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Team RLL to Continue with BMW in 2015 with Revised Lineup

Team RLL to continue operating factory BMW program…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Rahal Letterman Lanigan (Team RLL) will continue operating BMW’s factory TUDOR United SportsCar Championship program in 2015.

The German manufacturer confirmed its 2015 TUDOR Championship effort Friday evening during its annual Sports Trophy awards dinner in Munich.

Despite BMW having received bids from no fewer than three other high-profile motorsports operations, Team RLL will return for a seventh consecutive season, which brand-new BMW Z4 GTE cars, although with a revised driver lineup.

With Andy Priaulx returning to Europe to lead Marc VDS Racing’s attack in the European Le Mans Series, Dirk Werner rejoins Team RLL for a full-season program alongside Bill Auberlen, John Edwards and newcomer to the team, Lucas Luhr.

Luhr, a six-time ALMS champion, replaces fellow German Dirk Mueller as a full-time driver within the squad. Mueller will remain with BMW but in a reduced capacity with its European endurance GT racing program instead.

The cars will be numbered Nos. 24 and 25, in honor of the the legendary 3.0 CSL’s, as BMW North America celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Bruno Spengler, Augusto Farfus, Jens Klingmann and Graham Rahal join the team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Specific lineups for the No. 24 and 25 cars for the full-season and the remaining Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup rounds will be revealed at a later date.

Meanwhile Joey Hand, who had driven in DTM for BMW the last two seasons and with BMW Team RLL in the U.S. for several years before that, will have to seek other opportunities into 2015.

“Seven of our eight DTM drivers from last season will also be on track in the BMW M4 DTM in 2015,” said Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director. “Joey Hand will go in search of new challenges in 2015. We would like to thank him for the great commitment he has shown to BMW in recent years, and wish him all the best for the future.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Brent

    December 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Awesome to see Luhr back racing in the US

  2. JRB

    December 5, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Wonder if BMW still retained Dirk Mueller, sound like Joey has been let go, a bit surprised by the move (unless Joey wanted to do something else) would have made sense to give him the same opportunity that Priaulx was given when he proved to not be very competitive in DTM.

    • John Dagys

      December 5, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Dirk Mueller has been retained for BMW’s European GT program (Nurburgring 24, Spa 24, etc)

      • JRB

        December 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm

        John, thanks for the info, any hints on where Joey might be headed?

        • Gabriel

          December 6, 2014 at 5:34 am

          Joey said on Twitter:
          “Thx for concerns, tough decision to leave BMW, been a great run with awesome teams but really excited about my new program and the future!”

          and BMWUSARacing wrotes:
          “All the best to our great friend @JoeyHandRacing who has decided to race outside the BMW Family next season. We’ll miss you! @RLLracing”

      • Bob

        December 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm

        What exactly did Dirk do at RLL to get black marked? I remember Dirk making comments in a pit report during a race to the effect that he knew he wasn’t liked or high regarded at RLL – something to that effect. So is it a personality conflict with Mr. Rahal? Or did Dirk do something(s) on the track that Mr. Rahal didn’t like?

  3. Willy

    December 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Good to see Luhr with a top flight ride but disappointed it will be without Klaus Graf. Any word on Graf with a possible ride for 2015?

    • susafan

      December 6, 2014 at 6:47 am

      Graf said to racer.com he could bring some Money in for the NAEC rounds.

      So Mr. Shank, if you are reading this, please bring Graf and Wilson in for Sebring and Daytona. Those two guys will win you the world famous 12 hours of Sebring.

      • Kyle

        December 6, 2014 at 7:45 am

        I wonder if Joey is going to ganassi. He has driven with them in the past. Maybe they let memo go and got Joey.

        • Me

          December 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm

          If they let Memo go, they don’t have a sponsor. I think that’s why there has been a Mexican driver at Ganassi for so long.

          • Bob

            December 8, 2014 at 12:49 pm

            Correct. No Mexican driver, no Telmex sponsor.

  4. BMW Service

    February 27, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Oh no, no Telmex sponsor

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