Impressive Rolex 24 At Daytona Debut for Turner Motorsport (DAYTONA BEACH, FL) 31 January 2010 -- The 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona threw 24 hours of constant curveballs at Turner Motorsport as the team made a debut Rolex Sports Car Series race...
Impressive Rolex 24 At Daytona Debut for Turner Motorsport
(DAYTONA BEACH, FL) 31 January 2010 -- The 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona threw 24 hours of constant curveballs at Turner Motorsport as the team made a debut Rolex Sports Car Series race outing in one of the toughest events on the calendar. But the experienced team responded with the same kind of dedication, preparation, and focus that has earned the organization countless wins and championships in races across the country.
The team, which was making its 192nd start in professional racing with a BMW, was making its very first start in the Rolex Sports Car Series, although one would be hard-pressed to feel accurate in calling the organization a "rookie" outfit.
And that showed.
Drivers Paul Dalla Lana, Boris Said, Bill Auberlen, and Joey Hand combined to take the No. 94 NorthWest/Turner Motorsport BMW M6 to the checkered flag in one of the sports most challenging events as the machine crossed the finish line and scored 8th in the GT Class results after 24 hours on the high banks at Daytona International Speedway.
The season lid-lifter event, which opened with conditions that were so wet that the race was kicked off under yellow flag conditions, saw the team lead on multiple occasions while also fighting back from several significant setbacks.
The first of these was the proverbial twenty-dollar part failure, as an intake tube collapsed and significantly reduced the air intake for the BMW M Power motor. The loss of power and ensuing pit stop for repairs slowed the effort significantly as the field flew by the stationary blue and yellow machine.
When asked by the Speed Channel broadcasters how much the piece cost, WIll Turner could only say, "...about nine laps."
Undeterred, and focused on learning as much as possible about the new Riley Technologies-based GT Chassis mated to BMW M-power, the team set about working their way back up the order once again on the strength of the stellar driving line up despite the myriad of issues that kept cropping up.
The team, comprised of "hot-shoes," were literally just that as the foot box in the cockpit created so much heat that the drivers were soon wrapping protective insular materials around their driving boots to keep things reasonable temperature-wise.
And while the drivers certainly weren't afraid to mention that situation on the radio, it wasn't over-use of the radio that forced the team to change the battery every pit stop. An alternator belt was slipping, causing the charge to fall and adding yet another item to the teams to-do list for every single stop, which were carried out with aplomb.
But the BMW M6 just kept on running, setting a strong pace and moving back up the charts once again. The challenges of a 24 hour race saw the field thinning with every sweep of the big Rolex watch keeping race time, allowing the M6 to keep stretching its legs and making up more and more time.
As the sun came up on the race, the rookie stripes were quickly wearing off as the team kept the pit stops clean and fast despite the battery changes and the other small issues that required new and creative solutions. After falling deep in the order, the fast laps and metronomic pit stops combined to see the M6 move up to 8th at the finish as Dalla Lana took the controls for the final stint.
"It felt great to cross that line," said Dalla Lana. "What an unbelievable experience! To cross the line like that after the struggles we had through the night was just great. With the problems we had, you just don't imagine that you are going to be there for the finish, but we were. But the team pulled it all together and now here we are. It's a great sense of accomplishment. I've done the Baja 1000, but this was really an amazing thing to experience. I'm in awe of how great it is."
"It's a little bit surreal that its over," said Turner. "I remember looking at the clock and noticing that it was four hours in, and I was thinking wow we have a long way to go. The tired factor definitely plays a factor in it. We started with the car in the rain, and then Joey got it up to the lead, and then had some problems, and then went back to the lead, and then we weren't in contention, but the car kept running and we just kept going. So to see Paul (Dalla Lana) cross the line, it's a great achievement for us, to have the "rookies" finish the race in our first try."
"For coming right out of the box, not knowing the car, and performing like this is a tribute to all the guys at Turner, they know what they are doing no matter what car they are racing," said Auberlen. "We had the pace in the race, and all weekend. We had some small issues, ones that if we got to do it again next week, the team would completely solve. I'd like to do it again next week! The team made a jump to GT, a little outside their comfort zone, but Will knows how to manage and build a team for what is needed. As a driver you are always looking for an unfair advantage, and Turner Motorsport is that advantage."
"I finally finished a 24!" said Hand. "It took a lot to finish-it was a long night. A lot of times we thought we were in trouble, but we just kept plugging away. This is a stellar line up of mechanics, and I've been with a lot of them for many years, some of the best in the world. Small little problems-the tubing and the alternator-cost us but they responded well. Without that, we were in contention, so I was pleasantly surprised. I have a blistered foot from the heat, but its great to make it to the finish!"
"The car was good for a first time out, and the team did just about everything right," commented Boris Said. "There was a lot of very good competition in this class. But there was less traffic, so you got a lot more laps without traffic so that was pretty fun. The M6 handled great and was great in the rain. We just had a few little unusual problems along the way. For Turner Motorsport, with a first time out, this was a big accomplishment and now they know what they need to work on for next year."
-source: turner motorsport