IMSA: Turner BMW confirms full-time return for Bill Auberlen in GTD
Turner Motorsport has confirmed its line-ups for the Rolex 24 At Daytona and beyond, including a full-time return to the team for BMW Motorsport ace Bill Auberlen.
Turner BMWs will appear in both the GT Daytona and Grand Sport classes for the first round of the Weathertech SportsCar Championship and the Michelin Pilot Challenge at Daytona in January. 2019 will mark the team’s 21st year competing in professional sports car racing and its 400th race with BMW.
The Liqui Moly-liveried number 96 BMW M6 GT3 will return to compete in the GTD class with its familiar white, red and blue paint scheme. Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern will return behind the wheel of the Turner BMW alongside BMW Motorsport aces Bill Auberlen and Jens Klingmann for the Rolex 24, with Foley and Auberlen carrying on for the full 11-race GTD season.
For Auberlen it will mark a return to full-time duty with Turner Motorsport for the first time since 2013, as the veteran hopes to chase down the all-time record for sports car wins in North America.
Bill Auberlen (Image by Richard Dole/LAT)
“I am very pleased to race the full 2019 IMSA season with BMW, Turner Motorsport and Robby Foley,” Auberlen said. “There are very few things I have not done in a BMW over the last two decades, but this year there is something that has my focus. I am only three victories away from being the all-time leader in North American sports car victories. Those wins — and the GTD championship — will make for a very good year with my friends at Turner Motorsport.”
Machavern is set to join in the North American Endurance Championship races with Foley and Auberlen at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans. Both Foley and Machavern appeared in the No. 96 Turner BMW in 2018, with Machavern scoring his first GTD victory at Watkins Glen. Foley appeared in five races with the team.
Klingmann will be back in a Turner BMW for the first time since this year’s Rolex 24. In 2017, Klingmann had a win at Road America while scoring three wins with the M6 GT3 in 2016 with Turner, including the M6 GT3s inaugural win worldwide.
In the GS class of the renamed Michelin Pilot Challenge, two fresh faces will join Foley behind the wheel of the BMW M4 GT4 in the 4-hour endurance challenge to open the season. The father and daughter pairing of Sydney McKee and Bruce McKee will team up with Foley, making their IMSA debuts after campaigning a Porsche GT4 for several seasons.
“2019 has shaped up to be a solid year for Turner Motorsport,” said Will Turner. “We were fortunate enough to put together a solid GTD program with a very strong driver line-up for both the full season and the Rolex 24. We really have a winning combination between our M6 GT3, drivers, sponsors and crew.”
“In addition, I am beyond excited to be back in the Michelin Pilot Challenge with the GT4 car at Daytona — this is the first time the blue and yellow will compete in that class since 2014, so it’s great to be back, especially with the solid driver line-up we have for the 4-hour endurance race at Daytona,” he added.
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