to the finale at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the importance of each race and each points-paying finish mounts. Bobby Rahal, team principal, recognizes this fact. "The ALMS GT field is so tight that you can't afford to have any off weekends, and we know how important every race is from here until the end of the season if we want to stay in the championship hunt," Rahal said.
In their inaugural season in the American Le Mans Series, the BMW/RLR team can certainly be proud of what they've accomplished so far, but the team needs a win--something they've yet to achieve despite being in the hunt for the year-end points race. “Now, we must produce the results I know we are capable of. We’ve met the promise to deliver a good show to our fans at each race, but we haven’t yet given them the wins they expect from us. I believe our M3s and our drivers are currently at their season peaks for preparedness and competitive spirit. As always, our crew remains the best in the series," said Martin Birkmann, motorsports manager for BMW NA.
Practice for the Mid-Ohio race starts Thursday, August 5, followed by qualifying on Friday. The race takes the green flag at 3:00 pm local time on Saturday. Unfortunately, if you can't make it to the track, you'll have to wait until August 15 for SpeedTV's coverage.
[BMW/Rahal Letterman Racing]