IMSA Spotlight: Bret Curtis
Driver: No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3
You’re coming off your second GTD win of the season at COTA. How did the race go from your perspective?
“We honestly didn’t think we had the car to win at COTA. We pushed to make the car as strong as we could but prior to the race we thought we would have needed tremendous luck to win COTA because so many other cars were quicker than us in the last practice and in qualifying.
“However, our engineer put together a great set up for the tough conditions in the heat on a slick track; and our team had perfect execution in the pits during the race. It all went amazingly smooth and allowed Jens and I to drive it to victory!”
How has it been taking part in your first full season in the WeatherTech Championship? Has it met your expectations?
“We are so happy to have two wins and a 2nd place at Sebring considering how strong the competition has been. IMSA has done a great job in managing a lot of very competitive drivers and teams and we’re happy to be here. I hope to be back in 2017 and to put our car in contention for a GTD championship.”
The BMW M6 GT3 is among the all-new cars for this year. How has it been coming to grips with the car?
“It wasn’t a huge transition moving from the BMW Z4 GT3 car to the M6 GT3 car because they both are front engine cars that rely on aero to make them competitive. The M6 is very well balanced and has similar characteristics that any front engine race car would have and is a huge step up for BMW compared to last year’s GT3 spec car, the Z4.
“Together with BMW, we have worked out the bugs inherent to any new race car and we learn more about the car every weekend. BMW has given us tremendous support throughout the season to ensure reliability and performance.”
What are your goals/expectations for Petit Le Mans?
“To win! Although we had two wins this year and a 2nd place at Sebring, some bad luck in other races has us currently sitting in 7th place in the GTD championship.
“While it’s going to be tough for anyone to catch the 63 car who is way ahead of everyone for the lead, we are within 11 points of 2nd place in the championship so our goal is to have a good finish at Petit on the podium to finish out strong and move up in the final 2016 GTD standings.”
What are your thoughts on the current Pro-Am/Silver-driver situation in GTD? Do you think IMSA should make any tweaks for 2017?
“I don’t blame teams for having the paid Silver drivers that some teams are using because the rules allow for it; however, I think it’s not the spirit of the class. In my opinion IMSA can and should address the situation in the rules.
“There are plenty of great ideas to manage the field in GTD so that we don’t have full paid pro driver lineups. I am sure there would be even more interest to participate in GTD from other drivers like myself if the Pro-Am/Silver situation were addressed.
“It’s really in IMSA’s best interest in my opinion and I don’t think it’s that difficult to nail down.”
How did you get your start in racing?
“I have always loved racing as a kid but never had the chance to do more than some motorcycle road racing and motocross when I was in my teens. I started a career in business after college and was never able to get in a kart or car until much later in life.
“I started racing in 2009 in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in IMSA. I’ve been lucky to have many more races since that time but this is actually my first full season in any series! I’m hoping for many more.”