Racing News

Bill Auberlen will become a BMW NA Brand Ambassador supporting NA’s customer racing program. He will continue to race with BMW Team RLL, appearing in one of the team’s M8 GTEs in the four long IMSA enduros at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Road Atlanta.

Auberlen, who won at Road Atlanta in his 400th race for BMW in October, said, “I am honored to have been asked to become a BMW NA Brand Ambassador and look forward to additional opportunities with BMW of North America. First and foremost I am a racing driver and am looking forward to four races with BMW Team RLL in 2018. My goal remains to get to the top of the list in all-time North American sports car victories and I want that achievement to be shared with BMW. We are only three wins away. We have not yet determined what else I may be driving but every opportunity in a BMW racing car is a good one.”

The announcement came as part of a BMW NA release on the beginning of Team RLL’s testing program for the new M8 GTE. The team has completed it’s first test of the car at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and will participate in IMSA’s test day at Daytona on December 5 and 6.

The team has announced that native Californian Connor de Phillippi, 24, will be joining the team. He has been racing in Europe for five years, first as a Porsche Junior and most recently with Audi. He co-drove a Land Audi to a win in the Nürburgring 24, and also co-drove the team’s GTD-winning car at Petit Le Mans 2017.

John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk were at Homestead along with De Phillippi; all three racers will participate in the Daytona tests.

BMW NA motorsport manager Victor Leleu said, “While I don’t believe it could ever be said that Bill Auberlen was underutilized in his first two decades with BMW NA, we have made a mutual decision to take better advantage of his expertise and now to primarily support our growing customer racing programs in addition to competing with BMW Team RLL in the four IMSA endurance races this season. We are delighted that Bill has agreed to become a BMW NA brand ambassador and we fully expect his unbounded enthusiasm for the brand to continue to excite BMW fans with “Bill Power”. We welcome John’s return and are pleased Connor has joined us for 2018. 2017 ended on a very strong note and we believe our success will continue with the M8 GTE.”

Additional details on BMW’s 2018 motorsport programs and driver lineups will be announced at the annual season review banquet in Munich on December 15.—Brian S. Morgan

BMW NA/Sam Cobb photos