New BMW Z4 GTE ALMS Debut [Photo Gallery]
The RLL Team had two Z4s in this first race. The 6 BMW drivers raced in cars numbers 55 and 56, finishing in 4th and 7th place after a troublesome race. The no. 55 Z4 GTE was driven by Bill Auberlen, Maxime Martin and Jörg Müller and the beginning of the race showed the Z4 fighting for the first place.
However, an issue with the power steering caused a lot of problems and the trio lost time and positions towards the end of the race. After 330 laps Jörg Müller crossed the finish line in fourth place.
The other Z4 GTE, wearing number 56 was driven by Dirk Müller, Joey Hand and John Edwards and had the same great start, even leading the race for some time. Unfortunately, towards the end of the race, when there were only 3 and a half hours to go, the front left strut showed some problems and had to be replaced. After the work was done, Dirk Müller tried to regain the lost positions but it was too late and he finished 7th.
Despite what looks like an disappointing result, this was the Z4 GTE's maiden race and the team has every reason to be satisfied. After all the car finished and in the top 10, the drivers did really well (given the conditions) and the technical malfunctions showed where the car needs improvement.
The RLL and BMW Motorsport teams are now preparing for the next event which will take place at Long Beach on April 20.
“Sebring usually puts the biggest demands on the cars, and that’s what we also saw today. This race was a true test for our new car. Obviously there are still some issues that we need to sort out. But when the car was out on the track, it ran competitively. So that gives us a lot of optimism for the future. We were in a good position to do well in this race, but a better result just couldn’t be. We will be ready for the next race,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal BMW Team RLL.
❐ Check out the BMW Z4 GTE ALMS Debut photo gallery