SPORTSCAR: BMW M3 Atlanta report

BMW M3 FINISHES FIFTH AT ROAD ATLANTA;M3 FOUR-DOOR DEBUT MARRED BY FIRST LAP ACCIDENT 23 April, 1997 PTG Team Maintains Lead In Team Championship The No. 7 Red Bull/Fina/Yokohama BMW M3, driven by Marc Duez and Dieter Quester, survived...

BMW M3 FINISHES FIFTH AT ROAD ATLANTA;M3 FOUR-DOOR DEBUT MARRED BY FIRST LAP ACCIDENT

23 April, 1997

PTG Team Maintains Lead In Team Championship

The No. 7 Red Bull/Fina/Yokohama BMW M3, driven by Marc Duez and Dieter Quester, survived a first-lap incident involving five cars, including its team car, the new No. 10 Yokohama BMW M3 four-door sedan, to place fifth in the Exxon Supreme GTS-3 division of Sunday's NAPA Auto Parts Grand Prix of Road Atlanta Presented by Royal Purple Motor Oil. The No. 10 four-door M3, piloted by Derek Hill (with Bill Auberlen scheduled to co-drive), sustained serious suspension damage and failed to finish the 2-hour contest for GTS-1, 2 and 3 cars, round three of the Exxon Supreme GT Presented by Virgin Interactive Series, sanctioned by Professional SportsCar Racing (SportsCar). Tom Milner's PTG team maintained its lead in the SportsCar Team Championship, however, by four points (78-74) over the Michael Colucci (#39 Porsche 911) and Richard Raimist (#76 & #78 Porsche 911) teams, which are tied for second. The two other BMW M3s entered in the event on Road Atlanta's 2.52-mile circuit also didn't finish, following a broken driveshaft in the No. 6 Yokohama BMW M3 (driven by John Paul Jr. and Auberlen) while leading, and damage to the right front suspension on the No. 77 Alco Capital Group BMW M3, the independent entry of Pete Halsmer and Matthew Cohen, after being hit by another GTS-3 car in a race that seemed to be more a demolition derby than a sports-car race. "Obviously, we spent the bulk of the week sorting out the new four-door," said Erik Wensberg, M Brand Manager, BMW of North America, Inc. "We made a lot of progress, but we have a bit to go. In adding the extra weight to the car (SportsCar required the M3s to add 110 lbs. for this race and the remainder of the season), it looks like it has set us back. We probably broke a driveshaft because of it in the No. 6 M3. And racing accidents happen and two of our cars got caught up in a big one at the start of this race, which is unfortunate." The next race on the Exxon Supreme GT Presented by Virgin Interactive schedule is Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., on Monday, May 26. # # #

BMWs SWEEP TOP TWO POSITIONS IN SPEEDVISION CUP RACE: Mike Fitzgerald and Anthony Lazzaro led a 1-2 finish for BMW in the Sports class of Saturday's 3-hour (April 19) Speedvision Cup for Stock SportsCars race at Road Atlanta. Fitzgerald and Lazzaro, driving a BMW 328is, finished one lap ahead of the second-place 328is, driven by Jeff McMillin and Derek Hill. Unofficially, McMillin now leads the Sports driver's championship by 10 points (67-57) over Fitzgerald and Lazzaro, who are tied for second, and McMillin Motorsports leads the Sports team championship by 11 points (67-56) over the BMW team of Mike Doolin. BMW holds a 20-point lead over Honda in the Sports manufacturer's battle (75-55) and BMW and Mazda remain tied for Car of the Year honors at 75 points each.

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Derek Hill , Pete Halsmer , Anthony Lazzaro , Jeff McMillin , Dieter Quester , Marc Duez