GT – BMW Back On Top For First Time In 2010

August 22, 2010

GT – BMW Back On Top For First Time In 2010

August 22, 2010

The No. 90 Rahal Letterman BMW took its first win of 2010. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

Until Road America, the story of the season for Rahal Letterman BMW was “close, but no cigar.” Either the No. 90 or No. 92 BMW M3 had been on the podium in each of the six prior American Le Mans Series races this season, but neither car had yet reached the top step.

As it happened in 2009, BMW broke through for the first time at Road America. The team’s No. 90 car scored the GT class victory with drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, now the third car to win the ultra-competitive class. Hand won with Bill Auberlen at this race last year.

“We carry a lot of speed in the straights but it’s a lot about the corners and we have really good grip here,” Hand said. “The car also did great on the brakes, it made it really easy to pass people. I drove it like it was a go-kart. I could just drive it anyway I wanted. I couldn’t watch though, I’m not a good watcher.”

Although the BMW led most of the race, the entire class was fairly close – separated by only a little more than 30 seconds from first through 10th place. At a 4.048-mile track, that is a very close margin.

Jumping to a vital second place was the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. Despite running a mid-engine car that did not quite have the measure of the front-engine BMWs and Corvettes, Porsche fought through with an excellent run that netted them invaluable points in the drivers’ and teams’ championships.

After starting on the front row, the Corvettes finished third and fourth – the No. 4 ahead of the No. 3. Oliver Gavin and Oliver Beretta took their third podium finish of the season, just edging Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell in the sister No. 3 Corvette ZR1.

On the last lap, Guy Cosmo passed Gianmaria Bruni for fifth place in a battle of separate Ferrari F430 GTs. Cosmo secured the best finish for he and Ed Brown in the Patron-sponsored No. 02 Extreme Speed Ferrari this season, while Bruni and Jaime Melo garnered a sixth place finish in class after starting eighth.

In 10th place, Team Falken secured its first win in the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge for GT. The No. 17 Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers races with E10 fuel.

GTC class winners for the fourth time this season are the Black Swan Racing Porsche team of Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen.

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