BimmerWorld Scores Top-6 Finish with Turbocharged BMW at Laguna Seca
May 6th, 2015
By all accounts, the BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld had a wildly successful trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team’s turbocharged BMW 328i platform was fast in the hands of the drivers who pilot the Nos. 81 and 84 entries, and with local driver Andrie Hartanto combining with teammate Tyler Cooke to place sixth in the Street Tuner class with the 81, it almost felt like a win for the veteran program.
Based on the vast performance inequity between normal-size cars like BimmerWorld’s BMWs and the miniscule cars that have dominated the ST class at the event for five years running, it was hardly a surprise to see the smallest, lightest machines in the field capture the top four positions in the race.
Resigned to a best-in-normal-class outcome, team owner/driver James Clay was realistic in his expectations where finishing sixth was akin to earning second, albeit without the extra Championship points.
“Our BimmerWorld BMWs were strong this weekend – as strong as it gets behind the midget front-runners that typically dominate Laguna,” he said. “We are there racing for the best of the rest of the field, and the 81’s run to sixth was second step on the podium in our eyes. And if not for a piece of bad luck, the 84 would have been right there as well.”
Even with the bad luck that left Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis in 23rd at the end of the race in the No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i, Clay was pleased with the performance from Hartanto and the impressive effort by Cooke.
“I was super happy to see the 81 running so strong,” he remarked. “I know Andrie wasn’t thrilled with his qualifying effort which was diminished with a crack in a charge pipe, but as we expected, he quickly picked his way to the front at his home track. Tyler moved forward in his stint and hung in there for a solid result — it was great for them to lock down a good finish.”
For Hartanto, who is in the midst of a solid rookie season in the Continental Tire Series, Monterey was nothing but a positive event.
“Finishing strong at my home event is very important, especially with friends and family in attendance,” he said. “Having a strong teammate in Tyler certainly helps the cause. I’m really happy we were able to show that we have the pace and looking forward to the next race in Watkins Glen.”
QUOTEBOARD: Monterey Race
No. 81 BMW 328i: Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto
Cooke: The race went very well with the 81 car. Andrie did a great job bringing the car to fourth and both Jason and Andrie showed great team work by working together bringing the cars into the pits in the top-5. My stint was very good, too; I could run close to the same pace as the leaders but couldn’t get close enough to them. All things considered, this was a great race for us and the team moving into Watkins.
Hartanto: My disappointment with qualifying was dampened by learning that a boost leak impacted our result. It was so exciting to be able to fight our way up the field. When our engineer radioed that we were leading the race, it was memorable. The couple of laps in the lead were awesome. Yes, it may have boiled down to the pit stop timing of the eventual winners, but I’ll never forget hearing our engineer over the radio saying that we had the lead.
No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i: James Clay and Jason Briedis
Briedis: We had a solid qualifying starting sixth. I was able slip into fourth when the Honda and the Porsche got together heading into Turn 6. From there we ran in 4th most of the race. James was on track for a strong finish until the mechanical issue. Our car is getting better and better each race and we hope to contend for some wins soon.
Clay: I have historically done well at Laguna, and Jason and I had a fast car last year. The track really came to us perfectly and we were on our way to another strong result until bad luck stepped in in the form of metal fatigue and left us both wishing it wasn’t seven weeks until Watkins.
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ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise, and competes in the Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.