Photo: Courtesy of IMSA

Auberlen, Foley Jump in GTD Championship Standings at Watkins Glen

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

WATKINS GLEN, New York — Turner Motorsport was 13th in GT Daytona class points before Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen but took a massive step toward the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship points lead with a second place finish in class.

Full time drivers Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley partnered with third driver Dillon Machavern to start third but mid-race contact with the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi meant that the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 entry had to make an extra pit stop, dropping them way down the class standings. From then on the team had to fight back to gain all the spots they had lost.

“It’s bittersweet because we had a car to win,” said Auberlen. “For sure we had a car to win and because that guy hit me and took out my tire we went back to dead last so I feel responsible. It’s kind of a bummer because these guys were flawless, they stayed up front all day and I had to bring it up from the back. Without getting hit, we probably would’ve won this thing but we’ve had terrible results coming into this so we finally get one on the board and we’re happy.”

Auberlen and Foley climbed from 13th to eighth in the points, just three points behind seventh place and another point behind sixth. After finishing no better than ninth in any of the first four races that featured the GTD class, it was rewarding for the first top-five finish to be on the podium in an endurance race.

“It’s time for us to turn it on,” said Auberlen. “We’ve had the car to do it, we haven’t delivered, now we’ve delivered. We have one more step to do [on the podium] and our objective is to start bringing the podiums one after another and you watch, by the end of the season we’ll be somewhere in the championship.”

The next race for the WeatherTech Championship is next Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In four of the last five years, Auberlen has finished sixth or better with a win in GTLM in 2017. Despite a less than stellar result in 2018, Auberlen and Foley believe they have a car that matches the track.

“It’s our place for our car, it’s going to be amazing, I can’t wait,” said Auberlen. “The M6 is happy on long radius high speed corners, that’s what it loves.”

“It’s one of my favorite tracks,” said Foley. “Typically our car is very good there so we’re looking forward to it, hopefully we keep the good luck going into the run in the summer with Mosport, Lime Rock, VIR, Road America, all tracks that we have a chance at so we’ll look forward to that.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.