Atlanta, Ga. (28 September 2016) – With over 1600 laps of racing already in the books for Michael Marsal and his co-drivers in the No. 97 Alvarez & Marsal/IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GT3 so far this year, there is one more endurance test on the list this weekend with the 19th running of the Petit Le Mans.
The race weekend, which will see practice and qualifying staged on Thursday and Friday ahead of Saturday’s 10-hour race, will mark the final race of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The final race also marks the final round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC), with the 10-hour endurance event wrapping up the season. Marsal is tied for seventh in the TPNAEC rankings, just eight points out of the lead. There will be two rounds of TPNAEC scoring during the 10-hour race, with points doled out at the halfway mark as well as at the checkers.
Joining Marsal and his regular co-driver Markus Palttala will be Cameron Lawrence, another young American racer who is making his Turner debut.
The 2016 season has seen the No. 97 show promising pace and execution, with Marsal adapting to his new ride quickly and posting several strong stints. But the year has seen Marsal and Palttala dealt with several rounds of lousy racing luck that has kept the duo from converting their efforts into a return to the IMSA podium.
Marsal’s previous outing at COTA was the perfect illustration of the season so far as he was frustrated ahead of the race with how he felt driving the car, only to be delighted with the car come race day. With confidence and pace, Marsal was moving up lap after lap in his stint, and was in perfect podium position ahead of his hand off to Palttala. But an errant Italian in a Lamborghini hit him off the track and into a spin, ending the possibility for a podium.
With 10 hours of racing on the weekend and a clear weather forecast, Marsal is looking forward to closing out the season on a high note.
“Road Atlanta is a fun track and it is cool to end the season with a big endurance race like Petit Le Mans,“ said Marsal, who finished 11th in the rain-shorted 2015 edition of the race. “The biggest challenge will be the patience that everyone needs in the first few hours of the race. There are some blind corners here and the prototypes come in with a lot more speed so you really have to be on your toes. I’ve been happy with the car but we’ve just not had any good luck this season so you always want to close out the year on a high.”
Saturday – Qualifying: 3:25 PM – 5:00 PM ET IMSA.TV
Saturday – Race: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET on FS1
Follow the entire race broadcast on the FOX Sports Go app