Bill Auberlen, already the IMSA leader in all-time race wins (64) and poles (45), will add another milestone at the 70th running of the Twelve Hours of Sebring: 500 race starts for BMW, more than any other BMW racer.
Auberlen’s name has been linked to the German manufacturer for a quarter-century, and he had already established himself as a winning racer before joining the BMW family. In addition, at IMSA’s following race on the streets of Long Beach, the 53-year-old Californian will be inducted into the Motorsports Walk of Fame on April 7.
“When I look back on 500 races with BMW, I am humbled and proud,” said Auberlen. “When I look to what the next seasons may bring, I say bring on race number 600! It feels appropriate that my 500th for BMW comes at Sebring as the 12 Hour is a special race for me. In 1985, I was the truck driver and crew for my father’s win there. Ten years later I scored my first win at the 12 Hour. My induction to the Motorsports Walk of Fame in Long Beach feels almost surreal. It’s kind of a ‘local kid makes good’ thing and I am truly honored.”
Auberlen, who grew up in Redondo Beach, just north of Long Beach, has won in almost every BMW he has raced, from the GT-class E36 M3s to the mighty V12 LMR prototype and the M6 GT3. At Long Beach, he was a GT class winner in 2013 and 2015 and has a total of nine top-five finishes in 14 starts dating back to 1990. He has been a class winner at the 24 Hours of Daytona twice and finished in the top five twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A six-time professional auto racing champion, Auberlen currently drives the No. 96 BMW M4 GT3 for Turner Motorsport in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The 70th Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway at 10:10 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 19. The 16th annual Motorsports Walk of Fame ceremony, open to the public, will take place at 11 a.m. PT on South Pine Avenue in front of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center as part of the festivities surrounding the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.