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)