Bill Auberlen: two more championships Bill Auberlen is celebrating a double-championship season after securing his fifth and sixth professional sports-car racing championships in 2004. The Redondo Beach, Calif., driver capped his record season...
Bill Auberlen: two more championships
Bill Auberlen is celebrating a double-championship season after securing his fifth and sixth professional sports-car racing championships in 2004. The Redondo Beach, Calif., driver capped his record season with championships in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class and the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship. He has won four titles in the past three years for a total of six career championships.
Auberlen won the 2004 Rolex Series GT driver championship with three pole positions, eight victories (including a record six-consecutive wins), nine podium finishes and five fastest race laps, all in the No. 21 BMW M3 prepared by BMW Team PTG. He topped the World Challenge Touring Car series in the No. 1 Turner Motorsports BMW 325i, with three record poles, three wins, five podiums and two record fastest race laps. He also won the only Grand-Am Cup race he entered this year, in a BMW 330i.
"It was one of those years you could write a book about. It was an incredible year where a lot of things just went my direction," he said. "The teams were phenomenal, both PTG and Turner. The equipment is the big thing that's in common: BMW. It's a winning car from the ground up; it's bred and built to win GT races. It makes life so much easier to hop from one to the other. They're all equally as lethal in their class to win."
Auberlen believes his early experience racing motorcycles, open-wheel racers and sports cars gave him the skill to drive anything fast, from prototype race cars to record-setting speed boats. He has won at Daytona and Sebring, in Peru and Japan. He has set dozens of records on track and on water -- and returned to better them the next year.
"To be versatile, to be able to go from one place to the next and be competitive and win championships, makes it even more satisfying. I came from open-wheel and sedan racing at the same time -- that's about as opposite as you can get, like mud-bog racing and drag racing. It's so different, it teaches you how to adapt very quickly from one machine to the next," he explained. "Ultimately, it's about trying to drive something that has four wheels on it as fast as it can go. And when it's only got three wheels left, you still try to drive it fast."