Woodcliff Lake, NJ - November 28, 2005... BMW announced today an expansion of its very successful North American M3 racing program. Begun in 1995, BMW M3s have raced to more than 53 wins in 108 races entered, primarily as a result of the efforts of BMW NA-supported BMW Team PTG. In 2006, two BMW Team PTG M3s will compete in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class, under the new S2 rules. BMW Team PTG competed in the American Le Mans Series from 1999 through 2001, as well as the 2003 Petit Le Mans. Every lap of BMW Team PTG's previous ALMS success came on Yokohama tires and that relationship will be renewed in 2006. In BMW's last full season of ALMS competition in 2001, BMW Team PTG won the Grand Prix of Portland and the Petit Le Mans as they combined with BMW Motorsport to dominate the GT class and sweep the Manufacturer, Team and Drivers titles.
All five of the BMW Team PTG M3s that combined to win 17 of 25 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class races in the last two seasons, including the 2004 Manufacturer, Team and Driver Championships, have been sold to two private teams that will continue to race in that series. BMW Team PTG will provide technical support and BMW will enhance its privateer contingency program to support this effort. In 2005, more than $70K was awarded to privately entered BMW racers in the Rolex and Grand-Am Cup Series.
"In 2006, BMW fans will see more M3s racing in professional sports car championships than ever before," said Larry Koch, M Brand Manager for BMW. "With BMW Team PTG ensuring that "the car is the star" in the American Le Mans Series and four BMW Team PTG-supported privately entered M3s continuing BMW's success in the Rolex Sports Car Series we are anticipating another stellar racing season. In fact, our new approach has already delivered excellent results. In the final Rolex Series race in Mexico City the Sigalsport M3, supported by BMW Team PTG and BMW NA driver Bill Auberlen, took the GT class pole and finished second."
BMW Team PTG will begin testing its new ALMS M3s in January and drivers will be announced in the near future.
The Rolex Sports Car Series begins its 14-race season on January 28th with the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the American Le Mans Series starts its 10-race season at the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 18th.