BimmerWorld Racing Is Partnering With TeamSeattle To Support The Seattle Children’s Hospital Fundraising Effort
December 27th, 2012
BimmerWorld Racing, a three-car BMW GRAND-AM race team, is partnering with TeamSeattle to support the Seattle Children’s Hospital fundraising effort for Daytona and beyond, signing on for the full 2013 season.
BimmerWorld Racing will involve the entire three-car team in the fundraising effort for the Daytona CTSCC race, and will run a single car sporting a TeamSeattle Heart for the entire season. Team Principal James Clay, a supporter and sponsor of the Pacific Northwest PRO3 racing series, is excited about the opportunity to help out. “With all of our friends and supporters in the Pacific Northwest, it was an easy decision for BimmerWorld Racing to work with Team Seattle on the Children’s Hospital fundraising effort” Clay commented.
While the BimmerWorld driver lineups for the #80 and #81 cars are still being finalized for 2013, returning drivers Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers will be piloting the #82 BimmerWorld/CRC Brakleen car again in 2013, which will be carrying the banner for the Children’s Hospital fundraiser for the entire season. Anchorage-based Rogers, who has worked with TeamSeattle for a number of years and drove with TeamSeattle in the 2012 Daytona 24 Hour GT car, is again looking forward to another GRAND-AM season, this time with an additional focus.
“As a former heart patient, I’ve been really proud to be a part of the effort to work raising funds for the hybrid cardiac care suite at Children’s. As an Alaskan, having a top notch regional Children’s hospital in Seattle is important for the entire Pacific Nothwest. Seth and I have some great ideas that we’ve been bouncing around with James, and are looking forward to working with the TeamSeattle “Heart Army” on a season of raising money for the kids.”
Team Seattle founder Don Kitch Jr. commented “It’s great to be back to Daytona with Dan and the BimmerWorld team. We’re going to have some fun running the cars at Daytona – maybe developing a little friendly rivalry between the Compass cars and the Bimmers. While the competition between the cars will be fun, we’ll use that rivalry to generate some additional awareness for the Seattle Children’s Hospital program.”
Follow Team Seattle on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with our developments as we prepare for the race and focus our efforts on both driver preparation and fundraising for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
ABOUT TEAM SEATTLE
Team Seattle is a group of road racing fans, drivers, and sponsors who combine two passions: a love of motorsports and a commitment to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Using corporate and private sponsorship to underwrite the cost of the racecars, Team Seattle field’s cars in races like the 24 Hours of Daytona and now, the Grand-Am Continental Tire Series to raise awareness and drive donations for the Hospital. More information about Team Seattle can be found here.
ABOUT BIMMERWORLD RACING
BimmerWorld Racing is a leading BMW race team and tuner, fielding BMW E90 3-series sedans in GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series. More information about the team can be found here.
November 27th, 2012
Fans of professional sports car racing have likely seen the BimmerWorld Racing team competing in a variety of series over the years, including GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series where the BMW experts won a pair of Street Tuner races this season. But this December 8th, the BimmerWorld race team, joined by long-term sponsor and technical partner Red Line Oil, will set their sights on an overall win at the grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
With its converted GRAND-AM Grand Sport V8 M3 serving as the foundation for its entry in the unlimited ES class, team owner James Clay and an impressive collection of pro and amateur racers will pilot a car that’s received countless performance upgrades since BimmerWorld threw out the Grand Sport rulebook in an effort to build the fastest production-based V8 M3 in the country.
As an integral part of BimmerWorld’s race program, Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation has provided a range of lubricants and additives that has been the lifeblood of BimmerWorld’s machines for years, and this monster M3 is no exception. A healthy diet of Red Line products has kept the V8 engine and driveline cool and protected during the warm summer events, but with temperatures near freezing expected overnight during the 25 Hour, Red Line VP/COO Cameron Evans believes the team, car and test ahead is the perfect challenge for what the renowned company is looking to prove in the marketplace.
“The 25 Hour has become the iconic race to follow for the enthusiasts that are into specific brands and aftermarket modifications,” he said. “With BMW as one of Red Line’s best served niche markets, developing and racing this Production M3 with BimmerWorld shows how serious we are about this next generation of tuning and racing cars.”
For Clay, sending team on a 3000-mile trip across the country to race at Thunderhill with Red Line at NASA’s premier amateur endurance event was an easy choice to make.
“The 25 Hour is a brutal test of endurance, but if all goes well the reward is on par with the effort invested,” he remarked. “When I was working with Red Line Oil to come up with a schedule for the Production V8 car program, we were both looking for events that showed the car’s speed, the durability of our products and that highlighted our effort in a variety of environments.”
“Like anything we do on the race team, the result is important, but the process is as well,” explained Clay. “A win is a tall order in this highly-competitive event, and while BimmerWorld enters every race with the intent to win, the knowledge gained about the car and its components at Thunderhill will also produce valuable results for our line of products. We don’t take the ‘Race Proven Performance’ stamp of approval lightly – it doesn’t mean the parts we build and sell were tested on my drive to work or in a few test sessions at the track. Thunderhill is the most extreme environment for equipment to survive, and our customers will ultimately be the winners from this race and development program.”
The BimmerWorld/Red Line Oil Production V8 in Detail
Away from the press and TV cameras, the Dublin, Virginia-based team stays true to their roots, often returning to compete along-side friends and customers in various club series. In addition to its wide array of BMWCCA, NASA and SCCA activities and customer support programs, the team has found the definitive event to express its passion for endurance racing and free-thinking automotive creativity at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill event in northern California.
Originally one of the first few V8 E92 M3 cars in the US, and having served in past lives as a street performance testbed featured in Roundel magazine and later as a GRAND-AM GS-class racecar, the development of the BimmerWorld/Red Line Oil Production V8 project has continued to progress at rapid pace. Now focused on pure speed, performance, and durability, demonstrated at a schedule including a variety of events, the team has been able to express its passion for endurance racing and free-thinking automotive creativity.
With 25 straight hours of navigating Thunderhill’s twisting 3-mile, 15-turn circuit posing the greatest test for the 80-plus cars that start the race, BimmerWorld will rely upon the extensive chassis and handling improvements to its Production V8 project car to stand out from the competition.
First, the team put the car on a diet, dropping 300 pounds from its GS days, installed 3-Way dampers from Motion Control Suspension, and fitted a bevy of BimmerWorld suspension components designed in the team’s World Challenge Touring Car days, including full spherical links with both suspension and steering geometry correction. On the aerodynamic front, keeping the Production V8 planted to the ground was aided with a BimmerWorld carbon package, including with a splitter and dive planes up front and a wing and lightweight trunk at the rear.
To complement the hearty acceleration provided by its BimmerWorld-tuned V8 engine (running a modest 400 rear wheel Hp for this event to aid fuel economy), Clay’s technicians installed a JB Racing 3-Disc Ultra-Light clutch and flywheel to improve throttle and shifting response, and a Drenth 6-Speed sequential transmission to put the M3’s power to the ground. A new Performance Friction rear brake package compliments the PFC front kit to improve braking performance and durability, and added grip from Hoosier racing slicks complete the uprated package.
The Drivers Weigh In
BimmerWorld will draw upon the experience of a familiar set of drivers next weekend, with Clay, Harold Petit and three of its 2012 GRAND-AM race winners, Gregory Liefooghe, Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas taking turns behind the wheel.
Petit, whose Johnstone Supply stores support BimmerWorld’s Street Tuner effort, is a veteran of the team’s Club Racing endeavors, and will tackle his first twice-around-the-clock (plus an hour) event in the Production V8.
“I really enjoy endurance racing and the way to win is to have the right team, right preparation, and right strategy with the right speed. BimmerWorld is that team, ”he said. “It is wonderful to be a part of the BimmerWorld team for an event like this and to join a group of folks in which I have made lasting friendships.”
For Alaska native Rogers, who won the biggest race of the year with Thomas at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Continental Tire Series round, racing at the 25 Hour has become an annual tradition.
“This will be my fourth attempt at a win at Thunderhill in a BMW, and from a preparation perspective, the one with the best chance for an overall win,” he said. “No one puts together a race or track car like BimmerWorld.”
Like Clay, Thomas and Liefooghe raced BimmerWorld’s GRAND-AM GS V8 M3s in 2011, and for Thomas, jumping into the faster, angrier version of the car for long periods at the 25 Hour is something he’s been looking forward to.
“I can’t wait to get back in the seat of the BimmerWorld’s V8 M3, now the ‘Production V8,’” he said. “I had a taste of the new car this past year at VIR during a BMWCCA Club Race and it was a lot more fun car to drive on the track then. Since that time the guys in the shop have added more go-fast parts and done more development to make it easier to drive and even quicker on the stopwatch.”
Liefooghe, who serves as a racing instructor at nearby Sonoma Raceway, is also a veteran of the 25 Hour and can’t wait to rocket around Thunderhill in BimmerWorld’s ultimate Production V8 M3.
“I have to say I’m looking forward to pretty much everything on this car,” said the winner of this year’s GRAND-AM ST race at Barber Motorsports Park. “Whether it’s the added downforce, the stickier tires, the more powerful motor or the sequential gearbox, the car is easier to drive, and faster. How can you go wrong with that?”
October 3rd, 2012
The road racing veterans at Virginia-based BimmerWorld Racing closed out their 10-race GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series championship in style last weekend at Lime Rock, achieving a comprehensive set of goals established heading into the event.
With his trio of BMW 328is serving as some of the fastest and most consistent cars in GRAND-AM’s Street Tuner class, Clay’s team entered Lime Rock with all of his drivers and cars inside the top 10 in their respective championships—an impressive feat in the hotly contested category.
Moving BimmerWorld as a whole further up in the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships was of great importance to everyone involved with the program, but the greatest challenge would come in the fight to earn the 2012 Manufacturers’ Championship for BMW.
Rival manufacturers Mazda and Honda flooded the ST class with cars at Lime Rock to improve their odds of wresting the title away from BMW, but even with the numbers tipped in favor of the Japanese marques, the sixth-place finish by Clay and teammate John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW earned enough points to deliver the Manufacturers’ crown to the BMW brand BimmerWorld also supports through aftermarket sales and tuning.
After landing on the podium in seven out of the first nine races, the only thing lacking from BimmerWorld’s run at the rainy season finale was an eighth podium visit, but looking back at the overall championship, Clay closed the books on 2012 with plenty to be happy about.
“Certainly I prefer to see the BimmerWorld cars on the podium, and after appearing there almost every race this year, I have started to expect it to a degree,” he said. “But even though we didn’t break into the top 3 in this wild weather race, we had a list of goals laid before the green flag dropped as to what we could do this race to wrap up our season accomplishments, and we hit every one of them. Clinching the Manufacturers’ Championship for BMW, having the top BMW in the Team and Driver Championships, and putting all three team cars in the top 10 for the season are massive accomplishments and I am proud of what we have done this year.”
The combination of pro driver Clay and sophomore understudy Capestro-Dubets flourished this season in ST, with the duo scoring three podiums and six consecutive top 6 finishes to round out the championship. And with Clay handing over the duties of finishing each race to Capestro-Dubets, the promising Californian more than proved his mettle under pressure.
“John and I were both in roles new to us this year and it took a little time to work out all the dynamics, but as we settled in, the results started coming in rapid succession,” Clay explained. “We were challenged at some points through the year with the rules package, but even in the races that we didn’t have the strongest platform, our BMW was rock solid and that led to our consistently good results. John grew into his role as the closing driver for our car and pulled of several solid results with pure determination. We had a strong car and a strong BimmerWorld team behind us, and I am very happy with the last half of our season.”
For “JCD,” Lime Rock was a perfect bookend to his breakout season with BimmerWorld in the No. 80 where he and Clay took fifth in the final standings.
“This year was amazing,” he said. “I got the chance to drive with a great team with great equipment. At Lime Rock we had a really strong car in the rain, but when the two sister cars had some bad luck, I had to step back and look at the bigger picture. So to make sure we finished where we needed to secure the Manufacturers’ title, we played it a little safer than normal.”
The No. 81 duo of Round 2 race winners Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine had a race to forget, ending the season with a damaged car after taking a major hit by an entry that had several additional altercations in the challenging conditions. As one of the fastest driver pairings in ST, the tandem was extremely effective in 2012, but hoped for more from the final race.
“When taking a step back to look at the 2012 season I think we can be happy of all the achievements we have accomplished,” said the respected Liefooghe, who crossed the finish line in 15th.“A driver needs to be surrounded by a great team, have a fast car, put down strong drives, and have a good amount of luck to win a championship in a series as competitive as this. As far as I’m concerned, we have checked all boxes except for the one that we cannot control: luck.
“Lime Rock was a great representation of that, as we had a podium car once again, but got taken out early by a lapped car and went a lap down with car that was damaged enough to barely stay on track after the incident. It is hard to end a season on a note like that, and the start of the new season in January can’t come soon enough.”
Levine, who made his pro racing debut this year with BimmerWorld, echoed his teammates’ feelings on the race and the season. With their win at Barber Motorsports Park and two other podium trips, the Liefooghe and Levine partnership claimed sixth in the Drivers’ Championship.
“The result at Lime Rock stings especially because it was mostly avoidable,” he said. “It’s hard to sit in the pits for the rest of the race thinking about what could have been. Looking back at the season, though, it is hard to complain. Being able to look at three trophies sitting in my room is quite an awesome feeling; I can’t thank Greg enough for that! The season was much better than I had expected. The crew is one of the best crews out there. The car was consistently fast even and I can’t thank everyone at BimmerWorld enough for everything this season!”
The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers pulled off BimmerWorld’s greatest triumph of 2012, leading home a 1-2 finish in wet-dry conditions at the first-ever GRAND-AM race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the mojo didn’t carry over to Lime Rock.
An early spin dropped the car down a lap, and with poor visibility making a comeback drive even more challenging, Thomas and the team worked miracles to claw their way back to 14th at the finish.
“We were close to getting the lap back thanks to great strategy by Wayne Yawn and the fastest pit stop of the year by the crew,” said Thomas. “We were able to run with top 10 cars and were making a little bit of ground on them during the race, I think we nailed the rain setup on the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW as it was very easy to drive at the limit in the most severe conditions we have seen this season.
“Dan and I worked hard to keep the car competitive during his inaugural season in ST. This work will continue in the off season and hopefully we will have the chance to start next season on a better note than we finished this one.”
Despite the tough day at Lime Rock, Thomas and Rogers held onto 10th in the Drivers’ Championship.
Reviewing BimmerWorld’s accomplishments this season, Clay was encouraged by what his team of BMW experts achieved and has clear plans on how to take the next step forward with the premier ST program in 2013.
“Our 2012 season was excellent as a team in many ways,” he said. “Our approach of running all three of our cars as true Championship efforts with equal equipment and opportunities undoubtedly proved to be a solid strategy, placing all three cars and driver pairings in the top 10 for the Team and Driver Championships. And clinching the Manufacturers’ title for BMW with all three of our cars contributing to the points our BimmerWorld team scored in 9 of 10 races this year is a strong statement.
“If I had one regret looking back on 2012, it is that with all of our good fortune, no one car stayed clear of bad luck to be at the front of the Driver and Team Championships. We have our 2013 season mapped out with a majority of blanks filled in, but a couple of openings still to be filled. I am very excited as to what next year will bring. I was happy with BimmerWorld’s showing in 2012, and 2013 will blow it away.”
Catch the Lime Rock race when it’s broadcast on October 13th at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED, and be sure to follow BimmerWorld’s progress during the off-season or to submit inquiries at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com
September 26th, 2012
Of the 46 entries that have competed in the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Street Tuner division, Dublin, Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing has stood out as the strongest closers in the series heading into this weekend’s season finale.
With its trio of BMW 328is claiming podium finishes in the last five races, including an historic win and 1-2 finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, momentum has certainly fallen in favor of the BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists.
A tough start to the season made capturing the Drivers’ and Teams’ championships a tall order, but it hasn’t prevented the front-running program from moving BMW to the top of the Manufacturers’ standings.
Relying on his team’s strength and resilience, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay has his outfit focused on solid results at the tiny Lime Rock road course as it looks to lock up the title for BMW, and to move its three driver pairings and Team entries deeper inside the top 10.
“BimmerWorld has really settled in as a cohesive team this year and we are clicking right along with podiums at almost every race this season, but that is what I would expect from this assembled group of talented people,” said Clay. “Several team members have been with our ‘young’ team for over a decade and many others for a good string of years, and as the 2012 season got stressful, everyone here just kept to the routine of performing at the level they are accustomed to and we had some great consistent results for that work. I am looking forward to more of the same as we wrap up the season at Lime Rock.”
GRAND-AM has separated the Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes at the Connecticut-based circuit, holding separate races for both categories. This move, due mostly to the problems of trying to fit as many as 60 cars on the short 1.5-mile track, should help BimmerWorld to avoid some of the on-track impacts that soured the early portion of the ten-race calendar.
“The split races at Lime Rock will not only help the contact problem by reducing cars on track, but it will also gather the speeds a little closer together without the GS cars in our field, which in a little bull ring like this, and on the last weekend of the season, is extremely important,” said Clay, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld 328i with John Capestro-Dubets.
“But the short track also makes the strategy a bit more complicated as it is easy to lose a lap and you have to be performing well all race and really on your toes to do well here.”
BimmerWorld’s Gregory Liefooghe, who leads the No. 81 program with rookie driver David Levine, brings a wealth of chassis setup experience to the team and offered a few insights on whether Lime Rock requires a perfect-handling car, or if a driver can make up for any deficiencies through extra effort.
“The car setup will be critical, and with the very compressed schedule, it will be important that we unload with a car that is close to where it needs to be,” he explained. “Fortunately, with all the engineering the team has put in the car throughout the year, we have been very close to where we needed to be every race so far. Lime Rock has three high speed corners and three medium speed corners, but it has one constant: smooth driving allows you to keep the momentum up and yields fast lap times, and usually when you hustle the car around that track you tend to go slower, putting even more emphasis on needing a balanced car. “
With a reasonable chance of cracking the top five in the final Drivers’ Championship standings, Liefooghe is hoping to capitalize on the momentum that has delivered three podiums and a win for him and Levine in 2012.
“I will be focusing on getting on the podium to try to move up the Drivers’ Championship, cap off a strong season with David, and finish on a high note to enter next year with some momentum and extra confidence,” he said.
As one half of the winning duo at Indianapolis, Dan Rogers has targeted moving to the front with co-driver Seth Thomas in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® entry to help BMW claim the Manufacturers’ title at its home track.
“Lime Rock will be an interesting race; our individual goal for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® car is always the top step of the podium,” he said. “With Lime Rock being the final race of the season, another dynamic comes into play–the push to finish the year off with our BMWs ahead of the Hondas and the Mazdas to clinch the Manufacturers Championship for BMW. That’s our goal.”
Although Lime Rock will close the chapter on the 2012 season for BimmerWorld, Clay has also been hard at work on the team’s Street Tuner plans for 2013.
“BimmerWorld’s 2013 season is very nicely in the works,” he confirmed. “That is not to say we have every part finalized, but we have what everyone here thinks is a rock-solid strategy to capture the Championship, and we have a good number of pieces of the puzzle in place that will allow us to do so. I don’t ever stop looking for ways to grow and improve the team, and from sponsors to drivers to crew and administrative staff, we are always looking for solid team members. Next year is shaping up to be awesome and I am excited to be able to give it my full attention once we close out the season this weekend!”
Follow the BimmerWorld team atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com and be sure to watch the Lime Rock race when it airs on SPEED, October 14th at 1:00 p.m. ET.
September 11th, 2012
Coming off an historic win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, placing one car on the podium at Monterey, another in sixth and the final member of the BMW 328i trio in 11th might not sound like something to crow about, but the ninth round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series typified BimmerWorld’s remarkable season.
The BMW experts were fast, fought for the win in the Street Tuner class, saw two of its drivers spray champagne during podium celebrations and all of its entries grabbed a handful of points in all three championship categories.
With two wins from nine races, eight podium visits, all of its drivers inside the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship, all three of its cars in the top 10 in the teams’ standings and having played a significant role in moving BMW atop the Manufacturers’ Championship, BimmerWorld is closing out the 2012 season in machine-like form.
If winning every race isn’t possible, BimmerWorld’s formula of maximizing its total team performance each weekend when the victory is out of reach has clearly been paying off.
One year ago, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay had his team fielding a pair of BMWs in both the ST and the Grand Sport categories, but after shifting his program over to run three BimmerWorld-built 328i ST cars for 2012, the results—and his team’s status in the series—have continued to skyrocket.
“I am very happy with our team’s performance this year,” said Clay. “The move in 2012 to focus purely on the ST program has definitely paid dividends and been the foundation of our results. Every team car has visited the podium multiple times this year, which to me really reinforces our objective that every car is a Championship contender. And without question, every person in every position on the BimmerWorld team has delivered this year to make all this happen.”
BimmerWorld has seen the Nos. 80, 81 and 82 328is surge at different points during the season, but the one constant between its fleet of BMWs has been paying points into the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Although each of the BimmerWorld driver tandems hope to move up a few spots in the final Drivers’ Championship standings, cementing the title for BMW at the final race—held near the company’s New Jersey American base—is also a primary focus for Clay’s team.
“As the season closes, our biggest achievement will be bringing the Manufacturers’ Championship home to BMW – and at their track in Lime Rock,” he said. “Our consistency and the consistency the BMW marque provides has been instrumental in the team’s results this year, so this is a good reward for us all. We are also all poised to move up a spot or two in the Driver and Team points, which will be a nice touch for the final race. Certainly everyone will have to do their part, but I know our team’s abilities and I am excited to wrap it up in style.”
Looking at last weekend’s race, the performance of Liefooghe and Levine in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW in Monterey was nothing short of spectacular. On a track where pint-sized ST cars thrive, the teammates carved their way from 13th to third on a day where contact was the norm.
“The race was very intense,” said Liefooghe. “As usual David drove a great opening stint and gave me a car close to the front of the field and dent-free, which is an achievement in itself in the Continental Tire Series. We took a gamble on strategy, and I had to make the fuel and tires last for two hours. With 11 cautions, it played in our favor, but it also meant that we had three or four-lap sprint races to the next yellow. For reasons I don’t understand, the series chose to keep the ST leaders right behind the tail end of the GS field for the restarts, and with the GS back markers being slower than us and 60-plus cars racing to Turn 1, it made for some very interesting moments!”
Clay and Capestro-Dubets entered Monterey riding a streak of three consecutive podium finishes, but settled for sixth in the No. 80. It marked the fifth time the duo has placed inside the top 6 this season.
The highs experienced by the No. 81 drivers were tempered by what Thomas and Rogers experienced in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. With guests from both CRC BRAKLEEN® and BMW SF looking on, the Indy winners had designs on back-to-back victories, but overly-ambitious driving by the competition slowed their progress.
“I think we need to check and see if there is a target painted on the car somewhere,” said Rogers. “I don’t know if there is a straight panel left after that weekend. But we still got the CRC BRAKLEEN® car home just outside of the top 10, which is a result we will happily take given the conditions.”
With the penultimate round behind them, BimmerWorld’s has one chapter left to write before its amazing season draws to a close.
Follow the BimmerWorld team as they prepare for Lime Rock at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com and be sure to watch the Monterey race when it airs on SPEED September 16th at 1:30 p.m. ET.
September 5th, 2012
With more than a month since BimmerWorld made history by winning the first-ever GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Street Tuner race held at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the BMW experts are back in business this weekend for a race on another famed circuit.
Making the trek from their base in Dublin, Virginia, BimmerWorld’s three-car BMW 328i team will unload its cars at Monterey Peninsula and take on the 11-turn, 2.2-mile Laguna Seca road course.
Team owner, James Clay, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld 328i with co-driver, John Capestro-Dubets, says he’s reveled in the glorious result from Indy, but there’s been little in the way of idle time for everyone involved with the program.
“Indy was an amazing weekend,” he remarked. “Our team made some great strategy calls, the drivers kept up the hard work they have been putting in all season, and we had an awesome result. Finishing 1-2 is likely to be the high-point of this season, but just like when I am driving the car, I am keeping my eyes forward and looking toward the remaining two events and on to the full 2013 season.
“I have filled the time with several races and track events and I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from friends and customers, but no one here has stopped work to pat ourselves on the back. I think this is what makes BimmerWorld great, and continues our growth and success in the performance BMW parts business, as well as on the race team.”
Clay and “JCD” followed their sister No. 82 BimmerWorld 328i across the finish line at Indy to fill two of the three spots on the podium, in addition to claiming the duo’s third consecutive visit to the podium. It also marked their fourth straight top 5 result, which makes continuing the late-season charge a priority this weekend for the No. 80.
“JCD and I have had several strong finishes in a row and really started working perfectly together in the car,” said Clay. “Laguna was good for the BimmerWorld ST cars last year. I think we have addressed a suspension deficiency we had last year and I really hope to have an awesome car for this year’s race. We have grown accustomed this year to getting it done with teamwork and braking and handling performance, and I feel those components are really working at this point in the season. I think a win is within our grasp, but as always, it will take a little luck along with our best effort.”
For Dan Rogers, half of the winning Indy combination with teammate Seth Thomas, getting his first professional win in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i has made him hungry for more.
“The reality of a BimmerWorld 1-2 at Indy is a fond memory, for sure,” he said. “We celebrated, but then started looking at data from past races at Laguna, and trying to anticipate what the upcoming race was going to be like. If the temperatures are cool there, the BimmerWorld 328i is always a solid platform to race from and should be good at Laguna. We’re going after win number two this weekend, that’s for sure.”
Gregory Liefooghe and co-driver David Levine nearly made it a BimmerWorld 1-2-3 at Indy, but fortunes did not favor the road racing ace and his rookie teammate. As a professional driving instructor and Bay Area resident, Liefooghe will be relying on his local knowledge to make up for Indy by taking the No. 81 BimmerWorld 328i to the front of the field.
“I think the key to our rebound after missing out on a deserving finish at Indy will be our car,” he said. “BimmerWorld worked hard and brought some very fast cars at Indy. Even though we didn’t finish, we were running in third and looking for a podium finish when we had an issue.
“And with Laguna being in my backyard, track knowledge will be on my side. And it’s nice not flying to get to a race! We want to keep the positive momentum going all weekend and to the season finale later this month.”
Follow the BimmerWorld team this weekend at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com
July 28th, 2012
The BMW experts at BimmerWorld, the Dublin, Virginia based team, win the first-ever GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race held on the hallowed grounds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team finished first and second in the Street Tuner class while extending the German car maker’s hold on the prized manufacturers’ championship.
The win came during a tricky afternoon of competition when heavy rain interrupted the race and a combination of inch-perfect driving and smart race strategy calls were required to reach Victory Lane.
Thankfully, for the veteran road racing team, every mechanical component required to reach the top step of the podium was delivered throughout the race by a flawless team.
In addition to the dream 1-2 finish for the team’s self-built, production-based BMW 328i racecars, the BimmerWorld team added a few other accomplishments to their debut on the 2.5-mile, 13-turn Indianapolis road course.
The victory for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW marked BimmerWorld’s second win of the season. First, was the win claimed by Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine at Barber Motorsports Park in the No. 81 entry. This also brings Thomas’ GRAND-AM ST win tally to three since the 2010 season.
For his teammate, Alaska native Dan Rogers, the win was even sweeter. The world’s most famous race track served as host to his first professional victory. It also ranks as the first ST win for CRC BRAKLEEN®, the primary sponsor of the No. 82.
Put it all together, and BimmerWorld delivered an amazing performance on a giant stage. James Clay, team owner and co-driver of the second-place No. 80 credits the 1-2 result to his trusted team of technicians.
“We had really good cars when we tested here two weeks ago, but we didn’t feel like we had winning cars, necessarily,” he remarked. “Between the test and the race, my team probably put in 1000 man hours to try and improve every little area on the car and it paid off. Winning at Indianapolis is just something that you can’t put into words.”
For Thomas, who ranks as one of the best touring car racers in the country, winning at IMS with the BimmerWorld team ranks as the highlight of his career.
“It’s one of those deals where you try not to be superstitious and kiss the brick before the race, and it’s not a ‘me’ that did this but a ‘we’ that won this,” he said. “Having the No. 80 there behind helping me the whole way to the checkered flag was crucial for us. To be the first GRAND-AM ST team to win at Indianapolis in a sports car…it’s amazing.
“And as a boy growing up in Georgia, I guess people figured I should be here driving a stock car, but to win in a BimmerWorld BMW is just so gratifying.”
Thomas’ teammate, Rogers, was just as ecstatic after watching the No. 82 cross the finish line.
“It’s pretty incredible,” said Rogers. “How many people can say they won their first professional race at Indianapolis? Not very many, I’m sure. The guys did a great job on the car; it was transformed since the last few races and our engineer and crew called an amazing race strategy. I figured we had a shot at winning this year, but you never think it’s going to come at a place like Indy.”
Following home the No. 82, John Capestro-Dubets (“JCD”) closed out the race after taking over from Clay and earned the third consecutive podium for the No. 80.
“We had a fantastic car, qualified well, which was a rewarding deal for everyone, and it was again a testament to our team,” said Clay. “In my stint, there was a lot of shuffling, I handed the car over to JCD who worked it up to the front. We pitted early, put JCD in, and used a fuel smart fuel strategy and a lot of talent to bring the car home for our third podium in three races. There’s a lot to be proud of.”
The third BimmerWorld entry of Liefooghe and Levine ran strong and had plenty of pace, but a mid-race issue left the No. 81 out of a possible 1-2-3 finish.
BimmerWorld’s fine day at Indy also had a major impact on the points standings. The Nos. 80, 81 and 82 are now in the top 10 in the teams’ standings, with the surging No. 80 in fifth with two rounds to go.
Clay and JCD also moved to sixth in the hunt for the drivers’ championship. BimmerWorld’s constant representation for BMW has the brand leading the standings ahead of eight other manufacturers.
“We have two more races in the championship, and I want to lock down the manufacturers’ championship for BMW,” said Clay. “BMW is a fantastic road car, a fantastic racecar, we’ve supported the brand for 13 years in our racing and I wouldn’t choose any other marque to go into battle with. To get BMW’s first win at Indianapolis is an honor, and as we’ve scored their main points in seven of eight rounds so far, we want to deliver that title for BMW when the season is done.”
On a day when there was much for BimmerWorld to celebrate, first-time winner Rogers put the race into perspective for himself and the entire team.
“I think it’s going to take a while to hit everyone,” he said. “It’s such a big accomplishment…it’s hard to fathom. To think of all the guys who’ve kissed that yard of bricks, all the winners at Indy over the years. And I just got to do it myself…amazing.”
Follow BimmerWorld as the team prepare for the penultimate round in Monterey in September, and watch the race at Indianapolis when it airs on August 5th at 12 p.m. ET.
July 26th, 2012
If racing on the high banks of the famous Daytona International Speedway wasn’t enough of a privilege for GRAND-AM teams and drivers, another milestone will be achieved this Friday when BimmerWorld and the rest of the Continental Tire Series entrants participate in their first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Established in 1909, IMS recently celebrated the centennial event for its hallmark event, the Indy 500, which began in 1911. With the addition of the Brickyard 400 in 1994, the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix in 2000, and MotoGP in 2008, sports car racing was the final piece of the puzzle for the Speedway to incorporate.
And now, as part of its “Super Weekend at the Brickyard,” the sound emanating from BimmerWorld’s trio of wailing BMW inline-6s will be added to Indy’s lore.
“We’re in heat of a championship battle and still have a lot of work to do to this season, but the track is an impressive place and when you walk around the infield as a participant, you get it,” said BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay about the historic track.
“Indy is a place that has defined racing in our country for decades and when you walk over that yard of bricks that extends right to Victory Lane, it leaves an impression. We spent two days testing at Indy earlier this month and the track earns your respect, and it is clear, beyond geographical happenstance, why it has had such an impact on racing and I am proud to be there for this exciting event that will make road racing history.”
Despite everything BimmerWorld learned about the 13-turn, 2.5-mile road course during the aforementioned Indy test, plenty of challenges will remain as the team adapts to practicing, qualifying and racing on the rarely-used track layout within a matter of hours.
“During the course of the two-day test there, the infield, which is a much smoother aggregate than the diamond-cut banking, rubbered up nicely,” said Clay, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW with rising star John Capestro-Dubets.
“The temperature at that point was over 100 and undoubtedly a factor and should be less of one on race weekend. Still, we certainly don’t know the track as well as others we visit yearly or more, but with a one-day event for our cars, the BimmerWorld crew have been working tirelessly to perfect the equipment we are putting on track and give us the best chances to succeed.”
Compared to some of GRAND-AM’s more familiar circuit, the IMS road course features a much wider track and longer, more sweeping turns, which should hopefully keep contact to a minimum and allow for plenty of passes to be made by the BimmerWorld team.
“I feel once we get back to Indy and quickly get in the groove of the race, we will be fighting for a top spot,” said BimmerWorld veteran Seth Thomas, who will pilot the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with teammate Dan Rogers.
“It won’t be easy and it will take a lot of effort from the BimmerWorld crew and engineers to call the right shots so we spend the least amount of time on pit lane. With the big front straight and tight turn 1, our great Performance Friction brakes are going to be a key for making passes into one of the prime passing zones on the track.”
For Gregory Liefooghe, getting ready to lead the charge on the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW with co-driver David Levine has involved plenty of physical training and exceptional amounts of pre-race preparation.
“The main components have been getting some simulator time to get the rhythm of the track to be able to be at 100 percent right from lap 1, and to get back to working on fitness after a brutal schedule that has seen us on the road for the last five weeks,” he said.
“At the test, we saw temperatures in the car approaching 140 degrees and even if it’s forecasted to be ‘only’ in the mid-90s instead of the mid-100′s, it will still be a hot race, making fitness an important part of going fast at the end.”
Liefooghe, who won Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park this season with Levine, says finding success at Indy will be an even greater challenge due to the compressed schedule.
“The big challenges for this particular event is that there is very little time in between sessions and that the track will change massively between the first practice session and the race,” he explained. “It will put a lot of pressure on the engineers to make the right decisions on set up for the race. Fortunately we learned a lot during the test days and we have a good handle on most of the moving parts.
“For the less experienced drivers, the fact that the sessions are so close gives very little time to digest the data analysis and there will be a balance between making improvements and overloading them with too much information. My teammate David was fast at the test and I think he will deliver another strong performance, and I know the entire BimmerWorld team will come prepared and ready to adapt to whatever we face.”
Joining the BimmerWorld team for the race weekend will be the winners of the CRC Industries sweepstakes which also included passes and VIP hospitality for the entire weekend for the lucky pair. “Having CRC and their guests with us this weekend is going to be an awesome addition” stated Clay. “CRC is a fantastic sponsor, a company with racing heritage who gets what we are doing here, and a company that invests to bring additional excitement to our sport – in addition to core products like Brakleen that teams throughout the paddock use. We are excited to have them with us for this historic Indy event!”
Follow the BimmerWorld team this weekend atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and tune into the broadcast when it airs August 5th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
July 4th, 2012
Coming off its third GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race in a span of four weeks, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld closed the arduous string of events in impressive fashion at New York’s storied Watkins Glen circuit.
On the face of it, the numbers look good: another podium for team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80, an eighth-place finish for Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine in the No. 81 and a 15th-place result for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82, but it doesn’t tell the full story of BimmerWorld’s achievement.
Utilizing the renowned BMW E90 platform, BimmerWorld’s trio of 328is rank among the most heavily restricted cars in GRAND-AM’s Street Tuner class, yet despite the massive amount of weight the cars carry, and the air restrictors that limit the power from the BMW’s six-cylinder engines, Clay’s team has continued to deliver performances that should be unattainable.
With their BMWs sanctioned to rather extreme levels, BimmerWorld’s focus for 2012 has been to perfect every other area within the program in an effort to compensate for the performance the rules have taken away. Drawing from an exceptional amount of talent from its crew and drivers, the Watkins Glen race showcased BimmerWorld’s formula of using speed, consistency and flawless execution to overcome most of the advantages held by the competition.
“The BimmerWorld guys are rock-solid, and even if we aren’t as gifted as other models in the regulations currently, our whole team has managed to make a lot happen with willpower alone,” said Clay. “The majority of our crew is full-time in the shop which I think is a big plus for our team when we have the crazy workload of a three-race stretch like the one we just completed. But beyond the standard prep work, these guys have been putting in long days at the track also to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be when we hit the track. Combine that with a driving staff that has put their heads down to make results happen, and with each car visiting the podium this year, I feel like we are maximizing what we have been given.”
After a humbling start to the season, Clay and Capestro-Dubets turned their fortunes around during June’s three-race run, taking a fifth at Mid-Ohio, a third at Elkhart Lake and another third last weekend.
“John and I are really starting to click as teammates,” Clay continued. “We had our car dialed in and ready to race very early in the weekend, leaving us time to test some other setups and practice the elements that are critical in the race. I am very happy with the progress we have made during the year as a team, and John is driving like a superstar which is helping the results.”
With BimmerWorld’s total team coaching process at his disposal, Capestro-Dubets has made great strides during his sophomore season in ST, and credits the support he’s received for his continual development as a pro driver.
“So much has changed since 2011 for me,” he said. “Greg and I watch last year’s in-car footage before each race, and the difference is shocking to me. James has really taken his time with me to settle me down and then build my confidence by giving me tools to refine myself. In 2011, I was still trying to find my place and make somewhat of a name for myself. This year, I have the confidence and the guidance, and I think some good results are now showing all the hard work that goes into making it in this sport. I really have to thank everyone involved with this race program for taking their time with me and developing me into the driver I am so far.”
As the leader of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW, Liefooghe receives plenty of accolades for his driving and coaching talents, and paired with ST rookie Levine, the two have formed one of the most effective driving combos in the series. In addition to their win at Round 2 this year, the intra-team highlights continue to grow and shift towards Levine as he makes the transition from being the new kid on the block to a seriously talented competitor alongside Liefooghe.
Plenty can be said about Levine’s drive at Watkins Glen, but the most impressive stat centers on the 27 positions he and Liefooghe managed to earn on their way to an eighth-place finish.
“I feel that I have progressed a lot since the pre-season test at Daytona,” said Levine. “I’ve really learned a lot from working with Greg in a short amount of time. Now that I have been in the car for several races, I feel that I am comfortable in the car which allows me to push myself and the car to the limit. My progression owes many thanks to Greg for his coaching this season. I’m looking forward to closing out the season in a strong way.”
If the No. 80 was the lightning rod for bad luck early in the year, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i took its place recently. After dealing with mechanical gremlins and a rough-and-tumble race, Thomas and Rogers fought back to recover 14 spots to claim 15th in ST.
“Our weekend at WGI didn’t start out great—we had some issues that left us off track during the test day,” said Thomas. “But our crew kept fighting. Dan did an amazing job during the day to improve his lap times by five seconds between his first session at Watkins Glen in a BMW to when he qualified the car. During the race he continued to move forward and handed the car over to me after the BimmerWorld boys executed a perfect pit stop. Overall it was a great team effort from everyone involved. It’s how you recover from adversity that matters, and everyone should be proud of themselves after last weekend.”
In a sea of other manufacturers in the Street Tuner class, there’s one metric that stands out quite heavily this year—the Manufacturers’ Championship. As a privateer program, and despite heavy factory involvement in the class, BimmerWorld’s tenacity and consistency has BMW sitting atop the championship after seven rounds, which serves as a point of pride for Clay and his team.
“The Manufacturers’ Championship is the place we can hang our hat this year,” he said. “In six of the seven races this season, BimmerWorld has put the points on the board to move BMW to the front of this race. In a year where we have to leverage our luck significantly to provide race finishes, BimmerWorld’s approach of running three equal cars pays off and gives us a better chance of putting a BMW at the top on any given race weekend.”
Now that the team has a little bit of time to breathe before the series makes its debut at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway later in the month, Clay is also starting to plan ahead for next season.
“This is the time of year where we start to look at team developments and driver lineups for the upcoming season, and our goal is to finish as the top BMW program in ST and to take the next step with our cars in the off season. The rules tend to be cyclical, and we’d expect the 328is to have things evened out a bit for 2013, which should make our quest for a championship even stronger. But for now, we are focused on wrapping up a strong 2012 showing.”
Follow the BimmerWorld team atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the Watkins Glen race when it airs July 14th at 1 p.m. ET on SPEED
June 26th, 2012
The BMW experts at BimmerWorld are always prepared for fight in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series, and last weekend’s race at the picturesque Wisconsin road course proved that the Dublin, Virginia-based team can never be counted out.
With the odds stacked against them on the high-speed 4.0-mile road course, due mostly to the engine air restrictors its inline-6s are required to use and the excessive ballast the normal-sized BMW 328is are forced to carry, the James Clay-owned team entered the weekend expecting to see its smaller, lighter rivals in the Street Tuner class motor away on Elkhart’s numerous long straights.
BimmerWorld’s fears were realized when even the least developed entrants were able to pull out significant gaps on the three-car 328i effort, but with a decided advantage under braking and through the corners, at least one of BimmerWorld BMW’s managed to pull off a solid finish, despite setting a best lap that was nearly one-second slower than the fastest ST car in the race.
Realizing that a win was beyond the scope of reality, Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets (JCD) used an exceptional amount of guile and inch-perfect driving to secure a third-place finish in the No. 80 BimmerWorld entry, the best result for the duo so far this season.
“I was happily surprised with the No. 80’s results at Elkhart Lake,” said Clay. “This is one of my favorite tracks and I love the speed and commitment required in some of the high-speed sections, but it was clear going into this event that we didn’t have the power to lead a pack of cars and we had better keep our nose in the draft. I was able to stay in a multi-car draft in my stint, and JCD took advantage of the big hole that a two-wide battle in front of him created late in the race, which rewarded our current ‘right place at the right time’ passing approach.”
For second-year GRAND-AM driver JCD, maturing into the pressure-packed role of being the closer has resulted in the No. 80’s two best finishes—a fifth at Mid-Ohio and a third at Elkhart—in consecutive events.
“Mid-Ohio and Elkhart Lake were just a start to the momentum James and I plan to end the season with,” said the young Californian. “Over the last few races my confidence has improved in the closing role and the team’s confidence in me to get the job done has followed. With their continued support and the great car the team provides, I have everything I need to continue at this level and also to improve and become more polished under pressure. I’m really looking forward to doing it again in our next race at Watkins Glen.”
Well behind the No. 80, the No. 81 of Barber Motorsports Park race winners Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine soldiered home to finish a disappointing 14th after being hit by a competitor and losing any chance of staying in the draft being utilized by the lead pack.
The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers encountered a virtually identical scenario, and after being hit and losing the draft, the teammates fought back to eventually place a distant 17th at the checkered flag.
Using the Elkhart event to assess its current state of competitiveness, three years into its GRAND-AM ST program BimmerWorld has adapted to the changes the series has mandated to the best of its ability. With the BMW 328i chassis and engine slowed a bit more each year, Clay has witnessed BimmerWorld go from vying for the championship in 2010 to being on the outside looking in at most rounds in 2012.
BimmerWorld’s lone win this season came as a result of the ‘right place at the right time’ dynamic Clay mentioned, rather than watching his cars march to the front of the field on pure speed, driver skill, or team execution, and despite honing his team into one of the most efficient and forward-thinking operations on pit lane, the chance to challenge for wins from round to round will only come when the rules are balanced to include the 328i.
“We have solid cars that are consistent and this season shows that we are a constant threat for a podium from all three BimmerWorld entries,” Clay explained. “But we also rely on a bit of luck and gifts from our competitors more than I would want. We are executing impeccably and we should have three cars in the top 10 almost every weekend.
“But as this race showed, if we slip out of the draft of the leaders and fall back into the portion of the field that has straight-line speed–and then slows down significantly in the corners, we just don’t have the acceleration that others have to battle for position, or to lead a pack of cars without a draft to catch back up. There’s not much else we can do at this point.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen, Liefooghe, who has quickly asserted himself as one of the elite drivers in the Continental Tire Series, expects the team’s Performance Friction brake package to continue to play a significant role in BimmerWorld’s results, and also points to the handling refinements the team has developed as a key to quickly navigating the 3.4-mile, 11-turn track.
“Even though the rules package is not in our favor, our BimmerWorld BMWs still have advantages in some places compared to the rest of the field,” he said. “One of the places where we shine is top end speed, but the problem is we are the slowest to get to that speed because of our extra ballast and lack of torque. Fortunately, our handling is great.
“Watkins has a lot sweeping corners where we should be able to maintain more rolling speed than other cars and therefore make up for our lack of torque. Despite being the heaviest car in the field, we have a braking advantage due to our PFC brakes at corners like the Bus Stop, so I’m optimistic things will be somewhat better than they were last weekend. We will always fight for the best position possible, even if it’s a big task.”
Follow the team’s progress this weekend atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to tune in and watch the No. 80 earn third at Elkhart Lake when the race is broadcast July 8th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
June 20th, 2012
In a perfect world, all of the different types of cars in GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series Street Tuner division—big, small, turbo and naturally aspirated—would be competitive at every one of the 10 tracks the series will visit this year.
The reality, as most teams have learned, is that the rules favor certain types of cars from year to year, and depending on which end of the rules a type of car falls within, some tracks are bigger challenges than others.
For the BMW experts at BimmerWorld Racing, the beloved 4.0-mile Elkhart Lake track has provided some incredible highs in the past, including team owner James Clay’;s first professional win while driving the BMW E90 (328i) chassis, but heading into this weekend’s race in Wisconsin, the three-car E90 team is focused more on earning points than planning to win on sheer pace.
“I think our E90-platform cars are top performers in braking and in the turns now, which is no small feat being between 100 to 500 pounds heavier than the rest of the field,” said Clay. “But unfortunately, Road America is a track that also requires a dose of straight line speed, and with the current restrictions on our cars, our strategy is more to focus on consistency and try to be at the right place at the right time for someone to give us a position.
“This is a tough strategy to go win a race, as drivers in our series rarely give away first, but until we get to use a little more motor relying on the solid BimmerWorld equipment and team is our best approach and hopefully good enough to put us near the front again.”
Teamed with John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80 BimmerWorld 328i, Clay and “JCD” are coming off a fifth-place finish at the most recent round in Mid-Ohio where the sophomore GRAND-AM driver executed a flawless race to the finish line.
“I was super proud of John’s performance in the last round in Mid-Ohio,” Clay continued. “He fought his way forward and defended his position to lock down a solid finish. We have worked some on analysis between rounds and I think his next stint will be even better. We are halfway through the season and we are getting the momentum we need to close out the year strong.”
Sharing the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW with veteran pro driver Gregory Liefooghe has been the perfect recipe for GRAND-AM rookie David Levine in 2012. In addition to the duo winning Round 2 in Alabama, Levine is currently second in the Rookie of the Year standings and he hopes to use local circuit knowledge to his advantage while RoY honors are within his grasp.
“My rookie season in the series has gone much better than I ever could have imagined,” he said. “I am really looking forward to Road America this weekend. It is my home track. I know the track extremely well and will be pushing myself to get the most out of the car. I will not be satisfied with anything but a top 5!”
Staying with the smaller cars on Elkhart Lake’s long straights is too much to ask for normal-sized cars like the 328i, but as Clay alluded, the BMW’s enhanced handling and braking characteristics should help BimmerWorld to dominate the corners.
As Seth Thomas explains, he and Dan Rogers, co-drivers of the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, along with the rest of the BimmerWorld fleet, plan on taking the fight to the rules-favored cars this weekend.
“Our Performance Friction brakes are going to be our biggest advantage at Road America,” he said. “With the long straights, where we will be stretching the legs of the BMW inline-6, we need a good set of brakes to slow down our cars lap after lap. If there are long green runs then this will be our advantage toward the end of these runs.
“If there aren’t long green runs then the BMWs long wheelbase will help us to be quick in the sweeping fast corners leading onto the main straights at Road America. Overall I think the BimmerWorld BMWs are going to be fast and ready to compete this weekend.”
Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as it races at Elkhart Lake by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the race when it’s airs July 8th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
June 12th, 2012
Despite earning a win at Round 2 of the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series championship through a perfectly-timed piece of race strategy, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld have gone into every race this year with an understanding they’d face an uphill battle, and last weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio was no different.
With the Street Turner rules currently balanced in favor of smaller economy cars and their turbocharged cousins, teams like BimmerWorld have been left to fight for “best in class” honors with normal-sized sedans like the BMW 328i, making the team’s pair of top 10 finishes at Mid-Ohio even more remarkable.
Leading BimmerWorld at the checkered flag was the No. 80 BMW 328i of team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets, who scored an impressive fifth-place result on the twisting 2.2-mile road course.
“I think it was clear this weekend that we didn’t have the power that we needed to really challenge for a win, but the BimmerWorld team always puts together a solid car and a lot of the time, that will get us farther than we expect,” said Clay. “The No. 80 had a solid race and we were never able to challenge for a position and take it, but we were able to be there when opportunity gave us a spot, and that was the key to moving to the front for us. Not the most exciting way to make it happen, but I am happy and content that we maximized the result.”
With a string of bad luck limiting the No. 80’s results this year, earning fifth at Mid-Ohio was a great momentum boost for the team and, in particular, second-year GRAND-AM driver Capestro-Dubets, who fought hard to the finish as the closer in the blue and yellow BMW.
“The opportunity to work with the experienced drivers and engineers on the team has helped me to mature,” said ‘JCD,’ as he’s known by the team. “I have no words for the emotion I had after this race. To cross the finish line, pull into the pits and see the looks and the other competitor’s faces, then walk up to see James and feel the relief of success for the No. 80 after a rough start to the season was just incredible. I’m very grateful for this experience and beyond fueled for the next round.”
Round 2 winners Gregory Liefooghe and teammate David Levine steered the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW home in eighth, their third top 10 of the season. Liefooghe was quick to hail the performance and progression of his teammate so far in 2012.
“For David and me, it has just been a matter of learning how to communicate with each other,” said the respected racer and driver coach. “My job is to make sure he gets what he needs to find those last few tenths on the track. We have jelled very well and now we only work on small details. One of the big changes from last season for David was that he now has a team and a teammate behind him, and we are all here to make him faster and he adapted quickly to that environment. He manages to bring the car back in good shape and in a good position after his stint and it allows me to go for a good finish.”
BimmerWorld would have preferred to have all three of its cars in the top 10, but circumstances intervened throughout the weekend for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers. For reasons that defy explanation, a year’s worth of bad luck struck the No. 82 at Mid-Ohio, forcing the car’s resilient technicians to perform miracle after miracle to overcome a variety of unexpected mechanical woes.
Coming off a second-place finish at the previous round, soldiering home to take 26th at Mid-Ohio might not seem like something to celebrate, but Thomas gave full credit to everyone who took part in getting the No. 82 to the finish line.
“The BimmerWorld Crew fought all weekend to get the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW on track,” he said. “It seems every time one problem was solved, another reared its head, including during the race. Most teams would have packed up and gone home during practice, but not our guys. I am proud of every crew member as they fought harder than Dan or I did on the racetrack.
“They stayed up late and worked right up until the last minute to give us a race car we felt would lead us to the front of the field. Unfortunately some race contact from another car prevented them from seeing success in the No. 82 BMW. Regardless, this race was only possible because of them.”
Follow BimmerWorld’s progress atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the Mid-Ohio race when it’s airs June 17th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
June 7th, 2012
Teams inevitably circle a few highly anticipated dates on the racing calendar each year, and with this weekend’s GRAND-AM event at the 2.2-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio road course serving as one of BimmerWorld’s favorites, the Dublin, Virginia-based BMW experts hope to repeat their past successes.
As the first North American team to win a professional road race with the BMW E90 platform at Mid-Ohioback in 2007, the team followed with another win at the track in 2010 with Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann at the helm of one of BimmerWorld’s E90s. Now the team is hungry to add a third win this weekend.
Expanded to three Street Tuner-class cars in the Continental Tire Series for 2012, team owner/driver James Clay expects his fleet of constantly evolving E90s to make the most of the technical Mid-Ohio layout once practice gets under way.
“We have put a lot of work in during the winter in the whole E90 platform, and even after five years of running it, we were able to make improvements,” he said. “I think we are tapped out on power right now and not the best in the field, and acceleration out of turns is not as good as the lighter models and turbo cars, but hopefully the continuous twisting of the Mid-Ohio layout will allow our cars to shine. I have said all season that we are good on a long run – if we can get that this weekend, I will be happy.”
Partnered with John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80 BimmerWorld entry, Clay and his co-driver have been fast all year, but have yet to bank the finishes they’ve deserved. A solid run at Mid-Ohio could be just the change of fortune they’ve been seeking.
“We haven’t gotten the results we have wanted so far this year in the No. 80 and luck hasn’t been much on our side at several key points,” Clay explained. “Certainly we are looking for podiums and wins and we always work as a team effort with our other BimmerWorld cars that have fared better to date than we have. We have a long three-race stretch ahead of us and we are going to put our heads down and do the best we can. The team is very well prepared for the potential brutality of back-to-back weekends, so I feel good about the support behind us all to maximize our results.”
Leading the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW entry, race-winners Gregory Liefooghe and teammate David Levine have high expectations for Mid-Ohio, and for Liefooghe, who serves as a driving instructor during the week, the track is one of the highlights of the year to try and tame.
“Mid-Ohio is definitely one of my favorite tracks to drive and race,” he said. “It’s technical and has some good passing zones that make for great racing. If the temperatures are mild, Mid-Ohio is typically not too hard on tires, but if it gets hot, the track tends to build up a lot of marbles and becomes a one-line track. Maximizing the pace around there is all about getting in a good rhythm and not overdriving certain of the corners. Our setup and handling work will pay a premium and I expect us to be fighting for the top step at the end of the race.”
Dan Rogers, who shares the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with Seth Thomas, has been flourishing in his first season with BimmerWorld, and expects the upward trend to continue at Mid-Ohio.
“Seth and I have been working a lot away from the track to get me up to speed on the tracks I haven’t run yet, as well as bringing my general driving technique up to speed to be able to complete with the front end of the starting drivers in the ST field,” he said. “As we go deeper into the season, we are hoping to see the results of this work at every venue we go to.
“The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® car has been good all season. We don’t necessarily expect to be the fastest car on the track, but should show the typical well balanced car that will last throughout the stint, and remain strong while the other cars fade.”
Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as it prepares for Round 5 in Mid-Ohio by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the race when it’s airs on June 17th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
May 16th, 2012
It’s a familiar theme that never gets easier to deal with. Take away the contact at least one of BimmerWorld’s three GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Street Tuner entries received, and the full team could have filled the top 10.
Fortunately, the Dublin, Virginia-based BMW experts had the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers made it through the New Jersey Motorsports Park round unscathed, netting a season-best second-place result for the duo.
The No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i driven by team owner James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets wasn’t quite as fortunate, and the sister No. 81 of Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine was also forced into the pits for cooling system repairs.
“I was pretty upset about the contact with my car two turns into the race that killed our chances for the strong result I feel we were headed towards this weekend,” said Clay as he gave an account of his team’s day.
“And even more disappointed when I saw the No. 81 in for repairs while we were trying to get the No. 80 back out. At that point, the hope for the team rested on the No. 82 and I am very happy that they were able to produce a good result this weekend.”
After receiving a contentious stop-and-go penalty after stepping out of line on a restart to avoid a number of stalled competitors, Rogers marched forward in the field, picking up more than a dozen positions from the No. 82’s 24th-place qualifying position before handing over to Thomas.
“I don’t like to make mistakes on-track, and that made getting the penalty tough,” said Rogers. “On the restart, there were a number of cars off track on the left side of the front straight, so I went right to avoid the pending mess, with the throttle pinned to get out of the impact areas. Fortunately, as Seth later pointed out, the stop and go penalty didn’t impact our strategy or results.”
Once the No. 80 was repaired by BimmerWorld’s ace team of technicians, Rogers worked with Clay acting as a tail-gunner and used the BMW’s handling prowess and its class-leading Performance Friction brakes to reach the top 10.
“When I was in the car, the race was a lot of fun,” Rogers continued. “I didn’t qualify well, but my race pace was faster than a number of cars in front of me, so I was able to produce results. When James came back on track, he ended up behind me, and it was comforting having a team car in my mirrors. I was able to move right outside the top 10 when I turned the car over. The crew gave us the same great car they always do, and we got the podium finish that Seth and I have been planning on all year–it was a blast!”
Along with Clay and Liefooghe, as one of BimmerWorld’s veteran, race-winning pros, Thomas has worked diligently with Rogers to share his knowledge and expertise to help him extract the most from the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, and the results are clearly paying off.
“Dan is an easy person to be a teammate with as he fights to be the best opening driver in the CTSCC paddock,” he said. “Every time I talk to him between races it seems he is at a racetrack somewhere driving some form of BMW race car or at a function for one of his kids. This is an accomplishment since there aren’t any racetracks near his home in Alaska! Every weekend Dan gets faster and more comfortable racing the E90 chassis, which makes my job on track easy. He’s the type of teammate we all hope to have.”
Looking at where the team stands after four rounds of the 10 Round championship, Clay is feeling confident about his team, cars and drivers as the pace of the championship is about to increase.
“After our first weekend on a real road course, I am happy with the cars and the efforts of our winter work are showing,” he said. “While I feel some teams put effort into what they should be gifted to make their cars fast, we put our heads down, do work, and this winter we came up with the speed we needed on our own. I still don’t think our cars are the fastest in the field by any stretch, but our team is strong and we are consistent, and if we can run some green flag races, I think we usually have a chance for a good finish.”
As one of BimmerWorld’s most tenured drivers, Thomas also offered his appraisal of where the team’s three-car 2012 program ranks among a decade of professional teams fielded by the team.
“The team James has assembled this year is very similar to the team we had in our championship fight in 2010, but stronger,” he explained. “I can see the crew guys are gelling together well. They work hard every weekend to give us a great car to race. The engineers are constantly doing what they can to make our cars easier drive for a long fast stint. All the drivers get along great together and work to help improve each other throughout the weekend. Our sponsors are some of our biggest supporters helping to give us the tools and components to put our cars up front every weekend.
“Overall, this team is the best BimmerWorld team I have raced with. We are a championship team helping to put BMW at the top of the points every weekend, have scored the most points for BMW so far in ST this season, and our drivers are always in the hunt to win and lead the championship. There’s still a lot of racing to do this year, but we’re seeing the benefits of what James and all of our mechanics and engineers have put together within this program.”
Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the New Jersey Motorsports Park race on 5/26 at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED.
May 9th, 2012
With the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Championship gaining momentum,Dublin,Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing is ready to hit the track atNew JerseyMotorsportsParkjust two weeks after the most recent round in Homestead-Miami.
The three-car BMW 328i team had a remarkable weekend at Homestead-Miami, placing two cars inside the top 10 in qualifying, but a number of freak occurrences led to the team retiring from the race early in the event.
Utilizing the team’s depth of knowledge with the BMW E90 platform, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay is confident his staff of BMW technicians has resolved the issues leading into the race at NJMP.
“Homesteadwas turning out to be a great weekend right up until the race,” he said. “We had some rare mechanical issues and certainly we don’t intend to repeat. Luckily, we have a lot of years with these E90 cars and many more working and developing cars on a pro level, so even in a tight turnaround, our standard plan of attack can be applied swiftly and produce results and solutions. We do have answers and a multi-pronged approach to the issues from last race and we are now fully focused on getting back in front on the championship hunt.”
Known for its sweltering heat when it was held mid-summer, the NJMP round has been moved up to avoid the stifling temperatures and humidity that made life miserable for everyone and everything.
“With very high temperatures in the last few years, New Jersey has been brutal on cars, tires, crew and drivers,” said BimmerWorld’s Gregory Liefooghe, winner of Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park with co-driver David Levine in the No. 81 BimmerWorld entry.
“This year, since the race will be taking place in May instead of July, the weather is expected to be mild, and we’ll see how it affects the track and handling.New Jerseyhas tight hairpins, which don’t suit our car since we are lacking torque compared to the turbo cars, and no hard braking zones where our cars usually shine. But it also has high-speed corners where we’ll be making up time. It will most likely be an ‘accordion race’ once again, and being upfront from the start will pay a premium.”
John Capestro-Dubets, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW with James Clay, believes the team’s fleet of 328is could hold an advantage when it comes to consistency.
“The BimmerWorld BMWs tend to be very stable and predictable cars throughout the race,” he said. “TheNew Jerseytrack might not be tailor-made for our cars, but we don’t tend to go through the peaks and valleys some of our competitors do, so over the course of a 2.5-hour race, I think our average speed could be a benefit.”
On Mother’s Day weekend to honor survivor Paula Capestro, JCD’s mom, the No. 80 will also carry a unique change to its livery at NJMP, with BimmerWorld’s traditional yellow stripes replaced with pink as part of an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer and the benefits of early detection.
After recording one of the most impressive performances during his stint at Homestead-Miami, Dan Rogers, who shares the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with Seth Thomas, is poised to pick up where he left off. But just don’t tell him he did a good job last time out…
“I still wasn’t satisfied with my performance,” Rogers said with a smile, “but I’m not sure we ever are!”
Rogers’ ascension in the Continental Tire Series has been a point of pride for everyone in the team, and with a number of veteran drivers to rely upon, his forward progress is expected to continue at NJMP.
“What improvements I am seeing is largely due to the time and effort Seth and the team is putting into coaching and mentoring me in my driving. They have been a great resource to help me improve my driving in general, and to work on specific aspects of tracks that I haven’t raced on before, like both Miami and NJMP. This week should be another test of coming up to speed quickly on a new track for me, but I think we’ve done the preparation. Now it’s time to execute!”
Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at Round 4 at New JerseyMotorsportsParkthis weekend at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the race when it’s broadcast on 5/26 at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED.
May 2nd, 2012
Leading into Saturday’s race at the Homestead-Miami circuit in Florida, the three-car BimmerWorld BMW 328i GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series team had every reason to feel bullish about its chances to earn back-to-back victories.
Coming off a savvy win at the previous round at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, the Dublin, Va.-based BMW experts picked up right where they left off, placing the No. 80 BMW of team owner James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets fourth in Street Tuner qualifying, and the No. 81 of Barber winners Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine 10th on the grid.
The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i of Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers wasn’t quite as fortunate, but despite starting 30th in class, the veteran racers had designs on moving to the front once the green flag waved.
With reliability serving as one of the hallmarks of the BMW brand—and the BMWs raced by BimmerWorld—the team was dealt a double dose of misfortune as the Nos. 80 and 81 retired within the first eight laps with undisclosed drivetrain issues.
Surviving the tricky track conditions as the race transitioned from wet to dry played into the hands of Thomas and Rogers as the pair appeared to be in the hunt for a podium finish, but on a day where odd things took place with two team cars, the third member of the BimmerWorld fleet couldn’t escape a similar fate, ending its run on Lap 40 of the 82-lap event.
“Overall, the race was really decent for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW,” explains Thomas. “Dan did a great job in his stint showing off his Northwestern wet weather driving style. He moved up several spots while the track was wet, despite having never driven at Homestead in the rain. When we switched drivers, the track was drying out and it was a toss-up about going to slick tires or staying with the wets. Slicks were the way to go as the track didn’t take long to develop a dry line. At this point the car really started to shine.
“I mixed it up with an aggressive bunch of cars as I saw them switching spots lap after lap, going three-wide into turns, with several cars still on wet tires and using their straightline speed to keep us behind them. I decided to hang back, put the car in cruise mode as we had over an hour left and picked up the spots I could without risking damage to the car. This worked out great as I got all the spots I was hoping for and working on getting a few more when our race ended.”
Although the final results from Homestead-Miami don’t show BimmerWorld in its characteristic position at the front of the field, Thomas, one of the team’s leaders, came away feeling positive about how the No. 82 car and the organization as a whole performed.
“Homestead did end with unexpected results for all three BimmerWorld entries, but that’s why this is ‘racing’ and not called ‘winning. We can’t win them all, even though our cars showed great potential this weekend. BimmerWorld is a team that knows how to fight past a bad weekend, and always make the cars faster and better then next time out. With the race at New Jersey coming right up next, we’ll keep our eyes fixed on delivering the results there. This team doesn’t give in, and now we’re all thinking about how to get all three cars on the steps of the podium.”
James Clay, team owner and driver of the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, confirmed Thomas’s post-race analysis.
“The cars rolled out of the transporter dialed in. We made some little tweaks but this is the best they have been yet. The guys on the team have worked a lot on pit stops and generally functioning as a team unit and everything they did this weekend was organized, effective and very fast. I was proud of everyone this weekend and, while we are in a sport where the finishing order is the only way the world measures the result, I couldn’t have been happier for everything else short of that this weekend. We had a gut-punch of bad luck but the team’s foundation is more firm than ever and we will be right back to the front at the next round.”
Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as it prepares for Round 4 in New Jersey by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the Homestead race when it airs on May 12th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
April 24th, 2012
Finding success in any sport involves plenty of talent, planning and preparation, but having the help of something a bit more intangible also helps.
Riding the wave of momentum from its recent GRAND-AM Street Tuner-class win at the rolling Barber Motorsports Park facility, the Dublin, Va.-based BMW experts at BimmerWorld will look to carry that positive motion through this weekend’s race on the Homestead-Miami “roval.”
Using portions of the 1.5-mile oval track and its infield road course to comprise the 2.3-mile, 11-turn circuit, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay says he and the team will stick to its proven game plan to maintain its current position atop the ST drivers, teams and manufacturers championships.
“Everyone did a solid job at Barber and certainly we had a little luck that fell our way to help us out, but hard work put us in a position to be able to turn good luck into an even better result,” he remarked. “We will keep doing our thing, but it is good this early on in the season to have confirmation for all the effort everyone is putting in. Based on how some cars are performing based on the rules, I don’t think the BMW is the most gifted car in the field right now, but it’s up to us to come up with a response and overcome those disadvantages as much as possible.”
Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets will look to bounce back in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i after a tough race at Barber, but its first-time winners, Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine, have stayed focused after their breakthrough victory in the No. 81 BimmerWorld entry.
“The last few weeks have been very busy with all the different clubs and race series starting their seasons,” said Liefooghe, who serves as a driving instructor during the week. “I have had about two days off total since last race and have been at different race tracks the rest of the time. It’s been quite awesome to see how many people are exposed to the Continental Tire Series, and I have had a ton of positive feedback on our last result at Barber. Although it was nice to take it all in, now is not the time for David and I to keep pushing as the season is really just starting to pick up its pace.”
Going for a second-straight win, as Liefooghe shares, will involve equal parts aggression and restraint on a track that’s known to wear down tires at an accelerated rate.
“The key to going fast and keeping the tires under you has a lot to do with smoothness and self-discipline,” he continued. “You can’t push too hard, overdrive the entry of the corner, or slide coming out. And you have to stay out of the ABS to keep the tire from overheating. Although it looks quite easy on paper, Homestead makes it a real challenge, as it is mostly slow hairpins which tend to make you push harder than you should. The other main challenge is to balance the moments when you have to be aggressive and make up positions, and the moments when you have to save your tires for those last few laps. It’s a track that rewards being smart on every lap.”
BimmerWorld’s Seth Thomas, who shares the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with Dan Rogers, has a simple message about Homestead.
“Staying out of trouble is going be tough especially at a track like Homestead with 39 cars entered in ST. It has low grip and lots of slow turns that tend to favor the smaller cars in the class, so charging into every corner isn’t the right frame of mind to be in. Everyone did a great job keeping the cars clean at Barber, yielding our best results of the season so far. Patience will pay off for us this weekend.”
Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at Homestead this weekend by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the race when it’s airs on May 12th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
April 2nd, 2012
Drivers tend to get all of the credit when they win a race, but as the BMW experts at BimmerWorld reminded its rivals on Saturday, it also takes teamwork, strategy, and an incredible amount of talent amongst the pit crew to earn a trip to victory lane.
BimmerWorld’s three-car fleet of BMW 328is not only survived the crash-filled Continental Tire Series race at the sprawling Barber Motorsports Park facility in Leeds, Alabama, but left with the Street Tuner class win, a pair of top 5 finishes, and the lead in the drivers’ and the teams’ points standings.
At the end of the 2.5-hour event, Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine, drivers of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, were celebrating their first series win, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers secured a solid fifth-place finish while playing the role of tail gunners and the team’s pit crew was credited by team owner/driver James Clay for their peerless efforts.
“Daytona was a solid start to our 2012 season and we knew we had a great program – the win and strong showing at Barber confirms that,” he said. “We have done a lot of development work over the winter to shore up any sagging performance areas of the car and really left no stone unturned for improvement for this season. The guys in the shop have been hard at work perfecting the car we put on the track and I think it is starting to really show.”
Clay also recognized the unique position his team was placed in when a few competitors ahead of the No. 81 fell afoul of the rulebook during a caution period, but knowing those rules paid off for BimmerWorld at Barber.
“This win was made easier for us to some degree by a couple of cars that got caught out with the on-track procedures, and having been on the other side of that in 2010, I know that was a bad deal,” he explained. “But even without the pure speed to win on this tighter track, the full team executed on this performance, from crew to drivers, to race engineers and we were there to take the opportunity that was given.”
For Liefooghe, one of the most respected veterans in the paddock, his breakthrough win was both emotional and long overdue.
“I have to say this win feels like an accomplishment,” he remarked. “There is indeed a lot more involved than it shows in our win today. It was a team effort, where the strategy called by our engineer, Dave Wagener, was an integral part of the result. We managed to stay out of trouble and not make mistakes, and it shows that we have a rock solid program. This win rewards all the efforts made during the off-season and the hard work that has been put in during the whole race. Although the season is just starting, this result puts us in a great spot for the championship and I think it reinforces the fact that David and I are working well together.”
Liefooghe also had a special message for the man who helped get him to where he is today.
“It is my first win in the CTSCC and it is a big stepping-stone,” he continued. “I would like to dedicate it to my father who supported me and pushed me to follow my passion throughout all these years. Dad, this one is for you!”
With so many cautions happening during his opening stint, Levine didn’t get the opportunity to do much wheel-to-wheel racing, but says the chance to spray champagne as a GRAND-AM race winner was everything he thought it would be.
“I cannot describe the feeling of being a winner in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series in only my third start. The start of the race was quite frustrating as I only got about seven feet of green flag racing before the GS-class crashes started. Putting the frustration aside, spraying champagne as a winner has been a highlight in my life and I hope I can keep doing that for the rest of the season. This win is also the first win in a while for our crew chief, David Wagener, so I made it a point to spray him first. This weekend was truly incredible! Thanks again to the crew and everyone involved.”
The road to fifth was just as exciting for Thomas and Rogers, and when presented with the opportunity to try a high-risk pass for the lead, Thomas says supporting the sister No. 81’s charge to the checkered flag took precedence.
“As a racer, when you see an opening that you think you can squeeze your car into on the last couple of laps you want to take it, but after seeing the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW in front of me, I had to think about the team and the season’s results. I thought about the points situation of Greg and David during the caution, and the only way I would go for the spot is if Greg made a mistake. He didn’t, and my job was to protect him as much as possible to give BimmerWorld and BMW a shot at winning the championship at the end of the year.”
Rogers also supported the “team first” move by Thomas.
“Seth and I have known all along that the No. 82 will be a regular visitor to the podium; it’s just a matter of when,” he said. “It was going that direction at Daytona until Seth got hit, and on the last lap restart at Barber, we were P2, behind Greg, before we were then shuffled back a bit. A fifth-place finish is great, but it’s just a step to the podium for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. Congratulations to David and Greg for a second great finish. Bring on Miami!”
The third BimmerWorld entry, the No. 80 BMW 328i piloted by Clay and John Capestro-Dubets, wasn’t as fortunate in the race, encountering contact which dropped the duo well down the finishing order.
“Our run in the No. 80 car was geared up to be a good one, but there were a lot of cars on track and unfortunately, John was one of many that suffered from the close quarters,” said Clay. “As a driver you are always learning and improving and even bad races teach lessons. I have a lot of faith in our driving team and as the season progresses, we will continue to tweak and improve.”
Clay also recognized the many layers of support that enabled BimmerWorld to return to its winning ways.
“We had some great support this weekend from the folks at CRC BRAKLEEN® and NAPA, and I was happy with our result with our sponsors watching,” he said. “I am also really proud of all the guys on the team who picked up extra responsibility as our crew chief Jason Marks was at home with his wife preparing to have their first baby. They did a great job and produced a strong result.”
With eight races left on the calendar, Clay admitted that he and the team will enjoy their results at Barber in the short-term, but won’t let the victory or their place in the championship distract BimmerWorld from its season-long goals.
“It is great to be leading the Championship at this or any point, but all it means is we have had a couple of good races,” he said. “There is a long season ahead of us and certainly we will put our heads down and continue to produce results. I’ll start getting excited a lot closer to the checker flag at Lime Rock in September.”
Next up for BimmerWorld is Round 3 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on April 27-28. Follow the team’s progress as they prepare for the event at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the No. 81’s win April 8th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.
March 28th, 2012
Give the BMW experts at BimmerWorld time to tinker and test its trio of 328i GRAND-AM Continental Tire Street Tuner cars, and the hard-working team from Virginia will fill every possible moment with new ideas and innovations to try.
With a two-month gap between Round 1 of the Continental Championship, held at the famed Daytona International Speedway in Florida, and this weekend’s Round 2 set for Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, team owner/driver James Clay says he’s confident in the overall package BimmerWorld has continued to develop during the recent downtime.
“The BimmerWorld Daytona performance proved to us that our renewed focus on the team is going to produce results, but unfortunately it also showed that some of the other marques in the field are quicker than the BMWs at this point, and we will need some luck to capture the championship we are aiming for.
“In my experience, the best luck is made, so we have been focusing on both refining the car package with on-track testing, as well as putting a significant amount of effort toward the team and equipment, which I feel is our biggest strength already. Having all the procedures and pieces in place to overcome adversity will pay dividends and keep our results consistent and will be a good countermeasure to the sporadic, blazing speed of other marques.”
Teamed with John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, Clay anticipates the handling and braking attributes that helped to steer the No. 81 BimmerWorld car of Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine to the podium at Daytona will play to the team’s favor at the notoriously tough 17-turns, 2.3-mile Alabama road course.
“Our Barber setup is very good, as confirmed by our strong run there last year,” he said. “From a track layout standpoint it doesn’t seem like Barber should be good to us, but we will arrive dialed in and that goes a long way. We just need a little help from the field to limit the yellows and get some long runs, where our effort in consistency will start to pay off.”
Coming off a third-place finish with Levine, Liefooghe says maintaining his edge during such an extended period between GRAND-AM races hasn’t been a challenge.
“Away from the GRAND-AM circuit, I’m working at the Simraceway Racing School, which includes the Audi Sports Car Experience and Mitsubishi Driving School, and I have been doing a lot of private coaching since race season started in early February here in California. Between instructing, coaching and car development for my clients, it adds up to quite a bit of driving each week, which helps me to stay sharp. This second ‘offseason’ has been quite long, and we will need to bring the same focus that we brought to Daytona as Barber is shaping up to be an intense race.”
The third BimmerWorld team car, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers, was poised to join the Nos. 80 and 81 inside the top 10 at Daytona, but those chances were lost after taking a hard hit by a competitor.
With just 10 races in the championship, losing out on a solid finish—and the points that come with it—can have a dire impact at the end of the season, but Rogers says he and Thomas won’t take extra risks at Barber or any other event to try and make up the points needed to earn a title.
“If we focus on the season long goal of a championship, the unfortunate hit we took at Daytona put us in a deep hole in the championship points race. If we approach the Barber race with a ‘performance mentality,’ and focus on driving the race, we still believe the results will come.
“Seth and I had only one goal this season – a championship. The way you win a championship is to perform at your highest level and drive every race, and every lap in each race, consistently and to the best of our abilities. The results will take care of themselves. I’m really looking forward to Barber. It’s a classic road course, which is where I feel most at home.”
Follow the team’s progress this weekend at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com and tune in to SPEED on April 8th at 12 p.m. ET to watch the Barber Motorsports Park race.
February 2nd, 2012
Back in 2010 when the Virginia-based BMW experts entered GRAND-AM’s Street Tuner class with a pair of BMW 328is, the team ran inside the top 10 and scored a podium on its Daytona debut. With the expansion to three ST cars for 2012, the same was true as the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW of veteran Gregory Liefooghe and rookie David Levine placed third, and the No. 80 of team owner James Clay and star sophomore John Capestro-Dubets took eighth at the BMW Performance 200.
The third car in BimmerWorld’s fleet, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by race winner Seth Thomas and the experienced Dan Rogers, was on pace to join the No. 80 and 81 in the top 10 until a hard hit by a competitor forced them to the pits for lengthy repairs.
Although the incident that befell the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® entry left plenty of points on the table, Clay came away from the wet/dry Round 1 race feeling positive about what the team can achieve across the entire 10-race championship.
“Certainly we have very capable cars and we are seeing the results of a winter of hard work and development, but our competition is tough and has some highly impressive speed,” Clay said. “I had hoped to win the BMW Performance 200 for BMW and we certainly gave it our all. And while we didn’t win, we showed that we have the team to do it when the opportunity arises and it will be a good year for the BimmerWorld guys.”
As the top finishers for BimmerWorld, Liefooghe and Levine got a chance to lead the race and to engage in a thrilling drafting battle on the high-banked portion of the blended oval and road course circuit, with Liefooghe, who drove the final stint, settling for third in the No. 81 after leading with one lap to go.
“The race went well for us and we can never complain about being on the podium,” he said. “It’s a great way to rack up points for the championship. Daytona has always been a drafting track and I was expecting to have a lot of action, but the numerous full course cautions and traffic did not play in our favor. On the last restart, I made sure to create a gap, and I managed to get out reach for the Kia and the Mazda to get in my draft, only to have a GS car slow me down and make me vulnerable. That’s when my competitors passed me in a two-car draft like a NASCAR restrictor plate race.
“On the last lap I still was set up nicely to get a run out of the bus stop and draft to the finish line, but another GS backmarker thought otherwise and came in the middle of the fight. It’s hard to say if we would have won but it would have been a three-wide finish. It was frustrating, but I still feel good about our performance. It feels like we have a much more competitive car this year thanks to the hard work BimmerWorld put in the off-season and that we’ll be fighting for wins all season long.”
For Levine, standing on the podium in his pro racing debut was just one of many highlights during the event.
“I am very pleased with our result at Daytona,” Levine said. “It would have been great to bring BMW a win in their title race, but I am still pleased with third. Overall, I was surprised by how clean the racing was. There were several times where there could have been contact but there wasn’t any. I really enjoyed my fight with Mark Pombo and Andy Lally. The car was amazing in the rain which made racing for the lead very easy. It was a great weekend and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the BimmerWorld program.”
Capestro-Dubets was originally scheduled to switch to the role of closing driver this season, but a setback just before the Daytona race meant he will have to wait until Round 2 to take the reins from Clay. With Clay closing out the race in the No. 80, he and “JCD” got their championship aspirations off to a proper start by placing inside the top 10.
“Coming to Daytona this year was a heart break for me because of an injury that happened only days before leaving that would keep me from closing,” said JCD. “I have been preparing and waiting patiently for my chance to show my abilities as a closing driver, and with this injury keeping me from that, the drive from within to put the No. 80 on top grows and grows.
“Daytona was challenging enough last year, being my first time to the track, my first Continental race and being only my ninth race weekend ever! Then, only a year later, to be returning with a broken hand, and running in the top three during my stint, then bringing home a clean car for James was a major result. Overcoming the physical and mental challenge of this race was a victory in itself.”
Finishing 31st in class was hardly a just reward for Thomas and Rogers in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, but the longstanding BimmerWorld driver felt the team as a whole gave him every reason to feel 2012 will be a good year for the entire program.
“Even with the lack of judgment by another driver that spoiled our race, I am pumped about what I saw with the BimmerWorld team this past weekend,” said Thomas. “Everyone performed at the top of their game – from the drivers to all the crew guys. This will help us as a team to be at the top in the points all season long fighting it out for team, manufacturer and driver Championships. Dan was solid in the CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW. He found speed when he needed it, keeping us in the fight from the start of the race. He was amazing on a wet track, having never driven the BMW E90 chassis platform on the Continental rain tires. With the speed he has shown so far, we will be fighting for wins and podiums this year.”
For Rogers, the sting of missing out on a top finish soured what should have been a strong debut with BimmerWorld.
“The weekend was good, however, the result was one of the most disappointing I’ve had,” he said frankly, showing his competitive fire. “Everyone in the BimmerWorld team expects success and in my short time with them, I do as well I guess. I just need to keep looking for a bit more speed to hang with our other drivers in the starting role, but with Seth as a teammate and Wayne Yawn handling our race strategy, we’ll be in the game. We have every reason to feel encouraged about the first race, and now we just need to get to the finish at the second race to show what we can achieve.”
Watch the BMW Performance 200 this Saturday, February 4th, at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED, and follow the team’s progress at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as they prepare for the next race on March 30th at Barber Motorsports Park.
Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
More information about the team, cars, and drivers can be found at www.bimmerworldracing.com
Information on BimmerWorld’s Customer Car Services can be found at www.bimmerworld.com
Details on PowerFlex Suspension Bushings can be found at www.powerflexusa.com
January 24th, 2012
After months of behind-the-scenes work, countless hours of mechanical devotion, and an endless pursuit of superior engineering, BimmerWorld is ready to go racing.
With the first race of the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge set to kick off on Friday at the historic Daytona International Speedway, BimmerWorld’s three-car fleet of Street Tuner-class BMW 328is are prepared to help the team earn the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.
“For the 2012 season, we have one goal – the Championship,” said James Clay, BimmerWorld’s owner and co-driver of the No. 80 entry. “Certainly this goal is met by winning races, poles and racing well, which I think we have the driving roster to do all three. It also requires having quality equipment, running it effectively, and a lot of hard work along the way and our team already seems to be executing at the level required. We have done a lot of work over the offseason to put all the elements in place and hopefully now we just have to press the start button and send it all into action.”
BimmerWorld, along with other Street Tuner teams fielding normal-sized cars in 2011, found the smaller models in the field to be at a marked rules advantage. Rather than wait for the rules to be balanced in their favor, Clay and the technicians at BimmerWorld engaged in a top-to-bottom assessment of what improvements would return the 328i chassis to the front of the field.
“I have to focus on what I can control and I know for sure that our cars are dialed in and ready to run at 100%,” he said. “I know Daytona is a good track for our bigger cars with the sweeping turns and long straights. As the tracks start to tighten up we aren’t as nimble, and even at Daytona, the smaller and forced induction cars get a good jump off the corner, so other tracks won’t be as kind to us. I like the fact that we should be able to start the season with some momentum, and we will leave no stone unturned through the rest of the year working to find the performance level to stay on par with the smaller cars.”
Coming off of a strong final pre-season test at the “Roar Before The 24,”Clay and his teammate in the No. 80 328i, sophomore ST sensation John Capestro-Dubets, jelled quickly and demonstrated plenty of speed.
Clay knows that the No. 80 has the potential to be successful at Daytona and every other round, and explained how adopting a fluid game plan for each race is mandatory.
“You can’t approach an event with reckless abandon or extreme caution,” he said. “I think we have the experience to know when it is time to maintain and when it is time to act, and the result comes from proper timing of the two. We are all-in this season to win the Championship.”
For Capestro-Dubets, using the right season-long game plan is also going to be key if he wants to continue distinguishing himself from the other young drivers in the field.
“My rookie year was good, but coming into 2012, I have a whole new mind set,” he said. “It’s no longer time to just focus on driving fast and staying out of trouble; now I need to start producing results. I feel confident that James Clay has made a good decision by allowing me to share closing responsibilities in the No. 80, and I plan to reward that show of faith. BimmerWorld has done amazing job preparing the car and also preparing me to have a very competitive season in ST.”
In the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, returning pro Gregory Liefooghe will lead GRAND-AM newcomer and fellow Exclusive Management teammate David Levine. The sports car veteran came away from their most recent test feeling confident about what he and Levine can achieve in 2012.
“I think David and I developed a good relationship during the Roar,” he said. “His driving style works well with mine and we’ll be working well together during the season. For this race, the number one goal will be to finish on the podium. Daytona, with the long straights and significant drafts, always comes down to the last lap and our number two goal will be winning the race while keeping in mind our main goal, the championship.”
By the end of the test, Levine had logged enough miles to enter his first ST race with a sense of what the car is capable of, and also what can expect to achieve in his rookie season.
“The Roar was extremely helpful for me,” Levine said. “I needed the time to adjust to the car. It is heavier and more powerful than the cars that I drove last season. I feel that the speed is in the car and I am confident that we can get a solid top 5 finish in the season opener at Daytona. My goals for the race are simple—to qualify the car towards the front and then hand the car off to Greg in the best condition possible so he can go for the win. I believe that we are completely capable of top 5s and top 10s all season.”
Rounding out the BimmerWorld line-up is Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. With the two touring car veterans already forming a fast tandem effort, Thomas says there’s every reason to feel positive about what they can achieve together.
“The Thomas/Rogers duo is in this season for the long run and we have our eyes on the prize at the end,” he said. “We both know that to be able to contend for the championship, we have to be there at the end with a fast car. My crystal ball says you will see us, along with our other teammates, being contenders for every race win as well as the end of the season fight for the Championship.”
Paired with Thomas, who achieved a statistical tie for the 2010 ST championship with BimmerWorld, Rogers believes that with a bit more circuit knowledge under his belt, he and Thomas can bring 2010’s success—and more—into their efforts this year.
“My biggest current challenge will be to learn the remaining tracks that I did not drive in my initial season in ST,” he said. “Seth and I are working on plans to attack that problem, so we will be in the hunt for the entire season. Our goal in the No. 82 is nothing short of a championship. That’s a huge goal in a field as good as it is this year in ST, but we will approach it with a plan, and then execute. BimmerWorld has shown that they can field a competitive car in ST, and we plan to reproduce the results of 2010, but with a slightly different ending.”
Follow all of BimmerWorld’s action from Daytona this week at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and tune-in to watch the BMW Performance 200 At Daytona on February 4th at Noon ET on SPEED.
Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
More information about the team, cars, and drivers can be found at www.bimmerworldracing.com
Information on BimmerWorld’s Customer Car Services can be found at www.bimmerworld.com
Details on PowerFlex Suspension Bushings can be found at www.powerflexusa.com
January 10th, 2012
After recently announcing its expansion to a three-car GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner program for 2012, Dublin, VA-based BimmerWorld has finalized the three pairs of drivers who will pilot the team’s trio of BMW 328is.
Stability, continuity, and growth have been hallmarks of BimmerWorld’s professional racing endeavors for more than a decade, and the trend continues this season as four of the team’s drivers from 2011 have returned, along with two promising talents that have recently joined the team.
Employing the proven strategy of partnering winning veterans with up-and-coming drivers, team owner/driver James Clay will pilot the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i with John Capestro-Dubets, the breakout young star of the 2011 ST championship, as his co-driver.
The No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i will again be piloted by drivers provided by Exclusive Management, Inc. This year, the car lineup will feature sports car expert Gregory Liefooghe, who will mentor ST rookie David A. Levine.
Seth Thomas, BimmerWorld’s most tenured driver, will spearhead the CRC BRAKLEEN®-sponsored No. 82 328i with Dan Rogers as his teammate.
After reaching a statistical points tie and nearly winning the ST championship on the team’s GRAND-AM debut in 2010, Clay says BimmerWorld structured its driving combinations with the specific goal of earning the ST title this year.
“I am very happy with this season’s driver pairings,” he said. “As always, it is important to me and us as a team for every car to be a championship contender. And this year more than ever before, we are purely focused on capturing the championship that got away from us in 2010, and I feel our driver lineup strongly supports this goal.”
Tasked with scoring points, earning victories and teaching their new co-drivers, Thomas and Liefooghe have similar goals during the 10-race Continental Tire Series championship.
“My focus for 2012 is to bring the driver and team championships to BimmerWorld, and to win a manufacturer’s title for BMW,” said Thomas. “With Dan having raced at only a handful of the tracks we’ll visit this season, I hope my knowledge of these tracks helps him get the most out of our car every weekend.”
Beyond sharing driving and chassis setup tips, Liefooghe looks forward to helping Levine adapt to the rigors of endurance racing.
“For my part, I will work hard with David as he transitions to a new style of racing,” he said. “David comes to BimmerWorld with great talent, but most of his experience is in shorter sprint races. My job as a teammate will be to teach him all the facets of endurance racing.”
For Levine and Rogers, the decision to join BimmerWorld was made with the specific goals of learning from the best, joining one of the most respected teams in the paddock, and spending a lot of time in Victory Lane.
“I chose BimmerWorld because of the team’s professionalism and its commitment to winning the championship, the quality of the car and knowledge of the mechanics and pit crew, and the opportunity to race with and learn from Greg,” said Levine. “Everyone on the team is friendly, which also made selecting BimmerWorld an easy choice.”
“When the opportunity came up to drive with BimmerWorld in GRAND-AM, I jumped at it,” said Rogers. “With the complete package they have to offer, I believe we have a great shot at winning the title.”
Capestro-Dubets took the first steps towards becoming a professional racing driver last year with BimmerWorld in the ST class, earning kudos throughout the season as a driver with the potential to make it to the top. With his services in high demand, the young hot shoe chose to stay with BimmerWorld for his sophomore season and continue his education in GRAND-AM.
“My rookie year was all a learning experience and it was a very productive year,” he said. “In 2011, I learned the fundamentals needed to succeed in GRAND-AM, and now it’s time to show what I’ve learned. I feel I’ve become a very strong and consistent driver. My next goal is to bring home a championship for the BimmerWorld team, my sponsors and myself.”
In addition to their line up of stellar drivers, BimmerWorld will rely upon thousands of hours that have been invested over the past few months by the men behind the scenes to make sure the team’s fleet of 328is are faster than ever.
With the first race of the season just weeks away, Clay is confident his team has all of the ingredients necessary to achieve their goals.
“BimmerWorld’s technicians and engineers never stop thinking, working, and tuning on the cars,” he said. “This offseason has been purely focused on the 2012 ST package and the focus has yielded what I hope and think will be a formidable result. Racing is like any job – filled with a lot of work. We have had long work lists and the guys have executed well on them. We are entering this season ready to go.”
Follow BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as the team prepares for the season-opening race on Jan. 27th at Daytona International Raceway.
Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
More information about the team, cars, and drivers can be found at www.bimmerworldracing.com
Information on BimmerWorld’s Customer Car Services can be found at www.bimmerworld.com
Details on PowerFlex Suspension Bushings can be found at www.powerflexusa.com