BimmerWorld Racing Returns to VIR with Two-Car Team and Support for Racing to End Alzheimer’s

BimmerWorld-Racing-Returns-to-VIR-with-Two-Car-Team-and-Support-for-Racing-to-End-Alzheimers

The BimmerWorld Racing team continues with a two-car effort this week at their home circuit, VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race, August 24.

The Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge two-hour race is the eighth of 10 rounds in the 2019 season. Team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. will co-drive the BimmerWorld Racing No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. Ari Balogh, of Menlo Park., Ca. and Mike Skeen of Charlotte, N.C., will pilot the No. 80 BimmerWorld Racing/Airbnb BMW M4 GT4. Both cars will compete in the Grand Sports (GS) class at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course.

Clay and Jones continue their championship quest as they head to VIR in second place in the tight GS class standings with three races remaining.

The Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix weekend starts on Friday, August 23, at 9:40 a.m., with a one-hour practice, followed by Practice 2 at 3:25 p.m. and Practice 3 at 6:50 p.m. Qualifying for the GS class immediately follows TCR qualifying Friday evening at 7:35 p.m.

The open-grid fan walk begins at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 2:05 p.m. for formation laps, and the race is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. for two hours of wheel-to-wheel action and excitement.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN on Friday, August 30 from 10:00 p.m. for two hours. All times are Eastern.

Announcement

BimmerWorld Racing is once again partnering with Legistics to raise awareness for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s charity campaign. The No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 will serve as a national billboard for the penultimate race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Donors can get the name and hometown of a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s emblazoned on the BMW race car, and donations will be tripled for a limited time. Visit www.r2endalz.org/bimmer for more information.

Pre-race quotes follow:


James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
VIR is your home track and always a favorite for you. You’ve said the Uphill Esses are the most challenging and rewarding. What is your favorite memory at your favorite track?
“It’s really hard for me to narrow that down because this really is an amazing track and facility, and I enjoy it every time I’m here. But a win here this weekend in the middle of a tight championship battle would land pretty close to the top of the heap I think.”

There have been some pretty epic wet weather races at VIR. What’s your view on racing in the rain at VIR?

“It’s wild—I suppose it’s the time of year we race here, but this VIR weekend so often ends up being a mixed-weather challenge on race day. And in a year which has already had so many mixed conditions, it seems like the stage is set for VIR to do something really big. But I love driving here, rain or shine, and I think we’re ready for whatever the track throws at us. I may even prefer the challenge of a wet or mixed track.”

You are using your No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 as a national billboard to raise awareness again for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s cause. Tell us about that.

“This is a great cause and an organization we started working with last year. It was very well supported by our customers, and we wanted to keep going with it, and this year we’re adding in a donation batch from our team. OPTIMA and Veristor have generously donated their space on the car for us to add names for this year’s Laguna race honoring family members and friends of our donors.”

You have Mike Skeen joining Ari Balogh this weekend. Tell us about that pairing and how it came about.

“We’re happy to have Ari back with us for a couple of races this year, and given the VIR venue, longtime BMW driver and VIR resident expert Mike Skeen came to mind as a solid driver pairing. I’m looking forward to adding both to the team for this year’s race.”

The state slogan is Virginia is for Lovers. What do you love about Virginia?
“I travel across the country and the world for racing, and I think VIR really encompasses one of my favorite aspects of Virginia—a rolling road with lots of elevation, rolling through a classic and picturesque setting with lush green trees and grass.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
You are using your No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 as a national billboard to raise awareness again for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s cause. Tell us about that.
“It’s very exciting to have Racing to End Alzheimer’s back on our BMW. It was an absolute honor to sport the names of individuals and families that were affected last season, and I’m looking forward to having more names on the car for upcoming events this year. If anyone wants to donate and have your donation tripled in value, you can go to http://www.r2endalz.org/bimmer to learn more!”

VIR is your home track and also a favorite for you. Share your favorite VIR racing story.
“VIR is my home track, and I have had lots of great memories here. My favorite would have to be in 2016 where it rained so hard the pits flooded and made for an absolutely crazy race. It’s something about this time of year at VIR; the weather is unpredictable.”

There has been some great racing this year in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series. What makes this such an outstanding racing series?
“The mix of manufacturers, drivers, and teams are what makes this series so much fun for everyone involved. People always come up to me and say our series is their favorite to watch and I think that says a lot about IMSA and the fans that support us.”

The state slogan is Virginia is for Lovers. What do you love about Virginia?
“I am a North Carolina boy at heart, but since Virginia is the neighboring state, I can’t say there is much to not love about Virginia either.”

Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., driver, No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4:
Welcome to the BimmerWorld Team. Tell us your thoughts about joining the team and co-driving with Ari Balogh this weekend.
“Ari has experience with the team as well as VIR and this car, so I’m sure we’ll all hit the ground running. We all know the series is very competitive, but I expect that we’ll be right in the thick of the fight, and hopefully we can bring home a solid finish.”

You and James Clay have known each other for a number of years and even both raced up Pikes Peak a couple of times. Tell us a little about your history together.
“I’m very excited to race with BimmerWorld at VIR. I’ve known James and followed his race team for many years having grown up in the BMW enthusiast community and in the same region. We’ve attended many of the same track events over the years and have even tried to work together in the past, but the pieces just fell into place this time.”

You were born in Virginia and now live in Charlotte so VIR must be your home track as well. Share your thoughts about how you like the VIR circuit, your history driving at the track, and your plans this weekend.
“VIR is my home track and I have many laps and race wins, including one just last year in GT3. There will be many friends coming to enjoy the event with us, and I hope we can put on a good show. I’ll also be racing in the IMSA Michelin Prototype Challenge race at the end of the day on Saturday, so it’ll be a busy weekend!

FOLLOW BIMMERWORLD AT:  https://www.facebook.com/bimmerworld

STAY UP TO DATE WITH BIMMERWORLD NEWS AT:  http://www.bimmerworldracing.com

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018. 2019 also marks BimmerWorld Racing’s return to the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars.

BimmerWorld Racing Expands with Two-Car Team at Road America

BimmerWorld-Racing-Expands-with-Two-Car-Team-at-Road-America

Round 7 of the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series moves to Elkhart Lake, Wisc. this week for the Road America 120 two-hour race on Saturday, August 3. The BimmerWorld Racing No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 of team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. will be on a mission to climb back to the top of the Grand Sports (GS) points.

Even with their strong fourth-place finish at the recent Lime Rock Park round, Clay and Jones were bumped into second place, just three points down in the GS championship chase. If fans know anything about the BimmerWorld team, they know that winning races and leading the championship are always on their mind, so there’s plenty of exciting racing ahead.

For the Road America weekend, BimmerWorld Racing will be fielding a second BMW M4 GT4, the No. 80 BimmerWorld Racing/Airbnb BMW entry for Georgia’s Seth Thomas and California’s Ari Balogh. Both veteran IMSA drivers have previously competed under the BimmerWorld Racing banner and are thrilled to get behind the wheel of the BMW M4 GT4.

The 4.048-mile 14-turn historic Road America race track is a driver and fan favorite on the 10-race IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge schedule. With just four races remaining, the always stout competition is expected to be as furious as ever, and the BimmerWorld boys are ready to battle to the finish.

The Road America 120 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge sessions commence with a one-hour practice on Friday, August 2, at 9:55 a.m. and a second Friday practice from 3:20-4:05 p.m. Saturday’s Practice 3 runs from 10:15-10:30 a.m. This leads into qualifying, with the GS class following TCR at 11:00 a.m. The open-grid fan walk begins at 3:10 a.m. on Saturday, and the field will warm up its Michelin tires at 3:55 p.m. for formation laps. The race is scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN on Monday, August 12 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:

Road America is always a favorite track of drivers who enjoy the long straights and the challenging Kink. What’s a perfect lap at Road America look like for you?
“Road America is certainly one of my favorite tracks, and where I got my first professional win. To me, the perfect lap is all about maximizing those long straights, getting on the gas early, and running as flat as possible through the Kink. To me, some of the high-speed turns like T1 and T7 and, of course, the Kink really define the lap.”

Getting on the brakes is part of a lap around this track. Talk about your Performance Friction Brakes package on your BMW M4 and why it is better than other brake packages in the field.
“I won my first pro race at Road America with an outside braking-zone pass into Turn 5 on Performance Friction brakes—something I will never forget. Whether it’s a crazy deep braking zone like Turns 5 and 8, or something that requires finesse like 6 and 14, I think we have developed a brake package with PFC that’s certainly one of the tools in our toolbox for success.”

Although you are not currently leading the GS points, you are definitely in the hunt with four races remaining. Competition at the front of the GS field seems as strong as ever. Address the challenges you feel you’ve got to overcome in these remaining four races.
“I’m not big on constantly discussing the series-issued Balance of Performance, but I’m aware with the mid-season power reduction and weight addition that we’re struggling to land on the podium. We have an awesome team and our BMW is a solid, reliable platform, and combined with Devin and me, we’re able to scrap together some pretty solid points finishes. I’d really like to see the podium a few more times this year, and we’ll keep digging for it, and our best chance is to put together a solid overall performance that lands us there. Consistency will definitely be our best tool as we grind out the last handful of races this year.”

You’ve added a second BMW M4 for Seth Thomas and Ari Balogh, who have both raced with BimmerWorld in the past. How did that come about, and share thoughts about them as drivers?
“It’s great to have both of them back with us! Seth was part of the early history of our race team and was with us for over 10 full pro seasons, so it’s great to have my good friend and veteran team driver back for this weekend. Ari was with us for a couple of years as well, and while his schedule didn’t allow for a full season this year, I had previously told him we’d always have a seat for him, and I’m glad he had enough of a break to give me the call. These guys are a known quantity, and as we work to wrap up a strong season, they’ll be an asset to our team. And I just enjoy working with good friends!”

At the last race, you said that after the Road America race you were going to get a break. What do you plan to do on your summer vacation?
“I have a break in the racing action, but I don’t think it will turn into much of a summer vacation for me. I hope to get a little time on a jet ski this year, but I’m working on both a house renovation and a new warehouse expansion for our BimmerWorld business, so I’ll be mostly focused on juggling all the other balls I have in the air currently.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:

Road America is always a favorite track of drivers who enjoy the long straights and the challenging Kink. What do you enjoy best about the circuit?
“Road America is a pretty epic track with a little bit of everything. The kink is one of the highest risk corners in racing, so it’s always a challenge. There really isn’t a dull corner around the track. Add them all together and it’s a huge and special track to race.”

Although you are not currently leading the GS points, you are definitely in the hunt with four races remaining. Competition at the front of the GS field seems as strong as ever. Address the challenges you feel you’ve got to overcome in these remaining four races.

“It’s a very tight battle for the championship, but I’m confident going into this weekend. Everyone has a different agenda this time of year, with some teams going for wins and some trying to score points. We’re going to focus on our team and run our own race just like we’ve done all year.”

When you have race after race every week or couple of weeks as we’ve had since late June, do you get in a rhythm or is it wearing on you?
“I enjoy this time of year, and I think you really get into a rhythm and start to perfect things with your own driving and car setup. I love being at the racetrack.”

Heat has been a big factor in the past few races. Talk about your fitness program and how you hydrate before and after a race with extreme temperatures and prepare for them.
“I’ve been a bike racer for years and ride 10 hours a week for most of the year. I love to do it, and it really helps me in the car. The heat has been rough this season, but I always hydrate days before the race to prepare. Lime Rock was the hottest race in a long time, but I feel my fitness training helped me stay focused at the end of the race.”

Seth Thomas, Cumming, Ga., driver, No. 80 BimmerWorld Racing/Airbnb BMW M4 GT4:
You are back with the BimmerWorld Racing team in the No. 80 BMW M4 GT4 for Road America. Share your thoughts about being reunited with your team that you’ve raced with off and on for the past 15 years.
“I feel like a kid at Christmas and can’t wait to be back with my friends and family at BimmerWorld. They’ve been such a big part of my development as a driver that it’ll be good to be reunited with them since my last racing effort with them was in 2016. It’ll be like coming back home. I’ve been doing a few races in Europe since that time, but being back home running a BMW on Michelin tires for the first time with my favorite team in the paddock and with Ari will be great, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Share your thoughts about how you like the Road America circuit, your history driving at the track, and your favorite part and why.
“Road America is one of the tracks that I’ve enjoyed going to, but I feel slightly snake-bitten by it. I’ve run in the top-5 on multiple occasions only to fall short in the results category due to many circumstances outside my control. But it is a track that every time I drive it, I feel like I want more. The best part of the track to me is the Canada Corner to Turn 13 complex section. The big braking zone and the elevation changes remind me a lot of my home track of Road Atlanta. Plus, there’s nothing better than feeling a BMW M4 sliding through this section of the track as the elevation gains and then falls out from under you. It’s like a roller coaster ride that I’m in control of.”

FOLLOW BIMMERWORLD AT:  https://www.facebook.com/bimmerworld

STAY UP TO DATE WITH BIMMERWORLD NEWS AT:  http://www.bimmerworldracing.com

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018. 2019 also marks BimmerWorld Racing’s return to the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars.