BimmerWorld’s Busy Off-Season Efforts Produce Great Gains at Daytona; Unexpected Marriage Proposal
February 9th, 2016
Based on the final results, the opening round of IMSA’s Continental Tire Series Championship wasn’t kind to the BMW tuning and aftermarket specialists at BimmerWorld, but the team still managed to demonstrate great pace and progress.
The team’s pair of turbocharged BMW 328is, built on the F30 chassis platform, impressed in qualifying and led the race at Daytona International Speedway as team owner/driver James Clay and Tyler Cooke pushed the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries entry to the front. Even with a drivetrain issue derailing their progress, and contact ruining the chances for Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley in the sister No. 81 BMW, Clay left the event confident in BimmerWorld’s potential.
“We obviously had the cars to contend and win at Daytona, and I just wish we had been able to have the results to show it,” Clay said. “I led the race for a few laps and was solidly running in the top-3 during my full stint, and I know Tyler would have been right there as well, but it seems like we had what may be a failing spark plug and he never got the opportunity. It is a shame that something so trivial can cause an issue, but that’s racing, and I think we showed that we will be racing to win this year.”
Daytona also marked the debut of Kaufman and Tilley in IMSA with BimmerWorld.
“I knew from our work before the season that Jerry and Kyle would be a good combination, but Daytona was the ‘trial by fire’ race weekend for them, and as expected, they rose to the occasion,” Clay added. “Jerry had a solid qualifying, and on the second restart when I found him beside me in Turn 1, I chuckled a little – that was a good moment. Their contact in the race was unfortunate, but I am looking forward to seeing the results they achieve when things go their way.”
Although BimmerWorld’s fortunes in the race were less rewarding than anticipated, Kaufman ensured the team’s pre-race activities made headlines. Dropping to his knee on pit lane, he surprised everyone—including his girlfriend—with a perfectly-timed proposal.
“My fiancé and I have an amazing relationship; we spend most of our time together when we are not working, and we wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said. “That time together makes surprising her with a proposal almost impossible, so while I was at the pre-race test a few weeks earlier, the idea of proposing at Daytona hit me. I asked James to help set it up with IMSA, and the series was more than happy to help and get FOX involved.”
With TV cameras trained on Kaufman, his proposal became part of the festivities.
“Looking back on it, I don’t have any regrets,” Kaufman continued. “The proposal couldn’t have gone any better, and then my first race was a crazy mixture of highs and lows. It was very cool to have great young talented drivers start the race just in front and just behind me. I didn’t know what to expect, but when the green flag dropped I was able to pull out and beat a few cars to Turn 1. The No. 81 BMW worked really well, and I was able to work my way from 12th to fourth in the first 30 minutes of the race. The top-3 cars were just in front of me, and my goal was to stay with them.”
Kaufman and Tilley would lose a lap while the BimmerWorld crew repaired the No. 81 after the clash with another car, and both drivers say they’ll learn from the experience.
“The race for me was bitter sweet,” Kaufman noted. “I am thoroughly optimistic about this season, but the results in Daytona are not a reflection of where we should be. Lots of lessons learned. Time to move forward.”
“Jerry’s contact was an unfortunate racing incident,” Tilley added. “I was delighted to see Jerry show the kind of pace that I knew he could. It really does bode well for the rest of the year. Sebring can’t come soon enough.
The highly competitive environment within BimmerWorld makes celebrating a race like Daytona somewhat hard, but Clay knows the team can be proud of its showing.
“I had a great time trading spots in the draft for the lead, and feeling out the strengths of our car so we would have a plan for the race finish when it was time to grab that win,” he said. “As much fun as I was having, I am equally excited for our sponsors, and especially OPTIMA Batteries, who help us put this whole show on the track. I know they got great and well-deserved coverage for their brand with BimmerWorld being out front at Daytona.”
Like Clay, and the No. 84 drivers, Tyler Cooke can’t wait to race again at Round 2 in Sebring, FL.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted from both cars, but we learned a lot with our development program,” he said. “James did a great job qualifying the car and had a great first stint leading most of it. We know we can compete for wins, and I expect our story to be better for Sebring.”
FOLLOW BIMMERWORLD AT: https://www.facebook.com/bimmerworld
STAY UP TO DATE WITH BIMMERWORLD NEWS AT: http://www.bimmerworldracing.com
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.
Championship-winning athletes stick to their game plan despite what the competition is doing, think independently when necessary, keep persevering, and pounce when opportunity knocks. BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay and Devin Jones showed all of those attributes in Friday’s season opener …
In honor of IMSA’s 50th Season, the No. 80 Bimmerworld BMW M4 GT4 in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge will be adorned with one of the most iconic liveries in the racing paddock – the original red, blue, and purple stripes …
The only constant in life is change, but BimmerWorld Racing hopes to begin the 2019 season like it finished 2018 — on the top step of the podium in the top class in what is now the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot …
What a race for BMW at Daytona International Speedway! The BimmerWorld Racing team from Dublin, Va., had a near perfect weekend, collecting the pole and victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) …
BimmerWorld Racing is acclaimed for the development work it has done with its BMWs in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) series. The Dublin, Va.-based team will continue that work in two classes of the series this year beginning …