Matt Bell Rejoins Turner Motorsport for 2009 KONI Challenge; Leading BMW tuner and championship-winning racing organization brings Bell up to GS Class to team with Auberlen (13 January 2009)--Matt Bell knows that any successful recipe requires...
Matt Bell Rejoins Turner Motorsport for 2009 KONI Challenge; Leading BMW tuner and championship-winning racing organization brings Bell up to GS Class to team with Auberlen
(13 January 2009)--Matt Bell knows that any successful recipe requires the right ingredients, and he can not be blamed for looking forward to what is cooking next in his career after Turner Motorsport announced that he has been signed to co-drive the No. 96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3 with Bill Auberlen for the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge season. The package has all the right ingredients, as Bell will team with a championship-winning team, championship-winning co-driver, and a proven and fast platform in the BMW M3.
That Bell is once again racing a BMW is no surprise--the California youngster first got his start in the sport behind the wheel of Auberlen's retired World Challenge 325i in BMW Club racing events. Seeking a tougher competitive landscape while still maintaining his links to the Ultimate Driving Machine, Bell joined Turner Motorsport to campaign the 2008 KONI Challenge season in the ST class in a BMW 330i.
Despite seeing all of the tracks for the first time on race weekends, Bell proved adept as he made the most of his pro racing debut season, moving up to spray podium champagne despite racing against highly competitive fields that frequently boasted 100 cars. The 2008 season with Turner also gave Bell, who had previously focused on single-driver sprint format events, the opportunity to become more familiar with the dynamics of sharing the driving duties that are particular to endurance sports car racing.
With his rookie season in the rear view mirror, and a legend in the sport as his next benchmark for success, Bell is understandably optimistic about what comes next as the team readies for the Fresh From Florida 200 in less than two weeks time.
"I'm really grateful to Will Turner and the entire Turner Motorsport organization for giving me this opportunity to step up to the GS class with such a proven co-driver," said Bell.
"Obviously, I'm thrilled to be working with Bill (Auberlen) because I consider him the best sports car racer in North America, and I know he's going to be a great influence on how I approach my racing career. This will put a lot of pressure on me to perform, but I've always been able to step up to the next challenge in racing and this will be no different. I just can't wait to get to work at Daytona."
The pairing of young up and comer and established star is one that team owner Will Turner has had in mind for quite some time.
"Even though 2008 was just his rookie season, Matt really opened some eyes with some of the drives he had last year," said Turner. "His progression was impressive, and teaming him with Bill is only going to give Matt more tools. Whether it's feedback from other drivers or reviewing data, Matt just soaks everything up and puts it right to use every time he goes out on track. From what we saw from him last year in the ST class, we are confident that this combination will not only score results, but that they will also just get stronger as the season moves forward."