Turner Motorsport Earns Podium and Solid Points in Opening SRO Weekend in Sonoma

Turner Motorsport Earns Podium and Solid Points in Opening SRO Weekend in Sonoma

The 2024 SRO season-opener at Sonoma Raceway had a challenging start as track surface issues plagued two days of testing and Friday’s practice. The No. 29 LATICRETE BMW M4 GT3 logged seventy-five minutes of testing on Wednesday morning before all on-track activity was suspended. Crews at Sonoma Raceway completed repaving and patchwork in Turns 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 11 of the 2.52-mile circuit just in time to run a join practice and qualifying session on Saturday morning before the first race. 

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The 2024 GT World Challenge America season started off strong with a podium finish for Robby Foley and Justin Rothberg. After taking the green flag from sixth in the Pro-Am class, Rothberg logged a solid stint keeping his M4 GT3 out of trouble before handing driving duties off to Foley for the remaining 47 minutes of the 90-minute race. The BMW Works driver quickly moved up and was in a battle for third with the No. 38 BMW of Neil Verhagen, and the pair of BMWs chased down the No. 91 Mercedes of Jeff Burton. The No. 4 Mercedes of Colin Braun and George Kurtz took race win while Foley and Rothberg finished on the third step of the podium behind Verhagen and Samantha Tan.

Foley started Race 2 from fourth in class and maintained position throughout his stint. The Turner Motorsport veteran passed the M4 GT3 off to Rothberg who cycled back to fourth after the field completed their stops. Rothberg stayed in position until the No. 91 Mercedes of Phillip Ellis made a pass in the final lap ending the weekend for GT World Challenge America with a fifth-place finish.

“We had a great weekend in Sonoma. We were very happy we got to race. It was an unfortunate circumstance to have to sit around for two days but thanks to all the crews at Sonoma Raceway and SRO for putting us in a position to be able to race,” said Foley of the unconventional start to the race weekend.

Overall, we had a great weekend with a lot of firsts for Justin, and he handled it all really well. It was very good to be competitive and we’ll take this momentum on to our next race together in Sebring. Though I’m looking forward to showing Justin around the streets of Long Beach for the GTA race.”

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Justin Rothberg started GT America Challenge America Race 1 from fourth in the SRO3 class for his first start in SRO and with Turner Motorsport. The 22-year-old fell back to sixth during the opening lap but worked his way back to fourth, where he would stay for over half of the 40-minute sprint race. Contact with the No. 14 Audi of James Sofranos late in the race spun the LATICRETE-liveried BMW resulting in a seventh-place finish. A subsequent penalty issued to Sofranos gave Rothberg sixth position for his first race of the weekend.

Rothberg started Race 2 for GT America in sixth but quickly moved up to second after a pair of Mercedes made contact in the opening lap. The talented newcomer was tasked with holding off a trio of experienced drivers while closing the gap to the No. 50 of Ross Chouest. the race leader. As the top five tightened up, contact from Sofranos going into Turn 7 forced Rothberg offline and subsequently spun in an incident with the No. 27 Audi of Jason Daskalos. Rothberg took the checkered in sixth place finish after Daskalos was issued a penalty, however race winner Chouset was moved to the back of the field after post-race inspection gave Rothberg a fifth place finish.

“I had a great weekend at Sonoma. We obviously didn’t really get to practice as we anticipated, so we went in kind of blind. But we had some really great results,” said Rothberg on his first SRO experience. “We’ll come back stronger at Long Beach and at Sebring, and we’re going to have a great season.”

The 2024 GT America season continues April 19-21 at the Long Beach Grand Prix in Long Beach, Calif. The GT World Challenge America season picks up May 3-5 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.