SONOMA, Calif. / PORTLAND, Ore. (July 14, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG will field four BMW M3s in the Grand Prix of Sonoma (Calif.) at Sears Point Raceway on June 25 and the Rose City Grand Prix at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway on Aug.
SONOMA, Calif. / PORTLAND, Ore. (July 14, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG will field four BMW M3s in the Grand Prix of Sonoma (Calif.) at Sears Point Raceway on June 25 and the Rose City Grand Prix at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway on Aug. 1. The races are fourth and fifth of eight in the 1999 American Le Mans Series sanctioned by Professional Sports Car Racing. The team is hoping for strong finishes in both races to boost manufacturer, driver and team points. BMW is second in GT manufacturer ranks, the team is second in team standings and drivers Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., are second in driver points. Cunningham will be paired with German Christian Menzel, who first raced with the team last month, in the No. 7 Yokohama/Flextronics/Level One BMW M3. Van Overbeek will drive the No. 10 M3 with Darren Law of Phoenix. Law drove for BMW Team PTG in the 1998 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. At Sears Point, a track he knows well, van Overbeek says pride is on the line. "It's my home track. Points aside, Darren and I have to win this race." They'll face tough competition from their team-mates, two- time Le Mans winner Hans Stuck of Austria and Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., in the team's new No. 9 BMW M3 coupe, and from 1998 Sports Car GT3 champion Mark Simo of Carlsbad and Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., in the No. 6 coupe. Said won the GT3 (now GT) class in the last sports-car race at Sears Point Raceway, in 1997. He says the team will need different strategies for the two races. "At Sears Point, it takes staying on the road, and that's going to be really tough in traffic with the faster [prototype] cars. You're so busy, it's hard to get out of the way. There's so much elevation and so much turning, you're hardly ever going straight. The trick will be who can get through traffic and let the fast cars by without losing too much time and without getting knocked off the road," he explained. "Portland is completely flat. It's a pretty forgiving track, a much easier race track. Portland's exciting because it has long straightaways and it's easy to pass there." Peter Cunningham has tasted victory at both tracks, but hasn't topped the podium yet this season. He says his goal is to win both races. "The competition is really tough with the other cars out there as well as our own team, but we're ready. "Sears Point is a very technically challenging track with elevation changes and some real neat corners. Portland is mostly flat and not that difficult, but as simple as the track is, you still have to be on top of things to get that last little bit of time," he said. The two-hour 45-minute Sears Point race is scheduled to start at noon PDT (3 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, July 25. It will be telecast live on NBC from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT. The two-hour 45- minute Portland race is scheduled for noon PDT (3 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, Aug. 1. It will be telecast live on NBC from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT.
BMW CCA CLUB RACING
The Tire Rack BMW CCA Club Racing Series is halfway through the 1999 season of 25 races in the United States and eastern Canada. In its sixth season, the program is open to all BMWs and qualified BMW CCA members. Races are run under vintage 13/13 rules, limiting contact and maximizing fun.
The next race is scheduled for July 21 at Putnam Park Road Course, in conjunction with the BMW CCA Annual Oktoberfest Convention in Indianapolis. A field of nearly 60 BMWs of all vintages will contest the multiple-race format. From 2002s to vintage CSLs, M Coupes and M3s, the competition will be the highlight of the Oktoberfest driving events.