After almost three months of a break in the action, the BimmerWorld Racing team was eager to get back in the swing of things at Road America for the fourth event of the 2021 SRO GT4 America season. The drivers and cars were ready to get to work, but the weather had different plans and caused some delays in getting on track for practice Friday.
Saturday’s weather was still damp but drying as the BimmerWorld trio of M4 GT4s rolled out of the pits for their qualifying sessions. Jon Miller in the GO Organic No. 94 qualified his M4 GT4 in sixth, James Clay in the OPTIMA Batteries / Racing To End Alzheimer’s No. 36 in eighth, and James Walker Jr. in the Red Line Oil No. 34 rounded out the team in eleventh. The second round of qualifying on a dry but green track surface had drivers a little more spread out looking for their fast laps. Bill Auberlen found speed right out of the gate and into a second-place qualifying position. Struggling to find clear track in the hectic qualifying session, the No. 36 of Nick Galante ended up in twentieth with Chandler Hull in the No. 94 coming in twenty-second.
A few hours later, the three BimmerWorld M4 GT4s were lining up for the first race of the weekend, and from the second the green flag flew, it was non-stop excitement for all three drivers. Clay in the No. 36 managed to pick up several spots in the very first laps while Miller in the No. 94 ran up to second, battling it out in the top-three positions for several laps. For a while, it seemed the SRO broadcast was only covering BimmerWorld cars while all three were in intense battles for position and moving forward through the field.
The battles intensified while the pits opened up for driver changes, and once Bill Auberlen got behind the wheel of his Red Line Oil No. 34, he was a man on a mission driving straight to the front. Auberlen managed to get by and take the lead from Toby Grahovec in an awesome battle with 15 minutes to go, and never looked back. Galante, now behind the wheel of the No. 36, managed to keep up the same pace as Clay and was in a fierce battle for third place with the AMG of Christian Szymczak and the BMW of John Capestro-Dubets.
When the checkers waved on Saturday, it was a double podium for BimmerWorld with Auberlen and Walker Jr. taking first-place in the No. 34 Red Line Oil machine and Clay and Galante finishing in third in the No. 36 OPTIMA Batteries / Racing To End Alzheimer’s car.
Sunday was another absolutely intense hour of non-stop battles among a very competitive field of GT4 cars. It was Auberlen’s turn to take the green in the No. 34 from P2. Galante and Hull started further back but made up several positions in just a few short minutes of racing, with Galante driving from twentieth to twelfth in the first two laps under green-flag conditions.
With 22 minutes to go, a full-course caution came out for an accident at the kink which was just inside the pit window, allowing the front part of the field enough time to come in for their driver changes. This allowed James Walker Jr. to jump into the No. 34 and remain in the top three while the other two BimmerWorld cars of Clay and Miller weren’t as fortunate and got caught on the wrong side of this caution for driver swaps. The clock kept ticking while SRO tried to get everyone back in the correct order for the restart, and with only seven minutes to go, they went back to green.
Finishing positions for Sunday’s race was Auberlen/Walker Jr. in fourth, Clay/Galante in twenty-third, and Hull/Miller had to retire the car due to a mechanical issue nine laps from the end.
The weekend was a positive one overall and just what the team needed to knock the rust off from being away from SRO for several weeks. The next race is in just a couple of weeks at Watkins Glen on September 17-19, 2021.
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ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise, with operations spanning from stock, aftermarket, performance, and racing parts sales and development through racing from club to professional levels. BimmerWorld Racing competes primarily with the BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 in North America in both SRO and IMSA Championships, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a frequent winner and championship contender.