Mid-Ohio: BMW Team PTG race report

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 4th and 5th at Mid-Ohio Lexington, Ohio - May 21, 2006-- Both BMW Team PTG M3s delivered top-five GT2 finishes in today's American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio as the team bounced back from two disappointing results in the two ...

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 4th and 5th at Mid-Ohio

Lexington, Ohio - May 21, 2006-- Both BMW Team PTG M3s delivered top-five GT2 finishes in today's American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio as the team bounced back from two disappointing results in the two opening races of the series. Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 finished fourth, completing 109 laps of the 2.2.5-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the two-hour-and-forty-five minute Round 3 race. Justin Marks and Bryan Sellers finished fifth, two laps behind their teammates, in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3.

Deciding to change tire compounds after yesterday's qualifying session, the two BMW Team PTG M3s started at the rear of the nine car GT2 field. After the green flag waved, Bill Auberlen, in the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3, and Justin Marks, in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3, moved to the fourth and fifth positions respectively in the opening laps of the race. As the first hour was completed Auberlen held on to fourth with Marks dropping back to sixth. The first caution period of the race gave Auberlen a gain in track position after the pace car picked up the leaders and he received a wave by. After a quick pit stop on lap 52, Hand took over the No. 21 M3. Seconds later Marks pitted the No. 22 M3 and Bryan Sellers took the wheel.

Taking advantage of a second yellow just before the two-hour mark, Hand pitted for new Yokohama tires on lap 81 while Sellers stayed on track. Hand and Sellers consolidated their positions as the race continued. In the closing minutes of the race the third place Ferrari ran off the track bringing out the third caution period of the race, moving the two PTG M3s to their first top-five finishes of the year.

BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (4th): "This is what we needed to do - cross the finish line under the checkered flag. It appears that we are starting to push this monkey off our back and, I think, we can begin to start to focus on doing what PTG does best - race."

JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (4th): "Obviously this is the best result of the season. Our goal was to finish, but I was pleased that the No. 21 M3 became very racy at the end. I tried an outside pass for third, but it just wouldn't stick."

JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (5th): "Hopefully, with this finish we have eliminated some of the problems that have plagued us this season and we can begin to make our M3s faster and move toward the front."

BRYAN SELLERS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (5th): "While we may not yet have the speed of some of our competitors, I believe we learned a great deal this weekend. We made enough laps to learn a lot about how the tires perform during an entire stint and how to tune the car accordingly. We made improvements and that means we are heading in the right direction."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "This finish is proof of how hard everyone associated with BMW Team PTG works - crew, drivers and our partners like Performance Friction and Yokohama. After two disappointing races this year I know everyone feels good to have the podium back in our sights."

-bmw-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Justin Marks , Bryan Sellers