BMW bring new M3 to Silverstone

BMW Team PTG will introduce a second 2001 BMW M3 and new team colours at the inaugural European Le Mans Series event, the Silverstone 500 USA Challenge.

BMW bring new M3 to Silverstone

The first 2001 M3, the team's No. 6 car, has raced in Sebring and Charlotte this season with drivers Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., Hans Stuck of Austria and Johannes van Overbeek. The new No. 10 BMW M3 will be driven by Brian Cunningham, Peter Cunningham, and team newcomer Nic Jonsson.

"One of things that we were pleased with at Charlotte was to watch the new M3 race competitively for three hours in only its second race," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America.

"A fourth-place finish is not bad for a car that was completed less than 30 days before that race.

"We are taking what we've learned at the first two races and applying all that knowledge to the development of the new car. We learned that we need to get lean and mean - we need to shed a few pounds and add a little bit more muscle. Silverstone will be the opportunity for us to launch our second 2001 M3 race car in the wake of its United States debut at the New York auto show on April 19."

BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner is optimistic about the new car. "We learned from the first two races, so I think this car is going to be better," he said. "We know we need to work on the engine, and that's the main thing we're doing for Silverstone." He said the team's M3s will also sport new colours for the 500-km, three-hour race.
Three of the team's six drivers have raced at the 3.194-mile Silverstone track. Hans Stuck has competed there since 1975, in Formula 1, Formula 2, sports cars and touring cars. Brian Cunningham raced for a British Formula Three team based at Silverstone from 1993 to 1996. He met and married his wife Susan in nearby Wicken. And team newcomer Nic Jonsson raced Formula 3 at Silverstone in 1992 and 1993.

"Silverstone is a very good challenge for us because it's a pretty speedy track," Stuck said.

"We have done some development work on the new car, so we're looking forward to closing the gap a little bit between the Porsches and ourselves.

"Silverstone is a top-class facility and it's one of the very few circuits they have not destroyed by putting in any silly chicanes. They have brought the speed down by really constructing and building very interesting corner combinations - even a little bit uphill, downhill - and it has a couple of spots where a high skill of driving is required."

Brian Cunningham echoed Stuck's praise. "I think it's a great step for the championship to open up at Silverstone," he said. "It's a wonderfully professional circuit. It's a rhythm circuit and it definitely offers some great corners for drivers. Silverstone is a long track and it's got a lot of corners where there's a lot of time, where you don't think there is. I think it's going to be very important for all the drivers to really learn the track and get all the time out of it."

The Silverstone 500 USA Challenge is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on May 13.

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