Bill Auberlen capped a strong 2010 sports-car season with a double American Le Mans Series championship. Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Calif., Tommy Milner of Leesburg, Va., and Dirk Werner of Nurtingen, Germany, combined for a fourth-place GT2...
Bill Auberlen capped a strong 2010 sports-car season with a double American Le Mans Series championship. Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Calif., Tommy Milner of Leesburg, Va., and Dirk Werner of Nurtingen, Germany, combined for a fourth-place GT2 finish in the season finale Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 2. That finish and the six podiums their No. 92 BMW Rahal Letterman Racing BMW M3 earned during the season vaulted BMW to the GT manufacturer championship and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing to the team title. Auberlen finished third in driver points. In an ultra-competitive season, the championships weren't decided until the last lap of the last race.
"What an amazing year! It's our second year to run the BMW Rahal Letterman M3, and in the second year we definitely got it right," Auberlen said. "It was the most competitive year to date in my entire history of racing in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class. We raced against a lot of very high-end manufacturers. It started competitive and it only got harder and harder as it went on. It went down to the wire, the last two turns of the last lap, but we never gave up the fight. For the last couple of hours of the last race, three manufacturers had the potential to win the championship.
"BMW finished on the podium at every race this year except one. That shows how far our BMW program has come. It was a huge effort, from the BMW factory, from Dunlop Tires, from the drivers, the team, the crew. The highlight was winning the manufacturer championship, but there were so many great memories along the way -- finishing second in Sebring, second in Utah, so many podiums. What a great year it was!"
Auberlen enjoyed the victory, but was already hard at work on the 2011 season as the checkered flag fell at Road Atlanta.
"We were celebrating and shaking hands in pit lane as we won the championship," he noted. "As I was shaking the hand of an engine developer, I was asking, 'How are we going to make more power?' And when I was shaking the hand of the engineer, I asked, 'How are we going to make it handle better?' I shook the hand of the Dunlop rep, asking, 'How are we going to make a better tire?' Nobody is going to rest. When it comes to the 2011 season, everybody is putting their head down immediately to come up with an even better package, which is hard to imagine."
In the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Auberlen scored a win and two podiums, plus two fastest race laps -- one a record -- in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW-powered M6. He also added a fastest race lap in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS competition, driving the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3.
"That was fantastic! It was our first year to run the BMW-powered M6 with Turner Motorsport and we won in our first year, which was a great accomplishment. And the Continental Tire Series gave me the opportunity to drive the new V8-powered M3 road car on a race track and show how competitive and how fast it was," Auberlen said. "My thanks to PerformanceDrink for keeping my stamina strong and my mind sharp and focused."
Auberlen will take a week to catch up at home, then he heads back to the track to start 2011 testing.
"It's almost turning into a year-round season, to be competitive," he said. "Which I love, because I live to be in a race car. To have weeks off just makes me sit in a corner and sulk."
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 428 professional races to date, 271 in BMWs. His results include 79 race victories, 160 podium finishes, 55 pole positions, 72 fastest race laps and 104 records.
-source: bill auberlen PR/sp