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WeatherTech Championship

Turner Leading Both GTD, GS Championships Entering Laguna

Veteran BMW squad eyeing unique double IMSA championship title win…

Photo: Peter Burke/IMSA

Turner Motorsport has continued its strong season-long form in both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge, with the team heading into this weekend’s races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with the championship lead in the GT Daytona and GS classes.

Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley regained the GTD points lead with a runner-up class finish in last month’s WeatherTech Championship round at Road America, while Auberlen and Pilot Challenge co-driver Dillon Machavern broke through for their second win of the season to increase their advantage in the GS class.

With Turner’s Foley and Vin Barletta sitting second in class standings, the team holds a considerable 260-point margin over their nearest competitors — Wright Motorsports’ Jan Heylen and the Motorsports In Action duo of Sheena Monk and Spencer Pigot that are both tied on points — heading into the final three Pilot Challenge races of the season. 

It has put the veteran BMW squad in the catbird’s seat for what could be a unique double championship-winning effort in IMSA competition.

“With a strong team effort at Road America we showed the championship in both GT Daytona and Grand Sport has to go through a Turner Motorsport BMW – and we’re not going to make it easy for anyone,” said team principal Will Turner.

While Auberlen and Foley have two class wins to their credit, consistency by the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pairing of Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn have proven to be Turner’s biggest threat in GTD.

Four GTD races remain for the team in its final season of competition with the BMW M6 GT3 prior to the rollout of the all-new BMW M4 GT3 in 2022, which Turner has placed multiple orders.

The GS title battle has been slightly more straightforward, thanks in part to Heylen’s No. 16 Wright Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport not taking part in the season-opening round at Daytona International Speedway due to an accident by Ryan Hardwick.

While rebounding to finish second in three of the next four races, Heylen has been unable to recover the lost points from Daytona, or yet to visit victory lane. The same has been the case for the MIA McLaren 570S GT4 pairing.

Multiple GS Teams Absent for Laguna Round

Saturday’s two-hour Pilot Challenge round will see a 34-car overall entry, including 21 GT4-spec cars in the GS class that sees multiple full-season teams absent.

It includes the No. 11 FCP Euro Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Nate Vincent and Michael Hurczyn, the No. 23 Notlad by RS1 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 that was victorious at Watkins Glen, as well as Rebel Rock Racing’s Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R of Robin Liddell and Frank DePew.

Sportscar365 understands that Rebel Rock has elected to skip the West Coast race after withdrawing from Road America due to driveline issues following a crash in a previous race that has left the team with no time to test with its repaired chassis.

The GS class, however, has been boosted with the return of the No. 43 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 and an all-new lineup for Automatic Racing’s No. 99 Aston Martin.

There are no changes in the entry list for TCR, which continues to be led by the Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCR pairing of Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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