Laguna Seca: BMW Team PTG race report

BMW Team PTG M3s Sweep Road and Track 250 GT Podium; Milner, Marks and Auberlen Score First F1 Air Victory of the Season Monterey, Calif. - May 1, 2005-- With well-timed strategy and excellent pit work, BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner orchestrated...

BMW Team PTG M3s Sweep Road and Track 250 GT Podium; Milner, Marks and Auberlen Score First F1 Air Victory of the Season

Monterey, Calif. - May 1, 2005-- With well-timed strategy and excellent pit work, BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner orchestrated a 1-2-3 BMW M3 finish in today's Road and Track 250. Tom Milner, Justin Marks and Bill Auberlen drove the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3 to the top of the podium from the 10th starting position, completing 92 laps in the two-hour-and-forty- five minute contest.

RJ Valentine and Kelly Collins drove the No. 17 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3 to a second place finish after starting from the pole. Ian James, Chris Gleason and Joey Hand completed the GT sweep in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3.

In a race already made difficult by the loss of the No. 21 M3 in a practice crash, smart use of the race's six caution periods allowed BMW Team PTG to cycle Auberlen and Hand through the No. 16 and No. 22 M3s respectively and gain the advantage over a very competitive 28-car GT field.

Starting from the pole Collins took off to an early lead in the No. 17 M3, closely followed by James in the No. 22. Within six laps, Milner made it 1-2-3 BMW Team PTG. Throughout the remaining laps of the race, the eight BMW Team PTG drivers shared three M3s, never staying out of the top-three for more than a few laps.

No stranger to the Laguna Seca podium in past years, BMW Team PTG finished 1-2-3 at the season-ending VISA SportsCar Championships in 1997.

Round five of the Rolex Sports Car Series will take place on May 19 - 21 at Le Circuit Mont- Tremblant.

BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3: "BMW Team PTG may have lost one bullet this weekend (with the loss of the No. 21 M3), but the remaining three were delivered with extreme accuracy. You cannot get any better than a 1-2-3 M3 finish."

JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3: "A win may have gotten away from us at Fontana so I am very happy to help get this first win for F1 Air. Today was a dominating performance by BMW Team PTG."

TOM MILNER, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3: "I truly enjoyed my stint today, picking off one position every lap. After a disappointing qualifying performance, today, we showed what we could do."

KELLY COLLINS, DRIVER NO. 17 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3: "There were some real chances being taken out there. On many laps I had to give up three or four seconds to stay out of trouble. Today, I let discretion be the better part of valor and a 1-2-3 M3 finish was the result."

RJ VALENTINE, DRIVER NO. 17 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3: "This is beyond belief. Kelly did a phenomenal job and carried the day. F1 Air and BMW make great partners."

IAN JAMES, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3: "If the pit strategy had fallen in our favor I think we could have won, but it is always great to be on the podium. A great day for BMW."

CHRIS GLEASON, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3: "I was not in for many laps, but I had to stop as soon as there was another yellow because we had to get Joey in. This is a another great moment for BMW and I am proud to be a part of it."

JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3: "Ian and Chris had already done a great job before I got into the car. I hustled the No. 22 M3 when I could, and, after losing the No. 21 M3 yesterday, am very happy to reach the podium and score some points."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "Our pit strategy was perfect today. The team truly deserves the credit. We only had three M3s in the race today, but we still put all eight of our drivers on the podium."

LARRY KOCH, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA MOTORSPORTS MANAGER: "Today's strategy was excellent and our drivers were able to stay out of the way of trouble. With a 1-2-3 M3 finish as a result, we could not be more pleased. Still, we have a long way to go in the Manufacturer Points race. It seems the M3s have become competitive and we look forward to the rest of the season."

-bmw/ptg-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Kelly Collins , Ian James , Justin Marks , Chris Gleason