No. 96 BMW Has Unique, Half-and-Half Look for Sebring’s Michelin Pilot Challenge Race
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge fans may do a double-take next week when they see the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 on track at Sebring International Raceway.
That’s because the car will feature a two-sided livery meshing the real and virtual worlds of racing. Dubbed the “ZEBRing” livery, the No. 96 will have Turner Motosport’s traditional blue and yellow real-world look on one half of the car while sporting the blue and black zebra striping of BS+COMPETITION sim racing cars on the other half. In addition, No. 96 co-driver and sim racer Robby Foley will wear a similar half-and-half firesuit for the race weekend.
The unique scheme is the result of a growing partnership between Massachusetts-based Turner Motorsport and BS+COMPETITION, the German company named one of BMW Motorsport’s four official sim racing teams in 2021. The distinctive livery was brought to life by designers Andy Blackmore (the real-world half) and Juan Diego Sanchez (virtual half).
Foley and co-driver Vin Barletta will drive the No. 96 BMW in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on Friday, March 19 at Sebring. It is the second of 10 Pilot Challenge races on the 2021 schedule.
“Turner Motorsport and BS+COMPETITION is the perfect match,” said Florian Haasper, the founder of BS+COMPETITION. “Both teams combine some fantastic sense of humor on the social web with the determination to win every race they are competing in. Seeing our joint BS+Turner zebra racing at Sebring will be an incredible moment for everyone in our team. And just a few days later we’ll race a split-personality zebra in the iRacing Twelve Hour of Sebring. Together, we are really blurring the lines here!”
Foley and Barletta won the Pilot Challenge race last year at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in October. Foley was also victorious a month later in the season-ending race at Sebring, driving with Cam Lawrence. An avid sim racer, Foley finished fifth in the iRacing IMSA Pro Series in 2020. Fellow BMW driver Bruno Spengler took home the inaugural title.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the first effort to merge real and virtual on one car in reality,” Foley said. “Over the last year or so, we’ve had the opportunity to run some real-life liveries in iRacing, but now we get to represent BS+COMPETITION on a real-life BMW M4. Florian and everyone at BS+ are extremely passionate about this initiative, and when you combine that with Will Turner’s passion for BMW and racing, you have a really cool project. As one of the BS+COMPETITION’s sim drivers and Turner Motorsport real-life drivers, I am incredibly excited to represent the first merge of the two disciplines in the real world.”
Practice for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 begins Wednesday, March 17 at Sebring, with qualifying the following day. The two-hour race begins at 2:35 p.m. ET Friday, March 19 with a live stream available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will also provide coverage on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Tickets for the race weekend are available at sebringraceway.com.