Turner Motorsport has announced that Dane Cameron will drive the Team's Z4 GT3 in this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg.
The event marks the return of the Turner team to a series in which it has been very successful; Turner won championships in World Challenge in 2003 and 2004, and scored ten race wins, forty top five finishes, and seven poles in the series from 1998 to 2004.
Turner has returned the Z4 it has run in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship series GTD class at Daytona and Sebring to its original GT3 specs for St. Petersburg. The World Challenge series allows full FIA GT3 spec cars, while TUSC requires a number of modifications. In GT3 form the car has better aerodynamics, ABS, traction control, and stability control, and a higher rev limit.
Cameron, who drives for Turner in the TUSC series, says, "I am excited to race in the Pirelli World Challenge. The series visits some top notch venues around the US, including some great street courses, which I love. I am eager to get into any Turner BMW, so this will be a fun change of pace. I know that Turner began their professional race program in World Challenge, so it will be good to get the blue and yellow BMWs back into the series."
Turner’s release on their foray into World Challenge says that the decision was driven by “the team's partner NorthWest and their push to enter a more established and proven series.” The release also notes that “the Turner team is interested in exploring a sprint series with a different race format and conceivably less operating costs compared to an endurance series.”
The team remains committed to TUSC; it could possiblycontest both series this season. Turner says that he had originally planned to enter multiple cars in TUSC, but notes that "After completing two races with the IMSA run series, our partner, NorthWest Value Properties, has given us the freedom to explore an alternative series that is more established. World Challenge has always been a great racing series for Turner, so it was decided to try the sprint racing format to see if it's something we want to pursue on a more full time basis."
The series will run two one-hour sprint races in St. Petersburg. The first will be start on 3:25 PM eastern time on Saturday, March 29 and the second will begin at 11:25 AM eastern on Sunday, March 30. Both races will be streamed live on www.world-challenge.com. The NBC Sports Network will provide television coverage of the event at 5:30 PM on April 6.—Brian S. Morgan