Herta Joins Turner for Rolex 24 in Team’s 400th BMW Start

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

NTT IndyCar Series star Colton Herta will join Turner Motorsport for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in what will mark the team’s 400th race with BMW.

The 20-year-old has been confirmed alongside returning full-season drivers Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3, with Aiden Read having been signed for the Michelin Endurance Cup races.

Turner is second only to Schnitzer Motorsport in the number of race starts with the German manufacturer.

“Our lineup for 2021 is stellar,” said team principal Will Turner. “Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley have become quite the dynamic duo over the past few seasons, and I could not be happier to have them return for another season.

“We welcome Aidan Read to the team for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds and look forward to seeing what he can add to our effort.

“For the Rolex 24 BMW NA facilitated Colton Herta signing on and his addition cannot be underestimated.

“Sometimes it feels like the last two decades have been a whirlwind, but I don’t want to miss the chance to thank BMW for their belief in the team and support to help Turner Motorsport reach 400 races and seven championships with The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Herta, who claimed GT Le Mans class honors in the 2019 Rolex 24, spent the last two years as an Endurance Cup driver with BMW Team RLL and now sees a shifting of his program to the GTD ranks.

“I’m excited to be staying with BMW this year and I appreciate the opportunity to drive the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3,” he said. “It’s going to be a new challenge for me racing in the GTD class, but I’m very much looking forward to cracking on with everyone.”

Read, meanwhile, will make his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut and first race start in North America, with the 21-year-old Australian having spent the last two years racing a BMW in ADAC GT Masters.

“I have really enjoyed my time in ADAC GT Masters,” he said. “It’s been a valuable career step for me.

“Two seasons of racing GT3 in Europe, in what was a super-competitive championship, combined with my programs in prototype endurance events has made me a stronger overall driver and this is definitely something that will aid me in my move to the USA and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.”

Auberlen — the winningest driver in IMSA history — and Foley are back as a season-long pairing for the third consecutive year.

Turner Firms Up Michelin Pilot Challenge Program

The team will also be back in Michelin Pilot Challenge, with Vin Barletta and Dillon Machavern joining Auberlen and Foley, respectively, in the two BMW M4 GT4 entries this season.

Machavern, who helped lead the Turner GTD team to two victories, has previous experience with the M4 GT4 in the series.

Foley, who often pulled double duty between the two GS class entries in 2020, meanwhile, will focus on a single car this year.

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