When team principal Will Turner and co-driver Don Salama won the GRAND AM ST championship in 2006 and Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood followed it up with another championship for the team in 2007, it looked like Turner Motorsport was well on its way to a string of season-ending celebrations. But for a team that is synonymous with speed and victory, it might surprise some to realize that it has been a bit of a draught when it comes to championships for Turner Motorsport.
But with the team in contention for two different GRAND-AM championships, that could all change in a couple weeks at Mid-Ohio.
After breaking through to score their first Rolex Sports Car Series race win at Mid-Ohio last year, Turner Motorsport will look for another big day at the Ohio track this weekend.
Competing in both the Continental Tire Grand Sport (GS) division and the Rolex Series GT class with a combined total of three wins and eight podiums so far this year, Turner Motorsport is in contention to win not just one, but two GRAND-AM Championships.
Utilizing the potent pairing of Canadian Paul Dalla Lana and Bill Auberlen, the team kicked off the year with a podium at Daytona. That was followed up by an outstanding day at Homestead as the duo scored the Continental Tire race win, and then shoook off the champagne and marched back to the pit lane to get ready to win the Rolex Series race just hours later.
With the Homestead Rolex victory backed up by another at Barber Motorsports Park, Turner kept grabbing the points whenever possible in the hugely competitive Rolex category, with podium runs and top ten finishes in the Continental Tire ranks keeping the championship fires burning bright.
Throughout the 2011 season Paul Dalla Lana has competed in both the GS and GT classes for Turner Motorsport and has the chance of becoming the first driver to win two GRAND-AM championships in the same season. If Turner Motorsport clinches both titles, Dalla Lana would also become the first Pro-Am driver to win a Rolex Series class championship since 2006.
“If we continue to do our jobs, we’ve got a good shot at both championships,” said Dalla Lana. “Both the GS and GT fields are very deep and very competitive and everybody’s pushing. GRAND-AM has done a great job equalizing the field, and it’s going to be a dogfight to the finish.”
When Will Turner first expanded into GT class competition, he knew he had a recipe for success with his team’s championship winning experience, race-proven crew and an elite group of drivers and that combination has proven to be a winning one as he now has a shot at his first Rolex Series championship.
“To win a race for BMW in our first season of Rolex Series and then come back and be a factor in the championship this year, I think we’ve come pretty far pretty quickly as a team,” said Will Turner, who oversaw the group expand to a two-car entry in the Rolex ranks in New Jersey. “ Obviously our job is to build good cars and execute our strategy on race day, but I have to say that the drivers have done just an awesome job this year. Everyone knows how quick Bill (Auberlen) is, but I think a lot of our success falls on Paul (Dalla Lana) and the way he’s really stepped it up this year in both Continental Tire and in Rolex. It has been an incredible season, and hopefully we can finish it off right at Mid-Ohio.”
Copyright Turner Motorsport 2011