BMW Team PTG new car for Laguna Seca

MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 4, 2000) -- BMW Team PTG is ready for the long cross-country trek from its headquarters in Winchester, Va., to Monterey, Calif., for the GlobalCenter Sports Car Championships, ninth race of 12 in the 2000 American...

MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 4, 2000) -- BMW Team PTG is ready for the long cross-country trek from its headquarters in Winchester, Va., to Monterey, Calif., for the GlobalCenter Sports Car Championships, ninth race of 12 in the 2000 American Le Mans Series. The team has good reason for optimism: the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway is considered a technical or handling track, well-suited to the team's nimble 2001 BMW M3s. BMW Team PTG will field three M3s for the two-hour 45-minute race, including a new car recently built. Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., will drive the new No. 6 BMW M3. Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., and Hans Stuck of Austria will be paired in the No. 7 M3, and Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Nic Jonsson in the No. 10 car. All three cars will carry the colors of team sponsors Flextronics International, Level One and Yokohama. "Laguna Seca is a road course that is very suitable to the BMW M3," noted Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "The track plays right to the strengths of the M3. It is a good handling course, with tight corners, not so much of a high- power speed course. So we're optimistic for the next race." The drivers agree. "Laguna is one of my favorite tracks," said Stuck. "There are not so many straightaways, so we'll have a good chance against the Porsche." Jonsson believes the team's growing strength in the development of the M3 will be reflected in a positive result at Laguna Seca. "It's a track that will require more chassis than engine," he said. "We surprised ourselves and everybody else at Road Atlanta [Sept. 28 to 30] to be as competitive as we were on such a fast track. Laguna is also a fast track, but it's 'way more technical and I think that will definitely fit our team and our cars." Californian van Overbeek is also a big fan. "It's one of my favorite tracks in the whole world and friends and family will be there, so I'm looking forward to racing near home again," he said. "It's a great place to spend four or five days. The track is pretty interesting. I like all the elevation changes and there are some subtle nuances -- if you get them right, you can go really quick there." Laguna Seca Raceway is also popular with the BMW Team PTG crew because of past success. In 1997, the team scored the pole position and a 1-2-3 finish in the GTS-3 (now GT) class, and also clinched the sports-car series GTS-3 manufacturer, team and driver championships at the track. They repeated all three championships in 1998, after a second-place class finish at Laguna Seca. The two-hour 45-minute GlobalCenter Sports Car Championship is scheduled to start at 12:30 pm PT (3:30 pm ET) on Sunday, Oct. 15. It will be televised live on Speedvision starting at 3 pm. The ALMS Radio Web will broadcast live on Oct. 13 and 14 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm and on Oct. 15 from 3 pm to 6:30 pm. (all ET) The broadcasts, live timing and scoring, on-demand interviews, photos, news and updates will be available on the American Le Mans Series website (www.americanlemans.com).

BMW Team PTG team owner Tom Milner and BMW drivers Bill Auberlen, Brian Cunningham, Boris Said and Hans Stuck participated in the annual BMW Car Club of America Oktoberfest celebration this week. More than 1000 BMW Car Club members traveled from across the United States for the annual event. The week-long activities started with a day of club races at the Road Atlanta road course in Braselton, Ga., on Oct. 1. Auberlen hosted driving schools for club members at the track on Oct. 2 and 3, providing tips and techniques for driving and racing. The focus then shifted to Spartanburg, S.C., where Stuck was the hands-on coach in autocross competition at the BMW Performance Center. He also participated in a safety school at the Michelin proving grounds, with instruction in skid pad, slalom, accident avoidance and high-speed maneuvering. Members had the opportunity to compete in rallies into the Carolina mountains and to tour BMW Manufacturing and the BMW Zentrum museum. Oct. 4 was designated Motorsport Heritage Day, with displays and exhibits of classic BMW race cars, including the 1975 Sebring 12-Hour winner BMW CSL, David Hobbs' BMW 320i, the Red Lobster BMW M1, the McLaren Stars and Stripes BMW, the BMW M3 that won multiple championships for BMW Team PTG and the 24 Hours of Le Mans winner BMW V12 LMR. In addition, Prince Leopold's BMW M1 was flown in from Germany, and members were treated to a rare view of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team Formula One show car. Club members also received demonstration rides around the Performance Center safety course with Auberlen, Cunningham and Said and competed in remote-control car contests with the pro drivers. The day culminated with a mock debate between racing legends David Hobbs and Brian Redman, an awards dinner and fireworks. "This event is a perfect example of the close relationship BMW has with the car club," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "We are fortunate to have such passionate and enthusiastic owners."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Williams