Bill Auberlen take a lap at Las Vegas

BMW V12 LMR driver Bill Auberlen has been racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since road racing began at the track in 1997, when he co-drove his PTG BMW M3 to a second-place finish in the GT3 class. In 1998, the road-racing ace from Redondo...

BMW V12 LMR driver Bill Auberlen has been racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since road racing began at the track in 1997, when he co-drove his PTG BMW M3 to a second-place finish in the GT3 class. In 1998, the road-racing ace from Redondo Beach, Calif., had the unique distinction of taking two LVMS victories in one race, in both the GT2 and GT3 class driving BMW Team PTG M3s. He finished fourth overall and by four laps in the GT2 class. In GT3, he set the fast lap on his way to that class victory and fifth overall. The two victories gave Auberlen, a 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours at Sebring class winner, a total of 16 career sports-car wins. In 1999, Auberlen made a strong LVMS showing in his BMW V12 LMR and finished second, 0.269 seconds behind the race winner. Auberlen returns to action at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Oct. 29 Grand Prix of Las Vegas presented by, the 11th stop on the 2000 American Le Mans Series schedule.

by Bill Auberlen

First thing when I come to Las Vegas, I'm thinking what a great place to have a race. First, secure a great hotel because they're reasonably priced and get ready to gamble and have fun and be prepared to try to win the race so you can win back some of the money you've lost during the week.

Now, a lap of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. First, we're coming off the banked oval section right down the start/finish line. Fourth gear, fifth gear, sixth gear. We come up to about 190 miles an hour, wind is coming at your face. In the BMW V12 LMR, the lights are lighting up, one after another, across the dash, indicating you're reaching max revs.

Now at the 200 marker coming into Turn 1, you hit the carbon-fiber brakes. You stand on them with everything you've got and you decelerate with enough energy that it feels like your eyes are starting to come out of your head.

Fifth, fourth, third, second gear and now a very fast left-hander leading into a right-hander which is the Turn 1 - 2 chicane. You touch the left-side curb, the right-side curb and you put the power down with as much intensity as you can, trying to avoid wheel-spin.

Then you come immediately out of second gear, up to third gear and prepare for a long-left Turn 3 that leads you into Turn 4, another left-hander, which is third gear, fourth gear, fifth gear. At the top of fifth gear, now it's time to decelerate to come to the second slowest turn on the track, Turn 5, a tight left-hander.

Back down to second gear for Turn 5. Fight for grip. This is a place where, at Las Vegas when it gets hot, you start to lose grip in this infield section. You set your car up to try to optimize the inside. Make a left-hand turn. Come out in second gear, third gear.

Now, we're coming to Turn 6, a very fast left-hander. Third gear into Turn 6, then a quick-left, third gear immediately into fourth coming into Turn 7, a right-hander.

When you're through Turn 7, immediately decelerate for a double-apex in the Turns 8 and 9 complex, both right-hand turns. Down to second gear. Now we drift into Turn 8 and let the car go wide a little bit, all the while putting the accelerator down, down, down trying to again keep from wheel-spinning. It's second gear, then third gear exiting Turn 8. You get right up against the wall at the left-hand side. You have two or three moments where the wheels are breaking loose. Now you're second gear, third gear, fourth gear down to Turn 10.

As you get to Turn 10, you're coming in at about 150 miles an hour in fifth gear. You downshift to fourth for this very fast right-hander which is a continuing decreasing radius to Turn 11. So, you're in fourth gear, then third while still on the throttle.

Now you come to Turn 11, the tightest section on the track. First gear -- hard, hard left and a very slow turn, let's say 40 to 45 miles an hour. You come out now churning all the horsepower the BMW V12 motor is made of. You put the foot hard on the accelerator in third gear, fourth gear, just trying to stop the wheels from spinning.

Now, it's through Turn 12 and through Turn 13, both very fast and long left-hand turns, all flat-out.

Then, we're coming up to the banking again headed back towards the start/finish line. This is the place where you hang onto the wheel because they do not have a real nice approach to the enbankment. Up the enbankment and boom, you feel the nose hit, the sparks come up the side the car. Fourth gear, fifth gear, sixth gear and here we come down the front straightaway to do it all again.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Bill Auberlen