Dream Race for Auberlen, Sims and BMW Team RLL at VIR Comes Up Short
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

For most of Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway, it looked like the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM co-driven by Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims was well on its way to a third victory this season.

The team appeared to have the field covered. Both Sims and Auberlen – who with a victory would have closed to within two victories of Scott Pruett on the all-time IMSA wins leader – built double-digit leads over the rest of the field.

But with 13 minutes remaining, Sims unexpectedly brought the No. 25 BMW onto pit road with a punctured left-front tire. Sims rejoined the race in fourth place, where he’d finish.

“What a disappointing end to a great race,” Sims said. “We had great pace – probably the best car I’ve had all year in the first stint – but it all went away.”

Making it even more painful for the BMW squad was the fact that the team they’re chasing in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) championship race – the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R co-driven by Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen – inherited the race lead and went on to win.

Had the No. 25 team won the race and the No. 3 team finished second; they would have been only six points out of the lead.

Auberlen and Sims did gain one spot in the standings, moving past No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT co-drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller and into second place, but they’re now 16 points out of the lead heading into the America’s Tire 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the penultimate round of the 2017 WeatherTech Championship.

“I have raced for many years, and a loss like we had today never gets easier to deal with,” Auberlen said. “The complexion of the championship now changes out of our favor, but there is no giving up.”