Marshall Pruett photo
Once the engines, transmissions and brakes cool on Will Turner's pair of Grand-Am Rolex GT BMW M3s after the checkered flag flies on the 2013 season, you can wheel the striking blue and yellow beats into a trailer and take them home for the modest sum of $450,000. Check it out here.
Turner's Massachusetts-based Turner Motorsport racing team has decided to part with its proven Rolex GT cars in favor of rolling something new into the shop – cars that will compete in the Pro-Am GT Daytona category next year, and to do so, selling its Riley-based BMWs at the conclusion of the Championship Weekend at Lime Rock Park is the first order of business.
“Because of the direction that I see the new combined series going, if I stuck with these cars for too long, I think they would eventually make them uncompetitive,” said Turner. “That's unfortunate to say, but I think that's what would happen. We've had some podiums with them recently, and they're winning cars, and right now, they're competitive as any car can be, so it's hard to put them out to pasture.
“But, looking at where the series is going, they're going in a GT3 direction, more of a Pro-Am model that's easier for the gentleman drivers to handle, that's more of a direct factory car – so that's the direction we're going to go. I put a good price on the GT M3s and maybe they can continue to race in the series next year, or be used for other endurance events like the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. They're fast and reliable, wherever they end up going. I'm ready to move on.”
Turner has been rumored to be close to a deal that would backfill his BMW inventory with a pair of GT3-spec Z4s, but has yet to pull the trigger on a specific brand or model to use in GTD.
“That's been an interesting thing to figure out the best path for Turner Motorsport,” he added. “My passion is BMW. My business is BMW. We'd love to keep going with them next year, but we're still looking at a couple of different manufacturers.
“Before anything else, I need our cars to be competitive, to be capable of winning. I'll pick the car that best fits that. If it's a BMW, that's the route we'll go. It's also been interesting to talk to other manufacturers to get a feel for their thoughts on what would be the best way to go for racing in the U.S.”
Asked to provide a timeline for acquiring new cars and whether he feels any pressure to have them out for the first round of official tests in November, Turner says he's taking a long-term approach to the situation.
“[The USCC] haven't announced a rules package, so until they do that, I don't feel like I'm under pressure to make a choice on our cars yet,” he continued. “And I'm not worried about getting cars out for the November tests. The pressure's not to rush out and have a car that's best for Daytona; it's to make sure we have the right car for the rest of the season. As far as the tests go, if we can make them, we'd love to, but we're not going to rush our plans just to get out early.”
Turner has built a loyal Pro-Am customer base between his Rolex GT and Continental Tire Series Grand Sport programs, and expects to go forward with many of the same names that have adorned his Grand-Am cars during the past few seasons.
“My plan for the GS program is to stay with BMW and the M3s we've been racing, so that will continue. Some things we learned in the GS program caters directly to the street customers and street products we offer, and I think you'll see a lot of familiar names there. In the GTD class, our number one choice, and my drivers' number one choice is to go with the BMW platform, and some of them have raced in others marques recently, and some of those marques are really hungry to go racing in 2014. I think you could also see some familiar names there as well.”