BMW Team PTG Aims for Three in a Row
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 20, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG will be looking for a third-consecutive GT victory at Lime Rock Park during the Dodge Dealers Grand Prix. The race, second in the 1999 United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) following the Rolex 24 at Daytona (Fla.), is set for May 31.
The three-car BMW Team PTG topped both the GT2 and GT3 classes at Lime Rock last year, following a GT3 win in 1997. The team posted a total of 12 consecutive victories in two years.
Bolstered by a win last month in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix at Road Atlanta, team owner Tom Milner says he's ready. "Lime Rock is always a good track for us. Maybe now that we've broken the ice at Road Atlanta, we can start another winning streak," he said. "The victory in Atlanta gives us confidence that we can win."
Team newcomers Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., scored the Road Atlanta victory in the #7 BMW M3 four-door, with support from Yokohama, Flextronics International and Level One. It was their first win for BMW Team PTG.
"It gives us confidence, yes. But I just feel excited about being a part of helping to get BMW back on winning ways again," van Overbeek said.
Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., who co-drives the #10 BMW M3 four-door with Hans Stuck of Austria, grew up in Stamford, Conn., 90 minutes from Lime Rock. He got his first taste of racing at the 1.53-mile road course, is a former instructor at the track's Skip Barber Racing School and won last year's GT2 class during the Grand Prix weekend.
"It's definitely important to win there, in front of the home crowd. I've won almost everything I've driven there, so track knowledge definitely helps," he said. "It's one of my favorite tracks. Some say it's an easy track, but it isn't. It's easy to be close, but it's hard to get the last couple of tenths of a second [in lap times] there."
Lime Rock is also the "home track" for BMW of North America, Inc., which is based in nearby Woodcliff Lake, N.J. "It gives everyone at BMW an opportunity to see the championship- winning M3 team in action and to meet and interact with the team and drivers," said Scott Doniger, motorsport manager.
"I'm excited to go there. It's a great place to race and the crowds are wonderful. A lot of people come from BMW North America to support us. You can hear them in the crowd cheering us on, and that helps a lot," said Peter Cunningham. The West Bend, Wis., driver will drive the #6 BMW M3 coupe with 1998 Professional Sports Car Racing champion Mark Simo of Carlsbad. Cunningham was on the winning GT3 team at Lime Rock last year and Simo finished a close second.
The two-hour 15-minute Lime Rock GT race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET, Monday, May 31. It will be telecast live on Speedvision.
-- BMW Team PTG drivers Brian Cunningham, Said, Simo and Stuck completed a successful test at Road Atlanta on May 14. "We did all sorts of preparation for Lime Rock and everything went fine. In terms of driving, we did more than two race distances. We found out that everything runs cool and nice for the high temperature," Stuck said. -- Van Overbeek and co-driver Steven Read of Orinda, Calif., competed in the Mille Miglia vintage rally in Italy May 6 to 8. They drove a 1957 Maserati 300s that Stirling Moss raced in the late 1950s.