After winning the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season finale at Road Atlanta, Ashley Freiberg ended a tough 2015 season on a high but was unsure what would develop next in her sports car career.
Fall-Line Motorsports’ venerable BMW M3 made its last scheduled start at Road Atlanta. Without the team setting plans for 2016, both Freiberg and co-driver Trent Hindman joined the long list of talented young drivers trying to figure out their next step.
As it’s turned out, it appears the 24-year-old Freiberg might be slated for one of the busiest – and most diverse – driving campaigns in North America this season.
In December, Freiberg was confirmed with Turner Motorsport for a Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup program in one of the team’s new BMW M6 GT3s.
At Daytona, she’ll share the No. 96 BMW with Jens Klingmann, Bret Curtis and Marco Wittmann.
That initial four-race program has grown by seven races to complete a full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, albeit one split in two classes.
Just prior to the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test, it was confirmed she’d join Starworks Motorsport in one of its Prototype Challenge cars for all sprint races. She’ll share the No. 88 Oreca FLM09 with Mark Kvamme.
She heads into both programs with limited laps in her new cars, but still a healthy amount of experience at most circuits from her last two seasons in the Continental Tire Challenge.
“It’s typical racing. You never know what you’re going to do until the last minute,” Freiberg told Sportscar365.
“I totally appreciate everything Fall-Line has done for me and it’s kind of a bummer to not see them here.
“But I’m also really grateful for being here with Turner Motorsport in the new M6, and also Starworks Motorsport in the PC car.”
Freiberg turned her first laps in the M6 at the Roar, although she only got one lap in on Friday before completing several more the remainder of the weekend.
Her maiden PC test experience with Starworks came during the November Daytona test, in a brief run in the Peter Baron-led team’s No. 88 car.
Freiberg’s career shift came after racing higher downforce open-wheel cars several years ago. She starred in Skip Barber, winning races regularly, but endured a difficult Pro Mazda season in 2012 before moving into sports cars.
“It was the same sort of thing learning and adjusting,” she said. “I only got a few laps in the car (in November).
“But it’s cool to be back in a car with high downforce; it brings back some good memories.”
It’s likely Freiberg will close races in her PC starts, which she didn’t do in the Continental Tire Challenge series this past year. Hindman, the 2014 GS class champion, handled those duties all season in his new role.
For Daytona, Freiberg will attempt to learn and discover as much as she can from her teammates, most of whom have raced BMW’s range of GT machinery for several years.
“Working with the BMW Motorsport guys is an incredible opportunity,” she said. “I’m excited to learn as much as I can. I know Jens and Marco have tested this car quite a bit. The same is true for the guys in the second car.”
She also tested with the MINI JCW team this weekend to sample one of their ST cars, although it remains to be seen whether she’ll race in those cars.
Last year, Freiberg’s best runs in the Continental Tire Challenge series came in rain-affected races at Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.
With more seat time this season, Freiberg should continue to develop as a driver.
“It’s fun all around,” she said. “I’m excited to get more time in all these cars. It all should be a good learning experience for me.”