BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 1-2 in VIR 400; BMW M3s Finish 1st, 2nd, 8th and 12th Alton, Virginia. - October 9, 2005-- Bill Auberlen and Tom Milner, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3, drove from the rear of the field to the GT class win in today's...
BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 1-2 in VIR 400; BMW M3s Finish 1st, 2nd, 8th and 12th
Alton, Virginia. - October 9, 2005-- Bill Auberlen and Tom Milner, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3, drove from the rear of the field to the GT class win in today's Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway. The victory was the third of the year for each and the seventh of the season for BMW Team PTG. The duo completed 74 laps in the two-hour-and- forty-five minute contest, finishing only a few seconds ahead of the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3 of PTG teammates Joey Hand and Justin Marks.
Ian James and Chris Gleason, driving the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3, finished eighth. The pair ran as high as first, but pit stops for repairs following a mid-race off-course by Gleason ultimately dropped them two laps to Auberlen and Milner. Kelly Collins and RJ Valentine, driving the No. 17 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, each found the grass during the race, finishing three laps down in 12th.
The second BMW 1-2 finish of the season consolidates Hand's hold on fourth in Driver Points and moves Marks and Milner into a tie for sixth. BMW continues to stand second in Manufacturer Points.
Undeterred by having to start at the rear of the 24-car GT field after failing to submit their qualifying driver nominations on time, the four BMW Team PTG M3s took advantage of the first clear skies and dry track in three days to immediately move forward as soon as the green flag waved. Tom Milner, driving the No. 21 M3, moved into ninth by the end of the second lap and reached third on lap 12. Ian James, driving the No. 22 M3, followed Milner up through the field, passing the No. 21 M3 for the lead on lap 31.
The third caution period of the race gave all four M3s the opportunity to pit for fuel, tires and second drivers. Bill Auberlen took over the No. 21 M3 on lap 30. Chris Gleason took charge of the No. 22 M3 and Joey Hand got behind the wheel of the No. 16 M3 on lap 31. Collins was the last to pit, handing off the No. 17 M3 to RJ Valentine.
After the race went green, Auberlen took the lead on lap 35 with the No. 22 third and the No. 16 fourth. On lap 40 BMW Team PTG had come from the rear of the field to run 1-2-3 in class.
The fourth caution period of the race brought all four M3s to the pits for a final fuel stop. At the two hour mark Auberlen held first with Hand in second. Further back, James - now back in the No. 22 M3 - ran 11th. Collins raced in 15th.
Auberlen and Hand continued to pull away during the remaining laps of the race, both setting their fastest laps of the race on lap 70.
The final race of the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series will take place on November 4 - 5 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico.
TOM MILNER, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (1st): "It seems like whenever our car is not the best in practice, it is the best in the race. We started last and finished first proving again that BMW Team PTG is a team that almost always finds a way to win."
BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (1st): "At the start of the weekend a worn set of tires from the last race did not allow us to dial in the right set-up. New tires brought the No. 21 M3 back to life and we got the win that escaped us at Watkins Glen."
JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (2nd): "If we had to be second-best, I am pleased it was another M3 that was best in class today. A great team effort today resulted in another 1-2 M3 finish."
JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (2nd): "A great performance in the pits by the No. 16 crew combined with some luck that had evaded us in recent races made for another good day for BMW. I had a bobble when the No. 22 M3 let me by, but I got away with one and just missed the tire wall. It was the strategy and the pit stops that did it for us today."
TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "We have won twice before when one of our cars started from the back, but we have never started all of our M3s from the rear. Despite the fact we cannot repeat as champions this season, the entire team gave a championship effort today and we can all be very proud of that."
LARRY KOCH, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA MOTORSPORTS MANAGER: "You can never count this team out. The rainy weather did not allow for the set-up time we like. We made a mistake before qualifying and did not file our qualifying paperwork on time. We had to start all four M3s from the rear of the field. Two-hours-and-forty-five-minutes later our BMW M3s finished 1- 2."