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Road Atlanta II: BMW Team PTG preview

BMW and BMW Team PTG close in on Speed GT Championships at Road Atlanta WINCHESTER, Va. (Oct. 10, 2003) - BMW and BMW Team PTG driver Bill Auberlen lead the Manufacturer's and Driver's Championships heading into the penultimate round of the ...

BMW and BMW Team PTG close in on Speed GT Championships at Road Atlanta

WINCHESTER, Va. (Oct. 10, 2003) - BMW and BMW Team PTG driver Bill Auberlen lead the Manufacturer's and Driver's Championships heading into the penultimate round of the 10-race 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT season at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Friday, October 17.

With a 10-point lead over second-place Audi in the Manufacturer's Championship, a strong result could secure BMW's first Speed GT crown.

Manufacturer's Championship points are awarded to the first finisher of each marque (to sixth place) with a maximum of nine points going to the winner. If Team PTG has more than a nine-point lead after this race, BMW cannot be surpassed for the title at the season-closer one week later in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In the Driver's Championship, Auberlen stands 20 points ahead of Randy Pobst in an Audi. With a maximum of 34 race and bonus points available to the winner each weekend, if Auberlen gains another 15 points he will have the Speed GT Driver's crown to add to his Speed Touring Driver's Championship, which he clinched at Laguna Seca (Calif.) Raceway in Round 8.

"There is no secret to our plans," said PTG boss Tom Milner. "We want to win the Manufacturer's Championship for BMW, and of course the Driver's Championship. These were our goals at the beginning of this season and we are focused more than ever on achieving these goals as the season winds down."

Each of the BMW Team PTG drivers stands in the top 10 of the Speed GT Driver's Championship with Hans Stuck fourth, Boris Said sixth and Justin Marks eighth. The PTG drivers have delivered three wins and 20 top-five finishes so far this season.

"If BMW Team PTG does accomplish its championship goals this season," said BMW M-Brand manager, Hernando Carvajal, "BMW Team PTG will have certainly overcome quite a lot and have an enormous amount to be proud of. Despite competing with the smallest-sized engine in the GT class at 3.2-liters, a brilliant team effort of manufacturer, team and drivers has put BMW in a position to contend seriously for the Championship."

This is the second time the Speed GT series is competing at Road Atlanta this year. In the fifth round in May, polesitter Auberlen was forced to the pits for a wheel change on lap 23 of 27 and ultimately scored his worst finish of the year to date, a 10th.

"That finish was tough to swallow," said Auberlen. "But Team PTG is better prepared for this round and when you are this close to a championship you push a little harder."

Since 1995 BMW Team PTG has amassed 14 sports car endurance-racing championships with the BMW M3.

The Speed GT race week begins with two 20-minute practice sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 15, a single 20-minute qualifying session on Thursday, Oct. 16, and the 50-minute, standing-start race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17.

The race is scheduled to be broadcast on Speed TV Saturday, Nov. 8, at 5:00 p.m. ET.

-www.ptgracing.com

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Drivers Boris Said