ADELAIDE, Australia (Dec. 31, 2000) -- BMW Team PTG survived a grueling New Year's Eve race to finish with two cars in the GT class top four in the American Le Mans Series Race of a Thousand Years. The five-hour 45-minute race was held on ...
ADELAIDE, Australia (Dec. 31, 2000) -- BMW Team PTG survived a grueling New Year's Eve race to finish with two cars in the GT class top four in the American Le Mans Series Race of a Thousand Years. The five-hour 45-minute race was held on a 2.36-mile street circuit in Adelaide, South Australia.
The three 2001 BMW M3s put on a strong show in the season finale, carrying the colors of Yokohama, Flextronics International and Level One. The No. 6 M3, driven by Terry Borcheller of Phoenix, Ariz., and Anthony Lazzaro of Atlanta, Ga., was the top BMW with a third-place finish behind the class- winning No. 5 Porsche of Dick Barbour Racing. The No. 10 M3 finished fourth in GT, with Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Nic Jonsson of Aliso Viejo, Calif. The No. 7 M3 retired after 50 minutes with a drivetrain problem while Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., was driving.
"It's unfortunate that the No. 7 M3 had mechanical problems because we've had such a reliable car all year," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "But it's terrific to see Terry and Anthony take the podium in the last race of the year. It was a great effort by all the drivers, and a special thanks to them for making the trip so far on New Year's Eve. It's a great way to wrap up 2000 and begin the 2001 season."
Borcheller qualified the No. 6 BMW M3 fifth in class in one minute 37.785 seconds. He started the race and moved to second after the first hour. Lazzaro drove the second shift, led during the first round of pit stops and settled into third place. The car was taken to the garage for water-line repairs after two hours 25 minutes and returned with Borcheller, who moved up to fourth. Lazzaro drove the fifth hour and took third place before handing back to Borcheller for the final 45 minutes of the race.
"It was my first time in the BMW and I was very happy that it went well all day," Lazzaro said. "The track was first class, the best street circuit I've been on."
Auberlen started fourth on the GT grid in the No. 10 M3, with his qualifying run of 1:37.519. He moved to second before handing off to Cunningham after 75 minutes. Cunningham took the class lead after 90 minutes, but was forced into the garage 10 minutes later with a broken half-shaft, incurred when he drove over a curb to avoid an Audi prototype car. The crew repaired the car quickly and it returned to the track with Jonsson at the wheel.
Jonsson made up a six-lap deficit, set the fastest BMW lap of the race and moved to fifth in class after three hours. Auberlen took over and moved to third, but encountered another half-shaft problem after three hours 45 minutes. After a pitstop for repairs, Cunningham took over in eighth place and moved up to fourth. Jonsson drove the final 45-minute stint and made up a lap to hold the fourth-place finish.
"It's such a beautiful, smooth circuit," Cunningham said. "But it's a lot harder than we expected and it's taken its toll on the cars."
Said qualified the No. 7 BMW M3 third in class with a fast lap of 1:37.439. He dropped to fourth behind the No. 10 M3 at the start of the race and retired after 50 minutes with a drivetrain problem. His co-drivers Hans Stuck of Austria and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., did not drive.
"I was overwhelmed to be here," said Stuck. "We got such a friendly welcome from everybody everywhere, it really doesn't matter if you win or lose. Unfortunately, I didn't get to race, but we'll take this as a season closer and look forward to a new season when we'll go for a championship, we hope."