Cameron Lawrence was doing laundry when his phone rang Wednesday morning. Can you be in Sebring today to race on Friday?
The voice was Will Turner’s, owner of Turner Motorsport. Legendary driver, Bill Auberlen, couldn’t compete as planned due to self-quarantine from possible COVID-19 exposure, and Turner wanted to know if Lawrence could fill in for him.
One minor issue. Turner thought Lawrence was in Florida and could easily drive to Sebring International Raceway. Instead, Lawrence was at his new home in Austin, Texas. The answer was yes, but the travel was the problem.
“I think he forgot that part, that I’d moved to Austin about a year ago,” Lawrence said. “I definitely didn’t remind him. … I barely made it in time for the first practice. It was very hectic. Obviously, looking back it was worth all the rushing, all the staying up late and waking up early.”
Worth it, indeed. He helped Robby Foley drive the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 to victory Friday in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, the season finale of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Sebring International Raceway.
“I love racing, and I love this team, and I love this series,” Lawrence said. “When you get a call from Will and the Turner guys, you just do what you've got to do to get down here.”
While Lawrence and Foley were teaming to win the race, Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli were teaming in the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to finish third in the race and claim the driver and team championships in the Grand Sport (GS) class of the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Consistency was the key to the championships. The No. 60 Aston Martin never finished worse than seventh during the 10-race season.
“We can look back on the season and say, ‘Yeah, we left a little on the table here and a little on the table there,’ but I think everybody in the paddock will tell you the same thing,” Marcelli said. “When we had a strong car, we were able to take advantage of it. Just no major mistakes. That’s really what paid off.”
An intense duel between teammates Mark Wilkins and Gabby Chaves ended with Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker winning the race and Chaves and Ryan Norman claiming the championship in the Touring Car (TCR) class.
Chaves, driving the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR, pursued Wilkins’ No. 21 Hyundai closely during the final laps of the two-hour race, but settled for second place and the championship.
“The rule within the team is that Hyundais race Hyundais, but Hyundais don't hit other Hyundais,” Norman said. “We play it smart with each other and we respect each other a lot. Really, at the end of the day, we give it all we have. We race each other cleanly, and the best car and driver wins.”