Sonoma BMW M3 notes & quotes

PTG BMW M3 NOTES AND QUOTES Exxon Supreme GT Series - GTS-3 Toshiba Copiers & Fax California Grand Prix Saturday, July 12, 1997 Robert D. Mitchell JVS Enterprises BMW of North America, Inc. Public Relations 201-307-3790 203-438-0501 ...


Exxon Supreme GT Series - GTS-3 Toshiba Copiers & Fax California Grand Prix Saturday, July 12, 1997

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

Erik Wensberg M Brand Manager BMW of North America, Inc. 201-307-4122


Sonoma, Calif; July 3, 1997: The Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 team returns to the hills of Sonoma, Calif., and the Sears Point Raceway for the 1997 Toshiba Copiers & Fax California Grand Prix on Sunday, July 13, with a tough act to follow: its own. The 1996 GTS-3 race on the 2.52-mile road circuit was a spectacular achievement for the Winchester, Va.-based team led by Tom Milner, which fields three BMW M3s in the Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive, sanctioned by Professional SportsCar Racing (SportsCar) Inc. Pete Halsmer led a three-PTG BMW M3 sweep that year. The three PTG M3s seized the GTS-3 podium in the M3's first victory since entering SportsCar GT competition in 1995. It also marked the beginning of what would be an outstanding streak for PTG that woud include the 1996 GTS-3 manufaaturer's title for BMW, a string of six consecutive victories for a total of seven wins to date, and another memorable 1-2-3 finish at Lime Rock Park in May. BMW leads the '97 manufacturer's championship by 10 points over Porsche and the BMW M3 has a total of eight GTS-3 wins since 1995. "We're working hard to see if we can repeat our results from last year," says Milner, who leads the 1997 GTS-3 team championship. "We're at the halfway point of the season and the crew is sufficiently pumped to duplicate our success. It will be much harder to do, of course, but I don't think it's out of the question. With the added weight SportsCar has mandated on us, the Porsche 911s and the M3s seem to be equal. It'll be tough to beat them." The driver lineup for Sears Point incudes three Californians: Bill Auberlen (who was second last year) of Redondo Beach and Boris Said (who finished third in '96) of Carlsbad in the No. 10 Yokohama M3 four-door; and Derek Hill of Santa Monica, who will drive the No. 6 Yokohama M3 coupe with Costa Rican Javier Quiros. Dieter Quester of Vienna, Austria, and Marc Duez, of Monaco, will drive the No. 7 Red Bull/Fina/Yokohama M3. The race begins at 3:00 p.m. PDT and airs live on FOX SportsNet.



CORRECTION: In the advance press information sent out by SportsCar it states that "Porsche teams were victorious at Daytona and Atlanta..." In fact, PTG BMW M3s won the first two races of the season, the Daytona 24-Hour and the Sebring 12-Hour. A PTG BMW M3 also won at Lime Rock Park. The independent entry of Mattco Racing, driven by Pete Halsmer and John Morton, won at Watkins Glen, making it four wins for the BMW M3 in five races this season.

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 sweeps (1984, '88 and '93) were by Mazda RX-7 teams.

BMW M3 DRIVERS DO DOUBLE DUTY: DEREK HILL, JAVIER QUIROS AND BORIS SAID will not only drive the BMW M3s in Sunday's 1-hour-and-45 minute Exxon Supreme GT series (in the GTS-3 class), each will drive in other races this weekend. Hill, son of Formula 1 champion Phil Hill, is also driving the No. 9 BMW 328is in the Speedvision Cup (Sports class), co-driving with Jeff McMillin. Quiros, third in GTS-3 driver championship points, is driving in the Russell/USAC Triple Crown race here this weekend in an attempt to learn Sears Point's challenging circuit, on which he's driving for the first time; and Said is flying in on Saturday night from Louisville, Ky., following the Craftsman Truck Series race there.

MARC DUEZ, NO. 7 RED BULL/FINA/YOKOHAMA BMW M3, is also driving for the first time on the Sears Point circuit: "I would like them to film me and hear me when I am driving here (Please note that Duez is shaking his entire upper body and head, and twisting his hands and arms back and forth as he's describing a lap on this circuit). You can't see the corner, and your body is making noise even when you don't want it to." HOW MANY LAPS HAVE YOU DONE? "I think a total of 15." HAVE YOU FIGURED IT OUT? "Yes, but I still have some learning to do. I never followed Bill (Auberlen), for instance, I've been learning on my own. I'm sure that if I follow him I will gain some confidence, but I've not been behind him yet. I did one lap with the instructor from the Russell racing school. It was very helpful. On this track you have different grip sometimes. The tarmac is different in four of the corners. The new tarmac has less grip, it's very smooth."

DIETER QUESTER, NO. 7 RED BULL/FINA/YOKOHAMA BMW M3, is also new to this circuit. "It's very similar to Road Atlanta, but it's much more challenging. In Atlanta you have the long straights to relax a little bit, but here you are always working on the wheel."

DEREK HILL, NO. 6 YOKOHAMA BMW M3, is not new to this circuit (he was the fastest in GTS-3 this morning). "This track feels like my home track even though I live 450 miles away (in Santa Monica). I don't really have a home track, the closest track to home is the new California Speedway. I used to live just an hour away (from here), I did the Barber Saab series here. We did the majority of the races here. We raced in the rain and all sorts of weather conditions. You get to see the whole spectrum of this track. It's my favorite. I am really comfortable here, but you have got to have the car tuned to the track in order to be comfortable. The car will tell you right away if it is not comfortable. You have to quickly come up with the setup and then the track comes to you." HAS THE TEAM DONE THAT FOR YOU? "Yesterday Javier and I weren't too comfortable with the setup. We felt it was rolling too muuch and so we went with stiffer springs, which really settled the car. It brought it from a cumbersome feeling car to a more agile car, which is nice."

BILL AUBERLEN, N0. 10 YOKOHAMA BMW M3 FOUR DOOR: "It's going good so far, everything is pretty much where we want it. We're busy dialing in the cars. Yesterday I liked the setup we had, so I told them to write it down. If we get to a good setup pretty quick, we set it aside to try another one. We will try to learn as much as we can, and, depending on the conditions, we will select the best setup for the race from those we tried. On this track every year it grounds your tires to death. If you don't know this and you're coming here for the first time you tend to overdrive your car and after 20 minutes you have nothing left. When you come here year after year you get to know this and respect it. You will see the experienced guys going slow at the beginning, but at the end of the race they're going very well. We have the best tires out there, the Yokohamas. It makes a difference."

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BMW M3s are 1-2-3-4 on the GTS-3 qualifying grid following a 15-minute qualifying session. Bill Auberlen, No. 10 Yokohama BMW M3 four-door sedan led the four-BMW M3 sweep, setting a track record of 1:37.273. In second, just .2 of a second behind is Derek Hill, No. 6 Yokohama BMW M3 (1:37.438). In third is the independent No. 77 Alco Capital Group BMW M3 entry of Mattco Racing, with driver Pete Halsmer (last year's GTS-3 winner here) coming in third (1:38.524). Fourth is the No 7 Red Bull/Fina/Yokohama M3, driven by Marc Duez (1:38.941). All four BMW M3s broke the existing track record (1:39.047/91.592 mph) set by Halsmer in a PTG BMW M3 lst year. Auberlen qualified fourth overall in the 27-car GTS-1/2/3 field today.

This was Auberlen's third pole of the 1997 season, his second straight in the BMW M3 four door.

AUBERLEN: ON TRACK CONDITIONS AND COMPETITION WITH DEREK HILL: "Derek and I have been trading times all weekend. He's a great shoe and a good guy to have on the team. Boris (Said), my teammate, will be coming tomorrow right before the race. Between Watkins Glen and here we finally got the four-door going really well, with a pole there and here. And we have the best tires in the business, the Yokohamas. This track is brutal on the tires, and you have to have the right tire here. This track particularly suits our cars. The M3s work really well on it, that's why you see BMW 1-2-3-4, and the fact that the M3 is also on the overall pole in the Speedvision Cup race also tells you how good the M3 is here."

HOW MUCH IS THE TRACK DIFFERENT FROM THIS MORNING? "It takes until about 2 o'clock then the heat is really going to set in the pavement and then it's going to get treacherous. I am now about half a second faster than I was this morning. We got the car working a little better. I don't think it was much slower. As for which one of us would've gotten the pole, it was up to whoever got a clear lap. I let all the traffic go, but he (Derek) went out earlier than I did and, sure enough, he ran into traffic."

ON FINISHING 1-2-3 AGAIN (AS THE PTG TEAM DID LAST YEAR): "Actually, BMW could finish 1-2-3-4. As for the PTG team, it would be great to finish 1-2-3. I want to see a BMW win, of course. And I personally want to get back into the championship lead. I'd like to see my name back on top. We just might come back strong this weekend."

ARE THE PORSCHES OUT OF IT? "You can never say that. They have reliability on their side, but we're also very reliable now. You never know what (David) Murry's (No. 39 Porsche 911) going to do. He was two seconds off in practice and then (in qualifying) there he was. Maybe they turned a few screws in the right direction. BMW has a very good chance of doing well here. I have been working real close with my crew this weekend. They've done a great job. The four-door is a great car, we even have room for passengers in the back."

ERIK WENSBERG, M BRAND MANAGER, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA: "This is a momentum track. You have to be aggressive, you have to have handling and brakes, and it particularly suits our cars. In Grand Sports, we haven't done anything since this race last year when the same car was on the pole (Terry Borcheller put the No. 54 BMW M3 on the overall pole and the Grand Sports pole in a field of 61 cars in the Speedvision Cup). It's the same in GTS-3. We have a good handling, good braking, good accelerating package and the track is tight and you have to be aggressive and it suits our drivers and our cars."

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Derek Hill , Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Pete Halsmer , Phil Hill , Terry Borcheller , Jeff McMillin , Dieter Quester , John Morton , Marc Duez , Javier Quiros