Marsal Gains More Experience at Mid-Ohio With Double-Duty GRAND-AM Day
Lexington, Ohio (17 September 2011) – Michael Marsal overcame numerous obstacles in both the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Rolex Sports Car Series season finales at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to complete a grueling near four hours of racing on Saturday.
The day opened with the 2.5-hour Continental Tire race in which Marsal took control of the No. 97 BMW from Turner Motorsport co-driver Sam Schultz for the final two hours of the race. Following the team’s first pit stop, Marsal re-entered the field in the 21st position. Despite several caution periods which saw the race pace slowed seven times, Marsal began to make his way through the field as he made up several positions to run 16th.
Unfortunately the forward movement would not yield the strong result Marsal had hoped for as he worked through persistent radio communication issues and contact from another competitor to finish the race 21st among the 71-car combined class grid.
With just over an hour between races, Marsal was right back in race action as he teamed with Turner Motorsport team owner Will Turner in the No. 93 BMW for the Rolex Series GT race. Turner began the 2.75-hour event before handing the car over to Marsal for the middle stint of the race.
Marsal would have another tough race ahead of him as the team continued to experience radio communication issues. The No. 93 would drop deep in the field when the team was issued a penalty due to an issue with the pit speed limiter on the car but despite the setback, Marsal and Turner wheeled the BMW back to a 15th place finish.
“It’s definitely tough to switch back and forth between two cars and it’s a lot of driving,” said Marsal of the compact race schedule. “I drove two hours in the first race and an hour and 40 minutes in the second. Making the adjustment from GT to GS is really a tough one – it’s hard to drive fast in one series and then be off the pace in the other one. There is some some practice to be had in order to get myself up to speed in those cars. We had an overall good experience – but it’s left foot braking versus right foot braking, sequential versus H pattern gear box, and frankly the 97 car, which I’ve been driving for two years, I know like the back of my hand versus a brand new car. Definitely, there is much to learn before the Rolex 24, but it was a good experience today. I had some good laps in the car.”