PTG BMW M3 TEAM AIMS TO REPEAT AT MOSPORT FESTIVAL Team Seeks Second Straight And Fifth Season Win Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada; Aug. 22, 1997: When the Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 team showed up at Mosport Park last year, it...
PTG BMW M3 TEAM AIMS TO REPEAT AT MOSPORT FESTIVAL
Team Seeks Second Straight And Fifth Season Win Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada; Aug. 22, 1997: When the Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 team showed up at Mosport Park last year, it was the team's first visit to the challenging 2.459-mile circuit outside of Toronto since it began campaigning the M3 co upes in 1995. When the three-car effort left Mosport, it took with it a 1-2 finish in the GTS-2 (now GTS-3) class.
PTG team owner Tom Milner, and drivers Bill Auberlen, Boris Said, Javier Quiros, Derek Hill, Dieter Quester and Marc Duez, are aiming to repeat last year's achievement and make it one better, by putting the No. 10 Yokohama BMW M3 four door sedan again on to the podium at the Mosport Festival on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Auberlen and Said took the new M3 four door to its first victory at Sears Point Raceway last month, the sixth round of the 1997 11-race Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive, sanctioned by Professional SportsCar Inc. Mosport is round seven.
The four door sedan was introduced in April of this year and it promptly turned heads and set records, with Auberlen placing it on the pole twice so far, establishing qualifying records at Watkins Glen and Sears Point. The PTG team has won four of this season's six races so far. In all, the BMW M3 has won five of six.
"That car is remarkable," says Auberlen, 28, of Redondo Beach, Calif. "You would expect a sedan to be a little less powerful, or less agile, but not this one. It reacts just as well as the coupes we race, maybe even better, and it's a dynamite race car."
"The media have recently given a lot of attention to manufacturers introducing four door sedans to racing," adds Milner. "When it comes to the BMW M3, there is absolutely no disadvantage to racing a sedan. This M3 four door is as good as any of the coupes we race. In fact, since it's newer, it benefits from the additional experience we've gained in setting up these cars, so I'd say it's probably an improved version."
Boris Said ruled GTS-3 qualifying at Mosport last year by setting a record lap of 1:26.778 (102.01 mph) in the No. 77 Alco Capital Group M3, breaking Bill Auberlen's record set in 1995. Said led the BMW M3 brand's first 1-2-3 qualifying sweep in GTS-3. Auberlen followed in No. 06, and Halsmer was third in the No. 07. The BMW M3 now has four 1-2-3 qualifying sweeps to its credit. The No. 77 M3 is the same car that is now campaigned independently by Mattco Racing for team owner Matthew Cohen and Pete Halsmer. Said and Halsmer drove the winning No. 06 PTG M3 coupe in last year's Mosport GTS-3 race. Auberlen, driving solo, came in second in the No. 07 PTG M3 coupe. The No. 77, driven by Said, Cohen and Quiros, finished fifth in class. Said will share driving duties with Auberlen at the Mosport Festival in the No. 10 Yokohama M3 four door sedan; Derek Hill and Javier Quiros (fourth in points) will pilot the No. 6 Yokohama M3 coupe; and Dieter Quester and Javier Quiros will drive the No . 7 Red Bull/Fina/Yokohama M3 coupe. For the record, Auberlen leads in driver's championship points, BMW is first in the manufacturer's title chase, and Milner leads the team championship standings.
The Exxon Supreme GT Series' 1-hour-and-45-minute race begins at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30, and airs LIVE on The Nashville Network (TNN).