BimmerWorld Ready For Its Debut At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
July 26th, 2012
Veteran BMW road racing team set for GRAND-AM's one-day event on the combined infield and oval course at the historic site of the Indy 500
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.
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