LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 20, 2001) - With only three days to prepare before practice begins for next Saturday's ALMS Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio -- the sixth round of the 2001 American Le Mans Series -- BMW Team PTG and BMW Motorsport have...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 20, 2001) - With only three days to prepare before practice begins for next Saturday's ALMS Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio -- the sixth round of the 2001 American Le Mans Series -- BMW Team PTG and BMW Motorsport have little time to celebrate their second GT-class sweep of the season yesterday.
BMW's victory and class sweep at the GT3 Grand Prix of Mosport -- the third ALMS victory in a row for the new BMW M3 GTR -- increased its lead in the manufacturer's championship standings over Porsche to 10 points and moved BMW Motorsport driver Jorg Müller into a tie for the lead in driver's points.
Team PTG driver Boris Said and BMW Motorsport driver JJ Lehto move into a three-way tie for second and Said's Team PTG co-driver Hans Stuck moves into third. The top three positions contain six drivers and are separated by only three points.
BMW is seeking its fifth GT manufacturer's title since it entered GT competition in 1995, and its fourth driver's crown.
The 2-hour, 45-minute contest on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course outside of Lexington, Ohio, will be the first visit for the series to this circuit.
"Mid-Ohio is a track that requires technical skills," said Stuck. "Not only from the driver, but the car as well. The circuit suits the M3 GTR and I look forward to the race. I won there in 1989 in IMSA GTO and Boris and I plan on another good finish."
"I have raced at Mid-Ohio many times," said Said. "I got my first professional win there in the Corvette Challenge."
Bill Auberlen's status to drive at Mid-Ohio is in doubt, as he was injured in a practice crash and did not compete at Mosport. However, he is eager to get back behind the wheel of the No. 10 M3 GTR. If required, a substitute will be named pending a decision of his doctors.
"I will be back as soon as I can," said Auberlen. "I feel like I could have raced yesterday, but that decision is up to my doctors. It is so unfortunate that Team PTG has put so much effort into our No. 10 M3 GTR, but we have been unable to get that first win. That is something I plan to change in my next race."
"With only six days to the next race Team PTG has a lot of work to do to prepare the No. 10 car after yesterday's accident," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, LLC. "It is the first time that the ALMS will visit Mid-Ohio, but it appears to be a circuit that will play to the strengths of the M3 GTR."
The M3 GTR is the foundation of a renewed M3 racing effort for BMW as both BMW Team PTG and BMW Motorsport vie for the American Le Mans Series GT class championship in 2001.
The ALMS Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on NBC beginning at 2 p.m. EDT. The race can be heard online through the American Le Mans Radio Web at www.americanlemans.com.
-BMW of NA-