Turner Motorsport Unveils Rolex Sports Car Series BMW M3
Countless hours of planning, design, and hard work at the Turner Motorsport BMW Tuning shop started to pay off on Friday as a beautiful new race car hit the track at Daytona International Speedway when the team officially revealed the No. 94 NorthWest BMW M3 on Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
The teams GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal GT Class entry will have a driver roster of talent to match the huge performance potential of the new machine. The GT Class campaign, which falls on the 35th anniversary of BMW’s first overall victory in the with the BMW CSL, will see some fast and familiar faces in the pits as Auberlen, Said, and Paul Dalla Lana are joined by Turner Motorsport newcomer Matt Plumb.
After years of successful competition in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge ranks, the championship-winning organization made the step up to the Rolex Sports Car Series look easy in 2010 as the ‘rookie’ squad raced to the finish of the Rolex 24 before scoring a breakthrough victory at Mid-Ohio with the Riley Technologies-based BMW M6 machine with BMW power.
Using that experience to build on, the team made the decision to commit to the M3 starting with the 2011 season, with that call based on important factors both on and off the track. With Turner Motorsport generating so much attention based on the teams on-track accomplishments, some race fans might forget that the founding reason for the team was the industry-leading aftermarket supply and custom part business that Turner founded after starting to sell high-performance brakes at BMW Club events to feed his need for track time.
“We’ve built everything we know into this car,” said Turner. “The M6 had excellent aerodynamics, but we feel as though the move to the M3 will net performance gains in some other areas. It is also much closer to the identity for Turner Motorsport and our customer base. 75 % of our sales are to 3-Series owners, and a very significant percentage of that group drive M3’s. So the M3 is more in line with our customer marketing, and we think its going to be a very strong package.”
Beyond the all-new custom-made carbon fiber bodywork for the M3, the team took every opportunity possible to improve the machine beneath the skin as well, requiring an around-the-clock effort from Turner’s bolstered staff to complete in time for the test.
With a new entry with huge potential, another typically stout Turner Motorsport driver line up including Said and Auberlen (who were part of the most recent M3 victories at Daytona when the duo were part of the remarkable back-to-back victories in 1997 and 1998) Turner is optimistic about getting a fast start to 2011 in Daytona.
“I’m proud of this car and how it turned out, so now we just want to get it out on track and get as many laps in as we can so we can get to work on finding out as much as we can about the new Continental Tires and generate as much new data as possible before coming back for the 24 at the end of the month. It has taken a ton of work to get to this point, but we are hoping we can come back here and start the year off with wins in the Rolex 24 as well as with one of our M3s in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.”