BimmerWorld Returns to the Brickyard with Another Victory in Mind
July 22nd, 2014
BMW experts look for more success at Indy while teenage ace Tyler Cooke receives a big promotion
One of BimmerWorld’s greatest achievements came in 2012 as the BMW aftermarket and tuning experts wrote their names in the history books as the first-ever winners of the Continental Tire Series Street Tuner class at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Fast forward to 2014 and with the series set to return to the legendary Brickyard this week to contest the latest Continental Series round, which combines portions of the oval and features a newly repaved and reconfigured infield road course that measures 2.4 miles.
“Indy has been very good to us since its addition to the schedule with a win the inaugural year and a pair of cars that were close to a repeat the following year,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “But I am not sure how I feel about the track changes for this year — the addition of a tight chicane that interrupts the long sweeping banking takes away one of our strengths and plays to the current balance of performance strengths of the lightweight cars in the field.
“I don’t know that this will be an E90 track again this year. The F30 has been showing more strength as development continues, but we won’t know until we get on track and determine the gearing whether it will be enough to overcome the chicane.”
Also different from 2012, BimmerWorld heads to Indy with an expanded 4-car ST team. A significant change within the Virginia-based program has also taken place ahead of Indy as teenage ace Tyler Cooke, who serves as the opener in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i he shares with Greg Liefooghe, has been promoted to the closing driver in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i piloted by rookie Eric Zimmermann. Once he’s done in the No. 81, Cooke will climb into the No. 80 to complete his Ironman effort.
Cooke and Zimmermann represent the best BimmerWorld has to offer its drivers as both pilots have used the extensive coaching and training supplied within the program to accelerate their respective learning curves. For the 19-year-old Cooke, being entrusted with driving two BimmerWorld entries and serving as the closer for the No. 80 is something Clay sees as the right move at the right time.
“This was the perfect opportunity to both continue Tyler’s development in our program and provide Eric one of our veterans to continue his development as well,” he added. “Even though Tyler hasn’t clicked off his 20th birthday yet, he is maturing into quite the young professional for us.”
Cooke is confident he’s prepared for the physical rigors and mental acuity required to complete an entire 2h30min race across two cars.
“I am definitely up for the task,” he said. “I’ve been training and definitely feel up for this challenge not only physically but mentally as well. This is going to help me leading into next year to be the closing driver which is what I am most excited for, and I’m looking forward to the next five races in this dual role!”
For Zimmermann, who recently joined the team after working through BimmerWorld’s Driver Development Program, having a team veteran in Cooke to learn from—both on the track and in the engineering office—should accelerate his personal learning curve.
“The balance of time in the car will shift now with Tyler starting in the No. 81 and closing in the No. 80,” he said. “That shift will give me more time during practice sessions to further my familiarity with the car and to learn the two tracks that I don’t know at Indy and Road America. I will also be tasked with providing setup feedback on the car, which will be a new opportunity for me to develop additional racing skills. Lastly, Tyler is a great young talent and his driving insights will go a long way towards making us a successful team for the balance of the 2014 season.”
UP NEXT: Practice for the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge begins on Thursday, July 24, with the race following on Friday, July 25.
FOLLOW: Keep track of BimmerWorld’s progress by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com
No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Eric Zimmermann, Tyler Cooke
No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Tyler Cooke, Greg Liefooghe
No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Dan Rogers, Seth Thomas
No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay