Amesbury, MA. – December 7th, 2015 —Following an eventful weekend in Munich, Germany this past Friday for the BMW Sport Trophy awards, Turner Motorsport secures an impressive eight-driver lineup for the team’s sixth consecutive running in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The historic North American Endurance event will kick off the 11-race 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Similar to previous years, the Turner driver lineup for the 54th running of the Rolex 24 will include BMW Motorsport Works drivers as well as some familiar North American sports car drivers including BMW Motorsport DTM driver and 2014 Champion Marco Wittmann (DE) as well as DTM Star Maxime Martin (BE) .
The “Star Studded” BMW Driver lineup is also set to include Jens Klingmann (DE), Jessie Krohn (FI) as well as BMW North America Scholarship driver, Ashley Freiberg (US) teamed up with Turner Veterans Bret Curtis (US), Markus Palttala (FI) and Michael Marsal (US).
“This is truly one of the best BMW driver lineups we have ever had,” said Will Turner. “We are so extremely excited for the 2016 season and the 54th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. We look forward to getting this incredible amount of driver talent behind the wheel of our new BMW M6 GT3s for one of the biggest endurance races in the world, and with some luck, finishing toward the front of the GTD field.”
Will Turner added, “I want to thank Victor Leleu and BMW Motorsport for all their help to bring our 2016 season plans to fruition. Without Victor’s help and hard work we would not be in the position we are today with such an amazing driver line up and two brand new M6s on their way.”
Marco Wittmann, a BMW Motorsport DTM driver and 2014 Champion just completed his third season, scoring 5 wins and 5 pole positions since his rookie season in 2013. Prior to his DTM career, Wittmann competed in the Formula 3 Euro Series and the Formula BMW ADAC.
Maxime Martin returns to the Turner Daytona lineup after racing with the blue and yellow in 2013, making his North American racing debut in the E92 M3 GT. Since then he has competed in two full seasons of DTM for BMW Motorsport as well as frequent GT racing appearances.
“I am looking forward to the 24 Hour at Daytona as well as the entire 2016 season with our new cars and very strong driver lineups,” added Michael Marsal. “This will be my sixth season with Turner Motorsport and I don’t think I have ever been so eager to go racing.”
In addition to the Rolex 24 at Daytona driver lineup, Turner Motorsport confirms the two full-season driver duos in the No. 96 and No. 97 BMW M6 GT3s.
The No. 96 will be piloted by Bret Curtis teamed up with Jens Klingmann for the season, accompanied by Marco Wittmann and Ashley Freiberg for Daytona. The No. 97 Alvarez & Marsal BMW will see two familiar faces with Michael Marsal and Markus Palttala behind the wheel for the entire 11-race season with Jessie Krohn and Maxime Martin for the Rolex 24.
“I’m really looking forward to 2016,” said Bret Curtis. “It was a great experience racing with Turner last year so this year should be even better with the new cars and stellar driver lineups. Daytona cannot come soon enough.”
In addition to the full-time driver lineups, Turner is excited to announce the addition of Ashley Freiberg for the North American Endurance Cup events. Freiberg will be continuing as a BMW of North America Scholarship Driver and will drive in the No. 96 IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GT3 for select events.
“I really can’t find the words to describe how thankful I am for this incredible opportunity,” commented Ashley Freiberg. “So many dreams of mine are all coming true at once. To be able to race in my first Daytona 24 Hour race, with a championship-winning team, with great teammates, in the new BMW M6 GT3 is just so exciting. It is an honor to continue my relationship with BMW of North America as a Scholarship Driver and with IHG Rewards Club.”
The Turner Motorsport team prepares for the Roar before the 24 on January 8th-10th in which the team plans to have their two new M6 GT3s ready to test with the entire Rolex 24 driver lineup present.
The 54th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will take place on Saturday, January 30th.
The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:30pm ET and will be televised live from Daytona International Speedway on Fox Sports.
Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the kick off the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
|No. 97 BMW M6 GT3|
|Michael Marsal:Now entering his sixth season with Turner Motorsport, Michael Marsal will take the wheel in the No. 97 Alvarez & Marsal BMW M6 GT3 for the entire 2016 season with co-driver Markus Palttala. Last season Marsal completed a successful first season in the GT class of IMSA’s United SportsCar Championship with Palttala in the No. 97 BMW Z4 GTD, claiming eight top-10s, three top-5s, two podiums and a thrilling come-from-behind victory at Lime Rock Park. Marsal brings extensive North American endurance racing experience to the Turner team, having competed at top tracks throughout North America in multiple Turner race cars and in a variety of race series.|
|Markus Palttala:2016 will be the third full-season for Markus Palttala with Turner Motorsport. In his first season with the team Palttala and co-driver Dane Cameron captured the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the BMW Z4 GTD, winning four races with six podiums and ten 10-ten finishes. He followed-up his championship-winning performance in 2015 with another competitive campaign alongside Michael Marsal, In addition to his success in North America, Palttala has had a large amount of success throughout Europe racing BMWs. The Finnish driver has started in over thirty 24 Hour starts including Le Mans, the Nurburgring and Spa all driving a BMW, claiming multiple victories in the process. This season Palttala will once again be paired with Marsal looking to put the blue and yellow Turner BMW on the top of the podium.|
|Maxime Martin:Maxime Martin is returning to the blue and yellow BMW’s of Turner Motorsport for the first time since co-driving the No. 93 BMW M3 GT with Michael Marsal during the 51st annual Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in 2013. That same year Martin started his rise through the ranks of the German DTM, first as a test and development driver, before his debut season with BMW Team RMG in 2014. In only his fifth DTM race he climbed to the top of the podium, on his way to “rookie of the year” honors. In addition to the German DTM Martin has competed in numerous series and races, including the ADAC GT3 German Championship, Blancpain Endurance Series. Martin will drive the No. 97 M6 GT3 during the 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona.|
|Jesse Krohn:Jesse Krohn will make his inaugural drive for Turner Motorsport during the 54th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. As one of BMW’s most promising and talented young GT drivers, the Finland native will continue to hone his skills in the Turner No. 97 M6 GT3. After winning the first class of the BMW Motorsport Junior Program in 2014, driving a BMW M235i Racing, Krohn was promoted to drive with Marc VDS Racing in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), along with the VLN Endurance Championship with Walkenhorst Motorsport. Krohn continued to impress throughout the 2015 season, taking class victories with Marc VDS Racing during the ELMS season finale at Estoril, as well as a second place at the VLN finale, securing the Speed Trophy Championship in the process.|
|No. 96 BMW M6 GT3|
|Bret Curtis: Bret Curtis is returning to drive for the blue and yellow BMWs after a strong first-season driving the No. 32 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 in the GT-A class of Pirelli World Challenge that included a season-best second place finish at Barber Motorsports Park. This season he will pilot the all-new BMW M6 GT3 with co-driver and BMW Factory Driver, Jens Klingmann in the GTD class of the Weathertech United SportsCar Championship. Prior to joining the Turner team in 2014, Curtis established himself in some of the world’s most prestigious and grueling races, including a total of six 24-hour races, four 12-hour races and three 6-hour races. He has achieved class and overall victories, along with eight podiums finishes in multiple racing series, on multiple continents at such legendary tracks as Le Mans, Daytona, Spa Francorchamps, Bathurst, Sebring and Laguna Seca.|
|Jens Klingmann:Twenty-five-year-old BMW Factory Driver Jens Klingmann brings significant endurance experience to an already stout Turner driver lineup. For the 2016 season, Klingmann will co-drive the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with Bret Curtis. Klingmann tested with Turner Motorsport and the BMW M6 GT3 during the team’s test at Daytona International Speedway last month. In 2015 he supported BMW Team RLL at Daytona, Sebring and Road Altanta as well as completed a full season of the ADAC GT Masters in a BMW Z4 GT3. This will be his first full season competing in the Weathertech United SportsCar Championship.|
|Marco Wittmann:Marco Wittmann, who in 2014 at the age of 24 became the youngest ever German DTM Champion for BMW, and the third youngest overall champion in the series’ illustrious and storied history. His storybook second season in the German DTM started with a season-opening victory in Hockenheim. Wittmann carried his success through the season, winning three additional races en route to the championship. Wittmann kicked off his BMW racing career in the German Formula BMW series, taking two victories and four podiums. Following continued success in Formula BMW Europe and the Formula 3 Euro Series Wittmann became a DTM test and development driver in 2012, making his DTM debut the following season in 2013. Wittmann will drive the Turner Motorsport No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 alongside Curtis, Klingmann and Freiberg during the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona.|
|Ashley Freiberg:For the past two seasons, Freiberg has driven a BMW E92 M3 in the Grand Sport (GS) class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. During her time in the CTSCC she captured numerous class victories, including being the first female overall race winner at Daytona International Speedway. In 2015 she took home three podiums, along with the overall victory at Petit Le Mans. In 2013 she was the first female to win a Porsche GT3 Cup race when she took the top of the podium at Watkins Glen. This will be Freiberg’s first season competing in the GT class of the Weathertech United SportsCar Championship and will take part in select rounds of the Patron North American Endurance Cup at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. When Freiberg takes to the track in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 at Daytona International Speedway she will become the first female driver in Turner Motorsport history.|
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About Turner Motorsport: Turner Motorsport is the leading BMW tuner in North America, bringing technology and expertise from the racetrack to the street for over two decades. Since 1993 the Turner Motorsport Team has competed in over 300 professional races, winning seven professional racing championships in four different series since 2003. The most recent being the 2014 Team Championship in the GTD-class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Their success is passed into every component that Turner Motorsport designs and sells through their comprehensive website and performance showroom. Our Race Team, R&D Engineers and Sales Team work together, ensuring practical knowledge and state-of-the-art engineering flow in both directions. Few companies in North America can claim such a close relationship to what they sell and what they race.
2016 Weathertech SportsCar Championship Schedule
Janaury 30 – Rolex 24 at Daytona
March 19 – Twelve Hours of Sebring
April 16 – Long Beach (P, PC and GTLM only)
May 1 – Laguna Seca
June 4 – Detroit Belle Isle (P, PC and GTD only)
July 3 – Watkins Glen
July 10 – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
July 23 – Lime Rock Park (PC, GTLM and GTD only)
August 7 – Road America
August 28 – Virginia International Raceway (GTLM and GTD only)
September 17 – Circuit of The Americas
October 1 – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta
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