Road Atlanta BMW M3 4-door debut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Robert D. Mitchell JVS Enterprises BMW of North America, Inc. Public Relations 201-307-3790 ...


Robert D. Mitchell JVS Enterprises BMW of North America, Inc. Public Relations 201-307-3790 203-438-0501

Erik Wensberg Judy Townsend M Brand Manager 607-732-7910 BMW of North America, Inc. 201-307-4122


Yokohama Tire Corp. Steps Up Support

Braselton, Ga.; April 10, 1997: Demonstrating that performance and practicality are not mutually exclusive, the PTG BMW M3 team is introducing a new addition to its fleet of championship-winning BMW M3s on April 20 in the NAPA Auto Parts Grand Prix of Atlanta Presented by Royal Purple Motor Oil -- the new BMW M3 4-door sedan race car. Also, two of the three BMW M3s entered by Prototype Technology Group in the GTS-3 division of the 2-hour contest, round three of the 1997 Exxon Supreme GT Presented by Virgin Interactive Series sanctioned by Professional SportsCar Racing Inc., are sporting new colors. Yokohama Tire Corp. has stepped up its support of the PTG team and the No. 6 2-door M3 and the No. 10 4-door M3 will each feature the red-white-and-black Yokohama color scheme. The No. 7 2-door M3 continues to carry Red Bull/Fina/Yokohama sponsorship. The entry of the new 4-door M3 in SportsCar competition is in direct support of BMW's marketing strategy for the new M3 4-door sedan production car. "We have been working hard to make world-class performance accessible to real people in their daily lives," explains Erik Wensberg, M Brand Manager, BMW of North America, Inc. "Sports cars as they were defined in the '80s are typically inappropriate for the realities of people's needs in a primary vehicle." The coupe market continues to be a traditional strong point for BMW, but with 4-door sedans comprising nearly 60% of all cars sold in the U.S., BMW has expanded into the mainstream of the American market by offering the performance and practicality found in the M3 coupe in the 4-door sedan. "Many of our competitors are actively trying to reinvent themselves into performance-minded manufacturers overnight," adds Wensberg, "trying to emulate BMW's market position. That being the case, we invite them to join us on the GT grid." "Yokohama has been a great partner from the beginning of this program," says team owner Tom Milner, "and we're pleased to have them as a primary sponsor. The quality of their product has contributed to our success and we look forward to riding those Yokohama tires to victory lane many more times." The BMW M3 driver lineup for the Grand Prix of Road Atlanta, the first "sprint" race of the season, includes Daytona 24-hour/Sebring 12-hour winning drivers Bill Auberlen, Tom Hessert, Javier Quiros and Derek Hill, along with Dieter Quester and Marc Duez. "Most of the individual stints I've driven this year are longer than the whole Road Atlanta race," says Auberlen, "so it will seem a little strange being in the car for only an hour or so. But I've pretty much stood on the gas as hard as I could every time I've driven this year. That's been my job. The biggest difference in a short race is you don't get all the chances you get in a long race to make up for problems. You have to be right on the money from the start." The Exxon Supreme GT Presented by Virgin Interactive race takes the green flag at 12:00 noon EDT on Sunday, April 20. # # #

MATTCO ENTERS BMW M3 IN GRAND PRIX OF ROAD ATLANTA: Mattco Racing, based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., has entered a fourth BMW M3 in the GTS-3 class of the Grand Prix of Road Atlanta on April 20, with Matthew Cohen and Pete Halsmer slated to drive. The independent No. 77 Alco Capital Group BMW M3 is the first "customer" car constructed by Prototype Technology Group, and was built in 1996 for GTS-2 competition that year. The car sat on the pole and set fastest race lap at Mosport and earned six top-10 finishes in '96. Matthew Cohen campaigned the car under the PTG banner in 1996, then went on to establish his own team for the 1997 season. Road Atlanta will be the new team's first GTS-3 race since the Rolex 24. "We've been building our team and rebuilding the car," says Cohen, "which is why we skipped Sebring, but we'll run all the remaining SportsCar races. We have confidence in the people we've assembled and we've got a fresh car for Road Atlanta, so we expect a successful weekend. A good qualifying position and a solid top-5 finish would be great."

BMW SportsCar Bullets April 10, 1997

Coming into Road Atlanta: * The PTG team has won six consecutive GTS-3 races and is tied for second in all-time GTS-3 win streaks. If PTG wins in Road Atlanta, the team will tie for first in GTS-3 win streaks.

* PTG drivers Bill Auberlen, Tom Hessert and Javier Quiros share a three-way tie for first place in GTS-3 driver's championship standings.

* BMW leads the GTS-3 manufacturer's championship by eight points over Porsche (63-55).

* Tom Milner (PTG team owner) leads the new SportsCar team championship by 10 points over Richard Raimist, owner of Team A.R.E. (63-53).

* Prototype Technology Group is the only SportsCar team in 1997, in any class, to win both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Exxon Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring.

* The PTG Daytona/Sebring sweep is only the fourth GTS-3 sweep in SportsCar history, and BMW is only the second manufacturer to achieve the double victory. The three previous wins (1984, '88 and '93) were scored by Mazdas.

* Since 1995, the PTG BMW M3s have earned seven record-setting poles; have qualified 1-2-3 three times and 1-2 twice; and have set four fastest race laps.

* In 1996, BMW M3s led 45% of the laps (749 of 1676) and 43% of the miles (2211.59 of 5180.95) in SportsCar GTS-3 competition.

* BMW is the only manufacturer, in any class, to win both of the first two SportsCar Endurance Championship races of 1997. A BMW 328is won the Sports class at both the Daytona 3-hour race and the Sebring 5-hour event.

* After two events in 1997, BMW models, BMW teams, and BMW drivers lead in seven SportsCar categories.

GTS-3 Manufacturer's Championship (BMW M3) GTS-3 Driver's Championship (Bill Auberlen, Tom Hessert, and Javier Quiros are tied) w GTS-3 Team Championship (Tom Milner, PTG BMW M3 Team) w Endurance Championship Car of the Year (BMW 328is) w Endurance Championship Sports Manufacturer's Championship (BMW 328is) w Endurance Championship Sports Driver's Championship (Jeff McMillin) w Endurance Championship Sports Team Championship (Jeff McMillin, McMillin Motorsports Ltd.)

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Derek Hill , Bill Auberlen , Jeff McMillin , Dieter Quester , Tom Hessert , Marc Duez , Javier Quiros