PTG BMW M3s RUN STRONG AFTER THREE HOURS The PTG BMW M3 team is holding down the top two positions in the GT-3 class after the first three hours of today's Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring over the historic 3.75-mile road course. GT-3 pole-sitter ...
PTG BMW M3s RUN STRONG AFTER THREE HOURS The PTG BMW M3 team is holding down the top two positions in the GT-3 class after the first three hours of today's Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring over the historic 3.75-mile road course. GT-3 pole-sitter Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., took charge from the start in the #10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four door. Starting 17th on the overall starting grid that also includes World Sports Cars, Le Mans prototypes, and GT-1, GT-2 competitors, Auberlen charged ahead during his 1 hour and 20-minute opening stint and handed the M3 over to teammate Boris Said. Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., started 19th overall and turned the #6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 two door over to teammate Ross Bentley, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, without incident. The trio of Andy Petery, Craig Carter and Italian female driver Giovanna Amati are sharing a third PTG-fielded BMW M3 four door, the #1 Yokohama/Fina entry that qualified 11th in the GT-3 class. That car started from the back of the GT-3 grid, 39th overall, because the team elected to start Carter behind the wheel instead of Amati, who qualified the M3 on Wednesday. Professional Sports Car Racing rules stipulate that the driver who qualified the car must start it in the race, or move to the back of the grid.
After three-hour mark, the #10 M3 was running first in GT-3, 13th overall, and completed 74 laps. The #6 M3 was running second in GT-3, 18th overall and a lap behind the #10 car. The #1 M3 was running in eighth place in class, 26th overall and completed 71 laps. The #54 privateer BMW M3 entry of Massari-Bell Racing, was running sixth in GT-3, 23rd overall and completed 71 laps. Official race start time was 10:16 a.m. EST.
BILL AUBERLEN -- #10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four door: "Everything was running great. I would have loved to stay out there for a second stint. The crew radioed, asked how I was doing. I said, 'fine, but I gotta go tinkle.' Nature called, so I had to turn the car over to Boris. Oh well. It's a long race. We've certainly had our chances before this thing is over. Restarts are pretty tricky out there. We're right in the middle of the GT-2 race and don't want to get in their way, but we want to put some distance between us and the people we're racing in GT-3. The BMW is running beautifully, otherwise."
PETER CUNNINGHAM -- #6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 two door: "I was ready to go a second shift, too. These M3s are so comfortable and such a joy to drive, you just want to keep going. But I decided I didn't want to disrupt the plan, and let our other guys have their chances. The track was a little slick at first. Grip was tough. But I made some adjustments and, as the fuel tanks got emptier, the car started coming around."
ROSS BENTLEY -- #6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 two door: "We developed quite a bit of understeer that stint, so we made a major adjustment during that pit stop. But overall, we're in good shape. I don't know if we can match Bill and Boris on speed. They've had a million miles of experience in these cars. But hopefully we'll be able to have a little bit of luck on our pit stops, just hang in there and run as hard as we can."
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