PTG BMW M3s Get Back to the Track at Mosport With Eye on SPORTS CAR-Record Eighth Straight Win BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada, July 31, 1998: It's been almost two months since Tom Milner and his Winchester, Va.-based Prototype ...
PTG BMW M3s Get Back to the Track at Mosport With Eye on SPORTS CAR-Record Eighth Straight Win
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada, July 31, 1998: It's been almost two months since Tom Milner and his Winchester, Va.-based Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 racing team has been waiting for its chance to make Professional Sports Car Racing history.
The big chance finally comes next weekend, when they take to the track at Mosport Park in search of a record eighth consecutive SPORTS CAR GT3 victory.
"Depending on how you look at it, seven weeks can either be an eternity, or just a blip on the radar screen," says Milner. He brings a pair of PTG BMW M3 four-doors in GT3, a PTG BMW M3 coupe in GT2, and his usual cast of six talented drivers to this 2.459-mile road course for Sunday's (Aug. 9) 2-hour, 45-minute Mosport Festival, Round Five of the 1998 SPORTS CAR GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive.
"When you're on a roll, waiting for your chance to make history, the days go by a little slower," Milner says. "But when you've been working as hard as our team has, and very much in need of a little mid-season break, the time seems to just fly by. Either way, we can't wait to get back out there and race."
PTG BMW M3s are unbeaten in seven SPORTS CAR GT3 events since last fall's race at Pikes Peak, tying the record streak set in 1981-82 by the Kent Racing Mazdas. They're also unbeaten in this year's four events sanctioned by the revived United States Road Racing Championship, putting PTG BMW M3s atop the GT3 victory podium at 11 consecutive races in all.
Leading the way for PTG behind the wheel of the No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door is defending GT3 driver's champion Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif. He again leads the SPORTS CAR GT3 driver's standings, but only by a slim 101-97 margin over second-place teammate Mark Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif. Tied for third in the standings are fellow PTG drivers Ross Bentley, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., with 93 points each.
"It's been an incredibly fun year as we've managed to develop quite a rivalry among the PTG drivers," says Auberlen, who has led 1-2 finishes for PTG at SPORTS CAR's Sebring, Las Vegas and Road Atlanta events so far this year. "We have probably the most equally matched group of drivers on the circuit. That comes in handy as our competitors from Porsche have been giving us a healthy run for our money. It's been a while since we've been out there, so I'm looking forward to putting our BMW M3s to work."
PTG's Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., and Marc Duez, of Monte Carlo, have handled the bulk of the driving duties in the No. 6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 coupe in GT2. That car is also unbeaten this season, grabbing GT2 honors at SPORTS CAR's Las Vegas, Lime Rock and Road Atlanta events, as well as the USRRC's downtown Minneapolis street race last month.
"Of all the tracks we race at, Mosport has to be my favorite," Said says. "It's a very fast track, and the lighter-weight BMW M3 GT2 car, which we can run with unlimited revs, is going to be just a blast to drive there."
The Mosport Festival's main event, which combines World Sports Cars with GT Series competitors, begins at 2:45 p.m. EDT. Tape-delayed broadcast is set for Speedvision on Sunday, Aug. 30, from 8-10 p.m. EDT.
BMW M3s EXCEL IN CLUB RACING, TOO - The winning ways of the BMW M3 extend beyond GT racing. M3s have won at 11 of the 12 BMW Club Races held so far this season. At Putnam Park in Indiana this month, the E36 M3 Lightweight of Pennsylvanian Charles Stickley dominated a program that included two Super-touring style 20-minute sprint races and a one-hour enduro. Stickley's car, supercharged by European Racing Technologies of Wilmington, Del., has also won races this season at New Hampshire, Memphis, Mid-Ohio, and Lime Rock. On the West Coast, Lightweights driven by James Sofronos and Robert Perry have won Club Races at Pomona, Sears Point, and Thunderhill. Where E36 M3s have not led the chase to the checkered flag, E30 M3s have won, with the lone exception a New Year's victory at Moroso for the BMW-powered Chevron of Charlie Kolb.
There are classes for all varieties of BMWs in the Club Racing series. A spectator can watch dices among packs of Z-3 roadsters, 328i's, and 2002s. The BMW Club Racing series is growing rapidly. The 360-and-growing contingent of licensed Club Racers can choose from events across North America.