Bill Auberlen Celebrates Victory After 400th BMW Start at 2017 Petit Le Mans
As a matter of fact, he’s won in nearly 38 percent of his starts with the Bavarian marque.
Hype surrounded Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at last weekend's Petit Le Mans, with veteran Bill Auberlen starting his 400th race with the BMW brand. This massive feat was well celebrated by the American factory driver and his crew, and to finish things off, he came out on top in the GTLM class to claim his 151st victory with the brand.
Auberlen's 20-year career started in IMSA GTU and has been followed by consistent sportscar entries since 1987. Having won in almost 38 percent of his starts, he is also one of the most successful drivers for the Bavarian automaker, winning six races in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar series alone.
When asked by Sportscar365 how much the victory meant to him, he explained that there was "nothing better."
“It feels great, as you can imagine,” said Auberlen. “I’ve been with so many amazing people from BMW. The smartest, the best, the fastest. To do 400 races and on the anniversary of my 400th, to win, there’s nothing better.”
The RLL team's performance at Saturday's 10-hour race was exceptional, as it managed to edge out the looming threat of Corvette racing, eventually finishing first in the race and claiming the No. 2 spot in the season championship.
"The thing was, we were quick all day," Auberlen continued. "We led a lot of this race so we knew we had something and we had to position ourselves just right going into the last stint."
It was announced earlier in the year that the M6 race car used by the team will be replaced next year by the all-new M8 GTE. However, to honor Auberlen, the team will be leaving his winning car in its original livery, continuing on his legacy for years to come.
"The really cool part is, they already told me, since this is the biggest win it’s won, they’re leaving it in that livery. It’s got my name all over the thing! That will be cool, it will live in museums and maybe I’ll get to drive it again.”