Bill Auberlen will miss this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale.
The veteran BMW driver has dropped off the entry list for both races, with a Turner Motorsport representative confirming to Sportscar365 that he will not be present in Sebring this weekend.
A later statement from the driver confirmed possible exposure to COVID-19 as the reason for his absence, with Auberlen having at home — in quarantine — awaiting test results.
“Missing any race, much less the 12 Hours of Sebring, is very disappointing,” he said.
“This year is the 35th anniversary of my father’s win in 1985 as well as my first 12 Hour win in 1995 – 25 years ago.
“You can’t imagine how hard it is for me to miss this race, but this COVID situation is such that we all need to remain as safe as we can.
“I will certainly be tuning in to cheer on the Turner Motorsport team and will be back behind the wheel of a BMW as soon as I can.”
Auberlen will be replaced by BMW factory driver Nick Yelloly at the wheel of the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 this weekend alongside Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern.
Yelloly, winner of this year’s Nürburgring 24, is due to arrive at Sebring this evening after taking the first flight out of the UK this morning.
The Englishman was among several BMW drivers to have tested positive for COVID-19 following the Total 24 Hours of Spa but has since recovered.
Cameron Lawrence, meanwhile, has been drafted into Turner’s No. 95 BMW M4 GT4 in Pilot Challenge competition, in what the driver called a “surprise race week” on Twitter late Wednesday.
Turner’s No. 96 BMW remains unchanged with the lineup of Foley and Vinnie Barletta.
Auberlen and Foley entered the weekend fifth in the WeatherTech Championship GTD points, 20 points away from leaders Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry.