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Laguna Seca: BMW Team Thursday test notes

BMW Team PTG returns to California; Bryce Miller added in a fifth M3 for remainder of 2003 speed GT season With three races remaining in the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship, BMW Team PTG opened Round 8 at Laguna Seca Raceway ...

BMW Team PTG returns to California;
Bryce Miller added in a fifth M3 for remainder of 2003 speed GT season

With three races remaining in the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship, BMW Team PTG opened Round 8 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., by adding 22-year old Bryce Miller of Morristown, N.J., in its fifth BMW M3 for the remainder of the season.

Bryce will join Team PTG regulars Auberlen, Boris Said, Hans Stuck and Justin Marks.

Going into this event, BMW leads the Manufacturer's Championship and Bill Auberlen sits atop the Driver's Championship standings.

On the team's last visit to the Golden State in July, BMW Team PTG made Speed GT history by finishing 1-2-3-4 in Round 6 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.

BMW Team PTG has raced a fifth M3 once before this season at Round 5 at Road Atlanta with Nic Jonsson behind the wheel.

Miller joins the team after a successful test with the team at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., last week. He began racing go-karts at the age of 8 and has a number of years of open-wheel racing experience. Most recently he raced in Germany.

BMW Team PTG is competing this weekend with an additional 150 pounds of lead on each car, mandated by SCCA Pro Racing.

Official practice for the weekend is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. PT on Friday, Sept. 5. A single 20-minute qualifying session is scheduled for 10:55 a.m. PT Saturday, Sept. 6, and the Round-8 50-minute race's standing start is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. PT on Sunday.

BORIS SAID, NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3:

"I was just here for the Monterey Historics driving a 1970 BMW 2002 and that was great fun, but I am happy to be back behind the wheel of an M3. The track is always slippery so we are working hard to find the balance and get the car to hook up both front and rear. Unfortunately the track starts slippery and gets more slippery through the weekend so testing is very important."

BILL AUBERLEN, NO. 7 BMW TEAM PTG M3:

"The M3 is handling quite well, but the extra weight is presenting some problems. I need to rely on the crew and engineers even more to find the best way to minimize its effects."

HANS STUCK, NO.8 BMW TEAM PTG M3:

"It is always nice to return to Laguna Seca. My crew has prepared my M3 wonderfully from the start. We made a number of adjustments today from the bottom of the car to the top. First ride height, then bars, then the Gurney lip on the rear wing and we have always gone in the right direction. It seems funny that on a low-grip track like Laguna a new set of tires is still fastest on the first lap, but we will see if we can make some changes tomorrow that will give us a bit more tire to work with in qualifying."

JUSTIN MARKS, NO. 80 BMW TEAM PTG M3:

"It seems that chasing an understeer is a characteristic of the first day at Laguna. I can feel the added 150 pounds. The weight has slowed the transition of the M3 and it does not react as quickly as in the past. I am optimistic that we will still be competitive as we made excellent progress today."

BRYCE MILLER, NO. 81 PTG M3:

"This is a pretty difficult track to learn as it is quite slippery. The 'corkscrew' (turn) is tricky; it feels like you are going off a ski jump. The M3 was very good for most of the day until we raised the rear and the car got too loose, so that is what we will be working on tomorrow. I am comfortable in the M3, but need to get some more clear laps in the next sessions."

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Series PWC
Drivers Nic Jönsson