The No. 97 Alvarez & Marsal BMW M6 GT3 of Michael Marsal, Markus Palttala and Cameron Lawrence took the checkered flag after 10 long hours to finish fourth in the 18th annual Petit Le Mans. The strong fourth place finish on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course of Road Atlanta marks the end of the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the inaugural season of the new BMW M6 GT3.
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Michael Marsal took the green flag behind the wheel of his No. 97 M6 GT3 to kick off the 10-Hour endurance challenge and final round of the Patron North American Endurance Championship. Palttala pushed on to complete a very strong early stint before making a pit stop under caution for driver change back to Marsal with fuel and tires.
Cameron Lawrence made his first appearance in the No. 97 with an impressive double stint to work his way up into the top three before pitting for a driver change to get Palttala back behind the wheel.
Palttala ultimately finished the race behind the wheel of the No. 97 M6 GT3 in fourth to narrowly miss a podium finish after car-to-car contact with thirty minutes to go, forcing Palttala into the pits for a punctured tire.
“Overall I think we had a very solid performance,” Michael Marsal said. “Our M6 GT3 ran perfectly without any issues for the entire race, both Markus (Palttala) and Cameron (Lawrence) had strong stints and our pit strategy played out well.”
The No. 96 IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GT3 of Bret Curtis, Jens Klingmann and Ashley Freiberg finished tenth after a punctured tire and light suspension damage sent the car behind the wall with just under thirty minutes remaining.
Curtis took the green to quickly find a quick pace to improve from his eighth place qualifying position before handing the car over to Klingmann.
In Klingmann’s opening stint, he was able to work his way up into the top five after the first full-course caution. With Curtis back in the car, the No. 96 maintained a top five position and with pit strategy, lead the race for several laps.
Freiberg put together an impressive stint behind the wheel of the No. 96 IHG Rewards Club BMW to help teammates Curtis and Klingmann work their way up into the top five for most of the race.
“Although I had hoped for better results in the final race of the season, I’m extremely happy with how our season has gone with the new M6 GT3,” Curtis said. “We were able to pull off some great things this year with two wins and podium so I’m very proud of our team.”
With the final race of the 2016 WeatherTech Championship complete, Turner Motorsport turns to focus to the 2017 season plans to include both the BMW M235R in Pirelli World Challenge and the continuation of the M6 GT3 program in IMSA.
“The M6 GT3 is a fantastic platform and we are very happy with it after this season and look forward to continued development,” Will Turner said. “I also want to thank all our sponsors like IHG Rewards Club, aFe Power, H&R Springs, Borla Exhaust, Motul, Sonax and Pagid for all the support to make the program possible. Now it’s time to focus on 2017!”
“I also have to thank Victor Leleu and BMW Motorsport for their dedication and support the entire season, all their help has been much appreciated.” Added Will Turner.
With over 340 professional race starts with BMW Turner Motorsport looks to continue the highly successful and long-standing run behind the blue and white roundel for 2017.