Photo courtesy of IMSA

Bill Auberlen to make 400th BMW start at Petit Le Mans

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This weekend’s running of the Petit Le Mans will see BMW Team RLL driver Bill Auberlen reach a milestone with the German automaker: his 400th start with the manufacturer.

Auberlen, who will hit 550 total starts in his professional racing career on Saturday, joined BMW’s racing efforts in 1996, first joining what was then called BMW Team PTG, beginning a partnership than has spanned over two decades and has seen Auberlen be a part of ever BMW of North America racing program since then.

Though he is primarily known as a GT driver, Auberlen’s tenure does include some work in prototypes, such as in 1999, when he was a part of the driving lineup in a BMW V12 LMR in the then American Le Mans Series.

BIll Auberlen, second from the left, piloted a BMW prototype in 1999. Photo: BMW Team RLL

Racing with BMW Team RLL since 2009, when RLL picked up the BMW contract, Auberlen has won in every marque BMW has contested: the M3, the Z4, and the M6. The new M8 GTE debuts next season.

However, despite the milestone, Auberlen’s focus is on winning Saturday’s race. “The amount of work done by everyone that has contributed to this effort over the last two years of the BMW M6 program has been extraordinary. Although we can’t win the championship, we can certainly win this race. 400 races for BMW? It has been great, but I don’t often look back. Bring on the next one!” Auberlen quipped.

Perhaps Auberlen’s most notable results with BMW are class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1997 and 1998. This year, Auberlen and co-drover Alexander Sims have won twice, at Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July.

Bill Auberlen and co-driver Alex Sims have won twice in 2017 in their BMW M6 GTLM. Photo courtesy of IMSA

Currently, Auberlen and Sims sit third in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM standings, one point behind the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing duo of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook. Corvette Racing’s pair of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen lead the title and will clinch provided they make the minimum drive time to score points on Saturday.

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NBC Sports Group, INDYCAR partner on new TV and digital rights agreement starting in 2019

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NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR officials this morning announced a new partnership beginning in 2019 that will take the sport in an exciting new direction.

The new all-encompassing agreement includes TV and digital rights to all INDYCAR races — including the legendary Indianapolis 500. NBCSN has been INDYCAR’s cable partner since 2009, but this new agreement is all-encompassing and includes broadcast, cable, digital, streaming, and direct-to-consumer rights for all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices and more.

All races will be carried live, with eight races — including the Indy 500 — on NBC, while the remaining races will be televised on NBCSN.

Here is the official news release announcing the new partnership:



New Agreement Includes Rights to All Races, Qualifying, and Practices

Indianapolis 500 Moves to NBC in 2019

Indy 500 and Seven Additional Races on NBC Annually; Remaining Races on NBCSN; All Races Live Streamed on and the NBC Sports app

NBC Sports Gold Direct-to-Consumer Package Includes Qualifying, Practices, Indy Lights, and Full-Event Replays

STAMFORD, Conn. – March 21, 2018 – NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR announced a new, multi-year media rights agreement today in which NBC Sports has acquired the rights to present all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Indianapolis 500 and seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races will be broadcast annually on NBC, with all remaining races televised on NBCSN. All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on and the NBC Sports app. Details of NBC Sports’ 2019 INDYCAR schedule will be announced at a later date.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will offer a package to INDYCAR fans that features all qualifying and practices not televised live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the Gold offering, will be announced at a later date.

“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of INDYCAR, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honored to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ Championship Season. We’ve seen consistent growth for INDYCAR on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”

“This arrangement brings all of INDYCAR to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of INDYCAR’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”

The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, May 26, 2019, will be the first ever on NBC. The Indy 500 will also be included every year in NBC Sports’ Championship Season marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events that are presented across NBC Sports platforms from May to July, including the Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, Tour de France, and The Open Championship.

The entire Verizon IndyCar Series will receive unprecedented marketing and promotional support from NBC Sports, which will utilize not only its own assets, but many NBCUniversal assets as well. With the Indy 500 and seven additional races on NBC, INDYCAR will have the second-most races on broadcast television in all of motorsports.