PTG BMW M3s Switch Hats from Sports Car To USRRC for Homestead 'Spectacular' They Put Five-Race Florida Win Streak on the Line As They Try To Win Two Series Titles in the Same Year HOMESTEAD, Fla., May 7, 1998: Even though it has yet...
PTG BMW M3s Switch Hats from Sports Car To USRRC for Homestead 'Spectacular'
They Put Five-Race Florida Win Streak on the Line As They Try To Win Two Series Titles in the Same Year
HOMESTEAD, Fla., May 7, 1998: Even though it has yet to take a single lap around South Florida's newest road-racing facility, the Virginia-based Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 team comes to town for Round Two of the USRRC Can-Am/GT Championship with a simple battle cry: "There's no place like Homestead."
Considering its BMW M3s have won their last five outings in the state of Florida - not to mention 17 of their last 19 races overall - any racetrack in the Sunshine State is the place to be these days. PTG BMW M3s have won the Daytona and Sebring season-opening endurance classics each of the last two years, as well as last fall's Professional Sports Car Racing (Sports Car) Octoberfest event at Sebring.
"We're on quite a roll, which makes us pretty confident no matter where we go," says PTG team owner Tom Milner, who's bringing a pair of Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-doors to Homestead for Sunday's 2-hour, 15-minute United States Road Racing Classic (USRRC)-sanctioned event. Consequently, they find themselves in the unusual position of chasing two different sets of series championships in the same year as Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., Marc Duez, of Monte Carlo, Ross Bentley of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Mark Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., prepare to put their GT3-class M3s through the paces over the Homestead Motorsports Complex's 2.21-mile, 14-turn oval/road course. -more- -2- Sports Car, which sanctioned this year's Sebring 12-Hour and last month's event at Las Vegas, and the revived USRRC, sanctioning body for this weekend's events, as well as for this year's season-opening Daytona 24-Hour, have divvied up the traditional road racing calendar.
No matter the sanctioning body this season, PTG BMW M3s have taken it in stride, winning GT3 at the Daytona 24-Hour by 19 laps, and finishing 1-2 at Sebring and Las Vegas. Thus, PTG and BMW are eyeing both Sports Car and USRRC team and manufacturer's championships in 1998. "It's a unique position to be in," says Scott Doniger, M Brand Manager, BMW of North America, Inc., "but we'll have to keep working hard and stay focused in order to maintain our momentum. You really never know, race to race, what's going to happen on the track. But one thing we can count on is this team and this stable of drivers giving it their absolute all." Regular PTG driver and reigning Sports Car GT3 champion Bill Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Calif., also hopes to successfully defend his Sports Car title and add a USRRC title despite having to miss a couple of weekends with the PTG team this season, including this weekend here at Homestead. Auberlen was named one of the factory driver for BMW headquarters in Germany for the first time this season. As such, he's also driving a BMW-powered Riley & Scott World Sports Car in the International Sports Racing Series (ISRS), which is racing in the Czech Republic this weekend. Back at Homestead, PTG's No. 10 and No. 1 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-doors might be strangers to the beautiful, three-year-old facility, but Said has turned a fair share of laps here competing in other series. "Homestead is probably one of the best places we race at all year," says Said, who earlier this year competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Racetruck series event here, and drove an SCCA Trans-Am event here in 1996. "I have more experience on the track than any of our other drivers. It's excellent. Lots of room to pass. It should make for some very close racing." Round Two of the USRRC Can-Am/GT Championship at Homestead begins at 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 17. The 2-hour, 15-minute race will be broadcast live on Speedvision.