When IMSA returned to Watkins Glen just five days after its six-hour race at the circuit, Turner Motorsport was the only BMW team in the field. Coming off a class win in the six-hour race in the #96 Turner Motorsport M6 GT3, the team fell to the back of the pack in the Friday night two-hour-forty-minute IMSA WeatherTech Series race, but it won the Friday afternoon two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race in its #95 M4 GT4.
Dillon Machavern started the #95 car from the pole in the afternoon MPC race and held onto his lead throughout his stint. Bill Auberlen took over and built a comfortable margin over the rest of the pack, but a late-race caution flag closed up the field to set up a five-minute sprint to the finish in the rain. Auberlen was able to hold off Jan Heylen in the #16 Porsche Cayman, crossing the finish line with a .615-second margin. Robby Foley and Vin Barletta in the #96 Turner M4 GT4 finished fifth.
The WeatherTech Series race began just after 6:00 p.m. The Turner M6 GT3 got in trouble right away when a power steering problem on Robby Foley’s stint sent the car to the garage for repairs. The team returned the car to the track, with both Foley and Auberlen running stints in a race red-flagged for 45 minutes because of lightning in the area. But the team was unable to make up the time it had lost and was classified last in GTD. It was not running at the finish. The GTD win went to Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz in the #12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. The second Vasser Sullivan Lexus, piloted by Frankie Montecalvo and Zach Veach, finished second.
The Friday night race counted toward the GTD Sprint cup title, but as it did not count toward the season-long GTD points championship, the Turner team retained its points lead, and with its win on Friday afternoon, the team moved into the Grand Sports points lead in the Michelin Pilot Challenge series. Both series run again at Lime Rock Park on July 16–17.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy BMW Motorsport.]