Marsal Returns to ROLEX Series GT Competition with Turner

Marsal Returns to ROLEX Series GT Competition with Turner

Millville, N.J. (27 July 2011) – Michael Marsal scored his fifth top-10 result of the season when he and Turner Motorsport co-driver Sam Schultz drove to a 10th place finish in the B+ Foundation Heroes 200 at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Saturday.

Marsal, who usually opens each GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race behind the wheel of the No. 97 BMW, had the new experience of running the final stint of the 2.5-hour event and taking the checkered flag as he crossed the finish line. The New Jersey weather played a major factor at the 2.25-mile road course with temperatures rising over the 100 degree mark. As the team battled the intense conditions, the change in the driver line-up provided extra relief options if needed.

Schultz opened the race from the 15th position and steadily worked his way to sit just outside the top-10 in 11th. Marsal took control of the BMW about half-way through the race and re-entered the field in the 12th position. The Turner Motorsport driver would run consistent laps to climb as high as ninth but would drop to 10th just as the final full course caution was displayed and the race finished under yellow.

“It was definitely different to be out there at the finish, but it was a really good experience,” related Marsal. “The guys are a lot more decisive with their moves, so you have to be that much more committed, that much faster. I felt like I was probably overdriving the car at the end and that might have cost me with tire wear, but that is part of getting that experience and now I’ll have a little bit better idea of what I need to do in the future to close out with a strong pace.”

The weekend wasn’t over just yet for Marsal, though, has he was drafted in to share the driving duties in the No. 93 Turner Motorsport Rolex Series GT Class machine with Memo Gidley and Peter Bassett. Brought in on stand-by incase the long hot race called for a third driver, Marsal in fact got to see his second checkered flag of the weekend as he drove the final stint of the race to bring the No. 93 home in the M3 GT-class machine’s debut run in GRAND-AM competition.

“It was cool that Will (Turner) invited me to run the GT, and even though I only had a handful of laps in the car before the race, I felt pretty comfortable,” said Marsal, who made his Rolex Series debut earlier this year with a run in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. “The tires were pretty old and I didn’t really get the chance to make any adjustments with the car so I know there was a lot more speed left. But the main thing was to just keep it out of trouble and have a good pace to the finish.

“I was used to the speed having run the GT at Daytona, but the BMW is completely different from the Mazda. Now that I’ve done this, I know that just getting some more time behind the wheel is what I need to get more comfortable and generate more speed. All in all, though it was a good weekend and I learned a lot that I hope to put to use down the road.”

The GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will hold the final round of the 10-race championship at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course September 16-17.

The B+ Foundation Heroes 200 will broadcast July 30 at 3:00 PM (ET) on SPEED.

Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
317.908.2975 (m)

Based in Indianapolis, Sunday Group Management is a leading motorsports management and communications consulting firm.

Sunday Group Management works with clients in a variety of motorsports categories, including NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger, Riley Technologies, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series organization Michael Shank Racing, Continental Tire, and several teams and drivers in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition.

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