Wine Country To Wisconsin: Two Races In Two Weeks For BMW Team PTG WINCHESTER, Va. (July 17, 2003) - BMW Team PTG faces two contrasting race tracks in two weeks as it heads into the second half of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship...
Wine Country To Wisconsin: Two Races In Two Weeks For BMW Team PTG
WINCHESTER, Va. (July 17, 2003) - BMW Team PTG faces two contrasting race tracks in two weeks as it heads into the second half of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship season: the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma (Calif.) at Infineon Raceway on July 27, and the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on August 3.
The 12-turn, 2.52-mile Infineon Raceway tucked into the hills of Northern California's wine country is like a second home to Team PTG. It's the site of the team's first endurance-racing win and first 1-2-3 M3 sweep in 1996. It's also where, in 1997, the M3 four-door sedan earned its first victory, and where the Boris Said/Hans Stuck duo collected its first win in 1999.
In 2001 Team PTG added two potent V8-powered M3 GTRs to those of BMW Motorsport and went on to a 1-2-3-4 M3 GTR finish at this circuit.
On the other hand, Road America's 14 turns are spread out over an imposing 4.048 miles of Wisconsin real estate, an historic race track on which the BMW Team PTG M3s have never competed.
One track is familiar to the team and suited to the handling and braking qualities of the BMW M3 while the other circuit is largely unknown and considered to favor the competition's much larger-displacement engines. Success at each track is important to BMW Team PTG's goals of winning the 2003 Speed GT Driver's Title and the Manufacturer's Championship for BMW.
After five races, BMW leads the Manufacturer's Championship by four points over Audi and the PTG drivers are third (Bill Auberlen), fourth (Hans Stuck), sixth (Justin Marks), and eighth (Boris Said) in the Driver's Championship standings.
"With the Speed GT competition so close this season, each manufacturer has tracks that suit it slightly better than the others," commented Said, of Carlsbad, Calif. "The BMW M3 is well suited to Infineon, but Road America will be a tough track for us as it has the longest straights of anywhere we will race this year. I don''t know what the race will bring, but know I can count on some of the best food anywhere."
Stuck, of Austria, echoes his teammate's sentiments: "I think Infineon will be a great track for BMW Team PTG. It has a little bit of everything that the M3 likes very much. Brakes are important and the long radius corners should favor us a little bit. Sears Point is sort of a little Nurburgring with its spectacular ups and downs. Road America is one of the best tracks in the U.S., even though it might not be so good for us because of the long straights. Nevertheless, I think we have to wait and see. We went to Atlanta and it turned out to be a good weekend, which proves that our M3 is good for every kind of track. I personally hope that my in-car commentary system works better now. I will use a new helmet from Schuberth which is the German company that produces the helmets for F1."
"I am very excited about the upcoming race at Infineon," said Californian Marks, the newest member of Team PTG. "It's where I learned to race and it's very much a home track for me. I've had time to become acquainted with Team PTG and the M3 and now I feel I can take the next step and really start to push hard. My experience with the car really leads me to believe that it will be perfectly suited for the track. It's nice to come back home with an organization of PTG's caliber. As far as Road America goes, I have some unfinished business. I've only been there once last year with World Challenge. I really felt at home as soon as I got on the track and was never outside of the top three all weekend. Unfortunately, I pushed too hard in qualifying and had an accident that prevented me from participating in the race."
Lime Rock Park double-winner Auberlen, a California native, had a disappointing race at Road Atlanta when he was dropped from second to 10th after contact from a competitor. "Not only did I lose a podium finish, but scored no points at all," he said, "and we need to change that next weekend. The M3 won in both the wet and dry at Lime Rock so I expect nothing but a great run at Infineon. Our pole and performance at Road Atlanta certainly has me encouraged about Road America."
"Whether or not the track or conditions favor us, each of our four Team PTG BMW M3s comes to win," said BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner. "We have a great history at Infineon and have proven the M3 there over the years - and always in front of an enthusiastic crowd of BMW Car Club members. Let's just say we haven''t proven ourselves at Road America - yet."
Both Rounds 6 and 7 of the Speed GT Championship have 5:00 p.m. ET broadcast times on the Speed Channel on Saturday, August 2, and Saturday, September 6, respectively.