Turner Motorsport Hits 200-Start Plateau With BMW There are some impressive streaks and benchmarks in sports, and Turner Motorsport is looking forward to adding to that history this weekend as the team prepares for its 200th professional race ...
Turner Motorsport Hits 200-Start Plateau With BMW
There are some impressive streaks and benchmarks in sports, and Turner Motorsport is looking forward to adding to that history this weekend as the team prepares for its 200th professional race start at Lime Rock Park. Turner Motorsport, which has made every one of those starts (and more than 100 additional starts in the club racing ranks) with BMW, will race in both GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races on Saturday, and the Rolex Sports Car Series on Monday. That this benchmark is reached at Lime Rock Park is particularly fitting for the team, as the track is the site where team owner Will Turner's passion for auto racing was first ignited.
"I still remember parking the car up top and walking down the hill into the paddock and just being amazed that you could you walk right into where the drivers were and could see where the cars were being worked on, right there," Turner said. "I walked down to Turn 1, and I'll never forget being there for a GT race, with the cars screaming into the corner, wiggling under braking, with flames coming out the side. All that speed and sound, it just sent chills through my body. I had never seen anything seen anything go so fast, and then stop and turn, and then keep going. It still carries with me to this day."
Turner Motorsport cars have won races in three of four GS starts.
Seventy Cars Entered: A total of 70 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge cars - 38 in the Street Tuner (ST) class and 32 in Grand Sport (GS) - are entered for the fifth round of the season at Lime Rock Park. Both classes will compete in separate two-and-a-half races on Saturday. Turner Motorsport, the defending GS race-winning team, and Compass360 Racing, the reigning ST race-winning team, are both entered with multiple cars. Area Connect(icut)ions: Several drivers from Connecticut will run one of two Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races Saturday. They include Todd Snyder (No. 11 Strategic Occupancy Solutions Ford Mustang GT) of Canaan and Stewart Tetreault (No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera) and Adam Burrows (No. 12 Infinity Audio/HD Radio Kia Forte Koup), both of Canton. Riley Racing co-drivers and brothers Jameson and AJ Riley (No. 66 Riley Mazda/Driven Clothing Mazda RX-8) of Wilton, Conn., are also entered. Marren Motor Sports Inc., with drivers Rich Cullen and Toby Grahovec (No. 55 Marren Fuel Injection/Colorgraphix Honda Civic Si), is the lone Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team from Connecticut, with team owner Tim Marren of Oxford.
Who's Leading, Anyway?: It has been five weeks since the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge has raced, and the Memorial Day Weekend Classic is the season's midway point.
Leading after four races in the GS class are Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman (No. 48 Sparco/Battery Tender BMW M3), who hold a one-point advantage (111-110) over four drivers - their Fall-Line Motorsports teammates Terry Borcheller and Andrew Hendricks (No. 45 Stable One Racing BMW M3) and Turner Motorsport co-drivers Joey Hand and Michael Marsal (No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3).
In ST, Compass360 Racing co-drivers Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius (No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si) hold a six-point cushion (123-117) over BimmerWorld/GearWrench co-pilots Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann (No. 81 Performance Friction/Rays Engineering BMW 328i).
Mirachi A Regular At Lime Rock
Many teams and drivers will make their first appearances at Lime Rock Park, and some will compete after an absence.
Then there is Jon Mirachi, who first attended a race at the Connecticut track in 1967 with his father and two brothers. He has been going almost every year since, and this weekend, his Racers Edge Motorsports team will compete in both GRAND-AM races this weekend.
"Needless to say, I know that place really well and I love it there," Mirachi said.
The New Jersey-born Mirachi knows Lime Rock from more than one perspective. He started as a spectator, then attended driving school and obtained a competition license at the track in 1978. He said he has raced around 40 times at Lime Rock, setting several track records and winning his first race there in the early 1990s, and tested there more than at any other track. He also began his driver coaching career there and coached several drivers who have competed in GRAND-AM, including Adam Burrows and Guy Cosmo.
Not surprisingly, there have been many memorable moments. But one specific instance at Lime Rock had a profound impact on Mirachi's life.
"When I first crossed the bridge in 1967, a couple of F5000 cars went under us on the downhill straightaway and shook the car we were in," Mirachi said. "That really changed my life and was really when I fell in love with racing."
His Rolex Series entry will be contested by Todd Lamb and Jordan Taylor (No. 30 IDEMITSU Mazda RX-8) and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge entry driven by Jade Buford and Manuel Gutierrez (No. 29 Gume Transport Ford Mustang Boss 302R).