With the recent and unexpected loss of his DP drive with Team Sahlen, Dane Cameron’s career was in limbo, but it didn’t take long for Will Turner to reach out and hire the 25-year-old Californian to fill the void left by BMW Team RLL-bound Bill Auberlen.
“We noticed Dane and John Edwards around the same time competing against us in Rolex GT as the fast rookies in the series, and when he went to the Sahlen’s team in the Mazda, he turned that team from having no chance to being a front-runner,” Turner told RACER. “It was obvious he has talent, he’s young, he knows the tracks, and when he went with them to DP, we figured he’d be there for a while and there was no chance of getting him.
“As soon as we learned he was available, he seemed liked a great fit for us. The word around the paddock is that he’s fast, he’s personable and listens to direction. Our first test in November went as well as it could and we’re happy to have him as a new member of our family.”
Cameron will share Turner’s brand-new BMW Z4 in the GT Daytona category with team veteran Paul Dalla Lana. Auberlen, who helped to bring Turner Motorsport to prominence in the early 2000s, will continue with the factory BMW GT Le Mans program, and with the merger of the ALMS and Grand-Am, splitting his time between RLL (BELOW) and Turner was no longer an option. However, he will contest the full Continental Tire Series schedule with Dalla Lana in a Turner Motorsport GS entry.
“We’ll still have Bill and Paul racing in GS together,” Turner added. “Bill will still be part of the Turner Motorsport family, but with the merger, he can’t race two cars at once, and that opened the door for us to sign Dane. It’s the best of both worlds. And we’ll have a second GS car with Michael Marsal and Tom Kimber-Smith. I think they’ll be a great match and Tom’s another driver we’ve had our eye on.”
For Cameron, landing at Turner Motorsport offers the chance to continue what he established on the coaching and car development front with Team Sahlen.
“It’s been a lot of hard work to make a recovery from being unemployed to employed!” he said with a laugh. “Being part of Will Turner’s full-time GTD program with Paul Dalla Lana is a pretty exciting thing for me. The Z4 is going to be fun to drive, and will take some time to polish and get ready to win, but that’s a challenge I’m up for.
“You no longer just sit in the car and drive it; you have to be a complete package to help develop the car and I’ll also be working with Paul to continue helping him to improve his racecraft. He’s become one of the best in his class, and the GTD Z4 is the only one of its kind, so it’s great to have a full spectrum program to concentrate on.”
Like Auberlen, Cameron hopes to forge a long and successful career with Turner.
“I don’t view this as a stopgap deal,” he added. “You’re always put on your back foot when you lose a program like what we’d built last year, but GTD is going to be incredibly competitive next year; it’s going to be the
class next year and I don’t view this as a backward step for me at all.
“It’s a very loyal team and operation, and I have some big shoes to fill with what Bill Auberlen has done with Will and Paul in Rolex GT, so I’m looking forward to taking up the reins and being part of the new challenges Turner Motorsport has in front of it. And I’m also happy I’ll get to stay onboard with BMW and maintain the ties and friendships I have there. This really is the best situation with the right team and manufacturer and co-driver for me.”
Turner’s 2014 lineup will hit the track later this week during the “Roar Before The 24” test
, and will also see a number of his drivers head to the Middle East to further prepare for the Rolex 24.
“Dane’s headed over to Dubai next month to race a Z4 with Schubert at the 24 Hour, and drive with Paul in race conditions, which should help the two of them to grow and figure things out a bit before Daytona. And Bill Auberlen will be there, too, which will help bridge things as well. We don’t have any rules yet for our Z4, but at least for the things we can control ourselves, I’m pretty pleased with what we have in place for next year.”