Laguna Seca: BMW Team PTG preview

BMW Team PTG Looks to Write another Winning Story at Road and Track 250 Woodcliff Lake, NJ - April 22, 2005-- Following its GT class victory at the April 3 Grand American 400 at California Speedway, defending 2004 GT Champions BMW Team PTG will...

BMW Team PTG Looks to Write another Winning Story at Road and Track 250

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - April 22, 2005-- Following its GT class victory at the April 3 Grand American 400 at California Speedway, defending 2004 GT Champions BMW Team PTG will work hard to continue their turn around of the 2005 season at Laguna Seca Raceway, the site of the Round 4 Road and Track 250 on May 1. In past years, the historic Monterey, California circuit has been the site of numerous BMW victories, including two previous BMW Team PTG GT victories.

Sweeping Laguna Seca's podium in 1997, the BMW Team PTG M3s finished 1-2-3 at the season-ending VISA SportsCar Championships to win BMW the GTS-3 manufacturer's championship. As importantly, a second-place finish by Bill Auberlen and Boris Said won Auberlen his first GT driver's title. The next year, on a surprisingly rainy weekend, BMW Team PTG again reigned supreme over the GT class. A second-place finish by Peter Cunningham and Mark Simo won Simo the driver's championship and BMW the manufacturer's title. In 2000, "brothers" Hans Stuck and Boris Said took the Laguna Seca win. The race featured one of Stuck's many great BMW performances, as he charged through the field from his eighth starting position to second before handing the M3 to Said for the finish.

This year, rules changes requiring significant performance reductions have meant the construction of all-new M3s. Despite extraordinary effort to even be prepared for the beginning of the season, it has been a very difficult start for the team that has now delivered 47 wins and 14 sports car racing championships in nine years of competition. A withdrawal from the season- opening Rolex 24 at Daytona was followed by a struggle just to keep pace at Miami-Homestead Speedway. Adjustments made by Grand American in the middle of March have allowed the use of a 3.4-liter engine, the same powerplants used last season. Auberlen and Hand took the first BMW Team PTG victory of the season at Grand American 400.

"The win at Fontana was a welcome boost for the team," said Tom Milner, BMW Team PTG owner. "We know Laguna Seca well, and Bill Auberlen probably knows it better than most anyone, but we are still developing these new M3s against some very restrictive rules. As I said at Fontana, I think the performance of the GT class is as close as it has ever been. The Porsches have been allowed a 100 pound weight reduction beginning at this race, and, with a total of 29 GT cars already entered, we will need to be on top of our game."

Official practice sessions begin on Friday, April 29, with qualifying scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Saturday. The 250-mile race is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday and will televised live on Speed Channel.

Background:
2005 marks the tenth season of competition for BMW M3s of BMW Team PTG and 30th anniversary of BMW of North America's motorsport programs. In nine seasons of competition, BMW Team PTG has won a total of 47 races in both sprint and endurance racing series and 14 sports car racing championships. In 2004, BMW Team PTG swept the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class Manufacturer, Driver and Team Points championships, winning 10 of 12 races.

-bmw.usa-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen