Road America BMW Team PTG M3, V12LMR Podium Report

BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 19, 1999) -- BMW posted podium finishes in both the GT and prototype classes in the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans endurance race on the 2.56-mile Road Atlanta road course on Sept. 18. BMW Team PTG collected a...

BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 19, 1999) -- BMW posted podium finishes in both the GT and prototype classes in the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans endurance race on the 2.56-mile Road Atlanta road course on Sept. 18. BMW Team PTG collected a hard-fought two-three-four finish in the GT class and the BMW V12 LMR cars finished second and third in the prototype class. The race was the sixth of eight American Le Mans Series races this season. The BMW Team PTG cars started fourth, fifth and sixth in GT behind the Manthey Racing, RWS Motorsport and Alex Job Porsches. Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., driving with Hans Stuck of Austria, qualified the No. 6 BMW M3 fourth in a time of one minute 25.347 seconds at an average speed of 107.13 miles per hour. Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., qualified the No. 7 M3 fifth in class and Darren Law of Phoenix was sixth-fastest in the No. 10 M3. Two of the Porsches encountered mechanical difficulties early in the race, leaving only the race-winning No. 23 Porsche GT3R of Manthey Racing in contention. Said drove the No. 10 M3 into second place just past the two-hour mark of the eight-hour 56-minute race. Other than a pitstop to change drivers, Said and Stuck held second place to the checkered flag. "The BMW M3 is still the ultimate driving machine. We have the Porsches on handling and braking, but at Road Atlanta you have to get down the straightaway," Said noted. "It's good to get out of here with second place because the Porsches were so much faster than us in practice and qualifying. But we ran a great race, we got all three cars to the finish line, the team did a great job and we didn't make any mistakes." "I'm sorry I couldn't make my 'brother' a birthday present by giving him a win, but second place is better than third," Stuck said, referring to Said's 37th birthday on race day. "We fought very hard today and we took the maximum out of the car. We drove everything out of it." Peter Cunningham drove three stints in the No. 7 car to take the final GT podium position. His co-drivers Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Brian Simo of Carlsbad held third place until Brian Cunningham was forced to return to pit lane for two unplanned pitstops for overheating and a broken hood latch after seven hours. Peter Cunningham took the final drive and edged past the No. 10 BMW M3 with an hour to go in the race. He explained that the team managed a strong podium finish despite several glitches. "We didn't have much left of a front splitter, the power steering was going on and off and then our radio wasn't working. Other than that, we were just flying," he said. "It's only third place, but it's been a tough year and it was a fun third place, so we'll take it." The No.10 M3, with Law, Mark Simo of Carlsbad and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., finished fourth, despite losing the car's anti-lock brakes early in the race. "It's too bad P.D. [Peter Cunningham] snuck by us at the end, but there's not much you can do without being able to push it in the corners. But it's a good result. We finished. A lot of people didn't," van Overbeek said. BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner agreed. "I'm happy with the result. I think it shows the team can do the job. It's a monumental task to take three cars and make them equally fast and bring them all to the end. Second place sometimes can be a win, too." The next race for the BMW Team PTG cars, with sponsorship from Yokohama, Level One and Flextronics, will be the VISA Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. on Oct. 10.

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