BimmerWorld Returns to Mid-Ohio with Success on Their Minds
April 29th, 2019
As the Dublin, Va.-based BimmerWorld Racing team travels to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio this week, they arrive leading the points chart of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series.
Round three of the 10-race series will be the Mid-Ohio 120 for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge two-hour race on Saturday, May 4 at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.
Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. will co-drive with Devin Jones of Mooresville, Va. in the BimmerWorld Racing No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. The duo is tied for the lead in the Grand Sport (GS) class after finishing fourth at Daytona International Raceway in January and second in the last round at Sebring International Raceway, both in Florida. Winning is on their minds as they continue to develop their solid-performing M4 GT4, now in its second year of competition.
The Mid-Ohio MICHELIN Pilot race is a two-day event with two practice sessions on Thursday, at 11:40 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. Saturday features practice session three at 9:20 a.m. and leads immediately into qualifying, with the GS qualifying session following TCR at 10:05 a.m. The open-grid fan walk begins at 12:50 p.m. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 1:35 p.m. and the race is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m.
The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 11. All times are Eastern.
Pre-race quotes follow
James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
Last year was the first year back at Mid-Ohio since 2013. How do you like the Mid-Ohio circuit, and what do you like best? What is the most challenging part?
“We had a very successful 2018 race at Mid-Ohio that ended with us on the podium and almost with a win, so I certainly like the track, our chances there, and our demonstrated performance. Certainly, this is a very technical track with blind corners and many corners with multiple approaches, so it’s a track that keeps you constantly thinking and adjusting, which is a challenge I enjoy.”
Do you think another podium in the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 is possible this year?
“So far, Devin and I have been a formidable team, and we’ve had strong results. With our performance so far this year and our previous Mid-Ohio performance, I think a podium is on the table at this race, and really any race in the schedule this year. Of course, in this very competitive field, we’ll be racing very hard for it.”
You and Devin are tied in first place in the GS points with the Motorsports in Action McLaren drivers. When you go into the third race of the year in first place, how does that affect your mindset? Does it give you more confidence or put more pressure on you?
“We’ve finished twenty percent of the 2019 race schedule and while it’s nice to have banked good points, I honestly feel it’s completely meaningless. Our goal is to go out and perform and win this race, and every other one on the schedule. Late in the season, I may have a different answer, but not now.”
This year there are only two classes competing in the Michelin Pilot series, your class of GS cars and the TCR class. What’s the main difference in the two classes, and how difficult is it to race around the other class cars?
“Mid-Ohio will be the biggest challenge so far in the mixing of the two classes. The TCR cars are quite good in the turns, and this track minimizes out power advantages with only a few longer straights. We hope to be in front of the scramble, leaving us with the potential of lapped traffic that’s usually quite considerate in this series. But the TCR cars are similar enough in speed in the corners to bring up some tough situations.”
Ohio boasts the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the home to the Wright Brothers. Which of those subjects resonates most with you…aviation, football, or rock & roll?
“While I have some level of interest in music and planes, Ohio is also home to many historic and incredible barns. This is one of my favorite stops of the year because we’ll be staying in cabins on a farm, complete with our own barn and cow who pokes her nose in to enjoy a dinner with the team. Not exactly the Hall of Fame, but maybe better…”
Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
Tell us about your history of racing at Mid-Ohio.
“My first time at Mid-Ohio was last year. Out of all the tracks on the schedule, it’s by far the one I have the least amount of experience on; however, I really enjoyed running there in 2018. It’s a unique track with great fans. We’re aiming to try and end up back on the podium like we were able to do last year.”
How do you like the Mid-Ohio circuit, and what do you like best? What is the most challenging part?
“It’s a technical track, and you have to conserve the tires through a stint. Every corner there is different from the last, and it keeps you on your toes the whole lap. Traffic can also be a bit of an issue because there aren’t many passing zones.”
You and James are tied in first place in the GS points with the Motorsports in Action McLaren drivers. When you go into the third race of the year in first place, how does that affect your mindset? Does it give you more confidence or put more pressure on you?
“It’s a great place to be early in the season. We’ve run strong, and we’ve really been focused on getting the car set up well. It gives us a lot of confidence because we know we can compete for wins. There’s still a long way to go, so we have to stay focused on our own goals.”
At Sebring, you set the fastest lap of the race in your BMW M4. How are you enjoying driving the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 this year?
“Our car this season has been strong, so credit goes to the BimmerWorld Racing crew for all the work and preparation it takes to be competitive in this series. James and I, along with our engineer Wayne, have been working well together during practice on car setup. I’m looking forward to jumping back in the car and picking up where we left off.”
Ohio boasts the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the home to the Wright Brothers. Which of those subjects resonates most with you…aviation, football or rock & roll?
“I’d say Rock & Roll. I raced a car that was sponsored by the punk rock band Social Distortion. One of the coolest car designs I’ve been able to drive, plus I was and still am a huge fan!”
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ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018. 2019 also marks BimmerWorld Racing’s return to the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars.