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BMW 1997 Year in Review

BMW M3s Win It All In 1997! Woodcliff Lake, N.J.; December 31, 1997: The BMW M3, Prototype Technology Group and BMW M3 driver Bill Auberlen captured all the available championships in the GTS-3 class of the 1997 Exxon Supreme GT Series...

BMW M3s Win It All In 1997!

Woodcliff Lake, N.J.; December 31, 1997: The BMW M3, Prototype Technology Group and BMW M3 driver Bill Auberlen captured all the available championships in the GTS-3 class of the 1997 Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive, sanctioned by Professional SportsCar Racing Inc.

In only its third year in world-class SportsCar competition, the BMW M3 demonstrated its exceptional performance and reliability by winning nine of the season's 11 races (including the Daytona 24-hour and Sebring 12-hour events), claiming seven pole posi tions and winning its second consecutive GTS-3 Manufacturer's Championship.

PTG BMW M3 driver Bill Auberlen took the Driver's Championship crown and Prototype Technology Group, headed by Tom Milner, which has campaigned up to five BMW M3s in the GTS-3 class since 1995, secured the inaugural Team Championship.

The BMW M3's 1997 record stands as follows:

* Nine of 11 races won (eight for PTG, one for Mattco Racing's independent M3 entry) * Second consecutive GTS-3 Manufacturer's Championship for BMW * GTS-3 Team Championship for Tom Milner's PTG * One-two in GTS-3 Driver's Championship (Bill Auberlen and Javier Quiros) * Seven pole positions (six by Bill Auberlen, one by Mattco's Pete Halsmer) * Four 1-2-3 race finish sweeps * Six 1-2 race finish sweeps * Twenty-two top-three finishes (20 for PTG, two for Mattco) * Twenty-eight top-five finishes (24 for PTG, four for Mattco) * Thirty-four top-10 finishes (29 for PTG, five for Mattco) * Four track qualifying records (three for PTG, one for Mattco) * Five fastest race laps (all PTG) * Qualified 1-2 three times * Qualified 1-2-3 two times * Qualified 1-2-3-4 once * Seven of top-10 drivers in championship points drove BMW M3s * First-time 1-through-5 BMW M3 race sweep (Pikes Peak) * Three wins, five poles for BMW M3 four door, introduced in third race of season

The BMW M3 driver statistics for the 1997 GTS-3 category are as follows (please note that some drivers drove in two BMW M3s in one event; they are therefore credited with the finishes of both cars):

                        *Points Standing   Wins   Top 3s   Top 5s
Bill Auberlen                1st                   5             8        9
Javier Quiros                2nd                   4             8        9
Marc Duez               5th                   2             7        9
Dieter Quester                6th                   1             5        7
Boris Said                7th                   3             8        9
Derek Hill                9th                   4             7        8
Pete Halsmer                10th                   1             2              4
Matthew Cohen                14th                   1         3
Tom Hessert                18th                   2             2        2
Butch Leitzinger        NA                             1        1
Eduardo Pellerano         NA                                      1
John Paul Jr.                NA                                      1

Other noteworthy 1997 SportsCar accomplishments for BMW include:

* BMW M3 drivers Derek Hill (First Team-At Large) and Bill Auberlen (Second Team-At Large) named to All-America Auto Racing Team, voted on by members of American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) * Speedvision Cup Car of the Year (BMW 328is) * Speedvision Cup Sports Manufacturer's Championship (BMW 328is) * Speedvision Cup Sports Class Driver's Championship (Jeff McMillin) * Speedvision Cup Rising Star Award (Mike Fitzgerald)

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Series PSR
Drivers Derek Hill , Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Pete Halsmer , Jeff McMillin , Dieter Quester , Tom Hessert , John Paul , Marc Duez , Javier Quiros