BimmerWorld Closes 2014 Season with Pair of Top-10s at Road Atlanta

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The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld have built a reputation as one of the finest racing teams in the Continental Tire Series paddock, and with another top-5 finish in the Championship, the Virginia-based squad has maintained its presence among the sport’s elite programs.

The season finale last weekend at Road Atlanta didn’t deliver the win BimmerWorld sought, and with victory as the only goal team owner/driver James Clay and his team strive for, it was clear he wanted more than two of his four cars placing inside the top-10.

“Road Atlanta was a solid race for us, and the team was 100 percent there and performing,” he said. “It has been a bit of a frustrating season, and a couple of top-10 finishes are an acceptable end given the highs we’ve had elsewhere. The checkered flag was a sweet sight, as it signified the start of a better 2015 to me.”

Drivers Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke took eighth in the Street Tuner class at Road Atlanta in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90 chassis), followed by Clay and Jason Briedis in the No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis) in ninth. The Liefooghe/Cooke combo led the Championship during the middle portion of the season and fought hard to finish fifth after a wave of pint-sized cars were advantaged with Balance of Performance changes.

Other than another run to a Championship top-5, possibly the most impressive aspect of BimmerWorld’s year came with the development and progress of the turbocharged F30 BMW platform. Built for racing purposes by Clay’s team, the No. 84 F30 showed incredible pace and promise in the ST class, making the ninth-place at Road Atlanta another point of confirmation the brand-new car has a bright future in the series.

“This has been somewhat of a development year for the F30 after we were giving the rules needed to be on par with the ST field early this season,” Clay explained. “We have had some wrinkles to iron out, but we have a really good handle on the car now, and it has been a solid performer the last half of the season. We have work to do off-season, but without question, with the improvements we will implement, this platform is ready for prime time.”

Liefooghe has solidified his place as one of the fastest and most consistent drivers in the series. He’s not the kind of person to find happiness in consolation prizes, but says he can put 2014 behind him knowing he and his teammate got everything out of the No. 81 E90.

“The season finale was a hard fight especially with all the full course yellows that kept the field packed together,” he said of their run to eighth. “It was a nice change from the very long green stints we have been seeing over the last few races, which turned out to be more about fuel conservation rather than actual wrestling for positions on track. We worked hard on chassis set up and I think we nailed it. It would have been great to send off our E90 with a podium finish, but the rules did not allow us to do that. Time to focus on next year and on some big changes coming up.”

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

ROAD ATLANTA RESULTS:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 20th, finished 18th

Eric Zimmermann: Road Atlanta, being my home track, is a very comfortable place for me. Getting up to speed at the track came quickly thanks to that familiarity and the input of the other BimmerWorld drivers. I’d hoped to qualify a little bit higher, but I believe there were only two BMWs (both BimmerWorld teammates) in front of me, so I was generally pleased with where I was on the grid. The rain held off, the race went smoothly, and I was able to move forward numerous spots within the field during my stint. It was a bittersweet day for certain and it was tough pulling all of my gear out of the trailer knowing that the season had come to a close.

Tyler Cooke: The race in the No. 80 car didn’t go exactly how we wanted it to but it was no fault of anyone, just how the race played out. Eric did a great job moving forward into the top ten. We found something both with the 80 and 81 that made the cars fast and consistent. Yellows didn’t fall how we wanted them to but still got to show the potential of the car and looking forward to a new season.

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 14th, finished 8th

Tyler Cooke: The start of the race in the 81 was mayhem to say the least. Having some corners dry and having some very damp made for some great racing. BimmerWorld always has a great race car and that showed with the 81 moving up to seventh before handing it to Greg where Greg did a great job getting the car as high as 4th. Cautions weren’t our friend both in the 80 or 81, but we fought hard and walked away with an eighth place. The team did a great job keeping us up front.

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 30th, finished 22nd

Seth Thomas: Not the race Dan Rogers and I were looking for to end the season with in the BimmerWorld E90. Overall I think we worked hard to achieve success especially with a home field advantage but it didn’t work out that way.

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), started 19th, finished 9th

James Clay: The weather and temperature was all over the place this weekend. I had a solid car under me and used it to move forward during the race. We didn’t have the ultimate speed to win, but I was happy to see the forward progress.

Jason Briedis: With the variable conditions, it was quite a fun race. Our car was good in the damp conditions, allowing me to pick up quite a few positions in the first half of the race. In the end, ninth was a decent result. The current Balance of Performance restrictions are preventing us from getting much more. Hopefully next year the playing field will be a little better balanced.

BimmerWorld Moves on From Penultimate Round with Season Finale Ahead

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Potential was high for BimmerWorld at Circuit of The Americas, yet the results were less than anyone expected, and with very little time until the season finale gets under way, the Virginia-based BMW experts are now focused on maximizing their results next week at Road Atlanta.

The 2.5-hour race at COTA saw four fast BimmerWorld BMWs, including three 328is built on the E90 platform and one turbocharged 328i F30, marching forward in dry conditions, but once the rain began to fall, any hopes of holding onto strong finishing positions were surrendered to the gripless racing surface.

“It doesn’t matter how the team does: When the checker falls, we have a very short period to bask in a win, discuss in-race errors and issues, or wallow in a poor result,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “By the time we left the track we were focused on improvements to the cars for this track condition that caught us off guard. We have one more opportunity this year to knock it out of the park, and all eyes are on that goal.”

With few positives to herald after COTA, the standout performance from Continental Tire Series rookie Eric Zimmermann showed the BimmerWorld Driver Development product is growing at an in impressive rate.

“COTA is such a great, world-class track, and all the data and feedback from our drivers was very helpful,” said Zimmermann, who shares the No. 80 E90 with young veteran Tyler Cooke. “I feel like everything is coming together for a great finish. I am now comfortable in the car and Road Atlanta is my home track. It has been a bit of a fantasy to race professionally at the Petit Le Mans. It’s hard to believe this is a reality, I can’t wait, and I’m expecting a great outcome. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I open well and Tyler puts us on the podium.”

For Cooke, who was recently promoted to the role of the closing driver in the No. 80 while continuing to open in the No. 81 he shares with Greg Liefooghe, the ongoing education has helped one of the Continental Series stars to add to his proverbial toolbox.

“I’ve been able to progress myself as an opener and a closer driver by learning how to better myself in both roles and learning the differences,” said Cooke who races for the full 2.5-hour race compared to most drivers who spend half that time in a car. “Being the opener in the No. 81 this year has further grown my knowledge by picking up different details from Greg.

“Getting the chance to close the No. 80 with Eric has let me grow more as a driver by setting up the car and doing my best to bring the car to the front. Both roles have really helped me accelerate my learning curve going into next year.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, October 3

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

COTA RESULTS:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P23, Finished P25

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P14, finished P14

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P26, Finished P20

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), Qualified P12, Finished P19

BimmerWorld’s BMWs Score Three Top-10 Finishes at Road America

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All totaled, BimmerWorld’s four-car fleet improved 34 positions last weekend during the 2.5-hour race Continental Tire Series race at Wisconsin’s Road America circuit. The 4.0-mile track rewarded the years of handling and braking optimization BimmerWorld has brought to its E90-based BMW 328is, and F30-based 328i, the brand-new turbocharged BMW BimmerWorld is developing this season, delivered once again in the Street Tuner class.

Placing three of its cars inside the top-7 demonstrated BimmerWorld’s expertise while competing against smaller cars in the ST category that used their modest stature to carve through the air on Road America’s long straights. Finishes of fourth, sixth and seventh also represented stellar execution by the team’s drivers, pit crew, and race strategists, and left team owner/driver James Clay mostly satisfied with the outcome.

“Road America is historically a good track for our BMW cars, and I think we had solid team results this weekend,” he said. “Three cars in the top-7 is an accomplishment – almost as much so as avoiding the big Lap 1 incident with all team cars. After some tough races with our E90 platform this year, it was nice to achieve some more positive results this weekend.”

BimmerWorld’s top performance went to the fourth-place No. 81 BMW 328i driven by Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke. The duo is locked in a close battle for the 2014 Street Tuner Championship, and currently holds third in the standings. With three races left to run, Clay says the team will continue to push the No. 81 as far as it can go as the season draws to a close.

“Road America was a good points race for the No. 81 which is focusing purely on the Championship at this point,” he added. “As we wind the season down, we lost the points lead so we have to be a little more aggressive to gain it back in the time left. We are lucky to have three other team cars committed to this result and it proved helpful for the No. 81 to have all three of those cars supporting at Road America. We will continue to provide the best car we can and hopefully we can get the consistency, speed, and luck to win this thing three races from now.”

For Liefooghe, the final races pose an interesting challenge as all three circuits favor the BimmerWorld BMW in some areas, but could provide an even greater advantage for the competition in other sections. Beyond circuit-based considerations, Liefooghe sees completing three clean races as another element that will influence the Championship outcome.

“As we saw in Road America, a lot can happen in three races,” he said. “A lot of podium contenders for that race got tangled up in the first lap, and that opened up an opportunity for us. If we consider that the tracks for the rest of the season will have the same flavor as Road America and base the results on pure speed, the outlook could be a little grim. Last year, we won at that track with a good strategy and competitive lap times, yet this year, we did not have the speed that other cars had. It is hard to argue against cars with an extra 3mph or more on the straights, especially when they have the same weight and bigger tires. Fortunately, BimmerWorld will keep engineering our E90s and try to get even more out of the chassis. We are still on track to win the Championship.”

Road America featured the latest top-10 for BimmerWorld’s in-house developed F30 chassis, and at its current rate of progress, running towards the front of the ST class is becoming an expectation during a year of discovery with the car.

“The F30 has been a solid car all season, and we are finding fewer surprises, which is allowing us to focus forward,” Clay explained. “We want our first win in the new chassis this year, and I think we have it in the car. We have had a few solid finishes in a row now, and I feel like that is our current expectation for the new chassis. The F30 is our team’s future and at this point it looks very bright.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: VIR, August 23

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

ROAD AMERICA RESULTS & QUOTEBOARD:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P24, Finished P17

Eric Zimmermann: The No. 80 drove great at Road America. It was my first time there, but was able to bring the car from 24th to 15th during my extended stint. Unfortunately, we had to make our driver change under green and fell a lap down.

Tyler Cooke: My closing stint in the No. 80 unfortunately didn’t go as we hoped. I left the pits a lap down due to some issues. The team did a great job and the car had great pace. I was able to run with all the cars in the top five and ten. I’m looking forward to VIR with the momentum from both cars.

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P14, finished P4

Tyler Cooke: My opening stint in the No. 81 went very well. I was able to drive the car from 14 to 5th which was great and gave the car to Greg in a strong position. Greg drove the car to 4th which was a great job!

Greg Liefooghe: I was lucky enough to have the No. 84 behind me throughout the stint to help me. Teamwork paid off.

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P20, Finished P7

Dan Rogers: Overall, we were pleased with the results of the race for the No. 82. We saw improvement in qualifying from our earlier practice times, avoided the mess in Turn 5 of the first lap, and turned a good car over to Seth for the finish.

Seth Thomas: Great race and result for Dan and I. The action throughout the race was intense. Every time I would get around one car I had to work hard to get another position. Overall the competition in the ST Class is some of the best sports car racing you can find.

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), Qualified P11, Finished P6

Jason Briedis: We were lucky to avoid the first lap accident as cars were wrecking in front and behind. After that I was just concentrating on maintaining track position and preserving the car so James would have something for the second half of the race.

James Clay: Jason did a fantastic job of both qualifying the car and moving it forward during his stint. The green flag stop was well executed, and we got a little help with a yellow to bunch the field. I was more committed to helping the No. 81 this race, but we didn’t have the car to win it anyway. Another solid one in the books for us though, and I am excited to get to VIR for our next round to spray some champagne!

BimmerWorld Returns to the Brickyard with Another Victory in Mind

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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

INDY ROSTER:

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

BimmerWorld Driver Development Program, New F30 Chassis Shine At Watkins Glen

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With little to show for BimmerWorld’s extra effort at IMSA’s most recent Continental Tire Series round held at the Watkins Glen International road course, the team is left to rue a fifth consecutive event where a rule imbalance has kept the BMW brand, teams campaigning BMWs and their various types of BMW chassis from getting near Victory Lane.

The Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning experts have asserted themselves as regular contenders for the Street Tuner Championship, but have spent 2014 persevering through a season where brands other than BMW have enjoyed feature status. The last five races have seen Mazda’s MX-5 score three straight wins followed by the Honda Civic Si earning the last two, including Watkins Glen, leading BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay to bide his time until other ST brands receive some of the spotlight.

“I wish I didn’t sound like a broken record this year, but we have now gone through another round where the BMWs just don’t have the pace to compete,” he said. “IMSA noticed the deficiency and made a small adjustment, but it just wasn’t enough to make a difference. We again scored Championship points, and our cars are consistently performing at the top of the marque, but unless we can be on par to win races, we will fall short even on the Championship at the end of the year.”

Without the speed to win—at least until more meaningful rules adjustments are made, BimmerWorld has, as Clay noted, relied on overall consistency, supreme driving, and creative race strategy to minimize the damage.

As unlikely as it may seem, the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i tandem of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke have used finishes of second, seventh, fifth, ninth, eighth, and 12th last weekend to earn the lead in the ST Drivers’ and Teams’ Championship. Their rivals–many who have scored multiple wins this year, have often traded a speed advantage for consistent results, but at the current rate, the No. 81 will be easily overtaken in the standings during the final six races of the year.

Departing Watkins Glen, Clay embraced the two key positives that stood out last weekend, beginning with the rapid rise of BimmerWorld Development Driver Eric Zimmermann. Joining respected young pro Corey Fergus in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i at the previous round in Kansas, Zimmermann used all of his amateur training under the BimmerWorld banner to record an impressive drive at Watkins Glen, which marked only his second outing in a pro racing series.

“I am proud of Eric’s hard work and his success – he has earned it,” Clay added. “I knew he was the right guy for the seat when we changed Corey’s co-driver mid-season, and he proved it at Watkins. I have a group of customers that reach out to us more often, not only for parts but also for car guidance and even driving advice, and end up becoming a part of the BimmerWorld family like Eric. It is just really great to see him continue to succeed.”

Using track experience gained as an amateur, Zimmermann combined his familiarity with Watkins and input from BimmerWorld’s season driver corps to find a competitive groove in the No. 80.

“Watkins Glen was a fantastic experience,” he said. “Having raced at the track once before was very helpful, but the biggest advantage gained was borne of getting more seat time in the No. 80. Corey and our other teammates continued to impress upon me the need to learn the skill of carrying momentum through the corners and that concept really clicked during qualifying. I was thrilled and, frankly, a little surprised at the time I was able to post. Once I’d put up a respectable qualifying time, I knew that I’d be in a much racier environment come race time and that one good lap wasn’t going to accomplish what Corey and I had set out to do. Fortunately, I was able to keep the pace and I found it to be a lot of fun driving more competitively and in typical racing traffic.”

Watkins also saw BimmerWorld’s new in-house developed turbocharged BMW F30 chassis post one of its most competitive runs. Compared to BimmerWorld’s highly developed, race-winning E90-based 328i platform, the F30 328i piloted by Clay and teammate Jason Briedis has only a half-season of on-track activity under its belt, making the No. 84’s rapid progress a welcome sign for BimmerWorld customers anticipating race-proven aftermarket components.

A simple mechanical issue kept the No. 84 car from a better result in the end, but as Clay explains, each lessons learned in the Street Tuner class will benefit BimmerWorld’s clientele.

“This was a fantastic weekend for our F30 328i, performing at a level to reach the top of the charts in every session,” he said. “Then in the race, we lost a differential cooler and had to come in for repairs to prevent bigger problems and that took some time. It is a shame that with all the new technology performing flawlessly, a mundane part took Jason and I out of the running for what I feel was a podium finish. The F30s rate of development is happening quickly, and we continue to work through smaller and smaller items. That, by itself, is very encouraging.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, July 11-13

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

WATKINS GLEN RESULTS:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Corey Fergus & Eric Zimmermann: Qualified P21, Finished P13

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Greg Liefooghe & Tyler Cooke: Qualified P16, finished P12

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Seth Thomas & Dan Rogers: Qualified P23, Finished P16

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), James Clay & Jason Briedis: Qualified P19, Finished P28

BimmerWorld On A Hunt In Watkins Glen

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld Racing have persevered through a string of tough races where the opposition in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series Street Tuner division have held the upper hand, yet with this weekend’s race at the rolling, high-speed Watkins Glen circuit in upstate New York, the sports car veterans are looking to exploit the enhanced cornering and braking capabilities of their BMW 328is.

“Watkins has historically been one of those ‘BMW tracks’ for us,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “The long sweeping turns are well-suited for our heavier cars and the hard braking zones play to the strengths of our Performance Friction brake package. We received a small weight break before this event which is critical as it is less we have to lug up the hill leading into the fastest straight. I still think there is a little too much weight difference versus the lightest cars in the field, but I think we are bringing big guns to an almost fair fight this weekend, and I will happily take that.”

Despite the rules-based disadvantage BimmerWorld has encountered, a combination of excellent driving, phenomenal race strategy and pit stops, and amazing consistency has placed the E90-based No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i piloted by Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke first in the Championship standings. BimmerWorld also holds first in the ST Teams Championship.

Liefooghe and Cooke have been locked out of Victory Lane so far this year, making their point-leading accomplishment even more impressive, but with more than half of the Championship left to go, the team isn’t expecting an easy run to the season finale in October.

Watkins Glen presents another opportunity for BimmerWorld to log miles and learn more about the new turbocharged F30-based BMW 328i is has been developing on the racetrack this year. As the first pro-level F30 competing in North America, the tuning and aftermarket specialists at BimmerWorld are racing the F30 while building a crucial database of performance specs and parts that will benefit their customers.

“We have had some up and down finishes with the F30, but we are actively learning every step of the way and that’s just part of the process with a brand-new car,” said Clay, who shares the No. 84 F30 with co-driver Jason Briedis. “The last race at Kansas showed a new powerplant weakness which we have since addressed and I think Watkins Glen should be good for us.”

Corey Fergus, who kicked off a new driving partnership with Eric Zimmermann at Kansas in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, says he expects the popular 4-door sedan will offer up a stronger fight this weekend.

“Watkins Glen is one of my favorite tracks,” said Fergus. “It’s very technical and has some rhythm sections that are challenging. I was on pole there last year so I’m hoping we have a good chance at a quality finish. It’s a little bit of a horsepower track with the uphill straight leading into the bus-stop so you would expect that the cars with more top end and torque will do well there. But there are also some sections where the driver can make a difference. Those important sections to get right will be the bus-stop, the laces of the boot, the toe of the boot, and coming out of the boot.

“The BMW won’t be the fastest car in a straight line or run the fastest lap time, but hopefully we can stay consistent through the race when others experience fall off, capitalize on other people’s mistakes, and be there at the end to secure a good finish.”

UP NEXT: Practice for the Continental Tire 150 At The Glen begins on Thursday, June 26, with the race following on Saturday, June 28.

FOLLOW: Keep track of BimmerWorld’s progress by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

WATKINS GLEN ROSTER:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus, Eric Zimmermann

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

BimmerWorld Heads To Kansas With Homegrown Talent Zimmermann Added For Remainder Of 2014

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With the first third of the 2014 Continental Tire Series Championship in the books, BimmerWorld heads into the middle third of the season this weekend at the Kansas Speedway “roval” with its sights set on something old and something new.

Starting with the old, the Virginia-based BMW tuning and aftermarket experts have become perennial Championship contenders since joining the series in 2010, and with its driver pairing of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke currently sitting second in the standings with the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, the team will look to the 2.3-mile circuit as another opportunity to strengthen their title bid.

The No. 81 isn’t the only BMW from BimmerWorld’s four-car stable with a shot at a strong Championship finish as Seth Thomas in the No. 82 328i and Corey Fergus in the No. 80 are also within striking distance. For Fergus, Kansas will mark the first race with his new teammate Eric Zimmermann after contesting the first four rounds with series veteran Kevin Gleason.

“When Kevin Gleason had the opportunity to go GT racing in Europe, I wanted to facilitate the move by filling the open seat in the 80 car, but it is a little tough mid-season to find someone that is the right fit that isn’t already on a team,” said Clay. “We have a consistent history of putting top drivers in our BimmerWorld cars, and especially with Corey signed on for the year with Championship expectations, I needed a solid guy. Eric was my first call.”

Zimmermann, a product of BimmerWorld’s Driver Development program, has been groomed through the amateur-to-pro system developed by team owner/driver James Clay.

“BimmerWorld is different from many of our competitors in that we have a fairly expansive operation that includes developing and selling performance parts, building customer cars, and a coaching group to further develop driver talent – basically from the time you buy your BMW we can support your enthusiast goals through the pro ranks,” Clay explained. “I remember Eric from 2009 in the BMW Club Race School we sponsor—he was already eager to go racing! Through his progress, we have developed a relationship, and he has rapidly developed his program and abilities.

“Over the past couple of years, we typically talk a couple of times a week and I would like to think he has gotten a lot of good direction along the way to progress so quickly. But really, Eric is a driven guy and has worked hard for his gains, and he and Corey will make a solid team.”

For Zimmermann, jumping into the hotly-contested Continental Tire Series Street Tuner class will be far from easy, but he knows he’ll be surrounded with the best crew, engineers and teammate possible to ease the transition.

“First, I am flattered and excited to be joining such a successful racing team as that of BimmerWorld and to be sharing a car with someone as talented as Corey,” said Zimmermann. “Joining mid-season is unusual, but James and I have been talking about my potentially joining the BimmerWorld team for a while now and getting to start this year rather than in 2015 is a fortuitous opportunity. My initial goal is simple; I want to help Corey continue to succeed and to help him be in a place where he can place the car at or near the front.

“What I need to do in the first race or two is to go out, bring back a sound car and to do so in a position that is reasonably competitive. I know if I can do that, that Corey can perform his magic from there. As we work through the season, I hope to bring the car in closer to the front, which seems reasonable given the experience that I will be gaining from Corey and the balance of our team and from participating in the races and also because the latter part of the season has me on tracks with which I am very familiar.”

With Fergus moving to the role of closing driver in the No. 80, he’ll have two new adjustments to process at Kansas, yet with his track record as one of the bright young stars in the series, he’s expected to flourish as a mentor to Zimmermann and to charge to the finish line with skill and aggression.

“I’m not worried one bit about changing co-drivers in the middle of the season,” said Fergus. “Eric and I have a great team behind us and we both have similar goals. We’ve got eight races to try to get the 80 car back in the Championship and get some solid finishes. I’m looking forward to working together and seeing how far we can go.”

Clay is also enthused over the potential within the revised line-up in the No. 80.

“We run equally competitive cars and equipment on our team and Corey is a blossoming pro, and it is a really good opportunity for everyone involved,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing what these guys can do together.”

UP NEXT: Practice for the Grand Prix of Kansas begins on Friday, June 6, with the race following on Saturday, June 7.

FOLLOW:

Keep track of BimmerWorld’s progress by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

KANSAS ROSTER:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus, Eric Zimmermann

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Tyler Cooke, Greg Liefooghe

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): James Colborn, Seth Thomas

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

BimmerWorld On A Podium Quest In Connecticut

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The BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists at BimmerWorld head into this weekend’s race at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park in search of their first Continental Tire Series win of 2014. The tiny bullring circuit has favored BimmerWorld’s BMW 328is in the past, with the team scoring notable finishes in the Street Tuner class, and with the Virginia-based outfit off to another strong start to the championship, Lime Rock has been targeted as a venue where the entire four-car program can take another step forward.

Once BimmerWorld leaves Lime Rock, the series takes off on a steadier string of races after long pauses between the earlier rounds. Lime Rock also serves as a circuit where some of the smaller, lighter ST cars could have less of an obvious advantage.

“I think we are all looking forward to hitting a rhythm in the schedule,” said BimmerWorld owner and racer James Clay. “It has been a little frustrating for the entire field over the last couple of rounds with both tracks and regulations that favor the Mazda MX-5s so strongly, and I hope even though their winning streak included last year’s Lime Rock race, it will be a more neutral track that allows other cars to vie for the ST victory.”

BimmerWorld has used tracks like Lime Rock to hone and develop its BMW 328 (E90) platform into a proven winner, and this year the team’s brand-new F30-based BMW 328 to race at the picturesque tree-lined facility will join the fray. With Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis at the controls of the No. 84 F30, and BimmerWorld’s peerless group of engineers and technicians advancing the car’s competitive stance at every round, Lime Rock should serve as another springboard for the turbocharged racecar.

“We certainly have a longer work list after every race as we continue to massage and develop the F30,” Clay explained. “I am hopeful we are eliminating more possible surprises and I am looking forward to some momentum and positive results from the new chassis.”

The tandem of Corey Fergus, Kevin Gleason–newcomers to BimmerWorld this season–in the No. 80 E90 have shown the pace and patience expected from renowned veterans, and according to Gleason, Lime Rock poses a perfect opportunity to start a charge up the Championship standings.

“Lime Rock should be a good track for Corey and I to get a strong result,” he said. “The BimmerWorld team has a successful history here and I don’t think there is any reason why we can’t continue that trend. We will try to use the contact-friendly track to our advantage by making good decisions and not getting overzealous too early in the race, hopefully to be there at the end and fight for a podium.”

Although BimmerWorld is known for its consistency within the cockpit, one of the team’s long-time drivers will miss Lime Rock for a very worthy reason.

“Both Seth and I really like Lime Rock – great, classic track,” said Dan Rogers, who shares the No. 82 BimmerWorld E90 with Seth Thomas. “This year, there’s a twist, though! Seth will have a ‘special guest co-driver’ to pair with him at LRP. James Colborn, a good friend, and sometime BimmerWorld driver will be subbing for me at this one race only. I have an 18 year old daughter, whom I am very proud of, graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, MI, on the day of the race. Not much could keep me from Lime Rock during a Continental Tire Series race, but this is one of the few items on the list. Best of luck to James and Seth–go fast, and take chances!”

LIME ROCK LINEUP

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus, Kevin Gleason

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Tyler Cooke, Greg Liefooghe

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): James Colborn, Seth Thomas

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

Follow the team as it competes at the fourth round of the Continental Tire Series held in Connecticut by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

BimmerWorld Takes Two Top-6s In Monterey, Solidifies Its Championship Effort

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With the comically small cars in the Continental Tire Series running away from the field once again in the Street Tuner class at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the BMW specialists at BimmerWorld turned to exceptionally smart strategy calls and supreme driving performances to secure impressive finishes last weekend in California.

As routine winners in the series, BimmerWorld was prepared for the “race within a race” among normal-sized Street Tuner entries in Monterey, and turned to class-leading pit stops and tactics to propel the Nos. 81 and 82 entries to fifth- and sixth-place finishes.

“We knew going into this weekend that we were again racing to fill the spots behind the light MX-5 cars who have won the last four of five races, but our team again prepared top cars, made a very aggressive pit strategy call, and we finished well due to an excellent performance all around,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “We don’t seem to have the performance balance in our favor this year, and we would like to win races instead of just collecting points, but I am proud to see that we can still gain solid finishes through hard work and preparation.”

BimmerWorld’s Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke battled for the top spot behind the trio of MX-5s that ran away in a 1-2-3 finish, settling for fifth in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i after two hours and thirty minutes of frenetic competition. The finish also added to their points tally after three rounds, with the two sitting second in the Championship standings.

“When we looked at the calendar at the start of the year, we knew that, with the number of MX5s in the field, there were some tracks where we’d have no chance at a win,” said Liefooghe. “We focused on scoring as many points as possible for the championship and I think we achieved that goal.

“Our engineer ran a very aggressive strategy, pitting us right at the time limit which gave us the track position when the pits cycled through. With the race seeing that many full course yellows, the emphasis at the end of the race was not on pace anymore but more on conserving our track position. We’re in a good position to fight for the Championship and now want to add some wins.”

The Monterey race marked the latest outing for BimmerWorld’s brand-new turbocharged BMW F30 chassis, which is being developed in competition this year by Clay and teammate Jason Briedis. Based on its pace in California, Clay sees better finishes on the immediate horizon.

“The F30 is finally right with our E90 cars in performance ability, and the little oddities are showing up less often,” he explained. “This weekend should have been a solid top-10 finish for us, but some issues in the pits and an over-eager GS car bumped us out. The big finish will come at any round now – we are in the hunt.”

MONTEREY QUOTE BOARD:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P11, Finished P12

Corey Fergus: “Overall, it was a solid weekend for BimmerWorld with three top 15’s. The crew did a fantastic job during our pit stops. We just missed the setup a bit and struggled with the handling of the car. As a result, we were constantly on defense which made it hard to hold position. It’s a little frustrating when you can’t be aggressive and fight for a good position, but a 12th is decent points for us in the Championship. I’m looking forward to the next race in Lime Rock.”

Kevin Gleason: “To be honest, my stint was not very much fun. We had caution after caution and were not able to get into a rhythm. Under the final caution of my stint we made the call to hit pit lane a lap before anyone else in the field. The decision was made last-second at pit entrance and we entered legally by just 9/10ths! The BimmerWorld guys had a perfect pit stop waiting for us as usual and our strategy was executed flawlessly by our engineer Dave Wagener.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P10, finished P5

Tyler Cooke: “Laguna Seca is one of my favorite tracks to race on, but unfortunately I didn’t have any eventful laps during my stint due to the numerous cautions. Throughout the green flag portions of my stint, the car was consistent and quick which proved to be true when Greg took over from me. Overall it was a great race finishing 5th and good to walk away with points leading into Lime Rock.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P20, Finished P6

Dan Rogers: “The race went well for the 82 car. During the first stint, we moved up in the pack, and kept the “non-MX5 leaders” in sight. We battled during the restarts to maintain position, against the more powerful ST cars, but the BMW’s handling and braking never let us down. Engineer Wayne Yawn called the 82 in for a driver change at the perfect time, giving us a full load of fuel, new tires, and Seth in the driver’s seat. It was a gutsy call, but worked out, to put us ahead of the pack, the majority of which pitted later. Fans always think of the driver performance determining the finishing position in the race, but we owe our finishing position to daring pit strategy and great pit work by the guys at BimmerWorld.”

Seth Thomas: “Races are won and lost in the pits. This race for us was won in the pits. Our engineer made a daring call pitting the 82 mere seconds after the 45 minute mark of the race had passed. The majority of the ST field didn’t take the gamble giving us the track position to help guarantee a top-10 result. The rest of my race stint was about putting down solid laps to stay within striking distance of the MX-5s.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), Qualified P27, Finished P25

James Clay: “Laguna was a solid race for Jason and I, but short of the result we wanted. The crew did a lot of work through the week to give us the solid racecar we had, and we just had some bad luck.”

BimmerWorld Endures Punishing Return To Sebring

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The BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists at BimmerWorld have plenty of great memories from past races at Sebring international Raceway. Unfortunately, the team left its return to the Floridian track after a four-year absence with little more than nostalgia to draw upon.

The second round of the Continental Tire Series championship was a frustrating affair for the Virginia-based team. Three of its four cars struggled during the 2.5-hour event at the legendary road course as a mixture of mechanical woes, an odd happening that caused BimmerWorld’s team owner to have a major crash, and overzealous officiating resulted in a race that will soon be forgotten by most of BimmerWorld’s drivers and crew members.

“This wasn’t a great weekend for us and it was just basic bad luck, the pace of the race, and some mechanical challenges that amazingly enough after seven years in that chassis we haven’t seen before,” said BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay. “We always like to learn and improve, and I am sure we will be sifting through the results to come back next year to Sebring stronger, but we really just had an atypically bad weekend and the team will have plenty of above average weekends to balance it out this season.”

Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke, drivers of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, produced the one meaningful result for the team, placing eighth after starting 18th. It marked the No. 81’s second finish inside the top-10, following the excellent second-place result the duo earned at the season-opening race at Daytona.

“The start of the race was very tight, leaving me to make smart passes coming through the field,” said Cooke. “Unlike most of the other cars, we didn’t have much of a top end, so Greg and I really drove the car hard and kept it in the top-10 throughout the race. Fortunately for us, we were able to finish in 8th place, which helps our chances in the championship. I can’t wait for the next race in California!”

SEBRING RACE DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus & Kevin Gleason

Kevin Gleason: “It was a frustrating event for the No. 80 car. We had some issues in practice including a motor that let go which limited our time on track. Even with the issues the BimmerWorld guys gave us a great car for the race and Dave Wagener made a great call on strategy that kept us out front. Unfortunately, on what ended up being the final restart, our motor let go a few turns in while in fourth place. We missed out on what would have been a great points scoring day but we will keep our heads down and push forward to Laguna.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Greg Liefooghe, Tyler Cooke

Greg Liefooghe: “We chose a very aggressive strategy to get the track position, and it worked as we were running in fourth with 45 minutes to go. At 35 minutes to go, I was fighting to keep the position, but got the call from the pit lane to start saving the car and fuel to make sure we would finish the race. Although it was not the result we were looking for, eighth place still brings championship points.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Dan Rogers, Seth Thomas

Dan Rogers: “The guys at BimmerWorld gave is a great car for qualifying, and we started 12th, which we were pleased with. The race was really tight for the first few corners, and we ended up getting shuffled back, after getting stuck on the wrong side of the track a couple of times. After things settled down, we started working our way forward, one car at a time. The penalty for Seth on the wave around was unfortunate, and put us in a huge hole. There is obviously a lesson for us in this, but IMSA should also be looking at procedures and penalties for reasonableness.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

James Clay: “My incident started laps before it actually happened. With all of the green-flag running early in the race, we lost a lap in the pits. Then we made an error in our double-yellow procedures due to what I feel was a bit of unclear direction in the driver’s meeting which caused us to come sit in pit lane to serve a penalty. I was running hard to get a result, the pit penalty caused me to sit as heat built within the wheel that ignited rubber pickup in the tires, and we suspect the resulting fire damaged the brake system, which I discovered in Turn 3 as I was pushing hard to catch back up again. This was an odd issue and every piece of our braking system which we inspected in pit lane was intact and functioning properly, but I suspect fluid just can’t stand that. It was a bit scary, but I am all well and not sore, thanks to the Racetech seat, and have full confidence in our brake partners who were in no way at fault for this result.”

WEB: Follow the team by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

BimmerWorld Looking To Reignite A Successful Past At Sebring

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The last time the BimmerWorld team participated in a professional motor racing event at the legendary Sebring circuit, the Virginia-based BMW experts left the Florida road course with the winner’s trophy in hand and a yearning to return.

The four-car Continental Tire Series team has finally been granted their wish, and will take part in the feature race ahead of the 12 Hours of Sebring. Coming off of an impressive season debut at Daytona where No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke finished second and the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of BWR newcomers Corey Fergus and Kevin Gleason claimed eighth, the team has used the six-week gap between events to improve their fortunes heading into Round 2.

“We have had a break in the racing action, but we have been hard at work at BimmerWorld since Daytona,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “We started the 2014 season with a big suspension upgrade when we moved to the MCS dampers and we have been fine-tuning our platform kinematics now that we have it all working in concert the way we want it to. The guys have been practicing pit work and we have been touching up all the little areas for improvement we uncovered in Round 1 so we are ready for the long season ahead.”

Clay and the rest of the team—especially those who raced with the team four years ago at Sebring—hope history repeats itself.

“We have our BMW racecars dialed in at Sebring, having won the last time we were there in 2009 in another series,” Clay added. “That track is challenging to set up for, and shakes the cars to death, which tests the build and prep level – both of which play to our team’s favor.”

Looking back, BimmerWorld has grown immeasurably since the 2009 Sebring event. A move to the Continental Tire Series was met with instant results, and the team has become a perennial championship favorite in the Street Tuner class.

“Since our last Sebring visit, our team’s foundation has grown tremendously and I am excited to get back to one of the tracks that started it all for us,” Clay continued. “Sebring was the site of some very memorable events in our formative years, which covers a wide range of adventures. It feels like we are coming back to our high school reunion ready to show what we have made of ourselves.”

SEBRING PRE-RACE DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus & Kevin Gleason

Corey Fergus: “Kevin and I had a good start to the season, earning valuable points towards the championship. Obviously we would have liked to have been on the podium, so that’s something we’re shooting for at Sebring. I’ve never raced at Sebring, but I’m excited for the opportunity and look forward to another solid finish.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Greg Liefooghe, Tyler Cooke

Greg Liefooghe: “Sebring is one of the new circuits on this year’s calendar, and I’m excited to go to such a historic venue. It will be the first time for me there. As a proof of the competitive nature of the ST field, there are several 12 Hours winners driving in our class which will make it a challenge, but with thousands of laps around the track on the simulator, I feel ready to tackle it. Car set up will be very important, and I feel it will play into our team’s advantage and help us get on the podium again.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Dan Rogers, Seth Thomas

Seth Thomas: “Sebring is a special track where everything seems to click. I got my first win at Sebring in 2009 after having some close battles the years before. Driving the track in our ST E90 will be the same as before because the track hasn’t changed. What has is the car, the weight, the tire and the suspension ever so slightly. The BimmerWorld E90 has received years of tuning since then and is more balanced, the shocks are tuned, and it’s better over the race distance than our previous sprint car. All Dan and I have to do is drive the car and have some luck on our side to come out with a quality finish.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

James Clay: “Save some pesky engine learning opportunities, the F30 performed well at Daytona and I am looking for the next round, regardless of location, to start putting out the finishes we know this chassis is capable of. Sebring has traditionally been a good track for our BMWs with some high-speed turns and critical braking zones, and we now have the new N20 engine on par with the field to come out of the slower corners so we should have a well-rounded platform to race this weekend.”

TV TUNE-IN: Live, Friday, March 14, IMSA.com. FOX Sports 1, Wednesday, March 19, 1 p.m. ET.

WEB: Follow the team at Sebring International Raceway this week by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

BimmerWorld’s 4-Car BMW Program Ready For New Season At Daytona

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A long off-season is ready to come to an end this Friday as the IMSA-sanctioned Continental Tire Series opens its championship at Daytona International Speedway, and Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing is ready to resume its pursuit of a title in the Street Tuner class.

The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts have re-tooled their program to expand from three cars to four, added new drivers and have continued their uncompromising development of BMW’s latest 3-Series chassis platform, the F30. All of that work, according to BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay, has been done with one goal in mind: winning.

“It has been a busy six months at BimmerWorld as we have been planning our 2014 season – our most aggressive to date,” he said. “We had strong runs last year, but we have been working hard over the winter and with a change in regulations we have been able to bring long-time damper technical partners MCS onboard, which I believe is a major advantage. Our driver lineup is across the board, without exception the strongest we have had – I expect big things from everyone this year.”

Making bold predictions about the season ahead isn’t BimmerWorld’s style, but Clay did share his thoughts on how the combined BMW E90-based 328is and their F30 counterparts might fare in the hands of his drivers and peerless technicians.

“Almost every team in the field comes into the first race of the season predicting podiums, wins, and Championships, and certainly I am as proud of our 2014 team as anyone,” he explained. “But I think it will be the dog days of mid-season this year that will tell the tale, and I think we have the most depth in the field. With a pinch of luck tossed in, we will endure the full season with a stack of hardware waiting at the end.”

The team has a knack for finding the podium at Daytona, and as much as Clay would like to see his BimmerWorld team fill the top three spots and earn the win, taking a season-long approach to the first race of the year could be the smartest approach of all.

“Daytona sets the tone for the season, but it is such a different track from most we race on,” added Clay. “Our goal this weekend is, as always, banking solid points as we start the year. Starting with a win is always nice, but our BMWs are a fantastic mix of solid performance across the board – power, handling, and braking. We may not have the most powerful car in the field to go into this one expecting the win, but our team will produce the opportunities for our cars to be right there, and if a win falls in our direction I won’t be surprised.”

DAYTONA PRE-EVENT DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)

Corey Fergus: “Daytona is a patience track because of all of the straightaways. Sometimes you have to be smart and not pass someone on a straight knowing that they’ll just pass you back on the next one. The draft is key here as well, but at the same time you have to stay away from the madness of having 70 cars on the same track. To secure a good result, our goal is to push hard enough to get to the front but to be conservative enough to stay out of trouble.”

Kevin Gleason: “My goals for Daytona are pretty straight forward. We want to run at the sharp end of the field and leave with a clean car and solid points. Starting the season off on the right foot is important and will allow us to build momentum throughout the long and grueling season.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)

Tyler Cooke: “My confidence level is very high entering the new season. Greg and I had a great season in 2013 making the No. 81 car a threat every race. Doing as well as we did in the pre-season test a couple weeks ago boosts my confidence even more. Daytona will definitely bring a fight like it does every year.”

Greg Liefooghe: “In Daytona, we want to set the tone for the rest of the season. Although the competition will be tougher than ever, our cars are the best they have been yet. We finished on the podium here three years in a row, and we will try to get one step higher this year. Of course we will take only reasonable risks to get that results, as scoring points for the Championship is still the number one goal.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)

Dan Rogers: “As we enter our third year of driving together, Seth and I are poised to improve on our last two seasons. We work together and strategize during the off season, with the goal of improving our approach to racing. While the goal is a championship at the conclusion of the season, our approach is to produce solid results, every race. That will start in Daytona.”

Seth Thomas: “Daytona is the one track where I want to get a win in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW. It has eluded me the last few years but we have always run in the top-5 during the races. The last few years the competition has been getting stiffer and stiffer making a win even at Daytona very hard to get. BimmerWorld has always given us a fast car, fast pit stops and great strategy to put us in the right spot. I don’t see this year being any different. We will be there fighting until the end.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30)

Jason Briedis: “Physically, as I’ve been getting ready for the new season, I have been karting and staying active with sports. As for the mental aspect, watching video and analyzing data always help me prepare for a race. I’m definitely excited to get the season started!”

James Clay: “The BimmerWorld team has put a lot into this new F30 over the winter and I think we have a solid BMW racecar under us this year, which to me means excellent handling, superior braking, and enough power to be in the hunt. I am looking forward to rejoining the Championship hunt behind the wheel of the new car, and I am looking forward to a solid result with my new co-driver!”

Follow the team as it competes at Daytona for the first round of the Continental Tire Series held on January 24 by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

BimmerWorld Concludes Successful Pre-Season Test at Daytona International Speedway

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Stability and intelligent growth have been hallmarks of the BimmerWorld Racing team since they joined the Continental Tire Series in 2010. The Virginia-based BMW tuning and aftermarket experts have used their racing program, which features production-based cars, to advance their customer offerings and to extend their knowledge on the pro racing circuit, and that dedication continues.

All of those attributes and initiatives came together last weekend in Daytona Beach, FL, where BimmerWorld unveiled its new four-car BMW Street Tuner team, an increase from three cars in 2013, and the new drivers who have joined a an outfit that has challenged for championship honors since it arrived four seasons ago.

Team owner/driver James Clay presented three of BimmerWorld’s proven BMW 328i sedans, built on the E90 platform, for the test, and added more miles to BMW’s brand-new F30-based 328i, as the team gained valuable testing data and prepared its crew for the season-opening race at Daytona on January 24.

“The Roar this year was our team’s best-ever start to a racing season,” said Clay. “The cars arrived at 100 percent and only got better from there. We did a lot of work validating our off-season development work which we are quite happy with. The newly-allowed MCS dampers were one of our most notable changes, showing gains even on a relatively smooth Daytona track. The team executed perfectly and all drivers, new and existing, are on the same page. This will be a great year for BimmerWorld Racing.”

Clay also spoke on how the test went for some of the new members of the BimmerWorld team and the ongoing development of the E90 and F30 BMWs.

“The No. 80 car with Fergus and Gleason, who are both new to our team, was the biggest staffing change for us to incorporate at the Roar and they fit in right away,” he explained. “It is clear they share our team’s work ethic and will be producing results immediately.

“I was also happy to see the progress of the No. 82 with the E90 platform, but I am more excited to have the second new F30 chassis, which the No. 82 will graduate to once the Series adjusts the spec to be competitive, out to help in the development efforts. We’re always trying to look ahead, and the test allowed us to continue building our program for the future with what we believe will be the next winning chassis.”

TEST RESULTS AND DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): 15th fastest.

Corey Fergus: “Coming from a front-wheel drive Honda, I had to completely adapt my driving style to get the most out of the rear-wheel drive BMW, which was a fun challenge. We had a successful test and I think we’ll be right where we want to be for the first race of the season.”

Kevin Gleason: “I was so impressed with BimmerWorld’s professionalism and preparation as they had the cars ready to roll 15 minutes before each session and didn’t miss a beat all weekend. With their structured approach and strong driver lineups across all four cars, it is shaping up to be a very successful season.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90):4th fastest.

Tyler Cooke: “The test went great. We learned a lot from all the changes we were making all weekend. Our BimmerWorld crew did a flawless job, and I predict a very good year for all four cars.”

Greg Liefooghe: “I had a great season with Tyler last year; he really became one of the drivers to beat in the series and we picked right up where we left off. We have greater expectations in our second year driving together and if you look at how well the test went, I think we can feel very confident of what’s awaiting us this year.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): 8th fastest.

Dan Rogers: “Seth and I are glad to be back driving together for yet another season, the car performed well at the Roar, we got a lot of testing in and that should bear fruit at the race in two weeks. On a personal note, we had a great time getting acquainted with the new drivers, and reacquainted with returning friends.”

Seth Thomas: “It was great to be both back at Daytona on the track and back in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW. The BimmerWorld crew worked hard making the car faster and easier to drive. I see a lot of podiums coming for the BimmerWorld team in 2014.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30):12th fastest.

Jason Briedis: “Being my first season with BimmerWorld, I was very impressed with the level of professionalism and preparation across the entire team. James and I are working well together and are ready for what this season holds.”

James Clay: “The team put a lot of time this winter into the engine calibration for this car, and while we weren’t given control of all the systems that make power and reduce lag in the factory ECU, we have the Bosch Motorsport part running reliably. We have learned a lot about this car and we are getting close. We’re learning every lap we turn, and the car is coming along quickly.”

Follow the team as it prepares for the first round of the Continental Tire Series held on January 24 by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

BimmerWorld Reveals Four-Car Continental Tire Series Street Tuner Program

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Coming off a season where its drivers landed in Victory Lane and took both third and fifth in the Driver’s Championship, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld Racing have set the bar even higher for 2014.

The Virginia-based outfit has its program for the Continental Tire Series completed earlier than at any other time since joining the championship in 2010, all while expanding its roster by adding a fourth car to its Street Tuner stable.

With a runner-up finish in the Championship on their series debut and a third-place now in the record books, BimmerWorld has one spot on the season-long podium left to claim and to help with that endeavor, team owner/driver James Clay has been developing a new chassis that could be the difference maker.

“Pioneering the development on the new BMW F30 chassis is the next logical step for BimmerWorld,” he said. “Adopting new technology isn’t always the easiest endeavor, but the hard work pays off by staying ahead of both the competition on the track, as well as in the BimmerWorld sales office. We came a long way in three races at the end of the 2013 season with this new 328i car, and a winter of work will put us in a good spot when 2014 kicks off at Daytona.”

But BimmerWorld’s winter work isn’t confined to next-generation 328i F30s, as Clay explains.

“We have rock solid 328i E90s that have produced all of our wins and Championship top-3s, and we are always working hard and learning how to make them even better,” he continued. “And this is especially true this winter with the new damper rule allowing us to once again work with our team’s core technical partners for suspension.”

Consistency and stability have been hallmarks of BimmerWorld’s professional racing efforts for more than a decade, and the trend continues in 2014 as many familiar faces will return while a few new names have come onboard to form one of the strongest units in the paddock.

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), with drivers Corey Fergus and Kevin Gleason:“I have been looking at Corey Fergus as a driver since his impressive qualifying efforts in his initial run in the 2012 season,” said Clay. “We had the opportunity to work with Kevin Gleason at Indy this year and he is a hard worker and very technically capable. This pair of drivers is the perfect fit for our results-focused team.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), with drivers Tyler Cooke and Greg Liefooghe:“Greg and Tyler were our highest finishers in the 2013 Championship, and this car will launch into their second year right where they left off,” Clay noted. “Greg is a strong help in car setup for our team, and Tyler is developing into an outstanding professional driver.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)/ BMW 328i (F30), with drivers Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas:“Seth Thomas is returning to his BimmerWorld home for his eleventh year,” Clay remarked. “Once again partnered with Dan Rogers who returns for his third season, this duo has had tremendous results to date. We have a new BimmerWorld F30 chassis in the shop ready for their transition into the new equipment, where they will further help with the development effort.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), with drivers Jason Briedis and James Clay:“I am thrilled to be back in a new F30 full-season after spending some time to develop the car last year,” said Clay of his upcoming driving duties. “Jason Briedis, a long-time friend and customer, will be sharing the driving and development duties with me. Jason is a GRAND-AM racer from several years ago and will be an excellent fit in our program in terms of both talent and personality.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as they prepare for the upcoming season by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.

BimmerWorld Scores Two Podiums At Lime Rock, Secures Third in GRAND-AM ST Championship

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Dublin, VA

The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld needed something close to a vehicular miracle at last weekend’s GRAND-AM season finale in Connecticut.

With the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i duo of Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke holding third in the Continental Tire Series Street Tuner standings, and the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers holding fourth in the Championship, finishing 1-2 in the race at Lime Rock was only half of what would be needed to secure the team’s first ST title.

The significant points lead held by the first-place team meant they would need to finish well down the running order to give BimmerWorld’s No. 81 and 82 a chance to bridge the Championship gap, but if the leaders maintained a decent position inside the top-10, which is what took place, winning wouldn’t be enough to overcome the deficit.

Another strong run by BimmerWorld is what the record books will show at Lime Rock, and with Liefooghe and Cooke taking third in the Drivers’ Championship, BimmerWorld has demonstrated its consistency and strength in the series by placing its drivers second, third, fourth and fifth in the ST Championship since 2010.

Team owner/driver James Clay was obviously hoping for all of the planets to align in BimmerWorld’s favor, but with such a competitive series, he wasn’t surprised with the Championship outcome.

“The final race at Lime Rock was exactly what we expected and wanted it to be – almost,” he said. “The No. 81 nearly won the race after leading for a long period and gained significant Championship points in the process.  The No. 82 also ended up on the podium in the post-race ceremonies, which was a solid end to their season as well as the team’s.  And the new F30 marked its first top-10 finish which confirms the progression in our development of that car for a competitive 2014 season.”

Clay also spoke to the disappointment felt by Rogers and Thomas, who entered Lime Rock fourth in the Drivers’ standings.

“Unfortunately Seth and Dan in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BimmerWorld BMW 328i ran into problems on track, but with the limited space and minimal passing opportunities at Lime Rock, this was an unfortunate, but not altogether unexpected casualty,” he continued. “The push by the No. 81 at the end of the season to win the Championship fell slightly short, but a third-place season finish for them is still strong.

“We always want to win everything, execute to perfection, and have everything fall our way, but it’s called ‘racing,’ not ‘winning,’ and I am proud of everything BimmerWorld achieved at this race and throughout the year.”

With the No. 81 and No. 82 taking third and sixth in the Driver’s Championship, respectively, BimmerWorld also earned third and sixth in the Teams’ Championship. BimmerWorld’s three-car fleet of BMW 328is also played a significant role in delivering the Manufacturers’ Championship to the German brand for the second consecutive season.

For Liefooghe and Cooke, leading Lime Rock and finishing second in the No. 81 was bittersweet, but with a win to their credit at Elkhart Lake, it also cemented the duo as champions in the making.

“Going into the weekend we wanted to make sure we would do our best with the elements we can control and I think we were successful in that regard,” said Liefooghe. “The fact that we missed the win by a small margin was a bit frustrating, especially since it would have given us a second place in the Championship, but the main goal of the season was to be a championship contender going into the last race, and that goal was reached.

“The season was a success, and we have been fast all year long with a good amount of bad luck towards the middle of the season. The level of competition in ST keeps increasing with cars getting faster every race, so the fact that we made a strong comeback at the end of the season speaks volumes on the level of preparation and engineering at BimmerWorld. “

Cooke, who completed his first season with BimmerWorld and second in the ST championship, developed into a consistent threat alongside his veteran teammate.

“Greg and I built a strong track record this year: we were constantly in the top -5 and were usually in the mix with the leaders,” he said. “The season was a great effort from the whole team. BimmerWorld gave us a great car every race and I’m really looking forward to next year.”

With the No. 80 of Strelzoff and Bloum completing the Lime Rock podium, BimmerWorld’s newest driving combo captured their third top-3 of the season.

“We’ve had our ups and downs this year, especially with Connor breaking his leg and having to miss a couple of races, but getting another podium was a great way to round out our year,” said Strelzoff. “This team has a lot of fight in it and never gives up, and we try and do the same inside the car. Three podiums in our first year with BimmerWorld is something to be proud of.”

Ending the 2013 season with a 26th place run at Lime Rock isn’t what Rogers and Thomas had in mind, but the two dealt with the dissatisfaction with class.

“The race was an extremely disappointing and frustrating way to end what was otherwise a great season,” said Rogers. “No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BimmerWorld BMW 328i was in the hunt for the championship from the beginning of the season, and the last two races, particularly Lime Rock, were extremely frustrating.  We all do what we do in the car because we are driven to win.  When we don’t achieve that goal, it hurts.

“The relevant question is: what do you do with that disappointment?  The answer for us is we’ll be coming back with more focus and intent on winning the ST championship in 2014.”

Thomas echoed his teammate’s assessment of the season and their future together.

“Overall it was a good year for us,” he noted. “Dan and I became a faster duo in our second full season as teammates.  We had strong runs at some of the key races while maintaining a good position in the points the whole season.  Now we will be reflecting on the season to learn how to come back into 2014 as a strong contender for the title and make it happen.”

The late-season development run for BimmerWorld’s new BMW F30 chassis netted an impressive 10th-place finish at Lime Rock which has Clay feeling confident about the turbo 3-Series chassis.

“I knew in the race at Monterey that the F30 was on its way to being a competitive platform,” he said.  “We have been working closely with GRAND-AM to produce the appropriate power level, which to me is the final piece of the puzzle.  I am really happy with the performance of the new car, and F30s will certainly represent a growing part of our future at BimmerWorld Racing into 2014 and beyond.”

Clay’s teammate for the F30’s development, John Capestro-Dubets, is also looking forward to 2014 with the new chassis tuning capabilities he’s gained.

“It was an honor to drive the F30 with James this season and be a part of the development,” he said. “I do believe that the new skill set will be very beneficial for 2014. There are good things to come at BimmerWorld!”

BimmerWorld will have little time to rest with the start of the 2014 Championship right around the corner in January. Follow all of the team’s off-season developments at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com and tune into the Lime Rock race when it airs on October 6th at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

BimmerWorld Wins Big At Elkhart Lake, Places All Three Cars Inside The Top 10

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Leave it to Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake, one of the world’s greatest race tracks and also one that demands the best handling and braking capabilities of all the events on the 11-race Continental Tire Series calendar, for the BMW experts at BimmerWorld to have its breakout race of 2013.

With all three of the Virginia-based tuning and aftermarket shops’ BMW 328is rocketing to the finish line at the 4.0-mile circuit, BimmerWorld claimed a 1-3-8 finish for its three full-time entries and also gained invaluable knowledge about its brand-new BMW F30 which made its competition debut.

Looking at the big picture, the win by touring car veteran Gregory Liefooghe and his sophomore GRAND-AM teammate Tyler Cooke was just what the team and the duo in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i needed with the Championship winding down. And with the sister No. 80 of Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum taking third on the day, followed by a competitive run to eighth for Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW, team owner James Clay left the event feeling proud of the overall effort produced by his program.

“We closed up the gap created by some early-season bad luck this weekend,” he said. “All three cars performed exceptionally well and as we draw down to the end of the season, we are getting closer to the Championship leaders and focused on that goal for the final three rounds. Days like this are hard to come by in this series, and you have to celebrate them when they do happen.”

Clay also raced last weekend, unveiling the team’s BMW F30 with co-driver John Capestro-Dubets. Although the race was used as more of an extended test session than an attempt to compete for points, Clay says the lessons learned at Elkhart Lake will help BimmerWorld to accelerate the car’s development at a much faster rate.

“The debut of the new BimmerWorld F30 chassis car was incredibly smooth and rewarding – much more so than I had expected,” he confirmed. “We knew we didn’t have the power we ultimately need to race for wins, but this weekend was a solid test and next step in the development process. I was very pleased with the performance of the new car at this stage.”

His teammate was also extremely optimistic about what’s to come with BimmerWorld new Continental Tire Series challenger.

“The F30 was simply amazing,” said Capestro-Dubets. “We still lack the top-end speed due to some engine restrictions from the series, yet the car shows a signs of a bright future. We no longer have to wish we had a turbo or one of the smaller cars to be competitive at every track. The car is in my opinion is the best looking car in our class and extremely fun to drive. BimmerWorld and BMW really knocked it out of the park with this one, and fans and BimmerWorld customers have something really special coming to the paddock.”

Shifting from BimmerWorld’s future back to its present, Liefooghe and Cooke proved that the team’s 3-Series E90 platform still has the winning combination after starting from pole position, and with the help from BimmerWorld’s peerless pit crew and race strategists, standing on the top step of the podium was a just reward for all of the effort put in this season.

“This win was a result of teamwork and strategy,” said Liefooghe. “Tyler started off the weekend by taking the pole and he managed to pull away with two other competitors. Dave Wagener, our engineer, decided to pit off-sequence and extend Tyler’s stint which put him in the lead and allowed him to pull away from the field. When I got in the car, an ill-timed full course yellow moved us back in 16th.

“I was able to come through the pack and when I found myself in 5th, I had pulled away from the main pack behind me and the lead pack was too far to catch as I didn’t have a drafting partner to make up ground. At that point we decided to save fuel and see what happened. And that allowed us to pick the rest of our competitors as they were running out of fuel in the last 15 minutes.”

Liefooghe and Cooke were right inside the top-10 in points before the race, but the win vaulted the No. 81 entry to fifth in the standings.

The No. 80 of Strelzoff and Bloum earned a second-place finish earlier this year at Road Atlanta, and after a string of bad luck, including Bloum breaking his leg and sitting out two rounds, the teammates were back together at Elkhart and captured a well-deserved third-place result.

“Having Connor back was a great boost for the entire team, and he did an excellent job during his stint,” said Strelzoff. “His leg wasn’t a problem, and I was able to settle into a good rhythm when I was in the car. This really was a team result this weekend, and shows what we’re capable of when things go smooth. It was great to be on the podium again!”

Rounding out the BimmerWorld BMW 328i trio was the team’s top car in the Championship, with Rogers and Thomas pushing the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® car to the lead pack late in the race before pit stops to take on fuel moved the car back to eighth.

“The Elkhart Lake race is a classic ‘glass half empty/half full’ experience,” explained Rogers. “The strategy calls made by the team were spot on – given the history of the race and the series, another yellow was a good bet – it just didn’t happen.  While we would have loved a podium, and had the car for it, we still made good gains in the Championship points battle.  So we choose to look at the weekend as a net gain. Most importantly, the momentum is with the BimmerWorld team heading into Kansas.”

The BimmerWorld team, like the rest of the GRAND-AM entrants, move from Wisconsin to race at Kansas this weekend, giving crews very little time to prepare for battle on the 1.5-mile oval featuring an infield road course.

“The full-time crew guys and a few of our fly-ins headed to Kansas immediately after the race, where we have good friends and a warm invitation to turn the cars over in a shop facility,” Clay noted. “A stretch on the road like this is a test of the guys, and I feel an opportunity for our team to shine. We just had a fantastic race and we’re focused on having another one in Kansas.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team this week at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the Nos. 81 and 80 run to first and third at Elkhart Lake when the race airs Saturday, August 17 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2.

BimmerWorld Scores A Third And Eighth On Its Return To Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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The BimmerWorld GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series team returned to Indianapolis last weekend and came within 2.5 seconds of repeating its incredible win at the Brickyard in 2012.

Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers, drivers of the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, waged an epic battle to follow up their win with a third-place finish, and BimmerWorld’s Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke rallied to claim eighth in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, giving the Virginia-based BMW experts the highest combined finishing position of any the Street Tuner class team in the top 10.

Team owner/driver James Clay was pleased to see Thomas and Rogers on the podium at Indy for the second year running, but admitted he preferred last year’s outcome at the legendary track.

“At BimmerWorld, we always want to win and it is hard to celebrate near-wins, but this was a good weekend for us and we banked some good points for the Championship,” he said. “I do think we had cars to win and just fell a little short with lack of time under green at the end to race them. We feel like we had a repeat performance of last year’s win in our grasp and I think we all left feeling slightly disappointed.”

The long straights that define the Indy road course favored the smaller, lighter cars in the ST class, but as Clay explains, when it came time to corner or use the brakes, BimmerWorld’s race-proven line of BMW aftermarket components played an instrumental role in securing two strong finishes.

“Indy has some huge braking zones and without question, a solid BMW is a good platform and an exceptional Performance Friction braking package only accentuates that strength,” he said. “We always know that when we have a track configuration like this, the PFC will give us a slight edge over the competition. Likewise, our engineers constantly develop our suspension package and that work is the only way our heavy BMWs keep up with the rest of the field. This development process transfers directly to our customer programs and performance suspension packages we develop and sell at BimmerWorld, which is the icing on the cake for us when our proven cars earn a solid result like this.”

Thomas fell in love with the Brickyard after winning last year, and says it felt strange to watch another set of winning drivers go through the traditional post-race celebrations.

“I am going to be honest I was a little jealous seeing someone else kissing the bricks,” he said. “I felt as if the Brickyard had broken up with me. Indy is my new favorite track. Honestly when I walk into the place I get in the zone ready to go fast in a BMW. The track flows well with the 3-series. We had a good shot at winning for the second year in a row as our E90 had the speed to go from 18th to third. Some of the cautions did not work in our favor later in the race, but in the end, the weekend was a success. We were very close to pulling out a second consecutive win at the most prestigious track we visit, and that says something about our team and our cars.”

Rogersproduced his greatest drive to date in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, carving through the field before handing over to Thomas who took the car to the checkered flag.

“Starting 21st wasn’t what we were planning on, but given the way qualifying went, we knew we could make up some ground in my stint, before Seth took over,” he said. “From the start of the race, it was just a matter of picking and choosing passing opportunities. There are a number of aggressive opening drivers, so the key was to pick up positions without putting the car at risk. Getting a draft down the front straight, and taking the competitors under brakes in Turn 1 played to the E90’s strength – the PFC brakes – and was one of the primary tools we were able to use to gain position.

“Ending up leading a lap or two was a fun bonus, but the biggest accomplishment was giving Seth a car he could run to the finish and secure a podium for BWR and No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. Once again, the combination of BWR and Indy has proven to be a powerful pairing. While we would have liked to have repeated as winners, getting a solid third tightens up the points race at a critical time in the season.”

The combo of Liefooghe and Cooke also impressed at Indy, with the teammates overcoming a frustrating stretch where the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW was sandwiched between a group of more powerful cars that made passing nearly impossible.

“Handling was our biggest asset,” said Cooke. “We could accelerate out of the corners better than the other cars and carry more speed through the corners, but with the extra weight we’re made to carry, it’s hard to keep touch down the straights to use those assets to your advantage. We’re happy to get eighth at the end, but breaking out of the pack of cars to finish higher was too tall of an order.”

The third member of the team, the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i driven by Greg Strelzoff and team newcomer Kevin Gleason, retired early in the race with a mechanical issue.

Next up on the Championship trail is Elkhart Lake the weekend of August 10-11. Follow BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.comas they prepare to race on the historic Wisconsin road course, and tune into the Indy broadcast when it airs on August 3rd at 4 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Rookies Race To Second Place At Road Atlanta

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld have always prided themselves in providing clients with machinery that’s fast and capable of winning, and at Road Atlanta last weekend, the team’s newest driver combo took hold of that opportunity and went to the front of the field.

Competing at Round 4 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series held in Braselton, Ga., rookies Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum put their prodigious talent on display and capitalized on the speed and performance of the BimmerWorld-built 328i chassis to lead portions of the 2.5-hour endurance race on their way to finishing second.

It was a marked turnaround for the duo after misfortune limited their most recent results in the Street Tuner class.

“I am proud of the rookie drivers in the No. 80 who are honing their craft as the season progresses,” said BimmerWorld team owner James Clay. “They were also the top-finishing BimmerWorld car at COTA, and this is the result of our team fielding three equal cars, which is important to me and the drivers that we sign who want a fair shot at race wins. And certainly Greg and Connor’s finish brings some levity to otherwise somewhat frustrating event for the team.”

The sister Nos. 81 and 82 BimmerWorld BMWs had the pace to join the No. 80 in the lead pack, but poor driving by two different competitors left the cars in need of immediate repair.

“We had three great cars this weekend as we returned for the first time in years to what we consider one of our two home tracks,” Clay continued. “Both the No. 81 and 82 were robbed of the strong finish they were headed for, and instead collected some silly contact damage. Certainly when this many cars are on track, some damage is expected, but it is really unfortunate when it is so obviously avoidable.”

For Strelzoff, putting the recent frustrations behind and getting down to good, hard racing with his teammate was a joy.

“Amazing; a dream come true,” he said. “Connor drove amazingly well. I was getting more and more nervous as the time ticked down to the checkered flag. Every race weekend the two of us have made improvements and steps forward towards better results. After two heartbreaking results, we are very glad to have many breaks go our way. The result just motivates Connor and me to work even harder.”

Behind the No. 80, Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke were coming off a fifth-place result at the most recent race, and expected to finish in an even stronger position at Road Atlanta, but contact soured their run, dropping the No. 81 to 13th.

“We knew we had the fastest car on track and could have been right there with the No. 80,” said Cooke. “The race didn’t go how we wanted it to but we still came out with some points and that’s better than nothing. We won’t let this hold us back, and we will be sure to go even harder at Mid-Ohio.”

The frustration felt by the No. 81 drivers paled in comparison to what Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas experienced in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. The series veterans, racing at Thomas’ home track, had a specific plan to avoid situations where other drivers could errantly hit the No. 82, but they still couldn’t escape the competition cleanly.

With the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i crew members forced to replace front and rear suspension on the car, a 22nd-place finish was all the team could salvage.

“Mixed emotions describe our weekend very well,” said Rogers. “Seth and I are really happy for Connor and Greg for getting their first podium. The BimmerWorld crew did a great job with all three cars under extraordinary circumstances. All three cars had the pace, track position, and strategy to finish at the top of the field. Unfortunately, two of the three BWR cars got taken out of contention by extremely poor choices by other drivers. The No. 82 was handed a deep hole to dig out of to remain in the championship hunt.

“Having said that, we are still in the hunt. We’re 11 points out of third, and 15 points out of first. Road Atlanta shows how one race can shake up the standings. The development BimmerWorld has done with the BMW E90 chassis is solid, the strategy calls are spot-on, and the crew is the best in the Continental Tire Series paddock. These three things give us a car that can win, even if it isn’t the fastest car on course. The CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW will be there at the end of the season – you can count on that.”

Watch the Road Atlanta race on April 27th at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED, and be sure to follow BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.

BimmerWorld Leaves Inaugural GRAND-AM Continental Tire Race at COTA with Two Top-10s

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Success is the hallmark that any professional racing team looks to maintain. The BimmerWorld GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series team is no different, which makes falling short of their lofty goals—even by just a little bit—hard to accept.

That, in a nutshell, was the sentiment held by the BMW experts after last weekend’s inaugural sports car race at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) road course in Austin, TX.

Coming off of a pair of top-4 finishes at the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, the team was eager to maintain that form around the 3.4-mile, 20-turn track during Round 2. Most of the field in the Street Tuner class would have been ecstatic to place their cars eighth and 10th at the checkered flag, but on a day where the smaller, lighter cars in the class held a distinct advantage, BimmerWorld owner James Clay wasn’t feeling quite as satisfied.

“An almost unfortunate result of success is high expectations, and while having two cars in the Top 10 at COTA is a solid result, our whole team wanted more than that,” he said. “With a month to go for the next race, certainly this fuels the fire and I think across the board everyone here is determined to achieve more this season and we will turn that determination into results.”

The biggest highlight of the race came with the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i piloted by series newcomers Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum. The teammates rebounded from a rough Round 1 to claim eighth after improving 19 spots from their original starting position.

“So often with rookie drivers and a new pairing, getting one under your belt is the most critical first goal,” said Clay.  “With some issues at Daytona, I was happy to see the No. 80 finish well at COTA.  As Greg and Connor continue to become more familiar with the series, the team, the equipment, and themselves, I expect their results will also continue to improve.”

For Strelzoff, the solid finish at COTA was a nice re-launch to the 2013 championship.

“That’s how we’d hoped the first race at Daytona would go, so coming away with an eighth at a tough place like this is something we can build on,” he said. “Connor and I are working well together and we get stronger each session, so there’s a lot to look forward to at the rest of the races.”

Bloum says he’ll take the lessons learned in Austin and apply them to the rest of the 11-race ST calendar.

“I enjoyed racing at COTA for the first time; the track is incredible, but we also had to deal with a lot of corners that suited our car and others that made life more difficult,” Bloum remarked. “It’s hard to expect every corner to feel perfect, so the race was a lot about making time where you could and being patient with the sections where we couldn’t.”

The No. 80 was chased home by the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers. Like Strelzoff and Bloum, Thomas and Rogers also improved 19 positions during the race—a total of 38 spots between the sister cars—to claim 10th.

“COTA was a very interesting track to race on; it’s very wide with lots of room to stick your nose in for a pass or runoff room if you made a mistake,” said Thomas, who’s already looking forward to Round 3 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.  “Barber is going to be the total opposite but at both tracks we still have to battle the normal weight of the BMW 328i against the little ST cars over the elevation and turns.”

Coupled with a fourth-place finish at Daytona, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® drivers also head to Barber in a prime championship position.

“Leaving COTA third in points gives us a clear goal for the narrow track at Barber and that is to make sure we finish,” continued Thomas. “The BimmerWorld crew will do the rest to make sure we have a solid result up front.”

The third BimmerWorld entry, driven by Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke, was forced to retire from the event. According to Liefooghe, who finished second at Daytona with Cooke, the rapid teammates will put COTA behind them and shift their attention to Round 3.

“That is exactly what we’ll do,” he said. “We’ll learn from it, move on to the next round and focus on bringing another solid result. It is a long season, and the best is yet to come.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team as they prepare for Barber at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the COTA race when it airs on March 9th at 4 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Scores 8th Podium Of The Season At Monterey, Strengthens Championship Standings

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Coming off an historic win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, placing one car on the podium at Monterey, another in sixth and the final member of the BMW 328i trio in 11th might not sound like something to crow about, but the ninth round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series typified BimmerWorld’s remarkable season.

The BMW experts were fast, fought for the win in the Street Tuner class, saw two of its drivers spray champagne during podium celebrations and all of its entries grabbed a handful of points in all three championship categories.

With two wins from nine races, eight podium visits, all of its drivers inside the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship, all three of its cars in the top 10 in the teams’ standings and having played a significant role in moving BMW atop the Manufacturers’ Championship, BimmerWorld is closing out the 2012 season in machine-like form.

If winning every race isn’t possible, BimmerWorld’s formula of maximizing its total team performance each weekend when the victory is out of reach has clearly been paying off.

One year ago, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay had his team fielding a pair of BMWs in both the ST and the Grand Sport categories, but after shifting his program over to run three BimmerWorld-built 328i ST cars for 2012, the results—and his team’s status in the series—have continued to skyrocket.

“I am very happy with our team’s performance this year,” said Clay. “The move in 2012 to focus purely on the ST program has definitely paid dividends and been the foundation of our results.  Every team car has visited the podium multiple times this year, which to me really reinforces our objective that every car is a Championship contender.  And without question, every person in every position on the BimmerWorld team has delivered this year to make all this happen.”

BimmerWorld has seen the Nos. 80, 81 and 82 328is surge at different points during the season, but the one constant between its fleet of BMWs has been paying points into the Manufacturers’ Championship.

Although each of the BimmerWorld driver tandems hope to move up a few spots in the final Drivers’ Championship standings, cementing the title for BMW at the final race—held near the company’s New Jersey American base—is also a primary focus for Clay’s team.

“As the season closes, our biggest achievement will be bringing the Manufacturers’ Championship home to BMW – and at their track in Lime Rock,” he said. “Our consistency and the consistency the BMW marque provides has been instrumental in the team’s results this year, so this is a good reward for us all.  We are also all poised to move up a spot or two in the Driver and Team points, which will be a nice touch for the final race.  Certainly everyone will have to do their part, but I know our team’s abilities and I am excited to wrap it up in style.”

Looking at last weekend’s race, the performance of Liefooghe and Levine in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW in Monterey was nothing short of spectacular. On a track where pint-sized ST cars thrive, the teammates carved their way from 13th to third on a day where contact was the norm.

“The race was very intense,” said Liefooghe. “As usual David drove a great opening stint and gave me a car close to the front of the field and dent-free, which is an achievement in itself in the Continental Tire Series. We took a gamble on strategy, and I had to make the fuel and tires last for two hours. With 11 cautions, it played in our favor, but it also meant that we had three or four-lap sprint races to the next yellow. For reasons I don’t understand, the series chose to keep the ST leaders right behind the tail end of the GS field for the restarts, and with the GS back markers being slower than us and 60-plus cars racing to Turn 1, it made for some very interesting moments!”

Clay and Capestro-Dubets entered Monterey riding a streak of three consecutive podium finishes, but settled for sixth in the No. 80. It marked the fifth time the duo has placed inside the top 6 this season.

The highs experienced by the No. 81 drivers were tempered by what Thomas and Rogers experienced in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. With guests from both CRC BRAKLEEN® and BMW SF looking on, the Indy winners had designs on back-to-back victories, but overly-ambitious driving by the competition slowed their progress.

“I think we need to check and see if there is a target painted on the car somewhere,” said Rogers.  “I don’t know if there is a straight panel left after that weekend.  But we still got the CRC BRAKLEEN® car home just outside of the top 10, which is a result we will happily take given the conditions.”

With the penultimate round behind them, BimmerWorld’s has one chapter left to write before its amazing season draws to a close.

Follow the BimmerWorld team as they prepare for Lime Rock at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com and be sure to watch the Monterey race when it airs on SPEED September 16th at 1:30 p.m. ET.

BimmerWorld Scores Historic 1-2 Victory At Inaugural Indianapolis Motor Speedway GRAND-AM Race

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld, the Dublin, Virginia based team, win the first-ever GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race held on the hallowed grounds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team finished first and second in the Street Tuner class while extending the German car maker’s hold on the prized manufacturers’ championship.

The win came during a tricky afternoon of competition when heavy rain interrupted the race and a combination of inch-perfect driving and smart race strategy calls were required to reach Victory Lane.

Thankfully, for the veteran road racing team, every mechanical component required to reach the top step of the podium was delivered throughout the race by a flawless team.

In addition to the dream 1-2 finish for the team’s self-built, production-based BMW 328i racecars, the BimmerWorld team added a few other accomplishments to their debut on the 2.5-mile, 13-turn Indianapolis road course.

The victory for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW marked BimmerWorld’s second win of the season. First, was the win claimed by Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine at Barber Motorsports Park in the No. 81 entry. This also brings Thomas’ GRAND-AM ST win tally to three since the 2010 season.

For his teammate, Alaska native Dan Rogers, the win was even sweeter. The world’s most famous race track served as host to his first professional victory. It also ranks as the first ST win for CRC BRAKLEEN®, the primary sponsor of the No. 82.

Put it all together, and BimmerWorld delivered an amazing performance on a giant stage.  James Clay, team owner and co-driver of the second-place No. 80 credits the 1-2 result to his trusted team of technicians.

“We had really good cars when we tested here two weeks ago, but we didn’t feel like we had winning cars, necessarily,” he remarked. “Between the test and the race, my team probably put in 1000 man hours to try and improve every little area on the car and it paid off. Winning at Indianapolis is just something that you can’t put into words.”

For Thomas, who ranks as one of the best touring car racers in the country, winning at IMS with the BimmerWorld team ranks as the highlight of his career.

“It’s one of those deals where you try not to be superstitious and kiss the brick before the race, and it’s not a ‘me’ that did this but a ‘we’ that won this,” he said. “Having the No. 80 there behind helping me the whole way to the checkered flag was crucial for us. To be the first GRAND-AM ST team to win at Indianapolis in a sports car…it’s amazing.

“And as a boy growing up in Georgia, I guess people figured I should be here driving a stock car, but to win in a BimmerWorld BMW is just so gratifying.”

Thomas’ teammate, Rogers, was just as ecstatic after watching the No. 82 cross the finish line.

“It’s pretty incredible,” said Rogers. “How many people can say they won their first professional race at Indianapolis? Not very many, I’m sure. The guys did a great job on the car; it was transformed since the last few races and our engineer and crew called an amazing race strategy. I figured we had a shot at winning this year, but you never think it’s going to come at a place like Indy.”

Following home the No. 82, John Capestro-Dubets (“JCD”) closed out the race after taking over from Clay and earned the third consecutive podium for the No. 80.

“We had a fantastic car, qualified well, which was a rewarding deal for everyone, and it was again a testament to our team,” said Clay. “In my stint, there was a lot of shuffling, I handed the car over to JCD who worked it up to the front. We pitted early, put JCD in, and used a fuel smart fuel strategy and a lot of talent to bring the car home for our third podium in three races. There’s a lot to be proud of.”

The third BimmerWorld entry of Liefooghe and Levine ran strong and had plenty of pace, but a mid-race issue left the No. 81 out of a possible 1-2-3 finish.

BimmerWorld’s fine day at Indy also had a major impact on the points standings. The Nos. 80, 81 and 82 are now in the top 10 in the teams’ standings, with the surging No. 80 in fifth with two rounds to go.

Clay and JCD also moved to sixth in the hunt for the drivers’ championship. BimmerWorld’s constant representation for BMW has the brand leading the standings ahead of eight other manufacturers.

“We have two more races in the championship, and I want to lock down the manufacturers’ championship for BMW,” said Clay. “BMW is a fantastic road car, a fantastic racecar, we’ve supported the brand for 13 years in our racing and I wouldn’t choose any other marque to go into battle with. To get BMW’s first win at Indianapolis is an honor, and as we’ve scored their main points in seven of eight rounds so far, we want to deliver that title for BMW when the season is done.”

On a day when there was much for BimmerWorld to celebrate, first-time winner Rogers put the race into perspective for himself and the entire team.

“I think it’s going to take a while to hit everyone,” he said. “It’s such a big accomplishment…it’s hard to fathom. To think of all the guys who’ve kissed that yard of bricks, all the winners at Indy over the years. And I just got to do it myself…amazing.”

Follow BimmerWorld as the team prepare for the penultimate round in Monterey in September, and watch the race at Indianapolis when it airs on August 5th at 12 p.m. ET.

BimmerWorld Closes 3-Race Run With Another Podium, Pair Of Top 10s At Watkins Glen

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Coming off its third GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race in a span of four weeks, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld closed the arduous string of events in impressive fashion at New York’s storied Watkins Glen circuit.

On the face of it, the numbers look good: another podium for team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80, an eighth-place finish for Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine in the No. 81 and a 15th-place result for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82, but it doesn’t tell the full story of BimmerWorld’s achievement.

Utilizing the renowned BMW E90 platform, BimmerWorld’s trio of 328is rank among the most heavily restricted cars in GRAND-AM’s Street Tuner class, yet despite the massive amount of weight the cars carry, and the air restrictors that limit the power from the BMW’s six-cylinder engines, Clay’s team has continued to deliver performances that should be unattainable.

With their BMWs sanctioned to rather extreme levels, BimmerWorld’s focus for 2012 has been to perfect every other area within the program in an effort to compensate for the performance the rules have taken away. Drawing from an exceptional amount of talent from its crew and drivers, the Watkins Glen race showcased BimmerWorld’s formula of using speed, consistency and flawless execution to overcome most of the advantages held by the competition.

“The BimmerWorld guys are rock-solid, and even if we aren’t as gifted as other models in the regulations currently, our whole team has managed to make a lot happen with willpower alone,” said Clay. “The majority of our crew is full-time in the shop which I think is a big plus for our team when we have the crazy workload of a three-race stretch like the one we just completed. But beyond the standard prep work, these guys have been putting in long days at the track also to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be when we hit the track. Combine that with a driving staff that has put their heads down to make results happen, and with each car visiting the podium this year, I feel like we are maximizing what we have been given.”

After a humbling start to the season, Clay and Capestro-Dubets turned their fortunes around during June’s three-race run, taking a fifth at Mid-Ohio, a third at Elkhart Lake and another third last weekend.

“John and I are really starting to click as teammates,” Clay continued. “We had our car dialed in and ready to race very early in the weekend, leaving us time to test some other setups and practice the elements that are critical in the race. I am very happy with the progress we have made during the year as a team, and John is driving like a superstar which is helping the results.”

With BimmerWorld’s total team coaching process at his disposal, Capestro-Dubets has made great strides during his sophomore season in ST, and credits the support he’s received for his continual development as a pro driver.

“So much has changed since 2011 for me,” he said. “Greg and I watch last year’s in-car footage before each race, and the difference is shocking to me. James has really taken his time with me to settle me down and then build my confidence by giving me tools to refine myself. In 2011, I was still trying to find my place and make somewhat of a name for myself. This year, I have the confidence and the guidance, and I think some good results are now showing all the hard work that goes into making it in this sport. I really have to thank everyone involved with this race program for taking their time with me and developing me into the driver I am so far.”

As the leader of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW, Liefooghe receives plenty of accolades for his driving and coaching talents, and paired with ST rookie Levine, the two have formed one of the most effective driving combos in the series. In addition to their win at Round 2 this year, the intra-team highlights continue to grow and shift towards Levine as he makes the transition from being the new kid on the block to a seriously talented competitor alongside Liefooghe.

Plenty can be said about Levine’s drive at Watkins Glen, but the most impressive stat centers on the 27 positions he and Liefooghe managed to earn on their way to an eighth-place finish.

“I feel that I have progressed a lot since the pre-season test at Daytona,” said Levine. “I’ve really learned a lot from working with Greg in a short amount of time. Now that I have been in the car for several races, I feel that I am comfortable in the car which allows me to push myself and the car to the limit. My progression owes many thanks to Greg for his coaching this season. I’m looking forward to closing out the season in a strong way.”

If the No. 80 was the lightning rod for bad luck early in the year, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i took its place recently. After dealing with mechanical gremlins and a rough-and-tumble race, Thomas and Rogers fought back to recover 14 spots to claim 15th in ST.

“Our weekend at WGI didn’t start out great—we had some issues that left us off track during the test day,” said Thomas. “But our crew kept fighting. Dan did an amazing job during the day to improve his lap times by five seconds between his first session at Watkins Glen in a BMW to when he qualified the car. During the race he continued to move forward and handed the car over to me after the BimmerWorld boys executed a perfect pit stop. Overall it was a great team effort from everyone involved. It’s how you recover from adversity that matters, and everyone should be proud of themselves after last weekend.”

In a sea of other manufacturers in the Street Tuner class, there’s one metric that stands out quite heavily this year—the Manufacturers’ Championship. As a privateer program, and despite heavy factory involvement in the class, BimmerWorld’s tenacity and consistency has BMW sitting atop the championship after seven rounds, which serves as a point of pride for Clay and his team.

“The Manufacturers’ Championship is the place we can hang our hat this year,” he said. “In six of the seven races this season, BimmerWorld has put the points on the board to move BMW to the front of this race. In a year where we have to leverage our luck significantly to provide race finishes, BimmerWorld’s approach of running three equal cars pays off and gives us a better chance of putting a BMW at the top on any given race weekend.”

Now that the team has a little bit of time to breathe before the series makes its debut at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway later in the month, Clay is also starting to plan ahead for next season.

“This is the time of year where we start to look at team developments and driver lineups for the upcoming season, and our goal is to finish as the top BMW program in ST and to take the next step with our cars in the off season. The rules tend to be cyclical, and we’d expect the 328is to have things evened out a bit for 2013, which should make our quest for a championship even stronger. But for now, we are focused on wrapping up a strong 2012 showing.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the Watkins Glen race when it airs July 14th at 1 p.m. ET on SPEED

BimmerWorld Leaves Elkhart Lake With GRAND-AM Podium, Hunting For More At Watkins Glen

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld are always prepared for fight in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series, and last weekend’s race at the picturesque Wisconsin road course proved that the Dublin, Virginia-based team can never be counted out.

With the odds stacked against them on the high-speed 4.0-mile road course, due mostly to the engine air restrictors its inline-6s are required to use and the excessive ballast the normal-sized BMW 328is are forced to carry, the James Clay-owned team entered the weekend expecting to see its smaller, lighter rivals in the Street Tuner class motor away on Elkhart’s numerous long straights.

BimmerWorld’s fears were realized when even the least developed entrants were able to pull out significant gaps on the three-car 328i effort, but with a decided advantage under braking and through the corners, at least one of BimmerWorld BMW’s managed to pull off a solid finish, despite setting a best lap that was nearly one-second slower than the fastest ST car in the race.

Realizing that a win was beyond the scope of reality, Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets (JCD) used an exceptional amount of guile and inch-perfect driving to secure a third-place finish in the No. 80 BimmerWorld entry, the best result for the duo so far this season.

“I was happily surprised with the No. 80’s results at Elkhart Lake,” said Clay. “This is one of my favorite tracks and I love the speed and commitment required in some of the high-speed sections, but it was clear going into this event that we didn’t have the power to lead a pack of cars and we had better keep our nose in the draft.  I was able to stay in a multi-car draft in my stint, and JCD took advantage of the big hole that a two-wide battle in front of him created late in the race, which rewarded our current ‘right place at the right time’ passing approach.”

For second-year GRAND-AM driver JCD, maturing into the pressure-packed role of being the closer has resulted in the No. 80’s two best finishes—a fifth at Mid-Ohio and a third at Elkhart—in consecutive events.

“Mid-Ohio and Elkhart Lake were just a start to the momentum James and I plan to end the season with,” said the young Californian. “Over the last few races my confidence has improved in the closing role and the team’s confidence in me to get the job done has followed.  With their continued support and the great car the team provides, I have everything I need to continue at this level and also to improve and become more polished under pressure. I’m really looking forward to doing it again in our next race at Watkins Glen.”

Well behind the No. 80, the No. 81 of Barber Motorsports Park race winners Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine soldiered home to finish a disappointing 14th after being hit by a competitor and losing any chance of staying in the draft being utilized by the lead pack.

The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers encountered a virtually identical scenario, and after being hit and losing the draft, the teammates fought back to eventually place a distant 17th at the checkered flag.

Using the Elkhart event to assess its current state of competitiveness, three years into its GRAND-AM ST program BimmerWorld has adapted to the changes the series has mandated to the best of its ability. With the BMW 328i chassis and engine slowed a bit more each year, Clay has witnessed BimmerWorld go from vying for the championship in 2010 to being on the outside looking in at most rounds in 2012.

BimmerWorld’s lone win this season came as a result of the ‘right place at the right time’ dynamic Clay mentioned, rather than watching his cars march to the front of the field on pure speed, driver skill, or team execution, and despite honing his team into one of the most efficient and forward-thinking operations on pit lane, the chance to challenge for wins from round to round will only come when the rules are balanced to include the 328i.

“We have solid cars that are consistent and this season shows that we are a constant threat for a podium from all three BimmerWorld entries,” Clay explained. “But we also rely on a bit of luck and gifts from our competitors more than I would want. We are executing impeccably and we should have three cars in the top 10 almost every weekend.

“But as this race showed, if we slip out of the draft of the leaders and fall back into the portion of the field that has straight-line speed–and then slows down significantly in the corners, we just don’t have the acceleration that others have to battle for position, or to lead a pack of cars without a draft to catch back up. There’s not much else we can do at this point.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen, Liefooghe, who has quickly asserted himself as one of the elite drivers in the Continental Tire Series, expects the team’s Performance Friction brake package to continue to play a significant role in BimmerWorld’s results, and also points to the handling refinements the team has developed as a key to quickly navigating the 3.4-mile, 11-turn track.

“Even though the rules package is not in our favor, our BimmerWorld BMWs still have advantages in some places compared to the rest of the field,” he said. “One of the places where we shine is top end speed, but the problem is we are the slowest to get to that speed because of our extra ballast and lack of torque. Fortunately, our handling is great.

“Watkins has a lot sweeping corners where we should be able to maintain more rolling speed than other cars and therefore make up for our lack of torque. Despite being the heaviest car in the field, we have a braking advantage due to our PFC brakes at corners like the Bus Stop, so I’m optimistic things will be somewhat better than they were last weekend. We will always fight for the best position possible, even if it’s a big task.”

Follow the team’s progress this weekend atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to tune in and watch the No. 80 earn third at Elkhart Lake when the race is broadcast July 8th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Scores Pair Of Top 10s At Mid-Ohio GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Event

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Despite earning a win at Round 2 of the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series championship through a perfectly-timed piece of race strategy, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld have gone into every race this year with an understanding they’d face an uphill battle, and last weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio was no different.

With the Street Turner rules currently balanced in favor of smaller economy cars and their turbocharged cousins, teams like BimmerWorld have been left to fight for “best in class” honors with normal-sized sedans like the BMW 328i, making the team’s pair of top 10 finishes at Mid-Ohio even more remarkable.

Leading BimmerWorld at the checkered flag was the No. 80 BMW 328i of team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets, who scored an impressive fifth-place result on the twisting 2.2-mile road course.

“I think it was clear this weekend that we didn’t have the power that we needed to really challenge for a win, but the BimmerWorld team always puts together a solid car and a lot of the time, that will get us farther than we expect,” said Clay. “The No. 80 had a solid race and we were never able to challenge for a position and take it, but we were able to be there when opportunity gave us a spot, and that was the key to moving to the front for us. Not the most exciting way to make it happen, but I am happy and content that we maximized the result.”

With a string of bad luck limiting the No. 80’s results this year, earning fifth at Mid-Ohio was a great momentum boost for the team and, in particular, second-year GRAND-AM driver Capestro-Dubets, who fought hard to the finish as the closer in the blue and yellow BMW.

“The opportunity to work with the experienced drivers and engineers on the team has helped me to mature,” said ‘JCD,’ as he’s known by the team. “I have no words for the emotion I had after this race. To cross the finish line, pull into the pits and see the looks and the other competitor’s faces, then walk up to see James and feel the relief of success for the No. 80 after a rough start to the season was just incredible. I’m very grateful for this experience and beyond fueled for the next round.”

Round 2 winners Gregory Liefooghe and teammate David Levine steered the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW home in eighth, their third top 10 of the season. Liefooghe was quick to hail the performance and progression of his teammate so far in 2012.

“For David and me, it has just been a matter of learning how to communicate with each other,” said the respected racer and driver coach. “My job is to make sure he gets what he needs to find those last few tenths on the track. We have jelled very well and now we only work on small details. One of the big changes from last season for David was that he now has a team and a teammate behind him, and we are all here to make him faster and he adapted quickly to that environment. He manages to bring the car back in good shape and in a good position after his stint and it allows me to go for a good finish.”

BimmerWorld would have preferred to have all three of its cars in the top 10, but circumstances intervened throughout the weekend for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers. For reasons that defy explanation, a year’s worth of bad luck struck the No. 82 at Mid-Ohio, forcing the car’s resilient technicians to perform miracle after miracle to overcome a variety of unexpected mechanical woes.

Coming off a second-place finish at the previous round, soldiering home to take 26th at Mid-Ohio might not seem like something to celebrate, but Thomas gave full credit to everyone who took part in getting the No. 82 to the finish line.

“The BimmerWorld Crew fought all weekend to get the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW on track,” he said. “It seems every time one problem was solved, another reared its head, including during the race. Most teams would have packed up and gone home during practice, but not our guys. I am proud of every crew member as they fought harder than Dan or I did on the racetrack.

“They stayed up late and worked right up until the last minute to give us a race car we felt would lead us to the front of the field. Unfortunately some race contact from another car prevented them from seeing success in the No. 82 BMW. Regardless, this race was only possible because of them.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the Mid-Ohio race when it’s airs June 17th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Scores Podium, Two Top 10s At Daytona To Kick Off 2012 GRAND-AM Season

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Back in 2010 when the Virginia-based BMW experts entered GRAND-AM’s Street Tuner class with a pair of BMW 328is, the team ran inside the top 10 and scored a podium on its Daytona debut. With the expansion to three ST cars for 2012, the same was true as the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW of veteran Gregory Liefooghe and rookie David Levine placed third, and the No. 80 of team owner James Clay and star sophomore John Capestro-Dubets took eighth at the BMW Performance 200.

The third car in BimmerWorld’s fleet, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by race winner Seth Thomas and the experienced Dan Rogers, was on pace to join the No. 80 and 81 in the top 10 until a hard hit by a competitor forced them to the pits for lengthy repairs.

Although the incident that befell the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® entry left plenty of points on the table, Clay came away from the wet/dry Round 1 race feeling positive about what the team can achieve across the entire 10-race championship.

“Certainly we have very capable cars and we are seeing the results of a winter of hard work and development, but our competition is tough and has some highly impressive speed,” Clay said. “I had hoped to win the BMW Performance 200 for BMW and we certainly gave it our all. And while we didn’t win, we showed that we have the team to do it when the opportunity arises and it will be a good year for the BimmerWorld guys.”

As the top finishers for BimmerWorld, Liefooghe and Levine got a chance to lead the race and to engage in a thrilling drafting battle on the high-banked portion of the blended oval and road course circuit, with Liefooghe, who drove the final stint, settling for third in the No. 81 after leading with one lap to go.

“The race went well for us and we can never complain about being on the podium,” he said. “It’s a great way to rack up points for the championship. Daytona has always been a drafting track and I was expecting to have a lot of action, but the numerous full course cautions and traffic did not play in our favor. On the last restart, I made sure to create a gap, and I managed to get out reach for the Kia and the Mazda to get in my draft, only to have a GS car slow me down and make me vulnerable. That’s when my competitors passed me in a two-car draft like a NASCAR restrictor plate race.

“On the last lap I still was set up nicely to get a run out of the bus stop and draft to the finish line, but another GS backmarker thought otherwise and came in the middle of the fight. It’s hard to say if we would have won but it would have been a three-wide finish. It was frustrating, but I still feel good about our performance. It feels like we have a much more competitive car this year thanks to the hard work BimmerWorld put in the off-season and that we’ll be fighting for wins all season long.”

For Levine, standing on the podium in his pro racing debut was just one of many highlights during the event.

“I am very pleased with our result at Daytona,” Levine said. “It would have been great to bring BMW a win in their title race, but I am still pleased with third. Overall, I was surprised by how clean the racing was. There were several times where there could have been contact but there wasn’t any. I really enjoyed my fight with Mark Pombo and Andy Lally. The car was amazing in the rain which made racing for the lead very easy. It was a great weekend and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the BimmerWorld program.”

Capestro-Dubets was originally scheduled to switch to the role of closing driver this season, but a setback just before the Daytona race meant he will have to wait until Round 2 to take the reins from Clay. With Clay closing out the race in the No. 80, he and “JCD” got their championship aspirations off to a proper start by placing inside the top 10.

“Coming to Daytona this year was a heart break for me because of an injury that happened only days before leaving that would keep me from closing,” said JCD. “I have been preparing and waiting patiently for my chance to show my abilities as a closing driver, and with this injury keeping me from that, the drive from within to put the No. 80 on top grows and grows.

“Daytona was challenging enough last year, being my first time to the track, my first Continental race and being only my ninth race weekend ever! Then, only a year later, to be returning with a broken hand, and running in the top three during my stint, then bringing home a clean car for James was a major result. Overcoming the physical and mental challenge of this race was a victory in itself.”

Finishing 31st in class was hardly a just reward for Thomas and Rogers in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, but the longstanding BimmerWorld driver felt the team as a whole gave him every reason to feel 2012 will be a good year for the entire program.

“Even with the lack of judgment by another driver that spoiled our race, I am pumped about what I saw with the BimmerWorld team this past weekend,” said Thomas. “Everyone performed at the top of their game – from the drivers to all the crew guys. This will help us as a team to be at the top in the points all season long fighting it out for team, manufacturer and driver Championships. Dan was solid in the CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW. He found speed when he needed it, keeping us in the fight from the start of the race. He was amazing on a wet track, having never driven the BMW E90 chassis platform on the Continental rain tires. With the speed he has shown so far, we will be fighting for wins and podiums this year.”

For Rogers, the sting of missing out on a top finish soured what should have been a strong debut with BimmerWorld.

“The weekend was good, however, the result was one of the most disappointing I’ve had,” he said frankly, showing his competitive fire. “Everyone in the BimmerWorld team expects success and in my short time with them, I do as well I guess. I just need to keep looking for a bit more speed to hang with our other drivers in the starting role, but with Seth as a teammate and Wayne Yawn handling our race strategy, we’ll be in the game. We have every reason to feel encouraged about the first race, and now we just need to get to the finish at the second race to show what we can achieve.”

Watch the BMW Performance 200 this Saturday, February 4th, at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED, and follow the team’s progress at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as they prepare for the next race on March 30th at Barber Motorsports Park.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

More information about the team, cars, and drivers can be found at www.bimmerworldracing.com
Information on BimmerWorld’s Customer Car Services can be found at www.bimmerworld.com
Details on PowerFlex Suspension Bushings can be found at www.powerflexusa.com

 

BimmerWorld Poised And Ready For GRAND-AM Season Opener At Daytona

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After months of behind-the-scenes work, countless hours of mechanical devotion, and an endless pursuit of superior engineering, BimmerWorld is ready to go racing.

With the first race of the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge set to kick off on Friday at the historic Daytona International Speedway, BimmerWorld’s three-car fleet of Street Tuner-class BMW 328is are prepared to help the team earn the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.

“For the 2012 season, we have one goal – the Championship,” said James Clay, BimmerWorld’s owner and co-driver of the No. 80 entry. “Certainly this goal is met by winning races, poles and racing well, which I think we have the driving roster to do all three. It also requires having quality equipment, running it effectively, and a lot of hard work along the way and our team already seems to be executing at the level required. We have done a lot of work over the offseason to put all the elements in place and hopefully now we just have to press the start button and send it all into action.”

BimmerWorld, along with other Street Tuner teams fielding normal-sized cars in 2011, found the smaller models in the field to be at a marked rules advantage. Rather than wait for the rules to be balanced in their favor, Clay and the technicians at BimmerWorld engaged in a top-to-bottom assessment of what improvements would return the 328i chassis to the front of the field.

“I have to focus on what I can control and I know for sure that our cars are dialed in and ready to run at 100%,” he said. “I know Daytona is a good track for our bigger cars with the sweeping turns and long straights. As the tracks start to tighten up we aren’t as nimble, and even at Daytona, the smaller and forced induction cars get a good jump off the corner, so other tracks won’t be as kind to us. I like the fact that we should be able to start the season with some momentum, and we will leave no stone unturned through the rest of the year working to find the performance level to stay on par with the smaller cars.”

Coming off of a strong final pre-season test at the “Roar Before The 24,”Clay and his teammate in the No. 80 328i, sophomore ST sensation John Capestro-Dubets, jelled quickly and demonstrated plenty of speed.

Clay knows that the No. 80 has the potential to be successful at Daytona and every other round, and explained how adopting a fluid game plan for each race is mandatory.

“You can’t approach an event with reckless abandon or extreme caution,” he said. “I think we have the experience to know when it is time to maintain and when it is time to act, and the result comes from proper timing of the two. We are all-in this season to win the Championship.”

For Capestro-Dubets, using the right season-long game plan is also going to be key if he wants to continue distinguishing himself from the other young drivers in the field.

“My rookie year was good, but coming into 2012, I have a whole new mind set,” he said. “It’s no longer time to just focus on driving fast and staying out of trouble; now I need to start producing results. I feel confident that James Clay has made a good decision by allowing me to share closing responsibilities in the No. 80, and I plan to reward that show of faith. BimmerWorld has done amazing job preparing the car and also preparing me to have a very competitive season in ST.”

In the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, returning pro Gregory Liefooghe will lead GRAND-AM newcomer and fellow Exclusive Management teammate David Levine. The sports car veteran came away from their most recent test feeling confident about what he and Levine can achieve in 2012.

“I think David and I developed a good relationship during the Roar,” he said. “His driving style works well with mine and we’ll be working well together during the season. For this race, the number one goal will be to finish on the podium. Daytona, with the long straights and significant drafts, always comes down to the last lap and our number two goal will be winning the race while keeping in mind our main goal, the championship.”

By the end of the test, Levine had logged enough miles to enter his first ST race with a sense of what the car is capable of, and also what can expect to achieve in his rookie season.

“The Roar was extremely helpful for me,” Levine said. “I needed the time to adjust to the car. It is heavier and more powerful than the cars that I drove last season. I feel that the speed is in the car and I am confident that we can get a solid top 5 finish in the season opener at Daytona. My goals for the race are simple—to qualify the car towards the front and then hand the car off to Greg in the best condition possible so he can go for the win. I believe that we are completely capable of top 5s and top 10s all season.”

Rounding out the BimmerWorld line-up is Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. With the two touring car veterans already forming a fast tandem effort, Thomas says there’s every reason to feel positive about what they can achieve together.

“The Thomas/Rogers duo is in this season for the long run and we have our eyes on the prize at the end,” he said. “We both know that to be able to contend for the championship, we have to be there at the end with a fast car. My crystal ball says you will see us, along with our other teammates, being contenders for every race win as well as the end of the season fight for the Championship.”

Paired with Thomas, who achieved a statistical tie for the 2010 ST championship with BimmerWorld, Rogers believes that with a bit more circuit knowledge under his belt, he and Thomas can bring 2010’s success—and more—into their efforts this year.

“My biggest current challenge will be to learn the remaining tracks that I did not drive in my initial season in ST,” he said. “Seth and I are working on plans to attack that problem, so we will be in the hunt for the entire season. Our goal in the No. 82 is nothing short of a championship. That’s a huge goal in a field as good as it is this year in ST, but we will approach it with a plan, and then execute. BimmerWorld has shown that they can field a competitive car in ST, and we plan to reproduce the results of 2010, but with a slightly different ending.”

Follow all of BimmerWorld’s action from Daytona this week at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and tune-in to watch the BMW Performance 200 At Daytona on February 4th at Noon ET on SPEED.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

More information about the team, cars, and drivers can be found at www.bimmerworldracing.com
Information on BimmerWorld’s Customer Car Services can be found at www.bimmerworld.com
Details on PowerFlex Suspension Bushings can be found at www.powerflexusa.com

BimmerWorld Unveils 3-Car GRAND-AM Street Tuner Lineup

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Dublin, VA

After recently announcing its expansion to a three-car GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner program for 2012, Dublin, VA-based BimmerWorld has finalized the three pairs of drivers who will pilot the team’s trio of BMW 328is.

Stability, continuity, and growth have been hallmarks of BimmerWorld’s professional racing endeavors for more than a decade, and the trend continues this season as four of the team’s drivers from 2011 have returned, along with two promising talents that have recently joined the team.

Employing the proven strategy of partnering winning veterans with up-and-coming drivers, team owner/driver James Clay will pilot the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i with John Capestro-Dubets, the breakout young star of the 2011 ST championship, as his co-driver.

The No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i will again be piloted by drivers provided by Exclusive Management, Inc. This year, the car lineup will feature sports car expert Gregory Liefooghe, who will mentor ST rookie David A. Levine.

Seth Thomas, BimmerWorld’s most tenured driver, will spearhead the CRC BRAKLEEN®-sponsored No. 82 328i with Dan Rogers as his teammate.

After reaching a statistical points tie and nearly winning the ST championship on the team’s GRAND-AM debut in 2010, Clay says BimmerWorld structured its driving combinations with the specific goal of earning the ST title this year.

“I am very happy with this season’s driver pairings,” he said. “As always, it is important to me and us as a team for every car to be a championship contender. And this year more than ever before, we are purely focused on capturing the championship that got away from us in 2010, and I feel our driver lineup strongly supports this goal.”

Tasked with scoring points, earning victories and teaching their new co-drivers, Thomas and Liefooghe have similar goals during the 10-race Continental Tire Series championship.

“My focus for 2012 is to bring the driver and team championships to BimmerWorld, and to win a manufacturer’s title for BMW,” said Thomas. “With Dan having raced at only a handful of the tracks we’ll visit this season, I hope my knowledge of these tracks helps him get the most out of our car every weekend.”

Beyond sharing driving and chassis setup tips, Liefooghe looks forward to helping Levine adapt to the rigors of endurance racing.

“For my part, I will work hard with David as he transitions to a new style of racing,” he said. “David comes to BimmerWorld with great talent, but most of his experience is in shorter sprint races. My job as a teammate will be to teach him all the facets of endurance racing.”

For Levine and Rogers, the decision to join BimmerWorld was made with the specific goals of learning from the best, joining one of the most respected teams in the paddock, and spending a lot of time in Victory Lane.

“I chose BimmerWorld because of the team’s professionalism and its commitment to winning the championship, the quality of the car and knowledge of the mechanics and pit crew, and the opportunity to race with and learn from Greg,” said Levine. “Everyone on the team is friendly, which also made selecting BimmerWorld an easy choice.”

“When the opportunity came up to drive with BimmerWorld in GRAND-AM, I jumped at it,” said Rogers. “With the complete package they have to offer, I believe we have a great shot at winning the title.”

Capestro-Dubets took the first steps towards becoming a professional racing driver last year with BimmerWorld in the ST class, earning kudos throughout the season as a driver with the potential to make it to the top. With his services in high demand, the young hot shoe chose to stay with BimmerWorld for his sophomore season and continue his education in GRAND-AM.

“My rookie year was all a learning experience and it was a very productive year,” he said. “In 2011, I learned the fundamentals needed to succeed in GRAND-AM, and now it’s time to show what I’ve learned. I feel I’ve become a very strong and consistent driver. My next goal is to bring home a championship for the BimmerWorld team, my sponsors and myself.”

In addition to their line up of stellar drivers, BimmerWorld will rely upon thousands of hours that have been invested over the past few months by the men behind the scenes to make sure the team’s fleet of 328is are faster than ever.

With the first race of the season just weeks away, Clay is confident his team has all of the ingredients necessary to achieve their goals.

“BimmerWorld’s technicians and engineers never stop thinking, working, and tuning on the cars,” he said. “This offseason has been purely focused on the 2012 ST package and the focus has yielded what I hope and think will be a formidable result. Racing is like any job – filled with a lot of work. We have had long work lists and the guys have executed well on them. We are entering this season ready to go.”

Follow BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as the team prepares for the season-opening race on Jan. 27th at Daytona International Raceway.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

More information about the team, cars, and drivers can be found at www.bimmerworldracing.com
Information on BimmerWorld’s Customer Car Services can be found at www.bimmerworld.com
Details on PowerFlex Suspension Bushings can be found at www.powerflexusa.com