BMW Team PTG update 2001-04-18

Four weeks after a strong fourth-place GT class finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring, BMW Team PTG and BMW of North America continue the countdown to the next American Le Mans Series race on July 22 at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and the...

Four weeks after a strong fourth-place GT class finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring, BMW Team PTG and BMW of North America continue the countdown to the next American Le Mans Series race on July 22 at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and the debut of the V8-powered Team PTG BMW M3 GTR. So, are the PTG team members catching up on their vacation time? No way.

M3 GTR
This week Prototype Technology Group crew members Brian Krem, Larry Hahn and Greg Forde traveled to Munich, Germany, to spend three days at BMW Motorsport getting familiar with PTG's two new M3 GTRs in anticipation of the first car's arrival at the team's shop in Winchester, Va., in the first week of May. The second car will arrive


"More Power" wallat New York Auto Show. Photo: BMW

two weeks later and the rest of the month will be dedicated to building both cars. "Obviously PTG has a wealth of M3 experience," explains team owner Tom Milner. "Specifically, we are making the trip because we want to be completely up to date with the engine management and data acquisition systems. Sears Point is the site of our first M3 victory in 1996 and has always been a special place for PTG. We intend to be ready."

Testing Both the No. 6 and 10 M3 CSLs (six-cylinder) have been completely rebuilt and are ready for test drivers Bill Auberlen and Niclas Jonsson to return to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on April 24 for a Yokohama tire test. Returning to the site of February's ALMS Spring Training will provide a direct comparison to information collected that weekend and further data gathered at the Texas and Sebring races.

After the assembly of the M3 GTRs is completed, at least six days of testing are scheduled in June. A shakedown is planned at Summit Point Raceway in Virginia, followed by three days at Sebring and a return to Summit Point. A final test is planned at Road Atlanta at the end of the month.


Tom Milner addresses the BMW car club. Photo: BMW

Auberlen and Jonsson Co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Niclas Jonsson have used their time off to add a new sport to their training regimens -- golf. Living only 25 minutes apart in Southern California the duo have taken to the links and find the game to their liking. "We are evenly matched," says a diplomatic Jonsson. When asked who gets to drive the cart, an equally diplomatic Auberlen points out: "We are teammates -- it has to be fair. We have decided to walk."

After returning from Road Atlanta testing, the pair will team up at Laguna Seca Raceway on May 1 in an M3, but not a PTG M3. Bill and Niclas will be attending a media day for the Western Automotive Journalists and will be "chauffeuring" group members around the 2.24-mile Monterey, Calif., circuit in a 2001 production BMW M3 and M5.

Said and Stuck
Boris Said is at the beginning of a driver's dream season as, in addition to his seat in the Team PTG BMW M3, he currently stands sixth in the Trans-Am driver's championship, may soon be looking out the windshield of a Winston Cup car and there is a distinct possibility that he will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France this June for the first time since 1994! "I'm always looking for a new car with more horsepower and that is exactly what PTG will have at Sears Point," says Said.

Hans Stuck has been busy traveling to Brazil and San Marino in his role as a Formula One commentator for German television where, at Imola (San Marino), he was witness to BMW's first Grand Prix victory since 1986.

BMW wins in F1
Ralf Schumacher's victory at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola on April 15 was the first for BMW since Gerhard Berger drove a Benetton BMW to a win in Mexico in October of 1986. Now a BMW Motorsport director, Berger has overseen BMW's return to the ultimate motorsports forum and its first victory only 399 days into its comeback.

New York Auto Show
The New York Auto Show opened at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on April 13 with BMW displaying a strong motorsports theme on its stand and in many other locations in the hall. Anchoring the northwest corner of the main show floor, the BMW stand is impossible to miss with larger-than-life-sized images of the V12 LMR and PTG M3 streaking across the booth's 20-foot high walls underneath the words, "MORE POWER." On the stand itself is the 1999 Sebring-winning V12 LMR. Downstairs in the Victory Lap display sits a 1999 PTG M3 and a 1996 McLaren GTR F1. The 1975 Sebring-winning 3.0 CSL resides in the North Pavilion in the booth of the Concours d'Elegance of the Northeast United States to announce that BMW will be the featured marque at this year's June 16 event at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

"This show is fantastic," says Tom Salkowsky, M Brand manager of BMW of North America. "It is very evident that many within BMW N.A. have a passion for motorsports and the show is a reflection of that."

Saturday morning over 200 members of local BMW car clubs were invited to the BMW stand for a special breakfast. Not only were key members of the BMW of North America team present, Tom Milner, owner of Team PTG, addressed the crowd. Summing up the introduction of the new GTR he pointed to the wall and said, "The M3 GTR has exactly what we need. Just like it says on the wall. More power."

"Ambush" A very special sneak preview ended Saturday morning's car club meeting at the New York Auto Show as guests were treated to the second-ever showing of bmwfilms.com's "Ambush," directed by John Frankenheimer ("Grand Prix," "Ronin"). Previously only shown inside BMW of North America, the short film wowed the group, but the rest of the world will have to wait until the April 26 release at bmwfilm.com. Buckle up!

ALMS Standings Team PTG and BMW currently stand second in GT team and manufacturer's point standings behind Alex Job Racing and Porsche. Hans and Boris are tied for fifth in the driver's championship after third- and fourth-place finishes, while Bill and Niclas are further back in 33rd position.

Photo Attachments New York Auto Show:  "More Power" wall.  New York Auto
Show:  Tom Milner addresses the BMW car club.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Boris Said , Gerhard Berger , Bill Auberlen , Greg Ford , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing