FINAL ROUND: SRO Championship – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Flags at Indy

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the previously successful set of races at COTA, James Clay was still leading the TC America Driver’s Championship points while the team rolled into Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a long week full of racing. These final two races would seal the fate for the overall season championship, so the pressure was on for James to finish close to the podium to be awarded enough points to clinch the championship.  

James Clay with helmet on

Right off the bat, things were looking great as James qualified his PÖRQ/OPTIMA Batteries No. 36 BMW M240iR on the pole for the first race of the weekend. Chandler Hull qualified his TAC Energy No. 94 M240iR close behind in P4— there was less than a second between the top eight cars!

BimmerWorld M240iRs racing at Indy

M240iR action at Indy

The numbers were being crunched in the pits before the race started to figure out where James needed to finish to clinch the championship, and that magic number was P4. If he could finish in P4 or better, the championship would be his, but James isn’t one to sit back and let everyone else have the fun. Throughout the race, James diced it up with the top four cars nonstop, running in second for most of the race. While dealing with lapped traffic going into T2, a rookie TCR driver made a fairly unpredictable move which forced contact with James, sending him spinning and dropping to the back of the field.  With less than half the race left, James fought hard to get back up through the field, but when the checkers flew, it was P8 for him and P10 for Chandler.

PORQ M240iR at Indy

TAC Energy M240iR at Indy

Obviously very disappointed with this outcome, James knew that the final race of the season would be the deciding factor for the entire championship. Finishing in P8 didn’t net him enough points to clinch it, so now it would all come down to Race 2. Starting near the middle of the pack, James knew it would be important to not only get close to the front for those crucial points, but he’d also have to stay out of trouble and keep the car in one piece all the way to the finish.  

M240iRs down the front straight at Indy

Dicing through the field right from the start, the BimmerWorld Racing team was pulling their hair out behind the pit wall watching every second of the race and reacting with gasps or yells each time they saw Clay driving hard to gain positions. Teammate Chandler Hull stuck right with him, and both drivers managed to navigate through the field of M240iRs cleanly, with James finishing P4 and Chandler in P7.  

BMW M240iR racing at Indy

TAC Energy M240iR ahead at Indy

PORQ M240iR leading the pack at Indy

The final finishing position in the last race of the season gave James enough points to be locked in as the 2020 SRO TC America Driver’s Champion! It came right down to the wire, but when things mattered most, he got the job done.

James Clay in his M240iR crossing the finish line at Indy

James Clay holding Driver's Champion sign at Indy

James Clay holding Driver's Champion sign in front of Indy building

Switching over to our Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 America Sprint X car, Bill Auberlen and James Walker, Jr. also had their final pair of races to end the season. Race 1 had James Walker, Jr. behind the wheel first starting in P12. Walker, Jr. managed to move the car up through the field a bit before handing it over to Bill who finished out the race strong in P6. 

The second race was almost the same, with the BimmerWorld M4 GT4 rolling off in P13 and the dynamic duo working the car up to P8, which was also enough to lock them into a podium finish for the overall season points in their very first year of driving the car together. It was a huge accomplishment and a testament to the consistency of these two drivers behind the wheel of this BMW.

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 in the pits at Indy

Red Line Oil M4 GT4 racing at Indy

Auberlen and Walker, Jr. on the podium at Indy

After the dust had settled and the awards were given out, everyone could breathe easy knowing they were done for the year, and the stress of bringing home a championship or a podium position was finally gone for the season…

But wait, there’s more!

That’s right, the boys at BimmerWorld thought the only way to cap off a brutal season with an insanely compressed schedule — sometimes with three back-to-back race weekends — would be to race even more. We aren’t talking about another Sprint race.  Oh, no… James, Chandler, and Bill were going to tackle the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge Indianapolis 8-Hour Endurance Race. That’s right, as soon as the BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 was done with its regular season, the BWR crew went to work preparing it for its next mission of tackling an 8-hour-long endurance race with competitors from all over the globe.

Clay, Auberlen, Walker, Jr. in front of the Red Line Oil M4 GT4 at Indy

Prepping the car with fresh PFC brake pads, topping off the OPTIMA Battery, checking the Red Line Oil fluids, along with the normal level of inspection that’s usually done back at the shop post-race over a couple of days was done in a matter of hours at the track. The very next day, the RLO M4 GT4 rolled onto the Brickyard once again to qualify for the 8-hour race.

OPTIMA Battery getting charged in BMW M4 GT4 at Indy

New PFC race pads being installed on the Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 at Indy

While Bill Auberlen was busy putting down fast laps, a wheel stud failed. This caused him to come in early, and not being able to fix the car while on pit lane meant no other drivers could get in the car to complete their qualifying sessions. In this series, your starting position is based on an average of the 3 driver’s qualifying times; therefore, we were forced to start at the back of the field since we couldn’t post a qualifying time. This failure — which was a BMW Motorsport part — was quickly remedied back in the garage with a full set of wheel studs that BimmerWorld regularly sells to their customers and installs on their own builds.

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 ready for racing at Indy endurance race

On to Sunday morning and Bill Auberlen was suited up and ready to take the green.  The weather was on everyone’s mind while the cloud cover started to look threatening, and the radar showed a line of heavy rain quickly approaching. The big decision to stick with slicks or change to rains was something every team was struggling with down to the very last moment. Everyone was watching what their competition was doing to see what call would give them the biggest advantage. Everyone stuck to slicks, and as the green flag waved to start eight hours of racing, the rain started falling.

Racing at Indy in the rain

Red Line Oil M4 GT4 racing in the rain at Indy

Taking the green on the very first lap, Auberlen didn’t waste any time rushing to the front, picking up four positions in Turn 1. As the rain got heavier, everyone started getting nervous about their tire choices, and when it eventually got to be too much to handle, the Red Line Oil M4 GT4 came to pit lane for a fresh set of rains. With his confidence restored, Bill continued to push to the front, quickly landing himself in P2 while still battling in extremely rainy conditions.

RLO M4 GT4 racing in the rain at Indy

Red Line Oil M4 GT4 leading at Indy

The second driver to get behind the wheel was James Clay who managed to push the BimmerWorld car to the lead during his stint on a now-drying track. Handing the car off to Chandler mid-race resulted in even more flawless pit stops from the BWR crew, allowing the car to remain in P1 for several hours.

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 chasing a Ferrari at Indy

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 charging hard at IndyWhile we approached the final hours of the race, the BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 remained out front due to the perfect strategy of Dave Wagener and Wayne Yawn.  Decisions made on the fly at the perfect time always landed the BimmerWorld M4 GT4 back in P1 after pit cycles and driver changes. In endurance racing, the strategy behind pit wall is just as important as the talent behind the wheel. If those two don’t work perfectly in concert, you stand no chance of winning.

BimmerWorld crew in the pits at Indy

BimmerWorld crew working in the pits at Indy

In BimmerWorld’s case, everything did work perfectly together, and eight hours after taking the green flag in last place, the team was taking the checkered flag in first.

Bill Auberlen, James Clay, and James Walker, Jr. on the podium after winning the 8-hour endurance race at Indy

James, Bill, and Chandler got some well-deserved champagne on the top step of the podium, putting the best possible cap on an already extremely successful 2020 SRO season.  

Clay, Walker, Jr., and Auberlen celebrating after winning at Indy

BimmerWorld drivers kissing the bricks at Indy after winning the 8-hour endurance race

HUGE thanks to our technical sponsors:

OPTIMA Batteries – Red Line Oil – PFC Brakes – Diffsonline – Lifeline Fire Systems –  BMW Motorsport

This season would not have been possible without the amazing work from the entire BimmerWorld racing team.

Bill Auberlen – Driver – No. 82 Red Line Oil M4 GT4 – Sprint X Pro/Am

James Walker Jr. – Driver – No. 82 Red Line Oil M4 GT4 – SprintX Pro/AM

James Clay – Driver – No. 36 PORQ / OPTIMA Batteries – TC America

Chandler Hull – Driver – No. 94 TAC Energy M240iR – TC America

David Wagener – Team Manager/Engineer

Wayne Yawn – Engineer

Dave Simpkins – Crew Chief

Jordan Allen – Car Chief No. 82

Bryce Allen – Lead Tech No. 82

Tommy Gallant – Tire Engineer

Zach Lovingood – Lead Tech No. 36

Matt Berg – Car Chief No. 94

Theo Bialk – Car Chief No. 36

Rod Owens – Hauler Driver

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Round 4: SRO Championship – Road America

BimmerWorld Racing at Road America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BimmerWorld Racing team already knew before even turning a wheel on track that this was going to be a challenging weekend. Taking on six total races total with three different cars across two different race series means a LOT of time on track against some of the best competition in the business. Before heading to Elkhart Lake for this round of races, James Clay and his OPTIMA Batteries M240iR had gained some valuable points towards the overall championship after Sonoma, but he was still just shy of first. Trailing by only seven points, every race becomes more important than the last as the season continues.

James Clay in his No. 36 M240iR at Road America

Thankfully for James, the weekend went extremely well, winning on Friday, winning on Saturday, and finishing in second on Sunday after a non-stop back-and-forth battle with Toby Grahovec. His Pörq Snacks No. 36 M240iR was blazingly fast and dominant all weekend long, giving him the ability to pick and choose where to pass while using up every inch of track thanks to his PFC Brakes package. James collected some serious hardware this weekend and heads to the next round in first place overall with a little points cushion from his back-to-back wins.

James Clay leading the pack at Road America in his No. 36 M240iR

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Chandler Hull and his TAC Energy M240iR were full of surprises all weekend. He worked hard all through Friday’s race to claw his way to the front from his starting position of P9. Towards the end, he made a late charge which brought him just shy of a podium spot to P4, making it an amazing drive to watch! Chandler took Friday’s momentum and turned it up a notch for Saturday. Sitting back in P3 for the last bit of the race, a very calculated move in the final turn towards the white flag allowed him to jump up to P2 right behind fellow teammate James Clay’s bumper. It was a BimmerWorld 1-2 podium for Saturday!

Chandler Hull in his No. 94 M240iR

James Clay and Chandler Hull on the podium with first and second at Road America

Helmeted Chandler Hull celebrating his hard work

 

No. 82 SRO M4 GT4 at Road America

The Red Line Oil M4 GT4 of Bill Auberlen and James Walker, Jr. came out of the gate strong, setting fastest time in practice, but a slight brush with the wall at the kink set the BWR team scrambling to fix it before Friday’s race — and fix it, they did! The duo came from a starting position of P18 to take the overall win. In the post-race interviews, Bill Auberlen mentioned that the car was fantastic before the brush with the wall, but it was even better after! They made up just as much ground on throughout Saturday’s race, but they took the checkered in second place. Sunday was a little more of a struggle, but they still ended up with a solid top-10 finish.

BIll Auberlen and James Walker, Jr. on the podium at Road America

Bill Auberlen celebrating his win with BimmerWorld at Road America

The six-race weekend format was brutal, but BimmerWorld Racing heads home after grabbing some important championship points and will carry this momentum to the next event at Circuit of The Americas on September 17-20.

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BimmerWorld Names Strong Driver Lineup for 2020 SRO Racing Season; Team Will Represent BMW in Two Classes

BimmerWorld-Names-Strong-Driver-Lineup-for-2020-SRO-Racing-Season--Team-Will-Represent-BMW-in-Two-Classes

BimmerWorld has announced its return to the 2020 SRO America season in both GT4 America and TC America. The team will include some of the top sports car drivers in an assault to claim two class championships for BMW.

The 2020 four-person driving squad consists of Bill Auberlen, James Clay, Chandler Hull, and James Walker, Jr., all from the United States. Auberlen and Walker will share the No. 82 BMW M4 in the GT4 series, while Clay (No. 36) and Hull (No. 94) will compete in the TC America series in a pair of BMW M240i Racing cars.

Auberlen comes to the BimmerWorld team with a long history with the BMW brand. He has driven BMW cars in more races than any other driver in the world to become the all-time winningest American driver in a leading series. Having claimed six professional championships (four with BMW power) and competed in over 500 professional races to date, Auberlen is the most decorated and prolific BMW driver in the world. His results include over 90 race victories, 190 podium finishes, 55 pole positions, 80 fastest race laps, and 110 lap records.

Clay returns full-time to the TC America series for the first time since 2009. In 2019, he competed in GT4 America as well as the TC America weekend at Road America, taking home a victory and podium. In 2019 alone, he competed in over 20 races on American soil with three wins, 10 podium finishes, one pole position, and three fastest race laps, all in BMWs. He also races in Germany at the ADAC 6-hour and 24-hour Nürburgring races and competes at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Hull, in his inaugural professional season, surprised the touring car class by finishing third in the driver’s championship and was named Rookie of the Year for his season’s success. His rookie season in TC captured four podiums, seven top-5 finishes, and one pole position. In 2020, he will also be teaming up with Tyler Cooke in the SRO GT4 European series and with Cameron Evans in the VLN series at the Nürburgring in Germany, as well as running the ADAC 6-hour and 24-hour Nürburgring races.

Walker ran the TCR series in TC America in 2019, finishing with three podiums and two fastest laps. Over the past three years, he has entered 32 professional races, finishing with three victories, thirteen podiums, two pole positions, and ten fastest race laps. His day-job expertise in vehicle dynamics will bring further expertise to the veteran team.

Clay, President of BimmerWorld and team manager commented, “We’re very excited about this season of racing! We have a mix of very seasoned and accomplished drivers partnered with the most up-and-coming drivers in North America. Our stable of BMW racing machines will be a perfect complement for the aggregated driving talent.”

TC Team Owner, Jeff Hull, added, “With driver talent like this backed by BMW power, along with our outstanding line-up of sponsors, we expect great results in 2020.”

The BimmerWorld Racing team is supported by the following sponsors:

  • No. 82 primary sponsor – Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation manufacturers more than 100 high-end lubricants that have the reputation of performing better than any other product on the market, regardless of price. Using cutting edge technology, Red Line responds to the technical challenges of today’s performance industry, utilizing knowledge from racing to create high-performance products for track cars and street vehicles.
  • No. 36 primary sponsor – PöRQ Snacks is a new line of artisanal pork rind snacks by Benestar Brands, the world’s largest pork rind manufacturer. These snacks are made with the highest quality ingredients and come in Herb & Vinaigrette, Black Pepper & Sea Salt, and BBQ & Chipotle flavors.
  • No. 94 primary sponsor – TAC Energy is one of the largest independent wholesale fuel distributors of refined petroleum products in the United States. With an extensive supply network across the U.S. as well as regional sales offices across the country, TAC can service almost any customer’s fuel needs.

Other team sponsors include:

  • Kernel Seasons – America’s #1 Popcorn Seasoning.
  • Go Organic – Leader in organic hard candy and soft chews.
  • Ozium Air Sanitizers – Clinically proven to eliminate, not mask, odors.

Core BimmerWorld technical partners include:

  • OPTIMA Batteries – Delivering long-lasting, unsurpassed performance.
  • PFC Brakes – Leading brake friction and component manufacturer.
  • Lifeline Fire & Safety System – Leading manufacturer of fire safety equipment and fire safety systems to the motorsport industry.

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. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a pair of BMW Motorsport M4 GT4s, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. BimmerWorld Racing also continues to race in the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars, as well as competing in the GT4 series in a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4.

James Clay

clay-2019-02

2019: Clay, along with teammate Devin Jones, earned third place in the GS standings in 2019 with three podiums and eight top-ten finishes which also landed the duo top-finishing BMW team honors in the GS class. In 2020, Clay will continue his success with Jones in what will be Clay’s 11th straight season of IMSA endurance racing.

2018: Clay and Tyler Cooke teamed up once again for the final year of the IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge, this time behind the wheel of their new No. 82 BMW M4 GT4. With three podium finishes in the Grand Sport (GS) class plus a big victory in the season finale, they set the stage for further development and even more success when Clay teams up with Devin Jones for the 2019 season in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series. James will also be competing in several other motorsports events across the globe, including the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX with Epic Motorsport’s Rand Mueller.

2016-17: Teamed with BimmerWorld driver Tyler Cooke to further develop and maximize the F30 BMW 328i. The driving partnership solidified the potential of the turbo 4-cylinder BMW as the F30 328i achieved a world’s first pole position, and the car and driver combination achieved multiple pole positions as well as the first-ever podium finish for a turbo F30 BMW 328i.

2014-2015: Continuing development of the F30-platform BMW 328i with Jason Briedis as the F30 became a true series contender.

2013: Worked during the season to develop BimmerWorld’s new F30 chassis, the first turbo BMW ever raced professionally in North America, and the first 4-cylinder F30 to be raced in the world. Finished top-10 in the final 2013 race as proof of concept.

2012: Captured three podium finishes with co-driver John Capestro-Dubets en route to a fourth-place finish in the Driver’s Championship, scoring points to claim the Manufacturers’ Championship for BMW. Finished second at the historic inaugural Indy race.

Previously: His first race was a BMW Club Racing event at Pocono in 1998. 2001 ECR Enduro Series Champion. Won five SCCA Regional ITS events in 2001 in a BMW 325. Followed that up by winning four times in six starts in 2002 SCCA Regional ITS races. In 2002, ran three SPEED Touring Car races in a BMW 325is, with a season-best finish of 14th at Washington, DC. In 2003, competed in his first full season of SPEED Touring Car competition, scoring his first top-10 finish at Road Atlanta. Picked up three top-10 finishes in 2004, including his first top-5 (Road Atlanta) and finished 16th in points. In 2005, collected six top-10 and three top-five finishes in 10 starts, driving a BMW325i. Finish 10th in the Championship points. First North American team and driver to develop the new BMW 3 Series in 2007, tied career-best finish of third at Road Atlanta and set fastest lap of the race. Claimed first professional win at Road America in 2008, qualifying top-10 in eight rounds that season. Finished 8th in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship in 2009 with two fast race laps, two podiums, and two Hard Charger awards. Shifted focus to professional endurance racing in 2010 leading development of three new platforms over the past half-decade.

Personal: A Virginia native, James’s passion for cars and speed were quickly apparent after his 16th birthday, but grew exponentially during his EE and MBA days at Virginia Tech, leading him to quit gainful employment and focus on building his then-small but growing BimmerWorld company. James still plays with cars and otherwise lives for the summer jet skiing and grilling season.