BMW Team PTG M3s Capture First Rolex Series GT Victory with 1-2 at Grand Prix of Miami Homestead, Fla. (February 28, 2004) -- BMW Team PTG was back in Victory Lane with a 1-2 BMW M3 finish at today's Grand Prix of Miami. The win was the first...
BMW Team PTG M3s Capture First Rolex Series GT Victory with 1-2 at Grand Prix of Miami
Homestead, Fla. (February 28, 2004) -- BMW Team PTG was back in Victory Lane with a 1-2 BMW M3 finish at today's Grand Prix of Miami. The win was the first for BMW Team PTG in only its second Rolex Sports Car Series race. BMW now moves to second in the GT Manufacturer Point Standings and BMW Team PTG moves to fourth in GT Team Owner Points.
The No. 21 M3 of Boris Said and Bill Auberlen competed 105 laps around the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami road course. They finished one lap ahead of the No. 22 M3 of teammates Justin Marks and Joey Hand.
The No. 22 was credited with the fastest lap of the race (1:19.884). As the pole sitters and capturing the class win, Auberlen and Said also won the first Axiom Grand Touring Challenge Bonus of the season. From their first and fourth starting spots, Said and Marks quickly settled into the second and third positions as the 250-mile Grand Prix of Miami began. It only took seven laps for both BMW Team PTG M3s to move back to the front of the GT field, with Said taking the point.
Said was the first to pit for fuel on lap 31with Marks in at lap 34. A full-course caution on lap 40 brought the field together and bad luck for the No. 21 M3. Said was just behind the overall leading Daytona Prototype as the yellow flag waved and lost a lap after the wave-by. Ready to make a charge back, Team PTG elected to immediately pit on lap 43 for fuel, tires and install Bill Auberlen behind the wheel.
Auberlen rejoined the field in fifth while Marks continued in second. By lap 54 Auberlen and Marks were in second and third, 40 seconds behind the leader and gaining approximately five seconds per lap. On lap 64 both BMW Team PTG M3s were back at the front of the field.
Marks pitted on lap 70 for tires and fuel and Joey Hand took over the No. 22 M3 for the run to the finish. During two late-race caution periods Auberlen gained a lap on Hand, but the two crossed the finish line side-by-side for a thrilling BMW Team PTG victory.
The race is scheduled to be televised on Speed Channel at 4 p.m. ET on March 7. BMW Team PTG will next travel to Phoenix International Raceway for Round Three on April 8-10.
BORIS SAID, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3: "I had a nice lead and had only pitted 10 laps before the yellow waved. I was right behind the leader so bad luck put us a lap down after the wave-by. The team made a good call to pit immediately to get Bill in and take on fuel. That meant he would only have to make one more fuel spot and could focus on regaining the lead and keeping it."
BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3: Page 2 "This is the way it should be -the PTG M3s back in the winner's circle. The competition is tough, but if we continue to dig when we get down like we did today I think we will be making a few more podium visits."
JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3: "The track was very slick during my two stints, but the M3 handled it well. We found something in the car this morning that fixed a lot of the understeer we had been experiencing in the last two days. I had all the confidence that Joey would bring us home a great finish."
JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3: "Justin did a great job getting the car through all the mayhem at the start. He ran hard and kept the No. 22 M3 clean. I just cruised to the finish saving fuel and the tires to ensure a good finish. To get second to Boris and Bill is great. We'll see if we can't give them a run as the season progresses."
TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "It is a great feeling to win and 1-2 is even better. We love this endurance racing. Each race swings like a pendulum. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't. We dropped a lap early because of the yellow, but the team fought back and won. Everyone can be extremely proud."
HERNANDO CARVAJAL, MOTORSPORT MANAGER, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC: "Congratulations to the entire BMW Team PTG. Great driving, perfect pit stops and great strategy contributed to this wonderful result."