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Road Atlanta PTG BMW M3 Friday report

PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP BMW M3 TEAM - Press Notes for Friday, June 19 The Sports Car Grand Prix at Road Atlanta - GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive PTG BMW M3s TOP GT3 AND GT2 CHARTS IN ABBREVIATED DAY OF PRACTICE The PTG BMW M3s ...

PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP BMW M3 TEAM - Press Notes for Friday, June 19 The Sports Car Grand Prix at Road Atlanta - GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive

PTG BMW M3s TOP GT3 AND GT2 CHARTS IN ABBREVIATED DAY OF PRACTICE The PTG BMW M3s recorded the fastest GT3 and GT2 times times in morning practice today for Sunday's 3-hour, 45-minute Sports Car Grand Prix at redesigned Road Atlanta road course near Braselton, Ga. All GT and World Sports Car teams here for Sunday's race packed it in early as a persistent rain fell during the afternoon practice time slot. The No. 1 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door of Ross Bentley and Peter Cunningham toured the new 2.55-mile Road Atlanta layout in 1 minute, 27.611 seconds (an average of 105.19 mph), just ahead of their fellow GT3 competitors in the No. 23 Porsche 911. The No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 four-door of Bill Auberlen and Mark Simo was third-fastest in GT3 at 1:28.522 (104.10 mph). In GT2, the No. 6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 coupe of Marc Duez and Boris Said was fastest at 1:26.517 (106.52 mph), almost a full second a lap faster than the No. 99 GT2 Porsche 911. Road Atlanta's legendary 12-turn road course underwent substantial safety upgrades and a significant redesign on the back straight. The lengthy back straight now stops short of the venerable "dip" near the end of the back straight, which has been made into a tunnel. It has been replaced by a left-right combination of turns that lead to the final two turns and onto the front straight.

SAID PULLING DOUBLE DUTY THIS WEEKEND Boris Said, who co-drove to victory with Bill Auberlen at last week's USRRC-sanctioned event at Mid-Ohio, missed today's activities at Road Atlanta while practicing and qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at Bristol, Tenn. He'll compete in the truck race Saturday, then drive down to Road Atlanta to take part in Sunday's race here in the No. 6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 coupe. His NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team is co-owned by NASCAR veteran Ernie Irvan and PTG BMW M3 teammate Mark Simo.

BILL AUBERLEN, No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Four-Door (GT3): "We feel comfortable packing it in early today because we had an excellent full day of testing here yesterday (Thursday). Today, I had a chance to get in our No. 6 BMW M3 and our No. 1 car to make sure all the setups are on target. I have a little more experience in certain aspects of driving these BMWs than our other drivers, so it was nice to have the time to check them out. So far, I think the cars are handling about as well as I've ever felt them at any given track. I'm very satisfied. A year ago, we came here with our four-door for the very first time, and we found that some of the geometry just wasn't right yet. That hurts your confidence level as a driver, and your performance out on the track. Consequently, we didn't have the greatest weekend (a fifth place being the best finish in the race out of three cars entered). Now, we're light years ahead of last year. Let's hope we can keep it up."

MARK SIMO, No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3 Four-Door (GT3): "I really like what they've done to the track. I drove here in the SCCA Runoffs several years ago and fell in love with it then. But it's a much different track now. It's certainly much harder on your brakes. Before, you were at top speed heading for the dip on the back straight, and then had the aid of the uphill rise under braking. Now, you're at top speed but braking much sooner for the left-hander. On top of that, you're on a slight downhill. So it gets pretty exciting there. The BMWs are hooked up really well here this weekend. And our ABS (anti-lock braking system) lets us work the brake pedal as hard as we can without worrying about locking up the wheels. These cars are fun to drive and make it incredibly easy to just concentrate on learning the track and going faster."

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About this article
Series PSR
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Peter Cunningham , Ross Bentley , Marc Duez
Teams HART