FT. WORTH, Texas (February 24, 2001) -- BMW Team PTG comes prepared -- prepared to win -- when it brings two of its GT-class 2001 BMW M3s to Texas Motor Speedway for the March 4 running of the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas and the start of...
FT. WORTH, Texas (February 24, 2001) -- BMW Team PTG comes prepared -- prepared to win -- when it brings two of its GT-class 2001 BMW M3s to Texas Motor Speedway for the March 4 running of the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas and the start of the 2001 American Le Mans Series.
With six years of GT competition experience behind it, Team PTG knows how difficult the first race of the season can be, when all the changes and improvements made during the off-season are tested in competition for the first time.
New for Team PTG this year will be BMW friends in the usual sea of Porsches. Strong ally BMW Motorsport, the Munich-based factory team, will enter one BMW M3 in Texas. BMW Motorsport joins the GT class in 2001 after the successful completion of the V12 LMR prototype program last season.
Last year's race, held over the Labor Day weekend on the 2.324-mile course, found Team PTG running as high as fourth and fifth with its two M3s and finishing sixth and seventh, after battling the record high temperatures of an oppressive heat wave. Following successful tire tests at the ALMS Spring Training session at Road Atlanta last week, Team PTG feels it's well prepared for anything this tough Texas circuit might throw at it this time.
Hans Stuck of Austria and Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., again share the driving duties in the No. 6 M3 for the two-hour-and-45-minute race. Stuck and Said combined for a win at Laguna Seca, a second at Mosport, and a third at Las Vegas, last year.
"Returning with Boris means a high-value partner in my car," said veteran Stuck. "Our same understanding of cars makes things a lot easier. When Boris is in the car, I don't have to worry."
Sharing the No. 10 M3 with Nic Jonsson of Aliso Viejo, Calif., is Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., who drove for PTG in 1997 and 1998. Auberlen continued to test for PTG while spending two years with BMW's V12 LMR program.
"I feel we need to get to the first races and score points -- get a good jump on the season," said Auberlen. "You can bet we'll give it every shot. I am way excited to get this season underway."
"BMW is very excited about beginning the 2001 ALMS season," said Tom Salkowsky, M Brand manager for BMW of North America, LLC. "Our driver lineup is excellent and we've made a number of improvements to the M3 in the off-season. We are really looking forward to Texas."
Summing up Texas for Team PTG, team owner Tom Milner said, "It is hard to say how fast the Porsches will be here, but we will be in the hunt. Every race we go to, we go to win." The PTG M3s feature the distinctive red, black and white paint scheme of the Yokohama Tire Corporation, as Yokohama returns as sponsor for a seventh straight year.
The Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. CST. It will be televised live on the Speedvision Network at 2 p.m. EST and can be heard online through the American Le Mans Radio Web at www.americanlemans.com.
-BMW of North America/BMW Team PTG News