BMW drivers dominated this past Saturday’s GRAND-AM event at Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama, taking three of four class wins in Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition.
Rolex Sports Car Series:
In Rolex Sports Car Series competition the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Powered Riley took its third consecutive Daytona Prototype win of the season. The defending class champion drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have now won an amazing 12 of 14 races dating to the beginning of the 2010 season. The second BMW Powered car in the class, the No. 61AIM Autosport entry driven by Mark Wilkens and Burt Frisselle, finished fourth.
In the GT class the only BMW in the field, the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 of Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana, took a second consecutive class win. The win moved the duo and Turner Motorsport to a share of the lead driver and team point standings respectively.
Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge:
In the Grand Sports (GS) class five BMW M3s finished in the top-10 despite a recent competition adjustment limiting the maximum engine speed to 8250 rpm. Turner Motorsport was the top-finishing BMW team with the No. 96 machine of Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana finishing in second place. The result was the team’s third consecutive podium finish of the season, including a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Auberlen and Dalla Lana continue to lead the GS driver point standings. The No. 97 Turner Motorsport M3 of Joey Hand and Michael Marsal finished sixth. 2010 GS champions Fall-Line Motorsport also placed two M3s in the top-10, finishing fourth with the No. 46 machine and ninth with the No. 45 car. Rum Bum Racing finished seventh with the No. 13 M3.
In the Street Tuner (ST) class Doran Racing had a season’s-best second place finish in the No. 14 BMW 128i of Tim Bell and BJ Zacharias. The RACE EPIC/Murillo Racing No. 56 BMW 328i of Jesse Combs and Jeff Mosing finished third. The Insight Racing BMW 328i of Jeff Westphal and Nico Rondet finished ninth to make it three BMW in the top-10 ST class finishers.
The Barber Motorsports Park weekend was also shared by the IZOD IndyCar Series. The top open wheel racing series in North America is the goal of many drivers, among them graduates of BMW’s worldwide Formula BMW series that began in this country in 2004.
In Saturday’s qualifying session for the Honda Indy Car Grand Prix of Alabama three Formula BMW alumni garnered mid-field starting positions. In his Indy Car debut, 2004 Formula BMW USA Junior James Hinchcliffe qualified eighth. Two spots behind is fellow 2004FBUSA Junior Graham Rahal in 10th. 2006 Formula BMW graduate Simona de Silvestro qualified 13th and from the FB class of 2006 and 2007 Sebastian Saavedra placed 26th after problems in the session.