Turner Motorsport strategist Don Salama had instructed endurance-race ‘third man’ Aidan Read to drive to a strict fuel mileage number during his stint, because a refueling issue earlier in the race had forced the team to go off-sequence compared with the majority of its rivals.
Read stretched his run to Lap 150 before ducking into the pits for the final time to hand over to IMSA legend Bill Auberlen. It was during this changeover that Gabriel Aubry crashed his LMP2 car, bringing out a full-course caution and temporarily closing the pits. With his fastest competitors lined up and waiting to pit for the final time, Auberlen said the pitlane re-opening “was like the parting of the seas! They all went in and we became the leader.”
Suddenly finding himself in front, Auberlen had enough pace to pull away from another former champion, Bryan Sellers in the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan, over the closing stint.
“I saw Bryan Sellers behind me, but luckily I got through traffic. The BMW M6 may not be the ultimate fastest car, but it is good through traffic.”
It was the 64th win of Auberlen’s IMSA career, the first for Read, and the sixth for Auberlen’s fulltime teammate Robby Foley. It was also the third for Turner Motorsport in the Watkins Glen Six Hours and the squad’s second in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The result inevitably keeps Auberlen and Foley at the top of the GTD drivers’ championship points, 61 points clear of Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage. That title, said Auberlen, is his main target.
“To win a championship is why we are here,” he said. “To win races is great, but to win championships is amazing.”
Said team owner Turner: “Because all the cars in GT Daytona are so closely balanced, anyone could have won this race. We thought it would come down to who executed the best strategy and today that was done by Turner Motorsport.
“Some folks watching may think we just got lucky with the yellow flag. We made our own luck and I believe we would have had the win regardless.
“A great strategy is only a winner if the team makes no mistakes. I could not be prouder of this team.”