TOP TEN FINISH FOR LUGGAGE EXPRESS TEAM SIGALSPORT BMW AT BARBER Los Angeles, California July 23 -Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff, co-driving the 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport Dinan BMW Riley, finished tenth at Barber last Sunday. The...
TOP TEN FINISH FOR LUGGAGE EXPRESS TEAM SIGALSPORT BMW AT BARBER
Los Angeles, California July 23 -Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff, co-driving the 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport Dinan BMW Riley, finished tenth at Barber last Sunday. The Alabama race was the tenth round of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
Auberlen ran as high as 8th. On lap 80 Bill tried to pass No. 23, Bergmeister's Porsche Crawford to take 7th but unfortunately, since it is almost impossible to pass on that track, Bill spun and dropped to 11th place. In the last 19 laps Bill was able to regain the top ten but was forced to slow down a bit in the last 5 laps because of a potential tire going down. Thanks to the Luggage Express Team Sigalsport engineers, Rick Mayer and Dave Finch, the 05 Dinan BMW Riley was one of the best Riley Daytona Prototype cars at Barber and was definitely a top five contender. Auberlen even scored the third fastest time in the race proving that theory.
On Thursday during promoter test day, Bill scored the fourth fastest time in the first session just before encountering an engine problem. The car was stopped a few minutes before the end of the session and the Dinan and Sigalsport engineers came to the conclusion that the BMW V8 engine had expired. The crew had only three hours to get ready for the second session of the day and changed the engine in a heartbeat to be ready for the second session. Bill started the second session with a brand new BMW engine and right away was one of the fastest two cars on track. Six minutes into the session Bill came to the pit following a noise in the engine compartment. The car was taken back to the garage and later that afternoon the news came; the 05 Luggage Express Sigalsport BMW Riley had lost a second engine the same day for unrelated reasons. Thanks to the exceptional effort from Dinan BMW in California they were able to overnight a third engine to Barber that arrived in the morning, although the team missed the first official practice session.
When the new engine was finally installed in the Luggage Express machine, Alhadeff took the car to the track to prepare for qualifying. Matt practiced on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning but did not have a lot of time behind the wheel to get fully ready for qualifying. On Saturday afternoon he qualified 16th, improving his time lap after lap until the last second of the short 15 minute qualifying session.
This weekend was one of the weekends where Bill Auberlen was racing in three different series in less than 24 hours, including a BMW Riley DP in the Rolex Series at Barber, a BMW M3 in the Koni Challenge at Barber and a Panoz in the American Le Mans series at Mid-Ohio, Ohio!
On Sunday, Matt took the start in 16th place and drove a total of 46 laps. Matt was able to race in the top ten from lap 7 until lap 10 until the team decided to pit for fuel and tires on lap 11 during the first full course caution. Matt drove a good stint and stayed in the car until the second full course caution that came after 1 hour and 9 minutes.
Bill drove in the second stint from lap 46 to 99 (53 laps) and finished tenth overall, the second best result of the season so far (after their win at Miami), for the Los Angeles, California Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW.
The Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT classes resume action August 3 at the famed F-1 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It marks the maiden race for the series on the 2.708-mile, 15-turn temporary road course.