GT champions week: Bill Auberlen

Champions Week: Bill Auberlen DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (December 23, 2004) -- Bill Auberlen enjoyed a record season in 2004, as the California driver set seven records in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. Sharing the No. 21 PTG BMW M3...

Champions Week: Bill Auberlen

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (December 23, 2004) -- Bill Auberlen enjoyed a record season in 2004, as the California driver set seven records in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.

Sharing the No. 21 PTG BMW M3 with Boris Said for the first five races of the season, Auberlen established himself early on as one of the favorites for the GT championship. After a disappointing Rolex 24 At Daytona, Auberlen and Said ripped off a string of four consecutive victories from Round 2 at Miami through Round 5 at Watkins Glen. Those triumphs allowed them to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the competition.

A midseason switch within the team saw Said move to the No. 22 BMW, while Auberlen was paired with rookie Justin Marks. The new arrangement didn't seem to matter to Auberlen, however, as he continued his winning ways, taking back-to-back triumphs in the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona and the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic. The Mid-Ohio win was his sixth-in-a-row, putting Auberlen in the record books as the first driver to earn six consecutive class victories in Rolex Series competition.

While the streak stopped at six, Auberlen wasn't finished winning in 2004, as he came back after two races out of victory circle to win another two-in-a-row at VIR and Barber Motorsports Park. Nevertheless, Said remained tenacious in his pursuit of the championship, and pushed Auberlen to the limit.

A mechanical problem during the season-ending Lexus Grand American 400k at California Speedway nearly robbed Auberlen of a well-deserved title, but he and Marks managed a sixth place finish to tie Auberlen and Said in the final point standings. His Rolex Series-leading eight victories broke the tie and gave Auberlen his fourth professional race championship in the past three years for a total of six career titles.

Auberlen was clearly the driver to beat in the GT class this year, with four pole positions, eight victories, nine podium finishes and six fastest race laps. For good measure, he also won the ST class in the only Grand-Am Cup race he entered in 2004, in a Turner Motorsport BMW 330i.

Auberlen set seven Rolex Series records in 2004 - consecutive class victories (six in GT), career GT victories (15), career GT podium finishes (19), two GT qualifying laps and two GT race laps. He also holds one GT qualifying record, two GT race-lap records and one GTU race-lap record from previous years.

With more records to set and championships to win, he's not stopping now ...

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