Lime Rock PTG BMW M3 Notes

PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP - Notes for Friday, May 22, 1998 Dodge Dealers Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park - GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive PTG BMW M3s RUNNING STRONG AFTER FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE Peter Cunningham recorded the fastest GT3...

PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP - Notes for Friday, May 22, 1998 Dodge Dealers Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park - GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive

PTG BMW M3s RUNNING STRONG AFTER FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE Peter Cunningham recorded the fastest GT3 time on the final lap of this afternoon's practice session for Monday's 1-hour, 45-minute GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive Professional Sports Car Racing event at Lime Rock Park near Lakeville, Conn. Cunningham, sharing the No. 1 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door with Ross Bentley, lapped the 1.54-mile Lime Rock Park road course in 55.500 seconds (an average of 99.891 mph) on that final lap of practice. He bested the No. 23 Porsche 911 of Darryl Havens and Cort Wagner by five-hundredths of a second. PTG's Mark Simo, sharing the No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door with defending GT3 driver's champion Bill Auberlen, recorded the third-fastest GT3 lap of the afternoon session at 58.733 seconds (94.393 mph). Simo drove both of today's practice sessions in their entirety while Auberlen was on his way to Lime Rock after testing this week in Europe. Auberlen will participate in practice and qualifying beginning Saturday morning.

The No. 6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 coupe, racing in the GT2 class here this weekend, took part in this morning session with Marc Duez at the wheel and recorded the fastest GT2 time of the session of 56.678 seconds (97.815 mph). Duez, sharing the car with Boris Said, retired the car early in this afternoon's practice session so the crew could make gearbox adjustments. Said, racing in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this weekend at I-70 Speedway east of Kansas City, Mo., will be back in time for Monday's race here at Lime Rock Park.

PETER CUNNINGHAM, No. 1 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Four-Door: "I think this is going to be a good race for Ross (Bentley) and I. This morning, we turned identical times in practice. This afternoon, he went out early in the session when there was oil on the track, and I got in to finish up after the track got cleaned up and got a fast time right at the end of the session." Cunningham missed last week's USRRC event at Homestead, Fla., with the PTG team while his own Real Time Racing SCCA World Challenge team was racing at Topeka, Kan. He's already tasted victory at Lime Rock in the past in SCCA World Challenge, IMSA Firestone Firehawk, and SCCA Escort Endurance series.

ROSS BENTLEY, No. 1 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Four-Door: "We've got a car that knows how to win, now (Note: Bentley and Marc Duez co-drove the No. 1 BMW M3 to victory in a USRRC event at Homestead, the car's first and Bentley's first for the PTG team). For me, it seems that last weekend I got a lot better of a handle on driving these cars. This track is challenging. It's a funny track, because most tracks are either horsepower tracks or handling tracks. Here, you need to have both. If you don't have horsepower, you're going nowhere. But if your car's not handling, you're not going anywhere, either. Fortunately, the BMWs are very well-balanced racing machines. After all, they finished 1-2-3 here last year." This is only the second career appearance at Lime Rock for Bentley. He raced a World Sports Car here in 1996 for Payne Racing.

MARK SIMO, No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Four-Door: "This is my first time here, so I'm on a pretty steep learning curve. I like the track a lot. It's a little more technical than most. You're not going to make huge gains, because you get to a certain point, and that last little bit is the toughest to get right. But I'm learning from some of the best drivers in the business. I'm doing a lot of listening to what the other guys are saying and trying to learn as much as I can. I went faster in the second session. The car was the same, but I found some places to go faster on the track. To run well, I have to drive smart. Drive smart, and listen. That's my strategy."

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Peter Cunningham , Ross Bentley , Marc Duez , Cort Wagner