Road America: BMW Team PTG race report

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 2nd and 6th in Generac 500 at Road America Elkhart Lake, Wis. - August 20, 2006-- Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand co-drove the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 to a season's best second place in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans ...

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 2nd and 6th in Generac 500 at Road America

Elkhart Lake, Wis. - August 20, 2006-- Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand co-drove the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 to a season's best second place in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series' Generac 500 today at Road America. The duo completed 71 laps of the venerable 4.048-mile Road America circuit, finishing only 4.237 seconds behind the class-winning Porsche. Auberlen and Hand both led during the two-hour-and-forty-five minute contest - Hand relinquishing the lead only three laps from the end after a fierce battle with winner Jorg Bergmeister.

Justin Marks and Bryan Sellers, driving the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3, finished sixth, three laps behind their teammates.

Both BMW Team PTG M3s got good starts as the green flag waved for the start of the Generac 500. Auberlen, starting from the sixth starting position in the No. 21 BMW M3, jumped into third on the opening lap of the race. Marks, in the No. 22 M3, moved up to sixth after starting from the rear of the grid following a post-qualifying tire change. The first caution period of the race came on lap 13 and both M3s took advantage of the slowed pace to pit for fuel and new Yokohama tires. When the race restarted on lap 18 Auberlen and Marks held the fourth and sixth places respectively. On lap 28 Marks spun and found the gravel in Canada Corner bringing out the second caution of the race. Bad luck for Marks created good fortune for Auberlen as resulting pit stops by competitors gave him the lead as the race went green on lap 33. Just before the two-hour mark, on lap 46, both M3s pitted with Hand taking over the No. 21 and Sellers taking the wheel of the No. 22. Hand battled in and out of the lead for the final 25 laps of the race, ultimately finishing second. Sellers drove a solid final 55 minutes to finish sixth.

Round 8 of the American Le Mans Series will be held on September 3 at RMosport International aceway, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The race Rwill be televised on Speed Channel.

BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (2nd): "PTG could not have had a better strategy today or made better pit stops. PTG is in every race to win and we showed it today."

JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (2nd): "I did not have the pace that Bill had today and just tried to drive to my plan. The Peterson car went off track close to the end so I got the lead, but that car was much faster on the straights than us and re-passed me. I tried to get him back in turn five when the P1 cars passed us, but it was not enough. I did not want to take a chance on throwing away our best finish of the year."

JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (6th): "I made some mistakes today that caused me to go off a few times and spin in Canada Corner. We did learn some things today that will make us faster in future races, especially when the track temperature is higher than expected like it was today."

BRYAN SELLERS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (6th): "This was our best result since our fourth place finish at Lime Rock three races ago. I think what the No. 21 M3 has over us is the years they have spent together. They just communicate faster. Justin and I are just beginning to develop the right language with James and the No. 22 crew and we just need the time to develop it. I think we made big strides this weekend both on and off the track."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "While luck is always involved of course, I think our pit strategy was very good today. We have been making these M3s better and better each race and today, at a track that should have been difficult for us because of the very long straights, we were leading with a few laps to go. In the next races we will try to look even better."

-credit: bmw team ptg

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Series ALMS
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Jörg Bergmeister , Justin Marks , Bryan Sellers