Both BimmerWorld Racing BMWs Finish in Top 10 at COTA

BimmerWorld Racing No. 81 at COTA 2017

At one point in Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series race at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA), BimmerWorld Racing’s turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) topped the leader board in the Street Tuner (ST) class. The Dublin, Va.-based team ended up finishing sixth and ninth, but it was a podium contender for most of the race and its pit crew arguably turned in the two best pit stops performed during the two-hour event.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., qualified fifth in the OPTIMA Batteries BMW No. 84 he shares with Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C., and he had elevated his position to third place by lap two. He ran in the top five throughout his stint and had a particularly thrilling battle with Jeff Mosing, one of the co-drivers of the eventual winning Porsche Cayman.

On lap 22, just prior to the driver changes, Clay entered the pits n 4th, with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif. just seconds behind in the team’s sister car, the ShopBMWUSA.com BMW No. 81 that he shares with Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco. Balogh also had great battles during his stint, particularly when he and Roy Block exchanged positions numerous times. Block was driving an Audi that eventually finished third.

After all the pits stops for driver changes, the BimmerWorld team’s tremendous execution leapfrogged Cooke in the No. 84 to the lead of the pack and picked up four spots for Liefooghe on lap 24 with 57 minutes remaining.

Eric Foss got around Cooke shortly thereafter to push the No. 84 back to second, and Spencer Pumpelly wiggled by on lap 29, but Cooke remained in third place until lap 33. Despite some issues, he stayed in the top five until lap 41, with just 12 minutes remaining in the race.

Balogh and Liefooghe had a different approach. They didn’t run with the leaders, but they stayed within striking distance in the top 10. On lap 41, Liefooghe was seventh, right behind Cooke. The two BimmerWorld cars stayed in those positions until the last lap. At that point, Liefooghe advanced one spot to finish sixth, while Cooke dropped back to ninth when his car suffered an engine failure on the last lap of the ever-changing Cinco de Mayo competition.

FOX Sports 1 will showcase the action on Saturday, May 13 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The series’ next three events are June 29-July 2 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.; July 7-9 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Clarington, Ontario, and July 21-22 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a good start and phenomenal pit stop by the guys for both cars. It was awesome to see the team execute at that level. It was hot today, so it was a struggle out there. It wasn’t as hot as it’s ever been here, but the track gets slick and it’s hard to hold on to. Our car seems to fall off a little bit earlier than some of the others. It was just a strategy of hang on to what we have, and we hung on pretty well. At the end of the race, we had an engine failure on the last lap with my car.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We were running up in first and second; the top six or seven cars were all bumper to bumper. It really seemed like it was going to be a positive start, but then we lost the front end of the car where it just wouldn’t turn. Then first and second started to check out, and we thought we’d keep third behind us, but then we really started to lose the rear end of the car and couldn’t put the power down. We ended up falling back more and more. We were running a solid sixth, and we were happy with that. We thought leaving here with a sixth would be really positive for the BMW because this isn’t a BMW track at all. But on the last lap, the engine had an oil pressure problem, so we ended up settling for 9th. But hats off to the team; they worked really hard and made a great pit stop. We did a burnout leaving the pits and got right in front of the No. 56, getting out of the pits first, which was very positive for the team. Now I’m looking forward to our next race at Watkins Glen.”

Greg Liefooghe, driver, No. 81 ShopBMWUSA.com BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We just didn’t have the right set-up. Basically, all the time we could really see the leaders was on the restarts, and then they were gone. We’re not sure what we’re missing, but we know we’re missing grip. The guys worked hard all weekend, but we just couldn’t find the right set-up this week. We’ll look for a better result at The Glen next race.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise and competes in the Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Anticipates That Its Homework Pays Off In ICTSC Race at COTA Friday Afternoon

BimmerWorld-Racing-Anticipates-That-Its-Homework-Pays-Off-In-ICTSC-Race-at-COTA-Friday-Afternoon

BimmerWorld Racing anticipates that its homework pays off on Friday when the Dublin, Va.-based team fields two turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) in the IMSA Continental Sportscar Challenge Series (ICTSC) race at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.

Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. won the pole for this event last year in the OPTIMA Batteries BMW No. 84 he shares with team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. The team has worked hard to make additional improvements to that car and its sister car, the ShopBMWUSA.com BMW No. 81 driven by Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif. and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco. That work is bound to pay off, and all involved hope that will be evident when the checkered drops Friday at 4:45 p.m. local time for the two-hour race.

BimmerWorld competes in the Street Tuner (ST) class, which has 17 entries, one more than the Grand Sport (GS) class. There are two practice sessions scheduled for 12:40 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. on Thursday. A shorter practice session is set for 10:45 a.m. on race day prior to ST qualifying at 11:15 a.m. There won’t be much time between qualifying and the race itself, as the open-grid fan walk follows at 1:50 p.m. and the green flag is slated to drop at 2:45 p.m. All times are local.

Live video streaming and live timing and scoring will be available on imsa.com and imsa.tv. The television broadcast will be on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, May 13 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
How much confidence does it give you knowing that you had the fastest ST car here last year in qualifying, despite being one of the heaviest cars in the class?

“We had a great COTA [race] last year until we had an electrical problem at the start. This is a tough track to get dialed in for, but we have come a long way on the setup for this F30 BMW platform, and I think we have even improved since last year. I feel good coming into this race weekend.”

What are the best ways to save fuel at COTA?
“With the new shorter race format and reduced capacities still shuffling out, we’re aware we’re at a fuel deficit and that we need to manage fuel wisely. We have very economical cars in some scenarios, but at sprint race pace, they use some fuel. We’ll be keeping a constant eye on savings opportunities, the best of which is running in the draft, but that’s a matter of happenstance more than planning and strategy.”

What do you like best about the COTA configuration? What’s the most challenging part?
“I love the speed and fast flow of the track, but linking the sections correctly is challenging. Turns 2-8 are a massive balancing act of speed, and it’s easy to gain or lose 2 seconds in that section alone depending on approach.”

Last year the series raced at COTA in September, but this year the race is in May. According to the weather service, it’s still likely to be in the eighties. What can you do to stay cool?
“80 in Texas? That is cool! We typically see temps close to 100 and track temps of 120-130 for this race, so 80 is a nice change of pace at COTA. I’ll save the cool shirt for when it’s hot!”

Track grip changes a lot at COTA as the race progresses. Last year the track got very greasy at the end of the race. Is there anything you can do to compensate for this?
“The track was greasier last year due to temperatures, so environmental factors will be more in our favor this year. We’ve been really working to keep the car under us for the duration of the race, and I think we’ll see more long-term consistency from the BimmerWorld cars all season.”

Would you please give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing at the Nürburgring in Germany during the month the series had off?
“I have the opportunity to run the 24-Hour Nürburgring race this year for an OPTIMA Batteries project, and since Sebring, Tyler and I, along with another racing friend, have been zipping back and forth from Germany in addition to other racing and track work. It’s been a real challenge and a lot of fun. If I thought COTA was a long track when we first came here five years ago, I was mistaken! We’ll be racing the 24-Hour later in May at the Ring, and then Pike’s Peak as well before the IMSA season kicks into high gear. It’s quite the year for me as a driver!”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
How much confidence does it give you knowing that you had the fastest ST car here last year in qualifying, despite being one of the heaviest cars in the class?

“It really helps us coming into the weekend and gives us some motivation. Putting the car on the pole really showed all the hard work BimmerWorld has done with the new BMW F30 platform. I think it’s going to be a good race and with a little cooler weather.”

Heavier cars usually have more tire wear than lighter cars. How can you save your tires?
“Rolling speed and trying not to push the car every lap will save tires a little. Running a consistent pace to save the tires and staying with the lead pack until the end to push is what wins races.”

What are the best ways to save fuel at COTA?
“Saving fuel is always something that has to be done. COTA is a hard place to save fuel with the long back straight and the hill climbing to Turn 1; it gives us a good challenge. Rolling the speed and staying off the gas through the corner can help with fuel.”

What do you like best about the COTA configuration? What’s the most challenging part?
“I like the section around the tower. There’s lots of passing from the end of the back straight to the last corner. It’s a good section of the track to watch from because most of the action happens there.”

The race will start just three hours after qualifying. Will this pose any challenges?
“It will for the team getting the car ready to go again. They know what to do, but it’s a tight time frame. It’s going to be hectic, but that’s why we love what we do!”

Greg Liefooghe, driver, No. 81 ShopBMWUSA.com BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
Does the fact that the team was fast here last year give you added confidence going into this race?

“I think the guys proved that the car was fast at pretty much every track in qualifying last year. We have a good base, but as usual in this super-competitive series, all the competitors are doing a lot of homework. We were able to improve the car significantly since the start of the year, and we’ve been able to run at the front at the end of the races this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up at COTA, as we’ve done some homework on our side as well.”

Heavier cars usually have more tire wear than lighter cars. How can you save your tires?
“The most important part of saving the tires is to have a car that’s easy on them. Even though the weight of the car plays a big role, having a great shock package will go a long way. On the driving side, minimizing the slip angle, whether it’s braking or cornering, can help a lot, especially in hot conditions.”

What do you like best about the COTA configuration? What’s the most challenging part?
“What I like the most about COTA is the safety standard of the track. It’s the safest in the United States. There are more than enough inherent risks in this sport and no need to have bare concrete walls around a track. The main challenge around this track is the number of corners, which makes it hard to put a good lap together.”

This race is Round 3 of the Continental Tire Series for 2017. How challenging is the competition in your class this year?
“The competition gets better every year. Between the drivers and the car development happening in the series, the pace has escalated. It’s an exciting place to race for both the driving and the technical part of it.”

Last year the track got very greasy at the end of the race. Is there anything you can do to compensate for this?
“Knowing how the car balance evolves comes at a premium in those conditions. Being able to set up the car to be balanced and have grip at the end of the race will be a big advantage.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise and competes in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Earns ST Pole at COTA With One Car While Its Second BMW Nearly Finishes in Top 10

BimmerWorld-Earns-ST-Pole-at-COTA-With-One-Car-While-Its-Second-BMW-Nearly-Finishes-in-Top-10

Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. put BimmerWorld Racing’s No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i on the pole for Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), but the car developed a misfire as soon as the race started. He only completed a dozen laps in the 2.5-hour race, so Cooke’s co-driver, James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., could do nothing but prepare for a meal at his favorite Mexican restaurant in the Austin area prematurely and hope for better luck at the season finale on Sept. 30 at Road Atlanta.

Jerry Kaufman of Mooresville, N.C. and Kyle Tilley of Bath, England started 14th in class and ended up 12th in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, completing 57 laps.

Kaufman was 12th when he pitted on lap 24 for the driver change, but the No. 81 drew a penalty during the pit stop that forced Tilley back to 21st for the beginning of his stint. There was only one full-course caution at the very beginning of the race, but the team persevered through the hot Texas sun and a greasy track to climb back to 12th at the finish. The No. 81 was aided by good race strategy, as Tilley saved fuel and gained three positions at the very end when some of his competitors ran dry.

James Clay, Team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I’m super-disappointed that the No. 84 car qualified on the pole and then immediately had a miss on the out lap; I’m not super happy about that.

Separating the driver from the team-owner portion of it, our forces did well enough on the strategy. A couple guys lost out on the last few laps due to running out of fuel, but we had enough for a good finish in the No. 81 car.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a little bit of a misfire during the pace lap, and it proceeded to get worse and worse. By the time we took the green flag, the misfire got so bad it wouldn’t produce power going into Turn 1. That got pretty hectic pretty fast.

I can’t thank the guys enough. They busted their butts. Every time we came into the pits we’d change some stuff and go back out, [and then] we’d be fine for a lap and it would start to do it again.

Hats off to the guys, and hats off to Roush; thanks for all their help. We’ll get ’em at Road Atlanta.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was good. We were unfortunate to get a drive-through penalty. If we hadn’t had that, I think we would have had a good result.

[About the penalty] Jerry knocked the car in gear during the driver change, so the wheels spun up on the jacks. That’s all right. It’s just one of those things that happen. We’ll evaluate what we can do differently on our driver changes for the next time out and go from there.

Considering I didn’t manage to do any laps in practice, I’m relatively happy with our race. That was about all the car had. The guys did a great job to recover from two pretty bad days of practice to get a car out there for the race. It was good. I’m happy with it and looking forward to Road Atlanta.

It was a fun race. The car was super-loose. The track was very greasy at the end. We were saving fuel and managing to still be one of the fastest ST cars out there, so by no means was it a bad race for us. Things just conspired against us a little bit.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“This was my first time racing in Texas, and the legendary heat didn’t disappoint. It was pretty amazing how the car felt almost exactly like it did at Sebring. It’s good that we got to drive there and got to experience that, and we were able to adjust. By the time I figured out what to do, it was a little late.

With all this extra heat, we were losing power with our turbo motor.

I’m happy we were able to finish and do pretty well. I know we’ll do better at Atlanta. This is definitely a pretty tough track, especially with these cars.”

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 5 PM Eastern time.

The season finale will be held on Friday, Sept. 30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise, and competes in the Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

BimmerWorld Will Be Prepared for Anything at COTA

BimmerWorld-Will-Be-Prepared-For-Anything-At-COTA

The BimmerWorld Racing crew feels it needs to be ready for anything when it arrives at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) this week, as the state-of-the-art road course in Austin, Texas has dished up both high temperatures and strong rain during past visits by the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) series. The Dublin, Va.-based team will try to adapt to whatever comes its way during the series’ penultimate race of the 2016 season on Friday beginning at 1:40 p.m. Eastern time.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., and Tyler Cooke of Mathews, N.C. will share the team’s No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i, while its No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i will be driven by Jerry Kaufman of Mooresville, N.C. and Kyle Tilley of Bath, England. They all compete in the most popular class, Street Tuner (ST).

The four drivers of the team’s pair of turbocharged BMWs (F30 chassis) readily admit that the 3.4-mile track’s tight corners will challenge their heavy cars, but they hope to excel with fuel strategy and tire management to get to the front. The Texas heat will likely complicate the challenge for all the teams, as the track grip will be constantly changing. Managing the temperatures of both the engines and the drivers inside the cockpits will likely be crucial.

Every point is important at the series’ last two races of the year, which will both occur on Fridays. The season finale at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., is slated for Friday, Sept. 30.

This week’s action at COTA starts with a practice session at 2:25 PM Wednesday. A similar practice session is slated for 10:20 AM Thursday prior to ST qualifying at 2:35 PM and ending with Friday afternoon’s 2.5-hour race. A total of 25 ST cars and nine Grand Sport cars are entered.

The television broadcast will be on FOX Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 5 PM. Live video streaming and live timing and scoring will be available on imsa.com and imsa.tv. All times are EDT.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What do you think of COTA? Where does it rank among your favorite tracks, and why?

“COTA is an impressive track with fantastic facilities, but it isn’t high on my list of favorites as a driver of an ST car simply because it seems like a track that is best enjoyed with full aero and at least double the power. It is, however, quite technical with so many linked turns, and it is a challenge to drive, so I do like that aspect of it.”

One of the nice things about COTA is that it has big turns, making for the possibilities of various lines. Do you have one particular turn that you’ll want to work on in practice, and if so, which one and why?
“To me, the most challenging section is the section of ess curves from about Turn 2 through Turn 6, or even Turn 9. It is a balancing act of where to be fast and where to slow down to set up for the next turn in the sequence, and so much time can be made or lost in that area.”

What do you think will be the keys to the race?
“Every year at COTA has been different for us, so I have no idea what to expect. We do have a 20-turn racetrack with limited practice time, so showing up ready to rock is big. Past that, I think what it takes to succeed depends on the weather, and at this point, it may be hot or raining, both of which we have experienced before. I think we come to Texas knowing that we need to be prepared for anything.”

Last year’s race at COTA was extremely hot. How do you prepare for the heat, and what will you have in the car to try to stay cool?
“Being in a race car at this time of the year is extremely hot, and the turbos on our BMW F30 add to the experience. The season ramps into the heat, but you have to be physically fit and build a tolerance to performing in the heat. We always run a helmet blower to get fresh air, and even if it isn’t wildly cool it still cools the head. A CamelBak full of cold drink goes a long way, and I suspect many of my teammates will add a cool shirt to their wardrobe for the race.”

Heavier cars usually have markedly more tire wear at COTA than lighter cars. How does the BMW stack up, and in general, what can you do to save your tires?
“Saving tires has been a challenge for us this year. We are the heaviest car on the old standard 225/17-inch tires, and we fight to have enough rubber. We are awesome under the brakes, which is important with the long back straight leading into a tight left at COTA, but it takes tires to push the braking zone. I am hoping for cooler weather which will help with the turbo power to compensate, but, unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for the last couple of races.”

Do you have any ties to the FIA WEC? Are you looking forward to seeing that series in action, and if so, why?
“I am most focused on what our cars and team are doing during a race weekend, and while COTA is clearly a tremendous facility that we love visiting, and the WEC series is interesting to monitor, they are both a little out of my field of vision for our penultimate ST race of the year. In fact, besides our race and the best Mexican meals of the season, I am most excited to be at the point that all the team and series releases pull out ‘penultimate’ — the word we have worked so hard to get to as the season end nears!”

You mentioned that you love Mexican food. Do you have any recommendations for Mexican restaurants in the Austin area?
“Without question, Fonda San Miguel is the best Mexican we get all year long. I recommend no one go there so we don’t have to fight bigger crowds on our nightly visits!”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What do you think of COTA? Where does it rank among your favorite tracks, and why?

“I think COTA is one of the nicest tracks in the country, but it has always been a hard track for the BMWs. It isn’t the track I like the most, but it’s a really good track to drive.”

One of the nice things about COTA is that it has big turns, making for the possibilities of various lines. Do you have one particular turn that you’ll want to work on in practice, and if so, which one and why?
“The stadium section of the track is where there is a lot of passing and chances to gain time on the car in front. It’s a section where you need to try different lines because the lines change throughout the race as the tires wear down.”

How well do you think the BMWs are suited for COTA?
“It’s not the best track for us. The gearing isn’t the best, and the bigger chassis is tough to get through the tight corners.”

What do you think will be the keys to the race?
“Fuel strategy. It’s typically a race that doesn’t have many yellows.”

Last year’s race at COTA was extremely hot. How do you prepare for the heat, how do you train for it?
“Riding the bike and being able to coach other clients and work at racing schools keeps me in the car during the heat and helps with the fatigue. Another big factor is preparing mentally.”

Do you have any ties to the FIA WEC? Are you looking forward to seeing that series in action, and if so, why?
“I always love seeing the WEC cars. It’s a dream of mine to race in that series, and it’s amazing seeing the cars you saw race at Le Mans racing right in front of you.”

Do you ever get goosebumps or get really excited driving on an F1 course?
“It’s another race track. It’s so cool knowing the Formula 1 cars race there, but it can’t be approached like anything else other than a race track that we are going to battle hard on.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What do you think of COTA? Where does it rank among your favorite tracks, and why?

“Prior to this year, I’ve only seen COTA on TV, but it is as beautiful in person as it is in the videos. Of all the tracks I’ve been to, this place surprises me the most. There is never a sense that the track is easy to drive. The heat of Texas changes the track surface more dramatically than any other place I’ve been. This is definitely one of my new favorite tracks.”

One of the nice things about COTA is that it has big turns, making for the possibilities of various lines. Do you have one particular turn that you’ll want to work on in practice, and if so, which one and why?
“The big turns are the ones that lead onto the three big straightaways. Two of those turns have new curbing at track out to keep people from wandering off track onto the paved runoff to gain an advantage. This will make those corners even more difficult because of the precision needed to get a good run up the straights. That’s really hard to achieve when the track grip changes as much as it does at COTA.”

How well do you think the BMWs are suited for COTA?
“The BMWs have some great high-speed stability that will be critical at COTA, and the turbo motor gives us great torque low in the revs which should help us onto those big straights. We have a few disadvantages as well, but hopefully, we’ll get lucky and it won’t be super hot during the race. The BMWs really don’t like the heat as much as the non-turbo cars.”

What do you think will be the keys to the race?
“Honestly, I think it’ll be tire wear and getting in a good qualifying time. It’s not going to be a hard place to pass since it’s so wide, but that will take up a lot of time, which will give the leaders a chance to walk away from the pack.”

Last year’s race at COTA was extremely hot. How do you prepare for the heat, how do you train for it, and what will you have in the car to try to stay cool?
“My fiancé hates me sometimes because I try to acclimate myself to the heat, which means I try to minimize the use of air-conditioning both at home and in the car while going places. I’ve also started running in the afternoon rather than the morning. There is a good 20-degree difference. It hurts my running pace, but it helps in the car. I love the Cool Shirt-brand products. I do my best not to use them, but if it’s 88 degrees or warmer for a race, I always use them.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What do you think of COTA? Where does it rank among your favorite tracks, and why?

“COTA is probably my least favorite track on the calendar. It’s just very typical of a modern F1 track. It has lots of runoff and very little soul! That said, the wide-open turns of COTA allow for various overtaking moves, which should provide lots of great passing opportunities during the race. In particular, Turns 11 and 12 are ones that we will be sure to work on in practice.”

How well do you think the BMWs are suited for COTA?
“I think if COTA were anywhere else, the BMW would be an ideal car; however, with the Texas heat, I believe we may struggle, but we shall see. The key to our race will be managing our tires and engine temps.”

Last year’s race at COTA was extremely hot. How do you prepare for the heat, how do you train for it, and what will you have in the car to try to stay cool?
“In terms of managing the heat, being a former national champion cyclist, it is still something that plays a huge part in my training. I believe that this aids me greatly with the hot races. That, and the Cool Shirt which I’ve started to wear!”

Do you ever get goosebumps or get really excited driving on an F1 course? If so, when?
“There are certain tracks which excite me, not because they are F1 tracks, but because of their history — Spa Francorchamps, Watkins Glen and the Nurburgring, to name a few. Being a modern track, COTA doesn’t have that kind of history yet!”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise, and competes in the Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

BimmerWorld Moves on From Penultimate Round with Season Finale Ahead

postCOTANEWS

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

cotaimage

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 Heads South For Inaugural GRAND-AM Race At Circuit of The Americas

240COTApre

BimmerWorld Racing has had a month to think about this weekend’s GRAND-AM Continental Tires Series event at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX, and has its sights set on taming the 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course with the impressive handling and braking capabilities of its highly tuned BMWs.

Coming off the season-opening race at Daytona where the team placed two of its three cars inside the top 4, BimmerWorld is looking to carry over that momentum as the Dublin, VA.-based sports car team gets its first look at the Grand Prix facility as a team.

“Having not tested our E90 BMWs at CoTA, we will certainly need to quickly get them dialed in, but our standard setup is very well tested at this point and it shouldn’t take much to get the cars where we want them to be,” said BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay.

Years of in-house component development and tailoring of specific aftermarket packages for BimmerWorld’s customers will be put to good use at CoTA, as constant turning and hard braking zones will demand the ultimate performance from the team’s 328is.

“We continue to work with Performance Friction to make our strong point in braking even stronger and that was a major development item over the winter work – and CoTA will be a brutal testing ground for brakes,” Clay continued.  “I think this is huge as I feel braking will be challenging in a 2.5-hour race for everyone in the field.”

As one of BimmerWorld’s two race engineers and strategists David Wagener explains, most Continental Tire Series teams have not tested at CoTA, forcing BimmerWorld and the majority of the field to use chassis setup elements from other tracks to try out during the first practice session.

“Our base setups for both road course and ‘roval’ are both very good,” he said. “I don’t feel we will need more than a few tweaks in order to dial the car in.  I believe this work done in previous seasons will pay off for us at this track in both consistency and performance.”

Among the 3-car effort with the Nos. 80, 81 and 82 BimmerWorld BMWs, Gregory Liefooghe not only serves as the lead driver in the No. 81, but as a professional driving coach and also uses his knowledge to prepare his teammates for new tracks like CoTA.

“As I told the guys, I think the track can be divided in two parts,” said Liefooghe. “The first complex of corners all the way to Turn 9 is a very technical rhythm section and it will be important to have the car placed at the right spot and compromise the right corners in order to maximize speed throughout the section. I think most of the lap time will be made or lost there. The rest of the track is more standard and we will keep working on the base techniques we started to work on in Daytona.”

The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, shared by co-drivers Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers, scored a historic win when the series made its first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year, and as Rogers shares, he and Thomas would like nothing more than to add another ‘first time’ win on the series’ debut at CoTA.

“Seth and I are both excited to take the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW to CoTA, and a follow-on win to Indy would be incredible, but the long term goal here is also to consistently finish well in the points in order to maximize our opportunity for the Championship,” he said.  “Our goal in Austin will be to drive a smart, heads up race, and if we do that, we know that the results will come.  If that means a champagne bath on the podium at the end of the weekend, I don’t think either one of us will complain a bit!”

A mechanical issue prevented Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum from placing the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i inside the top 5 at Daytona, which has only served to motivate the duo to train harder and strike back at Round 2 in Texas.

“Round 1 definitely had its challenges but it presented great opportunities as well,” said Bloum, a Continental Series rookie. “There was so much to be learned from my first GRAND-AM race, and since Round 1, I have stepped up my regular exercise routine and added a couple of surf sessions a week for upper body strength. It’s one of the advantages of living in San Diego! Also, I like to spend as much time as I can on iRacing to learn the upcoming tracks. The practice helps get me as familiar with the venues as I can before I get there. We are certain that the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW will have a great finish at Circuit of the Americas.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team at CoTA with regular updates on www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the race when it airs on March 9th at 4 p.m. ET on SPEED.