1997 BMW PTG E36 M3 GTR
BMW PTG E36 M3 GTR
Auction Estimate $750,000 – $1M
Chassis STC 95 020
1 of 6 Produced
1 of 3 that were 4 door
Of the 5 cars in private hands, this is the winningest of them all
This car started life as a Super Touring car run by Raffanelli Racing in the Italian Super Touring series. Photos are on this page as the blue/red/ green Castrol car. From there it was provided as a rolling chassis to BMW TEAM PTG to be built to IMSA specs as their first four door M3 for Eduardo Pellerano. The car arrived at Las Vegas for the “SPORTSCAR” event in ‘97 as a silver car with a red, yellow and black German flag stripe waving down the car from front to rear using the #5. It was tested by Boris Said and John Paul Jr. It raced for the first time the following weekend at Pikes Peak with Pellerano and Paul Jr finishing 5th as M3s swept the top 5 positions. From there it went to Laguna and Sebring for the season finale. At Sebring it had an upright failure causing John Paul Jr to have a heavy crash at the hairpin. Pellerano decided he wanted out of his obligation and the car was bought back by PTG. The following year it was entered as a TEAM PTG car for Daytona and Sebring in plain silver #7. As there were now 2 series (USRRC and SPORTSCAR) this car would run the full USRRC calendar and select SPORTSCAR events as car #1. After the end of the USRRC season, PTG leased the car to Aspen knolls for the inaugural Petit LeMans as car#12 while entering their newest 4door chassis and using the #1. Ross Bentley would win several races and claim the USRRC title in this car and Bill Auberlin would be crowned the champion in SPORTSCAR in another chassis with BMW TEAM PTG taking the team title and BMW becoming the manufacturers champion. A great year indeed.
Aspen Knolls would continue to run the car in USRRC in 99 and in GrandAm’s debut season in 2000 in either plain white early on and later with red and blue stripes and an offset BMW roundel. They recorded a 5th place finish at Daytona ‘99 as a highlight. After that, the car then sat in the PTG shop as E36 M3s were getting outdated against the new water-cooled Porsche R/ RS models. The last team to be running in GrandAm was Marcus Motorsports in one of the original 2door variants that PTG started with in ‘95. They were based in VA near the PTG shop. Tom Milner offered the car for sale and master craftsman Larry Hahn assured Steve Marcus he could rework the car into a winner. And he did. The chassis was reworked with a wider track front end, a huge 60mm swaybar that the steering arms encircle (see photos). At the rear, the swaybar was moved into the trunk, the wheel tubs got raised and the chassis got pockets for the upper control arms to ride in. All of this allowed the car to sit 1.5” lower without tire rub or disturbing the suspension geometry. The radiator was layed out almost flat and the hood was louvered to let the air escape. At the rear was a full width proper carbon wing unlike the original horseshoe wing that was required by BMW in earlier years. That and the addition to a big valve 3.4 litre engine that put out just over 410 hp made the car a front runner. The car ran as it appeared in Aspen knolls livery briefly and then was painted in PTG’s much loved “stars and stripes” that was used at petit ‘01. Marcus and team finished 7th at Daytona in ‘03 and would run up front all year with a win at Mid Ohio always running as #69. They ultimately finished 2nd in the championship to… Bill Auberlin driving a Ferrari!
Notable drivers are: John Paul JR, Boris Said, Mark Simo, Bill Auberlin, David Donahue, Derek Hill, Ross Bentley, Peter Cunningham, Marc Duez, Pete Halsmer, Randy Pobst, Shane Lewis, Andy Pilgrim, David Murry, Brian Cunningham, Hugh Plumb and Craig Stanton.
The car was was used extensively in HSR in 04/05 and 06. Then it was sold the Greg Galdi who owns an enviable BMW collection. It was then bought back from him in 2016 and restored to its 98 Championship livery by the current owner.
- Auction: Amelia Island Select – 2018
- Lot: 228
- Status: Consignment
- Year: 1997
- Make: BMW
- Model: PTG E36 M3 GTR