The Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen took place last Sunday and left Turner Motorsport with their third consecutive podium finish this season, landing 2nd place in the No. 94 M3, which hasn’t placed lower than 5th in the last seven races. Bill Auberlen, Paul Dalla Lana and Billy Johnson drove well and have proved themselves tough contenders in the GT series. Their hard work leaves the Turner No. 94 M3 in third for GT points. It’s all pretty impressive considering Turner has the only BMW in the Rolex GT class.
The results weren’t quite as good during Saturday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) Continental Tire 150. The No. 96 M3 of Auberlen and Dalla Lana finished eighth and the No. 97 M3 of Michael Marsal and Boris Said finished 10th.
"June was tough, but we were tougher," said Will Turner. "We race the only BMW in the Rolex GT class and after a four race run of top-five finishes we have moved to the front of the class, winning at Mid-Ohio and taking two strong seconds at Road America and Watkins Glen. Our CTSCC program has not seen the success of last season, but Watkins Glen saw two top-10's. Most importantly, Michael Marsal got his first taste of leading a race. That was exciting to see."
While Turner holds down BMW in the higher class, BimmerWorld’s trio of E90 platform 328i’s has done extremely well in Grand-Am’s Street Tuner class.
This weekends race netted another podium for team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80, an eighth-place finish for Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine in the No. 81 and a 15th-place result for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82, and while the results are clear when listed, there’s one thing you don’t know: these three BMW’s rank among the most heavily restricted cars in GRAND-AM's Street Tuner class. Yet, despite the massive amount of weight the cars carry, and the air restrictors that limit the power from the BMW's six-cylinder engines, Clay's team has continued to deliver performances that should be, for the most part, impossible. With hopes of increasing output or performance beyond the restrictions put to rest, BimmerWorld’s focus for 2012 has been to hone every other possible area of the cars, team and drivers, and it’s paid off.
"The BimmerWorld guys are rock-solid, and even if we aren't as gifted as other models in the regulations currently, our whole team has managed to make a lot happen with willpower alone," said Clay. "The majority of our crew is full-time in the shop which I think is a big plus for our team when we have the crazy workload of a three-race stretch like the one we just completed. But beyond the standard prep work, these guys have been putting in long days at the track also to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be when we hit the track. Combine that with a driving staff that has put their heads down to make results happen, and with each car visiting the podium this year, I feel like we are maximizing what we have been given.
With both Turner Motorsports and BimmerWorld making an enormous presence in the Rolex series, it’s nice to see BMW being not only a part of, but such a force to be reckoned with in motorsports, and even better having cars backed by two phenomenal teams.
The second half of the Grand-Am season holds five more Rolex races and three more CTSCC races that will include the first sports car races held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the Grand Am's only race on the West Coast at Laguna Seca Raceway. The season will finish at Turner Motorsport's home track – Lime Rock Park, in Northwest, Connecticut.