BMW Team PTG Ready for Georgia Victory

BRASELTON, Ga. (April 8, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG has a score to settle. The team returns to the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Complex looking for GT-class honors in the April 18 Grand Prix at Road Atlanta presented by Lease Plan. The race is...

BRASELTON, Ga. (April 8, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG has a score to settle. The team returns to the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Complex looking for GT-class honors in the April 18 Grand Prix at Road Atlanta presented by Lease Plan. The race is the second of eight in the new American Le Mans Series. The team's three BMW M3s qualified and finished first and second in GT3 (now GT) and won the GT2 (now GTS) class at the Sports Car Grand Prix last June. And all three cars led the GT3 class during the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans at the track in October, but mechanical problems and a crash dropped them to second, third and fourth finishing positions. Prototype Technology Group (PTG) team owner Tom Milner says it's time to win again. "We have tested twice in Atlanta, in December and February, and both tests were extremely successful. We have made some improvements and changes to the cars, which seem to have given us the results that we were looking for. Porsche better beware! We've been nice guys for too long," he said. "We were clearly dominant at the Atlanta event in October. Unfortunately, we encountered some problems at Daytona and Sebring [this year], but we have overcome them. Regardless of the problems we had, nothing has changed with the handling of the cars. The M3s are very fast and, combined with the new Yokohama tires we have for Atlanta, we should be well under the track record, providing nothing has changed on the race track." Scott Doniger, motorsports manager for BMW of North America, Inc., agrees. "BMW Team PTG is more determined than ever to turn things around in '99," he said. "We've worked on the setup at Atlanta before. It has worked well in the past, we know exactly what we're dealing with and we're confident we have the right formula." That formula took BMW Team PTG to GT3 driver, manufacturer and team championships in Professional Sports Car Racing in 1997 and 1998 and in the United States Road Racingb Championship (USRRC) last year. Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., who was on the winning GT2 team last June, will share driving honors in the #10 BMW M3 four- door with Hans Stuck of Austria. Said believes the 2.54-mile road course compares favorably to European tracks. "Road Atlanta is one of my favorite places to go. I've won there a lot, and I'm definitely ready to win again after two races with bad luck," he said. "Road Atlanta is probably one of the best road-racing facilities in the country because of the improvements [track owner] Don Panoz has put in. It's similar to a European track with all the elevation changes -- you don't usually find that in America." Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., will co-drive the #6 BMW M3 coupe with 1998 Sports Car GT3 champion Mark Simo of Carlsbad, Calif. Cunningham has raced at Road Atlanta "a couple of times each year" since 1984 and won many times. "We should do really well there," he predicted. "Last year, we were doing well for awhile but ran into problems. This year, we would hope to perform as well as we did last year, if not just a little bit better, and hope to get a little bit of luck, too." Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., will drive the #7 BMW M3 four-door. All three cars will carry the colors of team sponsors Yokohama, Flextronics International and Level One. The Grand Prix will be van Overbeek's first race at Road Atlanta, but he doesn't anticipate any problems. "The important thing is that I've been on the track and I've driven it at speed. I'm comfortable I won't need any extra time to get up to speed," he said. "I'm looking forward to being part of putting BMW back on the podium."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Boris Said , Peter Cunningham , Johannes van Overbeek , Brian Cunningham , Don Panoz