BMW, Auberlen, Foley Double Up with Michelin at VIR

August 23, 2020

BMW, Auberlen, Foley Double Up with Michelin at VIR

August 23, 2020

IMSA’s two Challenge series entered the spotlight in Sunday’s race action at VIRginia International Raceway, and two was the magic number for Sunday’s race winners.

Turner Motorsport BMW’s Bill Auberlen book-ended the Michelin GT Challenge weekend at VIR, as Auberlen and co-driver Robby Foley took their No. 95 BMW M4 GT4 to the win in Sunday’s MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series Virginia Is for Lovers Grand Prix.

This win came a day after he recorded his 61st top series IMSA victory in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin GT Challenge, when he and Foley shared the No. 96 Turner BMW M6 GT3 in GTD.

Earlier Sunday, Matt Bell and Naveen Rao won the IMSA Prototype Challenge race in their No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma M30.

For Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge post-race release, please click here.

Tire Strategy Propels Turner to Double

Auberlen and Foley ran a double stint on their final set of MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport GT tires – stopping for fuel only with 41 minutes remaining – while other rivals in GS took left side tires to run to the finish.

“We set up for a long, long strategy,” Auberlen said. “The tire pressures might have been low early, but at the end they came up. We were on a low downforce stetting and I had to manage this the whole race. But we had so much MICHELIN® tire left at the end, I could do whatever I wanted.”

Additionally, Foley and Vin Barletta finished third in the GS race today in the No. 96 Turner BMW M4 GT4, so Foley scored three podiums in one weekend.

They sandwiched the No. 35 Riley Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Dylan Murry and Jim Cox, who finished second. The No. 35 and No. 96 cars took left side tires on their final stops. With the top finishing Ford fourth, Porsche fifth and Aston Martin sixth, five different brands finished in the top six in GS.

In TCR, it was “Hyundai Sunday Funday” as the trio of Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCRs took their second straight podium sweep.

This time it was the No. 98 car of Mason Filippi and Michael Lewis scoring their first win of the season. The No. 21 car of Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker finished second, with the No. 29 car of Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman in third.

Michelin GT Challenge Weekend Additional Notes
  • Records: There were several new qualifying and race lap records set this weekend. In Prototype Challenge, Kyle Kirkwood set a new fastest race lap of 1:41.750 in his Norma M30, nearly a full second ahead of the previous mark set in 2019. Both MICHELIN Pilot Challenge polesitters (Russell Ward, GS, Mercedes-AMG and Max Faulkner, TCR, Audi) also set new qualifying marks.
  • Podium Change in GTD: Following Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge, the third-place finishing Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini was sent to the rear of the class for a fuel capacity infraction. It promoted the Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG to third in class. Seven different automotive brands finished in the top eight in GTD (BMW, Acura, Mercedes-AMG, Lexus, Porsche, Lamborghini and Aston Martin) with an eighth brand, McLaren, scoring the GTD class pole.

Race Winners: VIR

Michelin congratulates the race winners of the Michelin GT Challenge weekend at VIR:

WeatherTech Championship

  • GTLM: Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia, No. 3 Corvette C8.R
  • GTD: Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3

MICHELIN Pilot Challenge

  • GS: Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4
  • TCR: Mason Filippi, Michael Lewis, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCR

Prototype Challenge

  • LMP3: Matt Bell, Naveen Rao, No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma M30
Next Up:

IMSA heads to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta from September 4-6, 2020 for the newly named Michelin Endurance Challenge race weekend.

The TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is the second race of the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, replacing the six-hour race originally scheduled for Watkins Glen International.

The six-hour WeatherTech Championship race is at 11:35 a.m. ET on Saturday, September 5, with coverage on NBCSN. MICHELIN Pilot Challenge runs a four-hour race at 12:10 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 6 (TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold).

All IMSA races air on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio carries all qualifying and races live, flag-to-flag and commercial free.

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