BMW Team PTG Chasing California Points and Championships
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 29, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG is looking for another strong California finish in the VISA Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca Raceway on Oct. 10. The two- hour 45-minute race on the 2.238-mile Monterey road course is the penultimate event in the eight-race American Le Mans Series, sanctioned by Professional Sports Car Racing. BMW hopes to win its fourth-consecutive GT manufacturer championship. A California victory could vault BMW into the lead in the manufacturer standings and strengthen BMW Team PTG's lead in team points. BMW trails Porsche by just five points in the manufacturer chase, and BMW Team PTG has a 14-point lead in team rankings over Alex Job Racing. "We look to Laguna Seca with great confidence. The championship is still within reach but we have our work cut out for us with the new ACO Porsche being so fast right out of the box," said Scott Doniger, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "We showed some real determination in Atlanta, though, so no one should count us out. BMW Team PTG is determined to do everything possible to pull out a win at Laguna." Local driver Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., and his team-mate Brian Cunnigham of Danville, Ky., are also on a championship quest. They are second and third, respectively, in GT driver points behind Porsche driver Cort Wagner. Mark Simo of Carlsbad and van Overbeek will drive the No. 10 BMW M3. Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., will co-drive the No. 7 M3 with Brian Cunningham. "I'm anxious to have a good result at Laguna Seca because there will be both friends and guests from Level One and Flextronics in attendance. It's important to get a good result for those people and to finish ahead of Cort for the championship. I'm hopeful that Mark and I will be able to pull that off," van Overbeek said. BMW Team PTG driver Hans Stuck of Austria made a last- lap pass to win the GT class in the last series race in California -- the Sonoma Grand Prix at Sears Point Raceway in July. Stuck and No. 6 BMW M3 co-driver Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., also finished second in the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Sept. 18. "After Atlanta, I feel pretty confident. We ran nine hours, the car ran flawless and our pitstops were perfect. We ran pretty hard for nine hours, so for two hours and 45 minutes, we'll drive it like we're qualifying. We shouldn't have any problem making it," Said noted. "Laguna Seca is an exciting track. There's a lot of elevation change so it's like Sears Point: It's probably one of the tracks that's closest to a European track. That's good for Hans and it's good for me because I like that kind of challenge." The three BMW Team PTG M3s will carry the colors of Yokohama, Level One and Flextronics International. The VISA Sports Car Championships race is scheduled to start at noon PT (3 p.m. ET) on Sunday, Oct. 10. The race will be telecast live on CNBC from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. The live Radio Le Mans Web broadcast, video highlights, news and updates will be available through the American Le Mans Series website (www.americanlemans.com).