Turner Motorsport Announces 2010 Continental Tire Driver Line Up When the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge season takes the green flag this Friday afternoon, Turner Motorsport will look to start the ten-race championship on the right foot with a successful defense of the team’s race-winning effort from last year as the iconic blue and yellow BMW M3 machines take to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway for the Fresh From Florida 200.
Turner Motorsport, which recently announced a maiden campaign in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT Class with a BMW M6 entry, will once again post a full season two-car Grand Sports (GS) Class campaign in the newly-renamed Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge championship. The two GS machines are expected to be joined by the Turner Motorsport Street Tuner (ST) class 328i in select outings as well.
The team has a long history of attracting both championship-caliber drivers and up-and-comers in the sport to their driving roster, and the Turner Motorsport 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge driver line up reflects that trend once again.
The No. 96 H&R Springs/ Stop Tech Brakes BMW M3 will see Bill Auberlen return to Turner Motorsport for his ninth season of competition as the BMW factory ace and multi-time champion has been signed to share the driving duties with Paul Dalla Lana. The Canadian businessman joined the team in 2009, racing a select schedule but still taking three top-ten finishes including his debut podium result in the final race of the season with his run to second place at Virginia International Raceway.
The sister No. 97 Borla exhaust / Motul lubricants BMW M3 will also boast speed as well as youth, as fellow BMW factory pilot Joey Hand is joined by Turner Motorsport driver Michael Marsal, 21. A Texas native, Marsal is moving to full-time Continental Tire Challenge competition after building his experience in the PCA ranks. An avid enthusiast of the BMW brand, Marsal made his GRAND-AM debut at Trois Rivières in an ST-class 330i and joins Turner MotorSport for his rookie season as he moves directly into the GS-class ranks.
“If you want to get the best results, you have to be with the best team, so I’m very happy to be joining Turner Motorsports and getting the chance to co-drive with a guy like Joey,” said Marsal between classes as he pursues a degree in finance. “He is the man when it comes to getting the most out of a BMW. This is my first year in pro racing and there are going to be several tracks that are new to me and I’m going to have a lot to learn, but I’m in exactly the right environment to do that. The test went very well and I have an E46 M3 street car, so I was feeling very familiar with the car right away. Hopefully we can start things off for the year with a good result this weekend.”
In the same way that the team has youth and experience in the driver line-up, the Fresh From Florida car line up carries the same theme, as the No. 96 of Auberlen and Dalla Lana is the E92-iteration, with Hand and Marsal utilizing the same E46-series machinery that proved victorious for the team at Daytona in 2009. 2009 saw Turner Motorsport add yet another chapter to its BMW legacy with the team’s breakthrough ST-Class win for the BMW E90 328i at Laguna Seca, and will target a new breakthrough this year as the E92 M3 looks to make a debut in victory lane.
“We are ready to go this week, and feel like we have everything in place to have a strong run in the championship this season,” said team owner Will Turner, who will also make a select run of driving appearances through the 2010 season. “Last year was a good season with so many wins, and so many pole positions, but we didn’t end up on top of the championship, so we want to make up for that this year. We are very excited to have Michael (Marsal) joining us, and Paul (Dalla Lana) has continued to make amazing progress with us. This should be one of the most competitive seasons yet in GRAND-AM, but we are really looking forward to it and hopefully we can start the season off the way we did last year.”
Turner Motorsport will not only benefit from long-running relationships with top talents like Hand and Auberlen, but TMS will also once again enjoy partnership support from a long-held group of sponsors, including H&R Springs, Stoptech Brakes, Motul Lubricants, Borla Performance Industries, Pagid Brake Pads, and Piloti Shoes.
Tape delay coverage of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will also air on SPEED TV, slated for February 13 at 7:00 PM ET.