Bill Auberlen is targeting a full-time return to WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, potentially with Turner Motorsport, in a bid to become the all-time leader in IMSA victories.
The 49-year-old Californian, who has a reduced three-race endurance-only race program with BMW Team RLL this year, has outlined ambitions of mounting a championship attack in 2019.
Auberlen currently sits second in all-time IMSA wins at 58, two behind leader Scott Pruett, who retired from professional competition after last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“We’re working on that now,” Auberlen told Sportscar365. “There is a very good chance that you’re going to see me with [Turner] again.
“I don’t want to just slap together some program that’s not great. I want it to be fantastic with a great co-driver and a chance to win a championship.
“My objective of my career is that I’ve won every race I’ve ever competed in multiple times except Le Mans so I wish I could do that. In two more wins I tie for the most wins, and in three, I’m standing alone for the most wins in American sports car racing.
“To be even near some of these guys, I’ve had a great long career, but that is my focus and I just want to get that accomplished if I could.”
Despite this year’s reduced race program with BMW’s factory team, Auberlen said he’s not ready to hang up the helmet just yet.
Auberlen’s indicated the desire of returning to the Will Turner-led squad, a team he’s enjoyed much success with, including victories in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition.
“I might be back in GTD next year and then I could do a full-time deal and go for the championship,” Auberlen said.
“It was just a little late with all of the deals that we did this year so we’ll probably put something together and you’ll see me back full-time in some great race cars.”
Auberlen on New Ambassador Role
Auberlen has also taken on a new role within the manufacturer, as a BMW of North America brand ambassador.
“We’ve been talking, BMW and I, for years now, and we need to find a place where we can do good for each other,” he said.
“We’ve done it successfully in racing and championships, and it’s time to do something slightly different. I think we’re all in agreement with it.
“If I could sit full-time in that M8 [GTE], that’s my first choice. Time’s changed and you have to go with it, and this is seriously a great opportunity for me.”
Auberlen said the role will ensure a longer career with BMW, both on and off the track.
“This is a brilliant step and it’s for the next five years so to have a long-term contract is great,” he said. “It adds a lot of additional stuff.
“I’m doing car launches, we just did a show in Vegas. It’s going to add a lot of days, which will be interesting as a different aspect but I still get to race the best cars in the world.”