Woodcliff Lake, NJ - December, 19, 2003 -- BMW Team PTG today announced its entry of two GT class BMW M3s in the 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series of the Grand American Road Racing Association.
Racing for BMW of North America, LLC, BMW Team PTG is one of North America's premiere sports car racing teams and has raced the BMW M3 exclusively since 1995. Having delivered eleven championships in the past nine years, this coming season will mark the debut of Team PTG in the Rolex Series.
Constructed and prepared in-house at PTG's Winchester, Va. headquarters, the first M3 is planned to run at the January 3-5 test at Daytona International Speedway with a second M3 to be built.
"We are always looking for new challenges and to see where we can showcase the BMW M3," said Team PTG owner, Tom Milner. "PTG's roots are in endurance racing and we have seen our greatest success in the long distance races. Some of the tracks we will see next season will be familiar and a few will be new to us, but we look forward to getting back to what BMW Team PTG does best."
From its trademark front kidney grilles to the slight rear-to-front raked stance that identifies a well-balanced rear wheel drive chassis, the Team PTG M3s will still rely on the very fine road car that is the BMW M3. By the time of the 42nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of January every part will have been tested and optimized to enhance the M3s performance for the rigors of endurance racing.
First proven in sprint racing competition last year, the Team PTG M3s will be powered by BMW's newest generation 3.2-liter inline, six-cylinder S54 power plant. The same engine as in the production M3, the Team PTG-modified version will pump out some 420 horsepower -- almost 100 more than the 333 horsepower in the road car.
A carbon-fiber body panel and aerodynamic package will reduce the M3's weight to 2600 pounds and enhance the M3's handling and braking qualities.
Long time BMW Team PTG drivers Bill Auberlen and Boris Said will return to anchor the effort. Team PTG member Justin Marks will also return and be joined by Joey Hand. Hand, the 2001 Toyota Formula Atlantic Rookie of the Year, tested with PTG and was a member of Team PTG's 12 Hours of Sebring effort that same year.
"Endurance racing is a great test of both man and machine--" said Hernando Carvajal, BMW of North America, LLC, M Brand and Motorsport Manager. "--and the Rolex Series is the highest mountain we can climb when you look at the distances of the 12 scheduled races in 2004."
The Rolex Series' opening race is its most famous and toughest and the BMW Team PTG M3s have a very good record at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, having won the endurance classic twice in five attempts.
The Team PTG BMW M3 effort had its very first taste of competition at the 1995 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Dieter Quester qualified on the class pole, but was forced to retire from the race. In 1996, David Donohue claimed the M3's second consecutive class pole and qualified next to teammate Peter Halsmer for an all M3 GTS-2 front row. Donohue, Javier Quiros, John Paul Jr. and Halsmer ultimately finished third in class and ninth overall. In its finest two years of competition, during which the team won a total of 24 races, BMW Team PTG won the GTS-3 class in 1997 and the GT3 class in 1998. Both Auberlen and Said were part of the winning driving team in those years. The last year that BMW Team PTG participated in the Rolex 24 at Daytona was 1999.
Prior to the BMW Team PTG effort, BMW had a GTO class victory in 1981 with an M1 driven by Hans Stuck, Walter Brun and Rudi Walch. BMW's sole overall Rolex 24 victory came in 1976 with the CSL of Brian Redman and Peter Gregg.
BMW Team PTG will start the season at the Rolex 24 test days at the Daytona International Speedway on January 3-5. Practice for the twice-around-the-clock classic will begin on January 29, 2004.