BMW Team PTG 1-2 in Lime Rock Speed GT Bill Auberlen led BMW Team PTG in a one-two and five finish in today's Round 3 of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. Making a spirited charge through the field...
BMW Team PTG 1-2 in Lime Rock Speed GT
Bill Auberlen led BMW Team PTG in a one-two and five finish in today's Round 3 of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. Making a spirited charge through the field under dry conditions, Auberlen took the lead from the No. 2 Audi on lap 21 after starting from his last-row, 25th starting position. He drove his No. 7 BMW Team PTG M3 to BMW Team PTG's first Speed GT victory. The 50-minute race ran 42 laps around the 1.53-mile circuit, five of which were completed under a full-course caution flag.
Boris Said finished 15 seconds behind Auberlen in second place in the No. 6 BMW Team PTG M3. He moved into the runner-up position behind his teammate on lap 31 after also passing the No. 2 Audi of Randy Pobst, who finished third.
In only his second start with Team PTG, Justin Marks drove his No. 80 BMW Team PTG M3 from his 12th starting spot to finish a strong fifth.
Hans Stuck was knocked out of the race in a first-lap incident.
BMW Team PTG drivers are no strangers to Lime Rock Park. Today's one-two finish is the fourth time the team has finished with its BMWs in the top two positions at Lime Rock Park, having finished one-two in endurance racing in 1997, 1998 and 1999 - the last year the team competed at Lime Rock before this season.
After three rounds of Speed GT racing in 2003, all BMW Team PTG drivers are in the top 10 in the Driver's Championship, with Auberlen third, Said sixth, Stuck ninth and Marks 10th. The one-two result moves BMW into third in the Manufacturer's Championship.
Round four of this GT double-header weekend is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Monday, May 26 after a 9:00 a.m. qualifying session.
BILL AUBERLEN, NO. 7 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (first):
"We had a great M3 today. I've won from the back to the front here before (Speed Touring, 2001) so this is twice now. On the restart it seemed that everyone hit the brakes but me, and I went right from eighth to fourth. Once there, Boris went one way and I went the other for third. It took me a while to get second and the pass for first was easier than I expected. We had problems in qualifying, but as I said, problems don't last long at BMW Team PTG."
BORIS SAID, NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (second):
"The BMWs are handling great. It's [BMW's] home track basically...and a lot of employees from BMW (are here). It is great to finish one-two...and congratulations to Bill. I saw him coming from the back; there was no reason to hold him up. It was a great, fun race. It was really close. We started off really unlucky in the first race of the year, and (we're) getting better and better each race."
JUSTIN MARKS, NO. 80 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fifth):
"This was a fantastic race and I could not be more happy. The start of the race was tough and I lost a few positions, but after 10 laps I started to realize how fast my M3 was and how fast I could be in it. I drove as hard as I could and I was able to get by a number of guys. I think if the race had been 10 laps longer I might have made it a one-two-three finish for BMW."
HANS STUCK, NO. 8 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (dnf):
"I was hit twice in turn one on the first lap. First a Corvette hit me in the left front wheel and broke something in the steering. I thought I could get back to the pits, but was then hit by a Porsche just behind the driver's door. Because the steering did not work properly anymore I drove slowly to the chicane and waited there until the yellow and it was safe to bring the car into the pits."
TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG:
"Lime Rock is a track where we have always finished well, although it did not look that way in qualifying. I was concerned, but with the race being a dry one I thought our chances would improve. Not taking anything away from Boris or Justin, who did a fantastic job, and Hans had bad luck, but Bill Auberlen has to be the best driver in this series - certainly he was today. Team PTG is back in the winner's circle."
TOM SALKOWSKY, MOTORSPORT MANAGER, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC:
"As we prepared for this morning's qualifying session with the weather conditions being so uncertain we were not sure what the race would bring. Once it appeared like the race would be a dry one we thought things would look better, but I don't think anyone could have predicted that incredible drive by Bill Auberlen. To go from the back to the front against the competition in Speed GT is phenomenal. All the credit to Team PTG and Bill for getting it right after qualifying. It is unfortunate what happened to Hans, but we can fix the car for Monday's race. Boris drove a consistently, aggressive race and Justin showed a lot of character in driving a terrific race. Hats off to the team and it is great to have had such a great race in front of all the BMW fans and employees."