Road Atlanta: BMW Team PTG preview

BMW Team PTG faces challenges at Road Atlanta WINCHESTER, Va. (June 23, 2003) - BMW Team PTG is standing tall as it heads to the 2.5-mile Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Ga., for the fifth round of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT ...

BMW Team PTG faces challenges at Road Atlanta

WINCHESTER, Va. (June 23, 2003) - BMW Team PTG is standing tall as it heads to the 2.5-mile Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Ga., for the fifth round of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship on June 28. After four tough races in the team's first foray into this series this season, BMW Team PTG drivers Bill Auberlen, Hans Stuck, Justin Marks and Boris Said are second, fourth, eighth and ninth, respectively, in the driver's point standings.

And, based on strong, consistent results by BMW Team PTG in these first four events, BMW leads the Speed GT manufacturer's championship over Chevrolet and Audi.

It's still no walk in the park for the four-car BMW Team PTG, led by team owner Tom Milner. The team, which took its first wins in the third and fourth rounds at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., will face the challenges of Road Atlanta's long straights and sweeping high-speed turns which favor the BMW M3's competitors' larger engines. The M3's 3.2-liter 6-cylinder engine is the smallest in the GT class, and the race follows a single, same-day qualifying session by only six hours.

"BMW has the lead in the manufacturer's championship going into Road Atlanta and that is where we want to be at the end of Saturday's race," says Milner. "Every finishing position for Team PTG is critical, not only to keep BMW in the lead, but, as only the top six spots pay points, we need four of those positions to be held by BMW M3s."

The 27-lap, 50-minute race will be the first Speed GT event in which the BMW Team PTG M3s will compete at Road Atlanta, but the circuit, just an hour's drive from the city of Atlanta, is well known to the team and drivers. The track is the site of Team PTG's last endurance racing win in a BMW M3, the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans in 2001, part of the American Le Mans Series, with Bill Auberlen, Hans Stuck and Boris Said co-driving.

"It gets serious now," says No. 7 M3 driver Bill Auberlen, who finished a strong fourth and posted the fastest lap in Round 2 at Mosport International Raceway after receiving a stop-and-go penalty, then won both GT races at Lime Rock Park. "Team PTG has given notice that it can win. At Mosport we had the momentum going for us, and at Lime Rock it finally paid off. Road Atlanta favors our competitors, so we have to keep our heads down and focus on our objective of winning."

"After exceptional Rounds 3 and 4 by Team PTG and the drivers, it is time to refocus on Road Atlanta and Round 5," adds Tom Salkowsky, Motorsports Manager, BMW of North America, LLC. "This circuit rewards horsepower and handling and we know how well the BMW M3 handles, so the team and drivers must work extra hard to make up the deficit they have to the larger displacement engines of our competitors. When a team is faced with a 1.0- to 2.5-liter engine-displacement disadvantage, additional focus needs to be put on other aspects such as weight balance, suspension settings, braking and aerodynamics to be competitive. Round 5 should be a challenge for the entire team, but we at BMW have great confidence in the team's and drivers' abilities."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Justin Marks