WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. (Dec. 22,1999) -- The BMW M3 completed its fifth successful season of sports-car racing in North America, despite the challenges presented by a new series and transitions in car specifications. Since its introduction in 1995, the BMW M3 has consistently topped the field in GT and GTS sports-car racing. It has amassed 33 pole positions, 32 victories, six podium sweeps, 82 podium finishes and 130 top-10 finishes in 52 races. BMW M3s have set 28 track records and 19 fast race laps. BMW has scored 11 sports-car GT championships with the M3 in five years, including four manufacturer championships (1996, 1997 and two in 1998) and three driver titles (1997 Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and 1998 Mark Simo of Carlsbad, Calif., and Ross Bentley of Vancouver, B.C.). Tom Milner's Winchester, Va.-based Prototype Technology Group, which runs BMW Team PTG, has topped the team ranks four times (1997, twice in 1998 and 1999). This year, BMW competed in the new American Le Mans Series and in the United States Road Racing Championship. Although the BMW M3 was chasing a Porsche built to year-2000 specifications, and was constrained by 17 rule changes, it still garnered two pole positions, four victories, a podium sweep, 16 podium finishes and 29 top-10 finishes. BMW Team PTG won its fourth team title, set a qualifying record and recorded two fastest race laps. "We have enjoyed quite a bit of success over the past five years, and look forward to pushing the competition hard in the coming season," said Richard Brekus, manager, product planning and strategy for BMW of North America, Inc. Tom Milner, team owner of BMW Team PTG, agreed. "You can't judge a team by the short-term. You have to judge it by the long term. I think our long-term record going back to 1995 is not bad," he said. "1999 was probably our most difficult season since we first started running these cars in 1995. 1999 is the kind of year that you think back on and now can't wait for the new season to start."
BMW M3 FIVE-YEAR SUMMARY
year races poles wins 1-2-3 top-3 top-10 fast laps records
1995 7 1 0 0 3 7 0 1 qual 1996 10 7 4 1 14 25 4 7 qual, 3 race 1997 11 7 9 4 22 37 3 5 qual, 3 race 1998 13 16 15 0 27 32 10 5 qual, 3 race 1999 11 2 4 1 16 29 2 1 qual
total 52 33 32 6 82 130 19 28
1996 IMSA GTS-2 manufacturer 1997 SportsCar GTS-3 manufacturer, team and driver (Bill Auberlen) 1998 SPORTS CAR GT3 manufacturer, team and driver (Mark Simo) USRRC GT3 manufacturer, team and driver (Ross Bentley) 1999 American Le Mans Series GT team