Portland BMW Race Report

BMW Team PTG notes: race, Aug. 1, 1999 Rose City Grand Prix Portland, Portland International Raceway Race five, American Le Mans Series BMW Team PTG M3s took two podium positions for the second- consecutive American Le Mans Series race. ...

BMW Team PTG notes: race, Aug. 1, 1999 Rose City Grand Prix Portland, Portland International Raceway Race five, American Le Mans Series

BMW Team PTG M3s took two podium positions for the second- consecutive American Le Mans Series race. Brian Cunningham and Christian Menzel finished second in the GT class in the #7 BMW M3, followed closely by the #10 M3 driven by Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law. The #6 car, with Peter Cunningham and Mark Simo, was in third place until the final laps of the race, when it slowed with a broken differential, and finished sixth. The #9 M3 of Hans Stuck and Boris Said retired after just eight laps with a broken driveshaft.

Brian Cunningham, driver, #7 BMW M3

"The BMWs stayed together; the team put together a great car. Yokohama, in a difficult situation, put a set of tires together that really held up for us. Honestly, we finished first today because the 23 Porsche really wasn't in our class. It isn't built to our rules, so we're the first-place car as far as we're concerned."

Darren Law, driver, #10 BMW M3

"We knew coming in here it would be tough against the Porsche. This says a lot for the team two weeks in a row, two cars up on the podium. It says a lot for the program I joined. I've driven for the team three times and I've been on the podium every time! The team had the cars prepped nicely and we're happy to be up here. I look forward to Atlanta."

Johannes van Overbeek, driver, #10 BMW M3

"The Yokohama/Level One/Flextronics BMW was great! It was definitely noticeable once the sun came out. It was a race you couldn't slack off on, with a lot of traffic, a lot of debris on the track and off-line was incredibly slick. I'd like to thank [team owner] Tom Milner and [lead mechanic] Dave Gahagan and the guys for doing a great job."

Peter Cunningham, driver, #6 BMW M3

"It was a real shame. We got our #6 BMW M3 working really well and we were turning in very consistent times, faster even than our team-mates. But with about a half-hour to go, there was a differential problem that began to develop. We had to come to a pretty slow halt at the end, which cost us third place."

Hans Stuck, driver, #9 BMW M3

"We had a driveshaft broken. We have to analyze why this happened and look forward to the next race in Atlanta. It would be nice to finish the race, but that's motorsports. Sometimes bad luck, sometimes good luck. But our team spirit is perfect because we finished second and third. Maybe we didn't win, but we had a great team effort."

BMW V12 and M3 Earn Podium Finishes PORTLAND, Ore. (Aug. 1, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG M3s finished second and third in GT class in the Rose City Grand Prix Portland at the 1.944-mile Portland International Raceway on Sunday. The No. 42 BMW V12 LMR driven by JJ Lehto of Finland and Steve Soper of Great Britain finished second in the prototype class. The two-hour 45-minute race was the fifth of eight in the American Le Mans Series, sanctioned by Professional Sports Car Racing. Christian Menzel of Germany qualified second in the GT class in the No. 7 BMW M3, with a lap time of one minute 16.086 seconds at an average speed of 91.980 miles per hour. He dropped to third at the start of the race, but regained second place about 50 minutes into the race. Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., took the wheel at the one-hour mark, led for about 30 minutes and finished second behind the class polesitter Porsche 911 GT3. "The team put together a great car. Yokohama, in a difficult situation, put a set of tires together that really held up for us," Cunningham said. "Honestly, we finished first today because the Porsche really wasn't in our class. It isn't built to our rules, so we're the first-place car as far as we're concerned." The Porsche 911 GT3 is built to Automobile Club de l'Ouest specifications that govern the 24 Hours of Le Mans, rather than the Professional Sports Car Racing rules with which the BMW M3s comply. Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., and Darren Law of Phoenix started sixth in class and moved up to finish third in the No. 10 Yokohama/Level One/Flextronics M3. It was the pair's second-consecutive third-place finish. "We knew coming in here it would be tough against the Porsche. This says a lot for the team -- two weeks in a row, two cars up on the podium," Law said. "The team had the cars prepped nicely and we're happy to be up here. I look forward to Atlanta." "It was a race you couldn't slack off on, with a lot of traffic, a lot of debris on the track and off-line was incredibly slick. It was definitely noticeable once the sun came out," van Overbeek said. "I'd like to thank [team owner] Tom Milner and [lead mechanic] Dave Gahagan and the guys for doing a great job." Law and van Overbeek benefited from their team-mates' misfortune when the differential broke on the No. 6 car of Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., and Mark Simo of Carlsbad, Calif. After starting ninth and running third, the pair finished sixth. "It was a real shame. We got our number 6 BMW M3 working really well and we were turning in very consistent times, faster even than our team-mates," Cunningham said. "But with about a half-hour to go, there was a differential problem that began to develop. We had to come to a pretty slow halt at the end, which cost us third place." Austrian Hans Stuck and Boris Said of Carlsbad, who took the GT victory at Sears Point Raceway last week, had a disappointing weekend. Stuck qualified seventh in the No. 9 M3 and retired just 10 minutes into the race with a broken driveshaft. "We have to analyze why this happened and look forward to the next race in Atlanta," Stuck said. "It would be nice to finish the race, but that's motorsports. Sometimes bad luck, sometimes good luck. But our team spirit is perfect because we finished second and third. Maybe we didn't win, but we had a great team effort." The team's next race will be at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. on Sept. 18.

BMW V12 finish In addition to the No. 42 podium finish, the No. 43 BMW V12 of American Bill Auberlen and German Joachim Winkelhock finished fourth in the prototype class.

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Race Sunday Round 5, American Le Mans Series 1 August 1999, Portland International Raceway, Oregon (USA)

Second and fourth place for BMW V12 Le Mans Roadster in America

Munich/Portland. JJ Lehto (FIN) and Steve Soper (GB) achieved another podium finish with the BMW V12 LMR in the new American sports car series in which the cars from the famous 24-hour race of Le Mans compete. Lehto/Soper came second in the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series held in Portland.

Lehto took the flag after 2 hours and 45 minutes, having completed 137 laps on the 3.128-kilometre Portland International Raceway in Oregon, 29 seconds behind the winning Panoz of David Brabham and Eric Bernard. The second open-top BMW sports car, shared by Bill Auberlen (USA) and Joachim Winkelhock (D), finished fourth.

Lehto and Auberlen were the start drivers. After 44 laps Lehto was still in the lead and handed over to Soper, then retook the wheel in first position after 93 laps. Auberlen refueled after 43 laps, being in the lead at this time, and stayed in the car for a total of 97 laps before Winkelhock took over for the rest of the race.

The updated 1998 BMW V12 Le Mans with Pedro Lamy (P) and Thomas Bscher (D) at the wheel finished in a very good fifth. Meanwhile, Hans-Joachim Stuck and his partner Boris Said (USA) retired from the GT class after only eight laps due to a broken driveshaft on their BMW M3 coupe (BMW Team PTG).

BMW Team Manager Charly Lamm: "We had a bit of bad luck with the timing of both safety car phases and our pit stops. We did not change tires early to maintain track position, but this did not pay off with the second full course yellow. Panoz is always a tough competitor and this time they were better in strategy and deserved to win. After winning in Le Mans, Sebring and Sears Point, we are may be a bit too much used to success: we should not forget that a second and a fourth place are reasonable good results."

JJ Lehto #42: "The traffic was tremendous, in some laps I lost more than five seconds because I just couldn't pass. But the car and the tires worked very well, although the temperature on race day was lower than expected."

Steve Soper #42: "I drove the middle stint and stayed on the tires JJ had used already. My task was to maintain the leading gap we had, which I unfortunately lost with the second yellows. We had, however, a winning package but didn't make it this time."

Bill Auberlen #43: "The Michelin tires were fantastic, my fastest laps came right at the end of my stint. I had a great car and I needed it to move up from last position after I went off in the chicane on the first lap."

Joachim Winkelhock #43: "I am happy with my performance. A few laps before the end of the race I got hit by a Porsche but fortunately was able to finish."

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Hans-Joachim Stuck , Boris Said , Pedro Lamy , Bill Auberlen , Joachim Winkelhock , Darren Law , Peter Cunningham , Johannes van Overbeek , Brian Cunningham , Thomas Bscher , Steve Soper , Christian Menzel , Charly Lamm , JJ Lehto