With second- and fourth-place GT class finishes in Sunday's Utah Grand Prix, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team has raced BMW to the top of the GT Manufacturer point standings after four rounds of competition in the American Le Mans Series.
Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner, co-driving the No. 92 M3 GT, finished 14 seconds behind winners Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni (Risi Ferrari) in the 2h45m contest at Miller Motorsports Park, continuing this season's BMW- RLR podium streak. Joey Hand and Dirk Muller finished fourth in the No. 90 M3 GT, losing a third-place finish in the closing minutes of the race as a damaged exhaust reduced the BMW's power.
The third podium finish of the year for Auberlen and Milner leapfrogs them ahead of teammates Hand and Muller to third in GT driver points. Hand and Müller stand fourth.
The race was slowed by two caution periods within the first 15 minutes of competition and the team chose to split strategies for a second consecutive race. While pitting Hand in the No. 90 M3 GT from fifth for fuel during the second yellow, the team elected to keep Milner and the No. 92 M3 GT on track. As the balance of the GT field pitted, the Virginian inherited the lead and held it until he handed off to Auberlen just before the one hour mark in the race's third caution period.
Hand drove the No. 90 M3 GT to fourth place before handing off to Muller on his 46th lap. Auberlen continued in second after losing the lead just after the restart. With 45 minutes remaining, Auberlen held on to second – with the third-place competitor glued to his rear bumper. Muller, approximately one minute behind Auberlen, maintained fifth position until a competitor's flat tire helped him move up briefly to third spot. He was unable to hold the final podium spot as his engine continued to lose power due to a damaged exhaust pipe.
Next up for the ALMS is BMW's home track, Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn., for the Northeast Grand Prix on July 24. The race will be televised live on SPEED.