Bill Auberlen drove to his 85th race win and 180th podium finish on Saturday evening, topping the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT class at Watkins Glen International. Auberlen (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Paul Dalla Lana (Toronto) took their No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 to victory lane after a strong race on the 2.45-mile road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
"It's awesome! Now it's on to 100," Auberlen said of his victory tally. "This has been an amazing year. I'm stronger, I'm faster than I've ever been and we're getting great results. If it keeps going like this, imagine next year!"
Dalla Lana drove the first stint at Watkins Glen, starting from eighth on the 16-car GT grid. He moved up to fourth in class in the first 38 minutes of the two-hour race, then stopped for a driver change. Auberlen returned to the track 10th in class, charged to third by mid-race and took the GT lead just before his final pitstop, with 40 minutes remaining in the race. He took on only two new tires in the final stop, quickly regained the class lead and increased it to more than seven seconds. A late caution collected the field, but Auberlen held off the competition to take the checkered flag.
"That's the best car I've ever had at Watkins Glen," he said. "The car was really strong in the wet during practice, but we knew the track would be drier for the race. We made a ton of changes to compensate for the extra rubber laid down by the NASCAR Nationwide Series before our race. In fact, we thought we went too far, but it was just perfect."
Auberlen and Dalla Lana have eight top-five GT finishes in the nine 2012 Rolex Series races they've contested together, including two wins and four podium finishes. Their win moved Turner Motorsport to second in the Rolex Series GT championship standings, with three races remaining this season.
"At this point in the season, you can't get tired and you can't get lazy. While other teams are starting to make little mistakes, our car is perfectly prepared and our pitstops are fast. We're spending a lot of time practicing pitstops and driver changes, and it shows," Auberlen said. "We're second in the points with three races to go and we just keep getting better and better."
Bill Auberlen has driven BMW cars in more races than any other driver in the world. He has won six professional auto-racing championships, four with BMW power. He has competed in 465 professional races to date, 309 in BMWs. His results include 85 race victories, 180 podium finishes, 56 pole positions, 78 fastest race laps and 108 records.
Source: Bill Auberlen media