Bill Auberlen set another record en route to a second-place GT-class finish in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Saturday. Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Paul Dalla Lana of Toronto came from the back of the field to put the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 on the podium.
Dalla Lana started the two-hour race from fifth on the GT grid. He had contact with another car and spun off track, then was hit by another car. Auberlen took over during a caution period 40 minutes into the race and worked his way back through the field to second place. He set a class record on the 4.048–mile track (two minutes 11.828 seconds, at an average speed of 110.544 mph) before another caution closed the field with just 20 minutes remaining. Auberlen lost a position on the restart as he tried to get his tires up to optimum temperature, then regained the position to finish second.
"Paul got into an encounter with the Brumos car, got spun out in a very high-speed part of the track – turn seven – and another car hit him. It damaged our car, but didn't put it out. So he had to come up from the back after a long caution," Auberlen said.
"Once it went green, I got in the car and started making up ground. We had a good enough pace to where we were able to catch some of the guys. I battled each of them, one by one. At that end, I was going to race the Ferrari to the finish, but with 20 minutes left to go, a full-course caution came out. I was looking at my Cvstos watch, counting down, and I knew I didn't have much time left.
"The restart happened and, just like the last race at Mid-Ohio [Sports Car Course], I could not get my tires to come in. I was slipping and sliding for an entire lap. They came in a lap later and I was able to get second place back. The Ferrari opened up a five-second lead, which I narrowed down a bit, but I couldn't make it all the way. But we're coming off a win at Mid-Ohio and now a second. That moves Paul up into fourth in the championship, which is great! The team did a wonderful job all weekend long."
Auberlen and Dalla Lana were hoping for a double podium finish at Road America, but a suspension failure took them out of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race on Friday.
Their next race will be a six-hour endurance event at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y., on June 29. Auberlen believes recent results and testing bode well for the team.
"We tested at Watkins Glen and we did really good work there," he said. "If the car responds like it did at the test, we are all cautiously optimistic that we'll have a competitive car."
Source: Bill Auberlen media