The 2012 ALMS season is already heating up, with the first race of the year--the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring--coming this weekend. Corvette Racing has built a new, wider C6.R for the new year, and among those taking it on will be the BMW Team RLL BMW M3 GT.

As the 40th anniversary of BMW's M Division, the 2012 season has special meaning across all of BMW motorsports, with the ALMS series in particular important for its American arm. As last year's GT class winner at Sebring, the BMW Team RLL crew will be hungry for a follow-up.

Piloting the M3 GTs this year will be Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in the No. 56 car, with Jonathan Summerton joining as the third driver for Sebring. In the No. 55 car, Bill Auberlen and Joerg Mueller will team up with third driver Uwe Alzen.

Summerton and Alzen will also see track time with the RLL crew at other races later in the season.

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport director, is confident about the team's performance this weekend, and the season. "We will be the team to beat, but we are ready for that challenge. I am delighted that we will once again be represented by such an experienced and impressive team of drivers. Everything is in place for us to enjoy another strong year. Now we are all excited to see how the balance of power pans out in Sebring," said Marquardt.

Team principal and racing legend Bobby Rahal is confident, too, with a re-developed car ready for the new year. "Although not as outwardly obvious as in previous years, we have continued to develop the BMW M3 GT for this season. For 2012, most of the improvements are under the skin to take advantage of some of the new tyres that Dunlop has developed," said Rahal.

ALMS acing at Sebring kicks off this weekend at 10:30 a.m. EDT on March 17. ABC will televise the race on Sunday at noon.