Both Justin Marks and Jens Klingmann put together flawless drives to place their No. 96 Katerra BMW M6 GT3 on the podium in Sunday’s Six Hour endurance test at Watkins Glen International.
The driver pair started from the third row to run inside the top five for the majority of the race on the 3.4-mile 11-turn course which marked the sixth round of the 2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Marks took the green flag to execute a intense double stint before entering pit lane for a full service stop to hand the car over to Klingmann. Klingmann continued on to set a quick pace to hold position inside the top five.
’We really had to squeeze everything we had out of our BMW,’ Justin Marks said. ’The car was very well balanced and had good speed for this track but both Jens (Klingmann) and I had to work hard to click off the lap times we did. Overall we are both very happy with this result, the entire team did a fantastic job with stops and car setup.’
Marks completed one more stint, running in the top 4, to reach minimum drive time before Klingmann went on to complete his last stint to ultimately take the checkered flag. In the final hour, Klingmann found himself in an exciting battle on the heels of the second place Ferrari.
Klingmann battled through traffic concentrating on holding off a hard charging Audi while slowly closing the gap to second place with the help from several late race full course cautions. Despite the resilient efforts by both Klingmann and Marks to take the top step of the podium the pair crossed the line just three seconds behind the winning Honda for third.
’Our BMW M6 GT3 was strong here so I think the results are well deserved,’ said Jens Klingmann. ’Both Justin and I concentrated on putting together strong stints but unfortunately some slower lap traffic held me up which put too much of a gap between me and the front runners late in the race.’
Klingmann added, ’Today was a good points day for us, especially after the fourth place finish in Detroit so I am looking forward to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next week to carry our momentum.’ The No. 96 M6 GT3 of Turner Motorsport now sits in sixth place in the GTD Team standings, just seven points outside the top three.
With round six in the books, the team now turns focus to round seven at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, July 9th for the Mobil 1 Grand Prix. Last year, Jens Klingmann and Bret Curtis captured the first North American win for the M6 GT3 at CTMP. Bret Curtis will be back behind the wheel of the No. 96 with Klingmann this year to carry the teams recently found mid-season momentum.