After six seasons of racing the BMW M6 GT3, Will Turner and Turner Motorsport are preparing for the next generation of BMW machinery – the M4 GT3 – while savoring the final races of a car they have clocked 42,000 miles in.
“I’m super excited about the new car because it’s something new, right? Shiny, new, is always better,” Will Turner told RACER.
“I’m also excited about it because of everything I’m hearing from everybody that’s driven it, it’s going to be a better car. I’m not saying it’s going to be a faster car, I mean you always hope it’s going to be a faster car, but it’s going to be a more capable car. And hopefully, a car that’s going to require less maintenance, because we had a couple of Achilles heels with the M6.”
The team does not yet know when they will receive their M4 GT3 chassis, but Turner explained that his team will be sending a number of mechanics and engineers to races or test days with the M4 GT3 where they will get their first hands-on experience with the new car. BMW has been conducting a significant amount of testing of the new car in open races, including the seventh round of the Nürburgring Endurance Series.
“It’s too soon to say exactly when we’re going to get a car,” Turner said. “I’ve been working with BMW M on getting the first car later this year. As soon as we get confirmation that it’s on its way, then we can kind of adjust testing plans accordingly.”
The good thing about the racing being done with the new car currently is it allows for teething issues to work themselves out. By the time Turner gets its hands on the car, they should “know what breaks or doesn’t break, or what’s strong and what’s weak about the car.”
Turner is hoping for a much smoother transition to the M4 GT3 than what the team experienced when the M6 GT3 first rolled into the shop. Turner Motorsports received the third and fourth chassis built by BMW. As a result, the team had to spend its first few days with the M6 GT3 upgrading bits and pieces of the car that had been released by BMW after the car had shipped.
One specific aspect of the new M4 GT3 that Turner is looking forward to is the gearbox. The Ricardo-made gearbox in the M6 GT3 has been a constant headache for the team.
“The Achilles heel of the M6 was the Ricardo gearbox… it was hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars we put in a year to the to the M6 with the Ricardo gearbox issues,” Turner said.
The new M4 GT3 comes fitted with an Xtrac gearbox, which is the same manufacturer who produced the gearbox for the BMW Z4 GT3, it’s a change that Turner was very happy to see.
Their final season with the BMW M6 GT3 has been the team’s most successful one with three wins. However, bad luck has left them out of the title fight heading into Petit Le Mans. When the car pulls into the garage for the final time there won’t be tears of joys but rather an acceptance that it’s time to move on to a new era for the team, Turner believes.
“With this M6, we know a lot about it, and they’re very well trained,” Turner said. “I think when we unload them back in the shop, they just drive themselves off, park themselves in the corner, and recover.”