PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP BMW M3 TEAM - SATURDAY, OCT. 10, 1998 The Inaugural Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.
PTG BMW M3s RUNNING 1-2-3 IN CLASS AFTER TWO HOURS A trio of PTG BMW M3s were at the front of the GT3-class pack after the first two hours of today's inaugural Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta. With eight hours to go (or less if the overall race leader covers 1,000 miles sooner), the brand new Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door of Peter Cunningham, Brian Simo, Terry Borcheller and Javier Quiros is the first-place GT3 car and sits in 10th place overall. Cunningham started the No. 1 PTG BMW M3 and turned the car over to Brian Simo during the second hour. It has completed 79 laps over the 2.6-mile Road Atlanta layout. The No. 6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 coupe of Ross Bentley, Darren Law, David Besnard and Jeff Shafer was second in class, 12th overall. Bentley started the car and turned it over to Brian Simo just short of the one-hour mark. Meanwhile the GT3-pole-winning No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door of Bill Auberlen, Mark Simo and Andy Pilgrim fell back to third place after having to make an unscheduled stop during the second hour to replace a cut tire. The No. 02 Porsche 911 of Ron Fellows made incidental contact with the No. 10 PTG BMW M3 with Mark Simo behind the wheel and damaged the right-front tire. The No. 23 Porsche of Alex Job Racing, PTG's primary GT3-class competitors this season, failed to get off the starting line due to an engine problem. That crew continues to work on the car in an effort to join the race in progress.
Speedvision is providing live coverage of the first 2½ hours (which ends at 1:30 p.m. EDT) and the final three hours (beginning at 6 p.m. EDT).
BILL AUBERLEN, No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Four-Door - "Everything went as planned during my opening shift. We were trying to take it real easy at the start, waiting for everything to sort itself out. We've got such a long way to go, there's no use getting yourself into trouble."
PETER CUNNINGHAM, No. 1 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Four-Door - "The BMW M3 is running just awesome. Knock on wood, this car has been almost flawless right out of the box. (Note: the No. 1 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door first turned a wheel here at Road Atlanta in Thursday's first practice session.)"
ROSS BENTLEY, No. 6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Coupe - "So far so good. We got off to a good start, basically running as hard as we can without getting into trouble. It's a shame our top competitors (the No. 23 Porsche) has already had problems. But it's a long race and a lot of things can happen."
700 BMW ENTHUSIASTS, EMPLOYEES ON HAND TO ROOT THE TEAM ON Some 700 BMW enthusiasts and employees have formed a giant rooting section high on the infield hill here at Road Atlanta this weekend. They include some 150 employees from the BMW factory in Spartanburg, S.C., who bused over this morning, as well as members of the local chapter of the BMW Car Club of America, and BMW owners who parked their cars in the BMW Corral.
BORCHELLER, BRIAN SIMO ARE BRAND NEW DADDYS A pair of PTG BMW M3 drivers are brand new daddys, having celebrated the birth of their first children - both daughters - in recent weeks. Simo welcomed the arrival of daughter Savannah Marie on Sept. 8, while Borcheller and wife Tracy welcomed Taylor Reese into the world on Sept. 23.