BMW Blog published an interview with one of the most recognizable names in the car racing industry: Bill Auberlen. Before he took to the Daytona International Speedway for the 49th running of the Rolex 24, he speaks about his career, his plans, and why he loves to race for BMW.

BMWBLOG: Now you’ve raced all over the world, in almost every type of race car. What cars stand out as ones you really enjoyed driving and racing?

Bill Auberlen: The first ones that come to mind first are the handmade ones that come from BMW. The V12 LM which was the predecessor to the V12 LMR was ground breaking. When I saw it first come out it made my heart beat faster. You just knew it was going to be awesome. I remember the first time I saw the LMR. Tom Kristensen was driving it in Austria through the mountains. They made this debut in front of all these people; I thought, ‘man, if I could only drive that’. That same year I was enlisted to drive that car in the American Le Mans Series. Every time I sat in it and heard that twelve cylinder going it was exhilarating! Unbelievable!

Apart from BMW, a Judd Dallara I drove made so much downforce, it tried to rip your head off every time you got into a corner. That was at the peak of the LMP, where the rules let you have giant down force with diffusers, under trays and wings. It was a really neat car, really easy to drive and very fast. I have been really fortunate to be in some of the best cars in the world!

BMWBLOG: Now that you’ve won another ALMS title, how does it feel to come back and do it again, beating Porsche and Corvette, just like you did in 2002?

Bill Auberlen: Any time you come back to defend a title, there is an extra bit of pressure on your shoulders. BMW knew this. They weren’t going to put the same car back. They brought back a car with aero tweaks, paddle shifts, motor modifications; they’ve really done as much as they could to come back and defend that title. The team is better, the drivers know more, the competition is brutal. If we are racing against Corvettes, racing against Porsche’s, racing against Ferrari and they all want to win too, this racing is as good as it gets -we won it last year. Of course we are proud of our hard work. The team, BMW, drivers, all. The big goal is to come back and do it again. And do it even better!

BMWBLOG: What makes the 2011 ALMS season special for you coming up? Are you ready to defend your crown?

Bill Auberlen: It’s special because we are coming back to defend a hard won title. We are ready to defend. We did a test and they put a lot of new things in this car. We are starting with some unknowns. So immediately BMW schedules a 12 hour test, a 12 hour race so off we go to Sebring we start running it and they will find every little quirk and rectify it immediately. That’s how you get ready for 2011. You know Tommy’s gone. Tommy Milner was a great teammate last year I was happy to co-drive with him. Now I have Dirk Werner, a little bit of an unknown. I raced with him during the endurance races, he was really good. Hopefully he and I will gel as well as Tommy and I did, and Joey the year before. I expect so and that means we will be even better prepared to defend the Championship.

BMWBLOG: You are currently racing at Daytona, and you are there with Turner Motorsport. How’s the car?

Bill Auberlen: We are in Daytona, we are with Turner Motorsports, we have a BMW M3 all new body work, all new aerodynamics- How is the car? If ever you are going to win at Daytona, this is the year because the team is really ready, the car is proven, the driver line up is solid. A week ago in Dubai we ran a 24 hour race to get ready. We are going to exactly replicate what we did there, not a single change. With a little luck at the end of this 24 hour race we will be wearing a Rolex watch. That’s what we are hoping for.

BMWBLOG: I saw you race last season against your good buddy Joey Hand, and you guys seem to be safe, but competitive. Does it feel good to race against someone you had raced with?

Bill Auberlen: When Joey came on with BMW, he was young, he was green. I saw something in him that I really liked. He was dedicated, he was honest, and he has a lot of talent. I taught him everything I knew. Then all of the sudden. This guy that I raced with is racing against me. So this guy knows a lot of your tricks. Well I know him as well as he knows me, so when we are racing against each other it is very, very difficult to get a leg up on somebody that knows what you are doing and vise versa. When he is behind me he always says I cant pass you- you know every move I make. And vise versa. We know the older guy always keeps a trick in his pocket. This year we will be racing against each other again. It should be great sport, very competitive! We always, always want to be the fastest car, we are ultra competitive. We just raced a race yesterday here in Daytona, in the Grand Am GS class and he and I were side-by-side a number of times and it gets tricky. He’s not going to touch me, if he can avoid it, and I’m never going to touch him, if I can avoid it. But we both want to get to Victory Lane first! I was standing on the podium. Let’s see how the year shakes out, it will be great to watch.

BMWBLOG: What is your personal car?

Bill Auberlen: Luckily, BMW says it only makes sense that we should drive what we race. My personal car is a new 2011 BMW M3. And wow! What a car it is, love it, drive it and trying not to get tickets in it, a goal for 2011.

BMWBLOG: What makes BMW such a special automaker that you continue to drive for them?

Bill Auberlen: I drove for Ferrari, I drove for Chevrolet, I drove for Mazda, I was lucky to get the chance to drive for BMW. Then my new life goal became to never get out of a BMW. BMW and that roundel historically means the same thing as victory; it means champion; it means development; it means technology… it means everything that wins. So as a driver it is amazing to work with the best engineers, on the best teams. So the better question is not why do I continue to drive for them but to acknowledge that I am blessed that they continue to let me drive for them.
Source: BMW Blog