When DTMPower.net was first invited to attend the PTG Tour, we knew it would be something special. Over the past five years the PTG M3's have become synonymous with winning, and to witness how these cars are created is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Actually, it's more like a once a year opportunity, because the Blue Ridge CCA hosts this event annually due to their friendship with Tom Milner, the President/Owner of Prototype Technologies Group.
The day started by meeting up with approximately fifty CCA members in Northern Virginia at Tyson’s Corner shopping mall, and departing on a ninety minute scenic drive towards PTG. Another group left from Southern Virginia, although we were the more fortunate of the two groups because our 9:35 a.m. arrival at PTG ensured that we were the first group to see the facility.
Tom Milner arrived two minutes after us in a Titanium Silver 528i wagon rolling on 17 inch BBS RC's, not too shabby for a daily transport. Our excited group of enthusiasts shuffled down the hall in anticipation of greatness, but I don't think anyone could have prepared us for what we were about to see.
Filing into the main preparation room we were greeted by Tom Milner, and a myriad of e46 M3's in various stages of completion. However, something was curiously strange about a certain engine that was haphazardly sitting atop a wooden crate. It did not take a genius to count the number of individual throttle bodies, but the fact that we were staring at a V-8 instead of an inline-6 still did not make any sense.
This was PTG, the team that can massage 420hp out of a normally aspirated M3 motor, why would they use an M5 motor? After Tom Milner began his speech it became readily apparent that in fact this was an m5 motor that was being prepared for the e46 M3. Even though this was not public knowledge, the car will be campaigned this upcoming week at Daytona so we were visiting at the perfect time.
Milner gave a 45 minute speech highlighting the philosophy of PTG and their plans for the upcoming season, along with a question/answer session with the audience. Some visitors chose to listen attentively whilst others quietly meandered around the room to watch the technicians and mechanics in action. PTG's dedication to racing was demonstrated by their constant buzzing around the room preparing the e46 M3 for accepting the M5 motor. Our group was likely a nuisance to the mechanics, but at no time did they become annoyed by our presence. The enthusiasm these men demonstrated towards their jobs made your average nine-to-five job seem like a punishment.
Everything about the facility was meticulous and all of the cars were show quality, even though they were being prepared for competition. For most CCA members, they would be happy having a carbon fiber hood or doors on their car, but for PTG it appeared that every single body panel was fabricated from lightweight material.
The interiors were all business as the normal amenities were removed in favor of functional race parts. Recaro race buckets, Willans harnesses, carbon fiber dashes and complex roll-cages were the norm for these e46 M3's.
Enormous Brembo six-piston front calipers and 4-piston rear calipers were mounted to 15 inch slotted PFC rotors. Suspension was supplied by JRZ or Moton externally adjustable shocks and Eibach springs. Forged magnesium BBS CH and LM wheels were scattered around the room while the mechanics worked on the brakes and suspensions of the M3's.
After Milner finished up his speech, we were free to roam around PTG's 23,000 square-foot facility. In addition to the main preparation room, there was a paint room, fabrication room, and the Mecca for any backyard garage bimmer mechanic, the parts room. Most of the activity was taking place in the preparation room, but we somehow managed to become friends with the head parts guy from PTG and spent most of our time there.
There was a method to our madness because there just happened to be an e36 M3 carbon fiber lightweight wing sitting atop one of the shelves. After some negotiation, I purchased one of the wings and not to be satisfied with just one, asked if there were any more. There were not only one, but two identical wings on a shelf in the back, and two other lucky DTMPower members purchased these wings.
The reason these wings are so special is because they were removed from PTG e36 M3's that previously competed in endurance races, and still have the number from their respective cars written on the bottom of the wing. Other items for sale were multiple sets of M3 lightweight springs, a European M3 oil cooler, and a set European 3.2L M3 headers.
Our 6 a.m. wake up time was now taking its toll so the DTMPower crew packed up it's calendars, posters, and Lightweight wings and walked outside the PTG facility to discover an amazing array of BMW Motorsport automobiles. Normally the predominant automobile at bimmer gatherings is the e36 m3, but not this time. E28 M5's, e30 M3's, various modified 7 series, and a pair of beautiful e34 m5's filled the parking lot and provided a great photo opportunity.
We would like to thank Tom Milner and the Prototype Technologies Group for allowing us to visit their facility. This was an unforgettable experience that made our allegiance and appreciation for the BMW marque even stronger than it was before. Special thanks to the Blue Ridge Chapter of the BMW CCA for organizing this event and allowing DTMPower to join them. In particular Erin Milliner from PTG, Steven Schlossman from the NCC CCA, and Byron McCauley and Chuck Grafton from the Blue Ridge CCA for assisting BMW ///M Power. We look forward to next year's event and seeing the new M5 motor-equipped PTG e46 M3's competing this season against the Porsches. Go PTG!