Auberlen Triumphs at Petit Le Mans in 400th BMW Outing


Credit: Richard Dole LAT Images, Courtesy of IMSA

In the final race for the BMW M6 GTLM car before the introduction of M8 GTE in 2018, the trio of Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims and Kuno Wittmer claimed victory at the Motul Petit Le Mans, giving the BMW Team RLL their first victory in the Road Atlanta event.

The trio were front-runners for much of the ten-hour race, coming out on top by 1.060 seconds ahead of the #3 Corvette Racing machine of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller, while the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Alessandro Pier Guidi completed the podium.

For Auberlen, the victory had an extra special importance, with the forty-eight-year-old racing in his 400th race with BMW, with the American delighted to take his third win of the season at Road Atlanta after triumphing alongside Sims at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“We went to battle with this BMW M6 GTLM,” said Auberlen. “This was a perfect car right from the beginning. Thanks to all my guys.

“What great way to complete my 400th race with BMW. This is just amazing.”

Sims, who joined the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship full-time this year alongside Auberlen, and the British racer said it was a challenging race right from the start, but everything fell into place with all three drivers and the whole team getting things right.

“What a race. This was really, really something,” said Sims. “It was very challenging out there, but the team made the right calls all day.

“We beat a few people into some of the stops under yellow which was really helpful for the overall race. We had a great pace. But traffic was always a big gamble.

“BMW and the whole team worked very well this weekend – and all season. I’m so glad we brought it home.”

Canadian Wittmer admitted he could not ask for better team-mates to compete at Road Atlanta than Auberlen and Sims, and he was full of emotion following the victory.

“I’m overwhelmed with emotions right now,” said Wittmer. “This is such a team sport. Every person in the team performed to absolute perfection today. That’s how you win.

“Co-driving with Bill was great again. He is someone to look up to. Alex is an amazing talent. I couldn’t ask for better team-mates. Good job BMW Team RLL!”