Michael Marsal had an ambitious to-do list for the 2012 season. And now with a new degree, some new trophies, and a new job, the young racer can look back at a very busy year that saw him accomplish a tremendous amount both on and off the track in 2012.
And growing his racing resume to impressive new horizons, Marsal adapted quickly to the top Prototype class as he also campaigned a part-time American Le Mans Series effort with Dyson Racing.
The 2012 season also saw Marsal compete on some of the most famed racetracks around the country including Barber Motorsports Park, The Streets of Long Beach, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, The Streets of Baltimore and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
And if that wasn’t enough of a full schedule, Marsal also completed his college studies and graduated with a degree in marketing in May before beginning work full-time at Dyson Racing.
Teaming with Turner Motorsport for the third consecutive season, Marsal contested the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series co-driving with sportscar veteran Boris Said in the Turner Motorsport BMW. The duo scored five top-10 results in the 10-race season – highlighted by a season-best fourth place result at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The GRAND-AM season kicked off with the highly anticipated 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona event with Marsal competing in the Rolex Series as well as the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for Turner Motorsport. The Daytona weekend started off strongly for Marsal as he and Said drove to a sixth place result in the Continental Tire race to mark Marsal’s career-best finish in the Daytona event.
The next day, Marsal moved his focus to the prestigious Rolex 24 event as he joined teammates Bill Auberlen, Paul Dalla Lana, Dirk Muller and Dirk Werner in the No. 93 BMW GT machine. Marsal was charged with keeping the car clean and trouble free during his stints and he delivered flawlessly – never putting a wheel wrong during his times behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the promising outing hit a snag as debris was sucked into the motor intake, keeping the No. 93 down on power through the second half of the race as Marsal and his teammates ultimately had to settle for 16th at the end of the grueling 24-hour event.
After a two-month break from race action following the Daytona event, Marsal was back in action in South Florida as GRAND-AM headed to Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Homestead event brought a deluge of South Florida precipitation in what was likely the rainiest weekend of the year. But despite the tricky conditions, Marsal and Said drove from 23rd at the start to a seventh place result for their second top-10 finish of the year.
Round 4 of the schedule was at a track located in familiar territory as the New Jersey Motorsports Park circuit is situated close to Philadelphia and just a quick tear down the interstate from Marsal’s home in New York City. Having raced in Rolex competition at the dense track last season, Marsal’s knowledge and expertise of the 2.25-mile road course showed when he wheeled the No. 97 BMW to his best finish of the year as he and Said combined for a fourth-place finish.
Despite losing track time early in the weekend to a frustrating electrical fault, Marsal proved quick at Road America where he earned his best qualifying effort of the year with a run to seventh on the grid. Unfortunately what could have been a very promising run at the legendary track came to an abrupt end when contact from another competitor took the No. 97 out of contention.
Following the disappointing Road America round, Marsal was ready to rebound as GRAND-AM returned to historic Watkins Glen International. Marsal delivered another strong qualifying run to start 10th before leading his first-ever laps in GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition. He ran among the top-three in the race until nearly the half-way mark when he turned the car over to Said who would take 10th at the finish – marking the pair’s fourth top-10 of the season.
Marsal’s 2012 racing season came to a close at the home track for Turner Motorsport, Lime Rock Park. Just as he opened the season, Marsal served double-duty in the season-finale as he was once again drafted by Turner Motorsport to run the No. 93 GT in Rolex Series competition – this time joining team owner Will Turner behind the wheel.
The Rolex Series race didn’t end as hoped as a flat tire compromised the day after the splitter was damaged, but a strong run in the final Continental Tire event of the year provided more satisfaction. Marsal started 13th in Lime Rock’s GS-only race after qualifying was cancelled due to heavy rains in the area. But the conditions improved for the race, and Marsal posted another strong performance in the No. 97 BMW to make the most of a quick car and run as high as fourth in the 26-car field. Marsal and Said took seventh at the finish to close out the season with their fifth top-10 finish.
With a busy 2012 behind him, Marsal is already hard at work getting ready for 2013.
Source: Michael Marsal