SCC: Iowa: Turner Motorsport race notes

TURNER BMWs COME UP BIG IN IOWA IOWA SPEEDWAY, Newton, IA (August 12, 2008) -- The Turner Motorsport BMW squad racked up more success in the Koni Challenge series this past weekend at Iowa Speedway. The three Turner BMWs achieved success ...

TURNER BMWs COME UP BIG IN IOWA

IOWA SPEEDWAY, Newton, IA (August 12, 2008) -- The Turner Motorsport BMW squad racked up more success in the Koni Challenge series this past weekend at Iowa Speedway. The three Turner BMWs achieved success in practice, qualifying, and the 2.5 hour enduro race with the end result being two podium finishes.

In the GS-class, the two Turner Motorsport BMW M3s broke the track record with the #96 Motul Lubricants/StopTech Brakes BMW M3 leading the field in the first practice session on Sunday morning and the #97 H&R Springs/Nova Derm/OCG/GoToPuertoRico.com BMW M3 not far behind in fourth overall. Later that morning in qualifying, Don Salama qualified the #97 M3 on the second row, just .02 second off the pole. Matt Alhadeff followed Salama from the third row to start the race.

In the 2.5 hour, 250-mile race on Sunday afternoon, the Turner strategy nearly paid off after the team's lightening fast pit stop kept both cars back in the top four with less than half the race remaining. A problem with a wheel bearing forced the #97 M3 to retire from their 4th place running position but Bill Auberlen in the #96 M3 kept the pressure on the leading Porsches to bring home third place, another podium finish for the team.

Bill Auberlen, pilot, #96 Motul Lubricants/StopTech Brakes BMW M3: "We had the whole package today and the entire team had the win in their sights. Our strategy was to pit for a splash of fuel during the second to last yellow to ensure that we would not run out... But the Porsches didn't take fuel -- a big gamble on their part. If the race had stayed green they would have run out but that last caution saved them. It was really close and we wouldn't have been that close without the help of our StopTech Brakes and H&R Springs -- the car was really hooked up! We set the fastest lap of the race."

In the ST-class, the #95 H&R Springs/Borla Exhaust BMW 330i, with Matt Bell and VJ Mirzayan, experienced similar success. They were in the top ten in practice again. And Mirzayan hustled the car around the 1.3 mile course for a third-row starting position (out of twenty-four cars).

The crew took advantage of a caution period early in the race to refuel the car and swap drivers. From there Matt Bell made quick work of the field, moving up into fourth place with an hour remaining. When the cars in second and third place dropped back, Bell and the Turner 330i were on the ball to snatch a podium finish and cross the line in second place. It was the duo's first podium finish in 2008.

Matt Bell, pilot, #95 H&R Springs/Borla Exhaust BMW 330i: "This was a really great weekend for everyone on the Turner team. My co-driver VJ did an excellent job putting us in a position to fight for the podium. I just had to drive consistently and smoothly and advance through the field. We came close to claiming victory and we'll take this momentum into Canada next weekend. The car was great in all respects -- especially in braking and handling. The Turner crew did their usual best."

The Turner team won't have to wait long for the next round in the Koni Challenge series. This upcoming weekend the team will defend their win on the street course in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. The #96 Motul Lubricants/StopTech Brakes BMW M3 was victorious there in 2007, after a down-to-the-wire battle with one of the Porsches. The race weekend begins on Friday with practice. The classes will be split for this race with the ST class on Saturday evening and the GS class on Sunday morning.

-credit: tm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Don Salama , Matthew Bell
Teams Turner Motorsport