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      01-22-2013, 12:45 PM   #1
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Lightbulb BMW Teams Ready for 51st Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona Weekend

BMW Teams Ready for 51st Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona Weekend
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AC/DC Front Man Brian Johnson to Rock BMW Performance 200 as Grand Marshal.

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – January 22, 2013
... The 2013 GRAND-AM Road Racing season will begin with the 51st annual Rolex 24 at Daytona on Saturday, January 26th, and will be preceded by the second-annual BMW Performance 200 on Friday, January 25th as the sports car racing world once again descends on Daytona International Speedway.

With more than 67 cars expected to take the green flag, the BMW Performance 200 officially starts the year’s professional sports car racing and serves as the opening act of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series and the 51st Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend.

This year’s BMW Performance 200 will be even more exciting, as AC/DC front man Brian Johnson will serve as Grand Marshal and give the command to start engines. Johnson will be on hand for the entire weekend supporting the Alzheimer’s Association with the “Highway to Help” campaign.

“BMW of North America, LLC is proud to give the North American road racing season an excellent start with the BMW Performance 200,” said Gordon McDonnell, BMWNA Motorsport Manager. “We are delighted to see Brian Johnson serving as Grand Marshal to increase awareness of the Highway To Help campaign. We look forward to another great year of GRAND-AM competition.”

Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
This year eight teams will field thirteen BMWs in the BMW Performance 200. In 2012 BMW made more CTSCC starts than any other manufacturer and BMW drivers have always raced to success in the series that offers two classes of street-stock racing. The Grand Sport (GS) class includes the BMW M3 and the Street Tuner (ST) category includes the BMW 328i and BMW 135i Coupe. For four generations, the BMW M3 has demonstrated its inherent race-bred ability, and swept the GS class title in both 2011 and 2010. Turner Motorsport M3 racer Paul Dalla Lana, the 2011 GS Driver’s Champion, also won the BMW Sports Trophy that year as the most successful privateer BMW driver in the world.

In ST class competition, BMW cars have been consistent podium contenders and race winners. Last season, BMW won the ST manufacturer championship thanks to the efforts of BimmerWorld Racing, RACE EPIC/Murillo Racing and Burton Racing.

Rolex Sports Car Series.
This year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona will see five BMW Powered Daytona Prototypes and two BMW Powered BMW M3s take the green flag for the twice-around-the –clock endurance classic. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will field two BMW powered Rileys in the top class for the 24 At Daytona with the No. 01 car returning for the entire 2013 season. The team gave BMW their second overall win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2011 and last year season-long drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won a third consecutive DP driver’s title and team title in the No. 01 machine. BMW Motorsport driver Joey Hand will co-drive with the team for a third consecutive year. He will be joined by an all-star line up of Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Charlie Kimball, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. Team Sahlen will make their DP class debut at the Rolex 24 at Datyona with two BMW Rileys and a fifth BMW Riley will be campaigned by Fifty Plus Racing. For a fourth consecutive season, Dinan Engineering will serve as BMWNA’s engine partner serving all BMW teams with on and off-track engine support.

Turner Motorsport will seek GT class honors for BMW with two BMW M3s. BMW Team RLL driver Bill Auberlen will anchor the effort and be joined by BMW Motorsport drivers Maxime Martin and Andy Priaulx. Paul Dalla Lana, Billy Johnson, Michael Marsal, Boris Said and Gunther Schaldach will also drive the two fan favorite Turner machines.

The BMW Performance 200 will take the green flag at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, January 25th and be televised on SPEED television from 4-6 p.m. on February 2. The Rolex 24 at Daytona will start at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, January, 26th. The race will be televised live on SPEED from green flag to 11 p.m and again from 9 a.m. to the checkered flag.