Bill Auberlen has praised the progress of BimmerWorld co-driver Chandler Hull ahead of their move into the Pro class of Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, which kicks off this weekend at Sonoma.
After finishing third in the Pro-Am standings last year, highlighted with a class victory at the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS, the duo is set to step up and pilot the No. 94 BMW M4 GT3 in the five-car Pro category.
It marks another new chapter in the career of 28-year-old Hull, who moved into GT3 racing entirely last year with outings in GTWC America, the Hankook 24H Series and Asian Le Mans Series.
Notably, he teamed with Thomas Merrill and Nicky Catsburg to capture the GT title in the latter series earlier this year, driving for Walkenhorst Motorsport.
Auberlen told Sportscar365 that he has been impressed with his co-driver’s progress and believes Hull is ready to compete for overall wins in GTWC America.
“The trick is Chandler’s been getting quicker and he just has to make that leap into the top Pros,” said Auberlen.
“You look at his physical side, he’s lost a lot of weight. He’s in great shape.
“Mentally, I think he’s in a great place. Physically, he’s in a great place. So this is a guy that’s committed to trying to do it.
“Now, we’ve got to see how much between John Edwards, myself, Bruno Spengler, the Turner team, how much can we shove in there that he can retain and then make use of.
“So you could tell somebody to go a second faster through that corner all you want, but they have to feel it.
“They have to feel it, understand it, and then produce it. And I think he can do it.
“A lot of people, I’ve got to tell [things] over and over and over. You could tell [Chandler] a lot of stuff at one time, he takes it all in, processes it, and does it.
“He’s very sharp, he’s a very smart kid. Smart-wise, he’s got it.”
Auberlen and Hull are set for a dual program with the BMW’s GT3 car across GTWC America as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
In addition to their Pro class effort with BimmerWorld, the pairing teamed with the likes of John Edwards and Bruno Spengler across the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Turner Motorsport’s GTD Pro entry.
Edwards will rejoin the pairing for the remaining Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, while Silver-rated Hull and Gold-rated Auberlen move to GTD class for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup events.
“Whenever you go in a faster car, a faster class, it’s easy to come back down,” Auberlen said.
“Everything slows down, the level of competition is a little bit different. So we’re putting him in at the deep end, straight away.
“Then when he and I are just together, and we’re in [a] Pro-Am [class], he should be fully ready to go.”
Auberlen added that Hull’s level of readiness should be further boosted by the fact that they will be racing effectively identical cars across the two championships, as opposed to running with different platforms.
“I think for Chandler it’s going to be relatively seamless because he’s running the Asian Le Mans Series, a lot of stuff in Europe, and that more mimics what we’re doing now with the endurance racing side of things.
“Chandler and I have raced a fair bit of races, so we’re up to speed. We get it.
“He had to come and get into this new team, have his family get into this new team, and I think that was a very seamless integration to bring him in.
“So I think it’s going pretty easily. When you have a known BMW team like Turner, known like BimmerWorld, they run the same product with the same parts.
“I mean, down to the drink bottle hoses, everything’s identical.
“Our operations of the way we do our pit stops, the way we do our fueling, we made it all the same.
“Everything’s identical. So when you go from one to the other, you don’t have to rethink, relearn, that type of stuff. So I think it’s easy.”
John Dagys contributed to this report