One of the highlights of each race is the podium ceremony and presentation of trophies. However, just as some races are bigger than others, not all race trophies are created equal.
For example, a popular Midwest short track race promoter saved money by frequenting yard sales to buy trophies of various shapes and sizes. Once back at the track, his kids would simply swap out the baseball, golf, or bowling figure atop the base and replace it with a race car.
Or, unhappy with a flagman’s error that cost him a win at his local kart track, a now prominent vintage racer disassembled his small trophy and placed the pieces on the ground. He kept only the sprocket sized nut and bolt that had held it together and dropped that into his shirt pocket.
As the winningest driver in IMSA history with 64 wins, Bill Auberlen could fill a mid-size home with the hardware that he has hoisted throughout his career.
The 2020 Michelin GT Challenge at VIR holds a special place in Auberlen’s collection. He and co-driver Robby Foley won both the GTD Class in the WeatherTech Championship event and the GS class in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. The GTD victory was Auberlen’s milestone 61st win.
Designed by Michelin specifically for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, the 3D printed Michelin Man trophies are hand painted in gold, silver, and bronze to recognize the three podium positions.
Two are Good, Three Are Better
While two wins in two races would seem hard to beat, Auberlen was outscored on the trophy front by both Foley and team owner Will Turner in 2020 at VIR.
“We had the perfect weekend at VIR sweeping both GS and GTD. It was a historic weekend where Bill got his record number of wins in the GTD race and I got two podiums in one (Pilot Challenge) race…I’m not sure how many times that’s happened in motorsport, but it can’t be many and to do it at one of my favorite tracks was a lot of fun,” said Foley.
“Michelin does a great job in supporting us with the best tires to win races, but also the best trophies. These are my favorite ones to look at on my trophy shelf, one because they signify my most successful racing weekend, and the Michelin Man’s smile can brighten anyone’s day,” said Foley.
“Not only will I never forget the feeling of winning both classes, but I have THREE of the coolest trophies on my trophy shelf – the distinctive Michelin Man! I smile whenever I look at them,” said Will Turner.
Auberlen, Foley and Turner will be looking to brighten their day and championship prospects at VIR this weekend.
After falling from first to fourth in the GTD standings after a setback at Long Beach, Auberlen and Foley want to add to their respective Michelin Man collections to close the gap to the now GTD leading Pfaff Porsche of Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor.