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Auberlen Hoping for ‘Stars to Align’ in 25th Sebring Start

Bill Auberlen set for 25th start in Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring; chasing all-time IMSA win record…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Bill Auberlen knows what it takes to win, 58 times to be exact, a record which stands as the second most by a driver in IMSA history and just two behind all-time leader Scott Pruett.

However, some of those wins are a little sweeter than most.

Auberlen’s most recent victory in last year’s Motul Petit Le Mans in the GT Le Mans class came in his 400th career start with BMW, and in 1995, Auberlen captured his first Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring win with a unique twist.

“What’s really neat about this is my dad won Sebring in 1985, the Twelve Hours, and I won it 10 years after that in 1995 and again in ’97 and ’98,” Auberlen recalled.

“So, I’ve had success here, but it’s something that ties my dad and me together. My dad comes to this race every year with me.”

And in next month’s Twelve Hours of Sebring, Auberlen hopes to make the stars align again, driving the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE in his 25th start at the iconic 12-hour endurance race.

The Californian sits second in all-time Sebring starts, behind Hurley Haywood at 28.

“Of any race that you’d want to do 25 times, Sebring is the one,” said Auberlen. “It’s the most historical race we go to in the United States and it’s probably the most fun for me to drive. It’s the most challenging.”

While the three-time IMSA champion is going for his fourth victory at Sebring, Auberlen says he has learned more from the losses than the wins.

“Obviously the wins are fantastic,” he said. “The first win was amazing. It was with Alex Job in a Porsche and then came BMW. Some of the defeats are challenging.

“The wins are easy to take as a human because you don’t have to do much. It’s when something goes wrong, and you have a defeat, that defines you and how you respond. I’ve had plenty of times where I’ve yet to understand myself, dig deeper, and learn a lot about myself.”

For 2018, Auberlen has transitioned from full-time status in the WeatherTech Championship to a new role as a BMW North America Brand Ambassador and four-round Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup driver.

With his eyes still set on becoming the winningest driver in IMSA history, Auberlen truly believes in the BMW M8 GTE, which is new for the 2018 season, and his team.

“The M8 is a work of art and a race car,” he said. “It is beautiful, it is fast, it’s fun to drive, it’s No. 25, and it’ll be my 25th time. The stars are going to align and let’s just get on the top step of that podium.”



  1. Andy Flinn

    February 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I think it’s interesting that Bill and Scott got their starts in the same kind of car (IMSA GTU Mazda Rx-7).

    • N8

      February 23, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      I don’t seem to recall Pruett in the Mazda. Was the before or after his Trans-Am days?

      • Andy Flinn

        February 23, 2018 at 4:16 pm

        Scott raced the #42 Mazda Rx-7 beginning I believe in 1984.

        In 1985, he put the #42 on the pole for the Miami Grand Prix IMSA GTU race and finished second.

        It wasn’t long after that Jack Roush scooped him up for the Ford Mustang IMSA GTO program.

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