BMW's Auberlen loaned to Aston Martin for Le Mans 24 Hours
|By Gary Watkins||Thursday, April 18th 2013, 18:37 GMT|
Long-time BMW driver Bill Auberlen has been loaned out to Aston Martin for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The American, who is racing in the American Le Mans Series this year for the German manufacturer, has taken the 15th and final seat in the five-car line-up of Aston Martin Vantage GTEs for the French enduro on June 22/23.
He will share the additional GTE Pro class entry, which moved up from the reserve list in March, with Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana, with whom he has raced in the Grand-Am GT class since 2010.
Auberlen, who made the last of his four Le Mans starts back in 2005, said: "It's excellent news that I'm going back to Le Mans, even more so that I'm doing it in such a competitive car.
"It will also be good preparation in case BMW goes back to Le Mans. It's got to be good for our programme, too."
Aston Martin Racing team principal John Gaw said: "Bill was one of the guys we identified when we were looking for additional drivers over the winter. In our analysis, he was the fastest BMW driver in the ALMS last year.
"Fortunately, BMW released him for Le Mans and we have been able to complete a fantastic line-up for the 24 Hours."
AMR has also confirmed that it will run its fifth car alongside its four full-season entries in the second round of the World Endurance Championship at Spa next month.
Lamy and Dalla Lana will be joined in Belgium by Lotus Formula 1 development driver Richie Stanaway, who tested for the team at Road Atlanta in March.
"Bill can't do any races other than Le Mans, so we thought we'd give Richie a chance," said Gaw. "We will see where that leads over the rest of the year."
Gaw didn't rule out running a fifth car in additional WEC events later in the season, but said there would be no decision until after Le Mans.