Billy Johnson Joins Aurora Straus and Connor Bloum in #95 Richard Mille Arch BMW M4 GT4
DAYTONA BEACH - Aurora Straus and Connor Bloum, teammates in the #95 BMW M4 GT4 run by Turner Motorsport, are elated to have professional racer Billy Johnson as a third codriver in this Friday’s upcoming BMW Endurance Challenge, the first of ten races in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Johnson is a seasoned veteran of the IMSA paddock, and no stranger to BMW or Turner Motorsport. In 2005, Johnson made his GT car debut in a BMW M3 for PTG Racing and ran with Turner Motorsport in the Grand Am series from 2011 to 2015. Since then, he has made a name for himself under the Ford brand, winning the (now) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Championship in 2016 and driving the #66 Ford GT in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing at Le Mans from 2016-2019, winning the 6-Hours of Spa in 2018. As the Ford GT program came to a close, Johnson is seeking new opportunities for 2020.
“It’s great to be back in a BMW, especially since I got my start winning a scholarship as a Factory BMW Junior driver for the inaugural 2004 Formula BMW Championship. It feels verycomfortable to be back with Will and the whole Turner Motorsport team, who I've driven for inmany GT races over the years,” Johnson said.
“I'm excited to be partnered with two fast talents, Aurora and Connor and feel like we have a strong team, car, and driver lineup to take on Daytona. The competition in Michelin Pilot Challenge is always very fierce, and with a deep field it always makes for fantastic racing as a driver and for the fans. I always enjoy racing in this series. A huge thanks to Nick Longhi for helping organize this program, and to Aurora and Connor for the opportunity.”
Straus and Bloum are looking forward to having Johnson on board as they enter the first race weekend of the 2020 season.
“I am elated that Billy is driving with us this weekend. With the expertise of Turner Motorsport, the driving prowess of Connor and Billy, and the support of Richard Mille and Arch Capital Group, I’m anticipating a strong weekend for us,” Straus said. “I’m incredibly grateful to be surrounded by so many talented veterans to the IMSA paddock as I make my debut in GT4 car full-time, and I’m looking forward to learning from Billy and the rest of the crew during our first four-hour race weekend.”
Johnson wins in his debut HSR race driving the 1974 Alegra Motorsports Porsche RSR at Daytona.
has Daytona Beach, FL - Billy Johnson wins in his debut HSR race at the famed Classic 24 Hour at Daytona driving the #158 Porsche 1974 RSR for Alegra Motorsports.
"These things are a blast!" said a joyous Johnson. "I've raced many modern 911s, but this was my first time driving a vintage 911. I think there was some miscommunication with Carlos (De Quesada, Alegra Motorsports Team Owner), where I expressed excitement to drive the RSR in the practice session following his race. Having qualified P2 in a field of competitive 911s, Carlos took my enthusiasm for wanting to do the actual race and told me to get suited up and race the car."
Having never turned a single lap in the vintage 911 RSR, which has no anti-lock brakes, no traction or stability control, no power steering, a 5-spd manual transmission, and legendary rear-engine handling dynamics, Johnson gridded up for the start of the race.
"I only had about 2 minutes to get acquainted in the car before we left the grid and started our 3/4 of pace lap prior to the green flag. On the pace lap I had to learn the feel of the non-assisted brakes, lack of power steering, the extremely vague shifter, and the handling of the 911. I've raced a bunch of 911s over the years as well as a bunch of vintage cars, but never a vintage 911."
I figured there was a high likelihood of locking the brakes resulting in a (very bad) Turn 1, or missing a gear in the (very expensive) and high strung flat-6 engine. Fortunately I didn't have any dramas in Turn 1, figured out the car in a lap, and made a pass for the lead. Shortly after, the inexperience with the transmission and a 2-5 shift (instead of 2-3) found myself sitting P4. Within another lap I resumed the lead and went on to winning the race with zero issues and A TON of fun. I really feel like I was born in the wrong decade, these cars are a blast! (and drift quite well, I might add)".
Johnson makes his Blancpain World Challenge GT debut in the #22 Alegra Motorsports Porsche GT3R
West Palm Beach, FL - Billy Johnson returns to Alegra Motorsports and Porsche for remainder of the Blancpain World Challenge GT Championship.
"It's great to finally drive for Alegra Motorsports. I was scheduled to drive with Daniel Morad & Carlos De Quesada in the Riley-BMW Daytona Prototype for the 12 Hours of Sebring back in 2016 before being announced as a Ford GT LeMans driver which prevented me from doing the 12 hour with the team" said Johnson. "The Ford program was a dream come true, but I always felt like I had some unfinished business with Alegra."
Johnson shook down and tested the 2019 Porsche GT3R for Alegra Motorsports earlier this year prior to the start of the championship.
"I'm excited to be be back working with the team. They are a great bunch of hard-working guys whose accomplishments speak for themselves. I'm very thankful for Carlos, Tony, and Micheal for the opportunity and i'm really looking forward to co-driving with Danial (Morad)."
Johnson puts on a show at the Goodwood FOS in the Championship-Winning #22 Team Penske Ford Fusion
CHICHESTER, England - Billy Johnson returns to Goodwood, piloting the NASCAR Cup Championship-Winning No.22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford Fusion.
"Goodwood is always a fun event, but it was pretty special to drive Joey's Championship-winning Ford Fusion" said Johnson. "Team Penske is a powerhouse organization, and it was an honor to be allowed to drive their irreplaceable car sideways and put on a smoke-show for the British fans to give them a little taste of American motorsports".
Top-10 finish at Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, New York - Billy Johnson fills in at Kohr Motorsports in the No. 59 Mustang GT4 driving with Kenny Wilden and finish in the 10th position.
"I want to thank Kenny Wildend and Dean Martin at Kohr Motorsports for calling me up to drive their Mustang GT4 at Watkins Glen" said Johnson. "The Mustangs weren't the strongest this weekend but the racing is always so much fun in the Michelin Pilot Sportscar Challenge whether you're battling for the lead, or for 15th. Hopefully the cars will be in a better position to battle for wins soon".
Johnson & Hoy WIN
Billy Johnson is a (freelance) American professional race car driver who has competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in the #66 Ford GT, winning the 2018 6-Hours of Spa, and is the 2016 IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS champion for Ford/Multimatic Motorsports in the #15 Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-C with co-driver Scott Maxwell.
With 23 wins and 49 podiums to his name, Billy is the winning-est driver in CTSCC history. In addition, Billy has multiple GT class podium finishes for Turner Motorsports, driving the BMW M3 in the IMSA GTD Class.
Johnson is a development driver for Multimatic and Ford Performance and helped develop the LeMans winning Ford GT racecar, Championship winning Shelby GT350R-C, Mustang GT4, FP350S racecars, as well as street cars including the GT350, GT350R, GT500, and Ford GT.
He has been called to drive in numerous endurance races including the 24 Hours of LeMans in the #66 Ford GT, 24 Hours of Daytona in the #77 Doran Racing Ford Daytona Prototype, the 12 Hours of Sebring in the #007 Aston Martin Vantage to the #64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 to the #97 Turner Motorsport Z4 GT3.
Johnson is also a road-course specialist in the NASCAR Xfinity series and is hired by Ford to teaching advanced techniques to Ford's Sprint Cup and XFinity drivers on road course racing.
Driving for Roush Fenway Racing with a career-best 8th place finish in the #60 at Montreal in 2012, Johnson made his oval racing debut at Loudon in 2013 in a Nationwide car finishing an impressive 15th position on the lead lap. He also led laps in the #16 at Road America.
Billy is an 8-time track record holder in Time Attack events driving an assortment of cars but most notable for piloting the FXMD Turbo NSX, the fastest Time Attack car in the country.
Billy currently resides in Boynton Beach, FL.