BMW M3s Dominate Sports Car Racing for Third Year in a Row
Woodcliff Lake, N.J., Dec. 10, 1998: The BMW M3 proved to be the car to beat for the third straight year on the Professional Sports Car Racing (SPORTS CAR) circuit as well as the inaugural United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) circuit. BMW emerged with two manufacturer's championships and a pair of team and driver's championships for Tom Milner's Prototype Technology Group (PTG) BMW M3 team in 1998. PTG BMW M3s won 9 of 13 GT3-class races overall - 5 of 8 on the SPORTS CAR circuit and 4 of 5 USRRC events - to score GT3 manufacturer's titles in both series and bring BMW's total manufacturer's championships to four in only four seasons of fielding its reliable and performance-oriented M3s. PTG, meanwhile, took the GT3 team title in both series - its second in a row in SPORTS CAR and its first in the USRRC, which was revived this season after a 30-year hiatus. Mark Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., in his first full season of GT3-class racing, co-drove to three SPORTS CAR victories and earned the SPORTS CAR GT3 driver's championship. Fellow PTG drivers Bill Auberlen (the 1997 champion), Peter Cunningham and Ross Bentley finished second, third and fourth in the standings. Bentley, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, won a pair of USRRC races to take the USRRC GT3 driver's title. "The best feeling of all is that we really came together as a team this season," said Milner, whose team has won 26 of 47 races entered since the program's inception in 1995. "Winning is our number one priority at PTG, as it is for BMW, and we performed to the best of our ability in not one, but two different racing series. Not many people in racing can make that claim." "BMW is loyal to racing, wherever it takes us," said Scott Doniger, M Brand Manager, BMW of North America, Inc. "So despite the fact that we competed in two series, and happened to win two championships, our real satisfaction is that we won. Given that this year presented obstacles on and off the track, we're even more satisfied with PTG's results, and it made it even sweeter that we won in both series. "We look forward to the 1999 season and hope that we can compete in an atmosphere of equal and stable rules," Doniger added.
BMW M3s in 1998 GT Racing: · 9 of 13 GT3-class races won overall (5 SPORTS CAR, 4 USRRC) · Third consecutive SPORTS CAR GT3 manufacturer's championship · Second consecutive SPORTS CAR GT3 team title for Tom Milner's PTG team · 1-2-3-4 in SPORTS CAR GT3 driver's championship · The first-ever USRRC GT3 manufacter's, team and driver's championships · Record eighth consecutive SPORTS CAR GT3 race victory achieved at Mosport, Ontario, Canada on Aug. 9 · Seven 1-2 GT3-class finishes overall (5 SPORTS CAR, 2 USRRC) · 27 top-three finishes (21 GT3, 6 GT2) · Milestone endurance racing "Double-Double" with victories at both the Daytona 24-hour and Sebring 12-hour events for the second year in a row · Six GT2-class wins in six races entered (4 SPORTS CAR, 2 USRRC, including victory by privateer Massari-Muller Racing) · 16 pole qualifying positions (10 GT3, 6 GT2) · Five track qualifying records (3 GT3, 2 GT2) · Three GT3 track race lap records · Record two class wins (GT3, GT2) in one race (Bill Auberlen, Las Vegas)
BMW Accomplishments in 1998 Showroom Stock Racing: · Speedvision Cup Grand Sports driver's championship (Andy Pilgrim and Terry Borcheller) · Speedvision Cup Grand Sports manufacturer's championship · Speedvision Cup Sports class driver's championship (Michael Culver) · Speedvision Cup Sports class manufacturer's championship · Speedvision Cup Car of the Year (328is) · Motorola Cup Sports class driver's championship (Mike Fitzgerald) · Motorola Cup Sports class manufacturer's championship · Motorola Cup Sports class team championship (Fitzgerald Racing)