JVS Enterprises Public Relations Judy Townsend BMW M3s SWEEP GTS-3 CLASS AT LIME ROCK PARK BMW Regains Lead In Manufacturer's Championship Points Lakeville, Conn.; Monday, May 25, 1997: Derek Hill and Javier Quiros drove the No. 6...
JVS Enterprises Public Relations Judy Townsend
BMW M3s SWEEP GTS-3 CLASS AT LIME ROCK PARK
BMW Regains Lead In Manufacturer's Championship Points
Lakeville, Conn.; Monday, May 25, 1997: Derek Hill and Javier Quiros drove the No. 6 Yokohama BMW M3 coupe directly into victory lane today in Lime Rock Park's 1-hour-and-45-minute Exxon Supreme GT race for GTS-1, 2 and 3 cars. Following them onto the podium were Marc Duez and Dieter Quester in the No. 7 Red Bull/Fina/Yokohama BMW M3 coupe, who finished second, and Bill Auberlen and Boris Said III, the third-place finishers in the No. 10 Yokohama BMW M3 four-door.
BMW's 1-2-3 class sweep placed BMW (unofficially) right back on top of the GTS-3 manufacturer's championship standings, 103 points to Porsche's 97. Unofficially, in driver's points, Quiros moves into third place with 88, with Auberlen hanging on to fourth with 87. Porsche drivers David Murry and Jim Matthews hold the lead, tied with 91 points. Tom Milner's PTG team extended its lead in the team championship to 12 points over the Porsche team of Michael Colucci (103-91).
Hill and Quiros placed third overall, completing 89 laps, the same number as the overall winning GTS-1 Chevy Camaro of Stu Hayner and Roger Schramm. The BMW drivers were just 34.9 seconds short of an overall victory in the Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive race, sanctioned by Professional SportsCar Racing (SportsCar).
"It was a great day for PTG and BMW. It was a pleasure to bring home not only a win for our crew and BMW, but to do it in front of a group of visiting BMW executives was especially sweet," said Prototype Technology Group team owner Milner, after celebrating the team's second 1-2-3 finish since 1995, the first GTS-3 win for BMW at Lime Rock Park, the first victory at this circuit for Javier Quiros, Derek Hill's second triumph here (his first was in the 1996 Barber Dodge Series). The BMW M3 now has seven GTS-3 victories since debuting in that class in '95.
"That was some of the best racing I've ever experienced in SportsCar," said Hill, 22, of Santa Monica, Calif., scoring his third win with the PTG team. "It was good, solid, hard racing and everyone was out there giving their all. We were having a hell of a race among our team cars, but at the same time we were having a good clean battle." "I just wanted to make a very safe start, keep it comfortably in second when I handed it over to Derek. Winning is the best," added Quiros, 40, of Costa Rica, winner for the fourth time in a PTG BMW M3.
The polestting independent BMW entry of Mattco Racing, the No. 77 Alco Capital Group M3 driven by Matthew Cohen and Pete Halsmer, led the first five laps under a full-course caution period, until Cohen was passed by Henry Taleb's No. 93 Nissan, which led for the next six laps. The No. 10 four-door, with Said behind the wheel, then took over the lead for nine laps until another full-course caution period resulted in a flurry of pit stops among the 15-car GTS-3 field beginning on the 20th lap.
The No. 39 Porsche of David Murry and Jim Matthews controlled the race from the 29th to the 64th laps, as Auberlen in the No. 10 four-door chased it down. With the Nos. 6 and 7 M3s steadily gaining on the No. 10, and the Porsche sliding on worn tires, a three-car BMW M3 train swept past the Porsche on the 65th lap. Auberlen, struggling with a weak driveshaft, then fell to fourth until a final full-course-caution period closed the gap. With four laps remaining, Auberlen managed to get by the Porsche, taking third behind his teammates.
"We've never really been able to get much out of this track," said Erik Wensberg, M Brand Manager, BMW of North America, Inc. "We've considered it the home track for BMW for a long time and to come through with a 1-2-3 finish even in spite of some difficulties is a tremendous achievement. The BMW executives here today witnessed one heck of a race."
The Mattco Racing BMW M3 soldiered on, despite pitting to replace a cut a tire after being hit by a Porsche, to finish eighth.
The First Union Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, June 1, is the next event on the SportsCar schedule. The PTG team could become the first team in history to win the 24-, 12- and 6-hour races in one season, following its victories this year in the Daytona 24-Hour and Sebring 12-Hour races.
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UPTON'S BMW M3 WINS WORLD CHALLENGE: In Saturday's (May 24) 45-lap SCCA World Challenge race, Kermit Upton, of Ludlow, Vt., drove his Mountain Autosport BMW M3 to the overall and T1 class victory, with a .28 second margin of victory over the Mustang of Lou Gigliotti.