BMW Team PTG has confirmed a two-car GT class entry in next season's Rolex Sports Car Series, where it will run a pair of BMW M3s.

Racing for BMW of North America, PTG has proven to be one of North America's premier sportscar teams, and has become synonymous with the German marque, having raced the M3 exclusively since 1995. Having delivered eleven championships in the past nine years, however, the coming season will mark the debut of Team PTG in the Rolex Series.

"We are always looking for new challenges and to see where we can showcase the M3," said Team PTG owner Tom Milner, "PTG's roots are in endurance racing and we have seen our greatest success in the long-distance races. Some of the tracks we will see next season will be familiar and a few will be new to us, but we look forward to getting back to what BMW Team PTG does best."

Constructed and prepared in-house at PTG's Virginia headquarters, the first M3 is planned to run at the 3-5 January test at Daytona International Speedway, with a second M3 to be built in time for the opening round of the Rolex Series. By the time of the 42nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of January, every part will have been tested and optimised to enhance the M3s performance for the rigors of endurance racing.

First proven in sprint racing competition last year, the PTG cars will be powered by BMW's newest generation 3.2-litre inline, six-cylinder S54 power plant. The same engine as in the production M3, the Team PTG-modified version will pump out some 420 horsepower - almost 100 more than the 333 in the road car. A carbon-fibre body panel and aerodynamic package will also help reduce the M3's weight to 2600 pounds and enhance its handling and braking qualities.

"Endurance racing is a great test of both man and machine," said BMW North America's Hernando Carvajal, "The Rolex Series is the highest mountain we can climb when you look at the distances of the twelve scheduled races in 2004."

Long-time PTG drivers Bill Auberlen and Boris Said will return to the team to anchor the effort, while Justin Marks will also return and be joined by Joey Hand. The 2001 Toyota Formula Atlantic Rookie of the Year, Hand tested with PTG and was a member of its Sebring 12 Hours that same year.

 

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