- Auberlen wins in GT class with Dalla Lana
- Races BMW for Turner Motorsport
- Also takes podium finish in CTSCC
Bill Auberlen - first and second at Barber
Bill Auberlen earned his third victory and sixth podium finish of the 2011 season on Saturday, driving a pair of Turner Motorsport BMW race cars at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Paul Dalla Lana of Toronto almost matched their March feat of winning two races on the same day, but had to settle for a win and a second-place finish. The win came in the GT class of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, second in the GS class in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
It was a hot race, a tough battle.
The Turner Motorsport crew used data from the Continental race to prepare for the Rolex Series race that immediately followed. As Auberlen led the Continental field in the No. 96 BMW M3, he provided feedback to the team's Rolex Series crew, so they could tweak the No. 94 M3 for maximum performance. The strategy paid off.
"While we were in the GS car, we were feeding information to the GT guys," Auberlen said. "The car was up on the [jack] stands until the last minutes before the race and they were changing the setup based on everything the track was doing when I was in the car."
Dalla Lana qualified for and started both races, ably setting the stage for Auberlen's fast finishes.
In the 2.5-hour Continental race, Auberlen took the lead at 1h40 and held the position until the final five minutes of the race, dropping back to finish second as his tires lost grip. He noted a series rule change that limits BMW power ultimately affected the tire wear.
"Now that the power of the motor is down, I had to fight so, so hard, it absolutely burned the tires right off the car. I had no tires left to fight at the end," he explained. "The [winning] Multimatic guys did a very good job. I did my best and just didn't have enough for them."
But the knowledge gained from the race proved valuable in the Rolex Series race that followed. A lucky break helped, too. Dalla Lana pitted for a driver change to Auberlen under green-flag conditions, moving the car to the back of the field. Auberlen had to return to pit lane to serve a penalty, which normally would put the car a lap behind the rest of the field. But the timing of a caution period let him stay on the lead lap.
"We had to serve a penalty for speeding in pit lane," he said. "We would have gone a lap down, but I was already in pit lane when the yellow came out, so that was perfect. I served my penalty, then I went out of pit lane. Everybody else had to sit behind the pace car, so I caught the field. When they all ducked into pit lane, I was already fueled and ready to go, so then I went up almost to the front. We all cycled out and I wound up in fourth place on the restart. It was such a stroke of luck!"
Auberlen raced in the top three until he took the lead with an hour to go in the two-hour 45-minute race. He set the fastest race lap en route to the win.
"It was a hot race, a tough battle," he acknowledged. "It's all about focusing on setup of the car. That is the focus of our team this year and it's working very well."
-source: bill auberlen PR