PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP BMW M3 TEAM - MONDAY, JAN. 11, 1999 Rolex 24 at Daytona Test Day ...
PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP BMW M3 TEAM - MONDAY, JAN. 11, 1999 Rolex 24 at Daytona Test Day #3 - Daytona International Speedway
PTG BMW M3s WRAP UP TESTING FOR ROLEX 24 WITH FASTEST TIMES OF THE FINAL DAY
The two-time defending GT3-class champion PTG BMW M3s took part in their third and final day of testing today for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month (Jan. 30-31) at Daytona International Speedway. Bill Auberlen recorded the fastest GT3 time of the day in the No. 10 PTG BMW M3 four-door. He toured the 3.56-mile Daytona oval/road course in 1 minute, 57.689 seconds (an average of 108.897 mph) in today's opening session. Peter Cunningham, in the No. 6 PTG BMW M3, also set that car's fastest time of the day in the opening session at 1:58.189 (108.436 mph), good enough to be the third quickest for today.
PTG BMW M3s recorded the third- and fourth-fastest GT3 times of the weekend. The No. 07 G&W Motorsports Porsche set the fastest time in class on Sunday at 1:57.451 (109.124 mph), followed by the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche at 1:57.593 (108.986 mph). Cunningham's time of 1:57.649 (108.934 mph) in the No. 6 PTG BMW M3 was third fastest, followed by No. 10 PTG BMW M3 at 1:57.689 (108.897 mph). The No. 97 Johnson Autosport Porsche at 1:58.257 (108.374 mph), was fifth. Auberlen won the pole here in a PTG BMW M3 last year with a 1:55.945 (110.535 mph), and went on to win for the second consecutive year.
A record field of 87 entries, including 35 in the GT3 class, return to Daytona for practice and qualifying for the 37th annual Rolex 24 on Thursday, Jan. 28. Practice and qualifying resume Friday, Jan. 29. Race time is 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30.
ERNIE IRVAN, No. 6 PTG BMW M3 Four-Door - "Things went really, really well. I got here late yesterday and went right to work learning the track. Going through the tri-oval, all I wanted to do was go straight, but this big, bright flashing arrow made me turn left. It was all downhill from there. Seriously, this race has always been fascinating for me. I would love to have on my resume when I'm old and retired that I won my class at the Daytona 24-hour. And this team is certainly the one to do it with. They've won the last two in a row. Unfortunately, surrounded by guys like Peter Cunningham and Boris Said, I'm the weak link. But we're making progress. My lap times are down under 2 minutes, so we're chipping away at it. I'm feeling better and better, physically (after last October's crash at the Winston 500 at Talladega, Ala.), and, come race weekend, I'll be in great shape. I don't anticipate driving the night portion of the race. I'll be resting comfortably in the motorcoach while Boris, Peter and Mark (Simo) do all the work!
MARK SIMO, No. 6 PTG BMW M3 Four-Door - "It's great having Ernie out here with us. He knows his way around this track, that's for sure ... especially the parts that are banked! This is certainly payback time for all the grief he's always giving me and Boris when we're out with him on the NASCAR circuit. It's nice to bring him back down to earth a bit! But, really, he seems to be taking to this sports car racing quite well. We're doing well as a team, so far. We're busy focusing on all the ways we can drive fast but save the car ... make it last through a 24-hour race. The M3s have show two years in a row that they're up to the task. Let's hope three's a charm, too."
BRIAN CUNNINGHAM, No. 10 PTG BMW M3 Four-Door - "There's sure a lot to learn in not a lot of time as we shuffle eight drivers in and out of two cars. But, by the time the race is over, that'll be a whole different story. These cars are much more precise than the Indy Lights cars I'm used to driving. You have to be a lot smoother in your driving style. But it'll surely help me be a much better driver. This is a great team ... they work incredibly hard, but they manage to have an incredible amount of fun in the process."
SCOTT DONIGER, M Brand Manager, BMW of North America, Inc. -"Even though we've won the race two years in a row, the PTG team went about its business with serious determination this weekend. Our full capabilities didn't necessarily show on paper at the end of last season, so everyone who's part of this program, drivers and crew alike, all feel like we have something to prove. We're constantly looking for challenges, and the Porsche teams we face in this tough GT3 class keep getting better all the time. Of course, it's not realistic to win every single race, but that's certainly our goal every time we race."