Will Turner is set to continue in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with BMW’s next-generation GT3 car, the new M6 GT3, in the team’s next natural step in the series.
Turner is expected to buy multiple M6 GT3 chassis, with one car certain for 2016 and other cars planned either as backup chassis or for use in Pirelli World Challenge.
“The only thing that would keep us away was if some crazy series changes occurred, and I don’t see that happening,” Turner told Sportscar365. “We’re going for the M6 next year.
“The biggest question is when can I get some M6s to test, because I don’t want to show up at Daytona with the M6s untested.
“BMW is working hard on putting some mileage on the cars, shaking them down, and it’s all going well and according to plan.”
Turner has seen the new cars on two occasions, both on display at Watkins Glen and at BMW’s North American headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., and is already bullish on the car’s potential.
“I think the Z4 came in without a clearer reference, as it was one of the first GT3 cars,” Turner said.
“But now BMW has a clearer picture of the competition. I’m confident right out of the box the car will be good.”
Turner is now back to fully focusing on the Turner Motorsport racing side of his business, after the overall company’s merger with ECS Tuning has been completed in the last month.
“From a personal standpoint, I have really been concentrating on the merger with Turner Motorsport and ECS Tuning, but that’s the parts side of the Turner Motorsports business,” Turner said. “Now that that’s over, we have a pretty good path and we’ll be there.
“It took nine months, roughly. It’s like having a baby, right? It didn’t take all my time for nine months, but the last two it took me away from racing to work out the details.”
While Turner is the first customer to commit to BMW’s new M6 GT3 in North America, he’s hopeful he won’t be in a similar situation as the sole customer, as he currently is with the Z4 GT3.
“There’s pros and cons of being the only team running a certain car,” Turner said. “Last year we did quite well and we got it stacked on us the first part of this season, which really hurt.
“So we’re struggling to claw back up there. But one of the advantages is that we can control our own destiny.
“Hopefully the M6 GT3 format will get some other teams wanting to come on board with that car, and there could be some strength in numbers.”
Turner expects to continue in some fashion in World Challenge next season, where the team has fielded two Z4 GT3s for customers Bret Curtis and Bill Ziegler in the GTA category for the majority of 2015.
“Every time I go to a World Challenge race, I’m in awe of the machinery that takes the start,” Turner said. “The potential is there.
“I don’t think the series is quite up to par with the hardware they have running there. But if they can bridge that gap, and get the series up to speed to match the cars, it’s great. The business model works really well.”
The new World Challenge Sprint-X series, announced just before Detroit, holds some interest for Turner, but more series details would need to be revealed before any commitment is made.
“At first I thought, no way, that seems silly. But when I talked to guys in Europe who had run that format, they say it works quite well,” Turner said.
A return to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, a series where Turner Motorsport has enjoyed great success, doesn’t seem on the cards.
Turner expressed concern about the GS class, which has seen the new OEM presence of GM and Ford change the fabric of the category.
“So the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge was awesome, it still is awesome, but it has some inherent problems that have been creeping up,” Turner said.
“The introduction of the Camaro had good intentions, but it upped the bar on everything. Then with the Mustang on the same level as the Camaro, without other manufacturers willing to do that, it’s gonna be a problem for attracting cars.
“For me to run a BMW in Continental just doesn’t work. I could not build the car to keep up with the Camaros and Mustangs now.”
Regardless, Turner still thinks the TUDOR Championship GT Daytona class will be strong, even if may not have a huge car count increase due to the introduction of full FIA GT3-spec cars.
“I don’t expect just because GT3 cars will be allowed, I don’t think you’ll see a big car count increase,” Turner said. “I don’t see the money there to support that.”