BimmerWorld Racing Was In Line for Two Great Finishes Until the Tide Turned at Road Atlanta

BimmerWorld Racing Was In Line for Two Great Finishes Until the Tide Turned at Road Atlanta

If Friday’s two-hour season finale of the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series had been just 12 minutes shorter, BimmerWorld Racing would have finished the season with a podium and a top-five finish in the Street Tuner (ST) class with its pair of turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis). Unfortunately, the tide changed drastically for the Dublin, Va.-based team in the late stages of the race, with one car in a gravel trap and another hard into a concrete wall rimming the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course near Atlanta.

The No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW of team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. was in third when it ended up in the wall on what should have been a final restart. Luckily, Cooke escaped injury in a crash that he said was “probably one of the bigger hits I’ve ever been involved in.”

The team’s other ST car, the Powerflex No. 81 driven by Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif. and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, was fifth with 12 minutes to go when it pitted due to a leaking oil line. Liefooghe returned to the fray, but when the ABS system failed with 8 minutes remaining, he ended up in a gravel trap adjacent to Turn 6 that brought out the caution that set up the disastrous restart with two minutes to go. That restart resulted in the concertina accident that sent Cooke’s BMW hard into the wall off Turn 10, and the race finished under that yellow.

The finish was a stark contrast to how well things started. Clay qualified second and ran in that spot until he was pushed back to third right before the first yellow. He regained second on lap 23 and the race strategy seemed to be going in the team’s favor when Clay pitted for the driver change with 65 minutes remaining. Cooke was in third for the restart on lap 41 with 45 minutes remaining, and he led laps 42 and 43 after passing Tom Long. The Nissan that eventually won passed him at that point, but Cooke stayed in second until he and Long had a little contact that pushed Cooke back to third, where he remained until the violent finish.

The No. 81 contingent had a lot to cheer about for most of the race. Balogh qualified seventh and ran in the top-10 throughout his stint, doing his best to save the car for Liefooghe’s ending push. Balogh was as high as fourth at one point. Liefooghe was in sixth for the restart with 45 minutes remaining and up to fourth with 19 minutes remaining before slipping back to fifth right before pitting due to the leaking oil line.

Clay and Cooke ended up 12th in the race and sixth in the final ST driver point standings. Balogh and Liefooghe were credited with a 14th-place finish in the race and in the championship. The No. 84 ended the season in sixth in the ST team standings and the 81 was 13th. The No. 84 also won the VP Fuels Front Runner Award, while the No. 81 tied for third in those standings.

The race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “During the restart, we just reached the acceleration point, and I guess we accelerated when the leader did. It’s a little tough when you’ve got guys behind you that accelerated 100 feet earlier. Two teammates got together, and that’s silliness that didn’t need to happen. It’s unfortunate for them, and it’s certainly unfortunate for us because we were running a great race. We’re not happy with the result, and this is especially tough at the end of the year. There’s going to be somebody who wins, and we’re not those guys.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “I had a pretty good stint, but the car started to fall away really bad towards the end of the race. I was actually just happy to get this restart because I saw Owen [Trinkler] slowly coming back to us, and I knew the Audi was going to battle with him. If we could’ve got in front of Owen, we could’ve possibly got second in the championship.

“It’s such a bummer because the guys worked so hard. We had a really rough week and they’d been working on that car nonstop. They finally got it good, and we had a car that could’ve possibly won. We could’ve walked out of here with a good result, and if we had beat the [No.] 73 Mini, James would’ve gotten a trophy for the most poles, so it was definitely a heartbreaker. And it was definitely a big hit. Probably one of the bigger hits I’ve ever been involved in.”

What happened there at the end?
“It looked like the Nissan accelerated and then slammed on the brakes, and we’re all coming up behind while accelerating. I just talked to Tom Long who was in the [No.] 27, and he said he was in fourth gear. I mean, he was committed there. We were going green and he slammed on the brakes, so we had a traffic jam. Andrew in the 26 got hit really hard and got slammed into me. I guess he drove over the side of my car, and that’s what ended the race. It would’ve been one lap to the checkered flag, so it’s just a bummer. That’s not how we wanted to retire the car, but we get to focus on the M4 now. It’s just a bummer for the team. But you know what, hats off to the team; they busted their butts.”

Greg Liefooghe, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis, which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.): “The day was really good; it was definitely our best race of the season by far. Ari had a breakthrough in qualifying and raced really well, so we’re super happy about the progress we’ve made this season with him. The car was actually the best it’s ever felt, so it’s almost like we need to have a few more races on it. But the guys did a great job; the car was just awesome. We didn’t have the pace of the Nissan, but I think we had the fastest cars after that, so it was just a great effort from the whole team.”

What happened at the end?
“We had an oil leak and fixed it, and then my ABS failed. That’s how I ended up in the gravel trap.”

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 Racing Looks to End the Season on a High Note at Road Atlanta

BimmerWorld Racing Looks to End the Season on a High Note at Road Atlanta

BimmerWorld Racing and the other IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge teams are looking forward to a great finish to the 2017 season during their last race of the year on Friday afternoon, Oct. 6 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

The race supports the Motul Petit Le Mans IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship race the following day.

The Dublin, Va.-based team will field two turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) in the 18-car Street Tuner (ST) class for the two-hour Fox Factory 120. The ST cars will be joined by 13 Grand Sport (GS) cars on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C., are in a three-way tie for third in the team point standings with their OPTIMA Batteries No. 84. Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif. and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco will share the team’s Powerflex BMW No. 81.

Two practice sessions will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9:50 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. A third practice session will be held at 8 a.m. on race day prior to ST qualifying at 8:30 a.m. and GS qualifying at 8:45 a.m. An open-grid fan walk is slated for 12:55 p.m. to 1:40 p.m. before the 1:50 p.m. green flag.

Live video streaming and live timing and scoring will be offered on imsa.com and imsa.tv. from 1:40 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. All times are Eastern.

Since this is the last race of the year, do you think drivers take more chances than usual? The mindset of some seems to be to throw caution to the wind in the hopes for a great finish, knowing that there is time to repair the car over the winter. Do you feel this way?

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “I’m sure some will take more chances for that win or good finish, and some will take fewer to retain a championship position. We’re currently tied for third and not able to hit the top spot, so for me, the focus is closing out this season and our ST program as we move to GT4 next year with a win — which may mean we take a few chances to get there.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “Yes, this race usually has more contact. The drivers who aren’t in the championship want to finish the year with a good finish. The drivers who are in the championship, like us, have to take the chances but also drive smart at the same time.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.: “I don’t know that any drivers would take more or less risk than usual unless there is something valuable at stake like a championship for some, a win for others, or the last chance to prove what you have before the end of the season. The last half of the season has been very enjoyable. It’s no secret that IMSA is moving on and ST is not going to live long past 2018. It’s been very cool to see everybody running their cars full tilt, not worrying about BOP.”

Why is Road Atlanta a good track to host the season finale?

Tyler Cooke: “Because it has the long history of the Petit Le Mans and brings out fans from all over. It’s a track the separates the boys from the men and allows for a good show.”

Greg Liefooghe: “Road Atlanta is fun and rewarding to drive. The races end up always being super tight because of the long back straight that allows for drafting.”

Fuel mileage and tire wear seem to always be key factors to success in this series. What can you do as a driver to save fuel and tires at Road Atlanta?

James Clay: “The first half of Road Atlanta has a lot of part throttle, so managing that in traffic can help fuel consumption. Tires are almost always an issue here because of the heat, and this year seems to be more of the same.”

Tyler Cooke: “Rolling speed through the corner will allow us to save fuel and not spinning the tires off the corner will allow us to keep the tires under us.”

Greg Liefooghe: “It will be interesting to see what kind of tire wear the new pavement at Road Atlanta will produce. We know there will be some tough contenders there with the Audi and Nissan being so quick on the straights, so I’m not sure we’ll have the luxury of saving fuel.”

What will you do in the couple of months that there are no races? Do you have anything special planned?

James Clay: “Of course — more racing! I’ll be with friends at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in December again, and our GT4 M4s will come in this fall, which will require testing.”

Tyler Cooke: “Remodeling the kitchen at my place, doing some work around the country, and practicing on my simulator. Spending time with family is a big priority.”

Greg Liefooghe: “The two-month off-season tends to be really busy. We have some endurance races here and there and testing to prep for the next year. Daytona is right around the corner for everybody.”

No matter where you end up in the point standings, what were some of the big takeaways you had from the 2017 season?

James Clay: “The biggest accomplishment we’ve had this year, no matter how the season ends, is finally reaching the point in these F30 328i BMWs that we have reliable and strong race cars. Developing these technically advanced cars has been a monumental effort, both in money and effort expended, and it’s been brutal at times for everyone involved. As I look back on our record with not a single DNF to date and some pretty solid finishes, I’m really proud of our team and partners that got us here and the fact that we’ve been back to running a proper race team instead of constant development and money hemorrhage.”

Tyler Cooke: “How far we came from last year. Last year we were really far down in the points and had many failures. This year we’ve been right there for most of the year and now have a chance to finish on the championship podium.”

Greg Liefooghe: “Although we’ve lacked a bit of success, we’ve had a car that was capable to run up front at most of the races. Ari has been making great strides throughout the year, and he’s had some really good races, including the last one at Laguna where he was super quick for his whole stint. So the big takeaway from this year would be our progress.”

Is there anyone in particular that you’d like to thank for their efforts this season?

James Clay: “Everyone involved with our team this season has been a tremendous help, especially the BimmerWorld staff that has worked both at the shop and at events tirelessly to get our cars to this point, and it would be almost unfair to single out people from a group that has all put forth so much effort.”

Tyler Cooke: “The whole BimmerWorld team. I can’t single out anyone because if it wasn’t for everyone working as one we wouldn’t be in the position we’re now. They deserve most of the credit.”

Greg Liefooghe: “It’s hard to point out a particular person, as the whole team is working together for a common goal. James Clay did an unbelievable job leading the team and making the fastest 328i in the world. If only people knew how much work was involved in this project, I think they would be amazed at the technical knowledge that BimmerWorld applied to making these cars just run reliably, let alone run at the front.”

This is the last race of the year, which means that it’s also the race before the series’ most important race of the year, the 2018 season opener at Daytona. Do you have any plans for 2018 that you can divulge?

James Clay: “We have already indicated previously, but we are full speed ahead on a GT4 program with the BMW M4. We should have the first of our cars soon, and we’re eager to get testing!”

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.

Both BimmerWorld BMWs Finish in the Top 10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

BWR No. 81 - Both BimmerWorld BMWs Finish in the Top 10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

BimmerWorld Racing came away with a sixth- and an eighth-place finish in the Street Tuner (ST) class Saturday in the four-hour IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, Calif.

Two Californians — Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco — finished sixth in the Dublin, Va.-based team’s Powerflex No. 81, a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis).

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C., finished eighth with the OPTIMA Batteries No. 84. Unofficially, Clay and Cooke are now tied for fourth place in the ST point standings with four other drivers heading into the season finale Oct. 4-7 during the Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

Clay qualified fifth in the field of 17 Street Tuner cars on Friday with a time of 1:39.614, just 0.856 off the pole for the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course. He vaulted into third on the first lap, set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap two with a 1:40.780, moved into second place by lap three and even led eight laps from laps 22 through 29.

Clay was second when he pitted about one hour and 11 minutes into the race, but a problem with the car’s hood pin caused the right side of its hood to come up as Cooke was beginning his stint. Cooke was forced to pit about 10 minutes later so the pit crew could make repairs, but an even bigger problem occurred when another driver made contact with him at the exit of Turn 5 around lap 49, causing Cooke to spin. That pushed Cooke back to 12th place and forced the team to play catch-up the rest of the way, eventually securing eighth place.

The No. 81 topped the charts in the second practice session on Friday afternoon with Liefooghe’s 1:39.865, and Balogh qualified 11th later on Friday with a 1:40.334. Balogh was scored in the top-10 during most of his stint in Saturday’s race and had just been passed by his teammate, Cooke, for seventh place when he pitted around lap 83 for Liefooghe to take over. Liefooghe was sixth with one hour remaining and was able to hang on to finish the race in that position. Liefooghe set his car’s fastest lap of the race on lap 107 with a 1:40.745.

Saturday’s race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. More information can be found on the series’ Web site at imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “We had to figure out a lot of different factors this weekend with it being a longer endurance race. I think we did a really good job taking those factors into account and had some fast cars going into the race that could last the full four hours.

“There was weird stuff going on, and it is what it is, but I want to figure out what happened. I honestly think we should have finished better than we did; we were running strong all weekend, and I think we should have finished up front.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “This was very frustrating for us. We went out and our hood came up not even five laps in, so we had to bring the car right in to fix it. The guys got us back out there, and we fought our way back up but just couldn’t keep it. I’m looking forward to Road Atlanta. We had a fast car here, and I think we will have a fast car there to finish the season.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.: “I was really looking forward to this race. Although it was an endurance race for us, it was short enough that we could go all out. We had a good car, so it was a lot of fun.

“Road Atlanta has a lot of grip, so I’m looking forward to it. Our car has been good all season, so it should be a fun race and we can hopefully bring some hardware home for the BimmerWorld team.”

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 Racing to Tackle the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca This Weekend

Corkscrew - Bimmerworld Racing to Tackle the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca This Weekend

BimmerWorld Racing is looking forward to tackling the famous Corkscrew turn at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and perhaps even move up in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge point standings in the four-hour race at the renowned track near Monterey, Calif. this Saturday afternoon. The Dublin, Va.-based team will field two turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) in the Street Turner class for the race, which starts at 2 p.m. local time, 5 p.m. Eastern.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C., are currently fourth in the point standings with their OPTIMA Batteries No. 84 BMW. Two home-state drivers, Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, will share the team’s Powerflex No. 81 BMW.

Three practice sessions will be held on Friday at 11:45 a.m., 4:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. EDT. Qualifying for the 17 Street Tuner cars will follow at 8:30 p.m., while the 15 Grand Sport cars entered will qualify 15 minutes later. The race, one of only two four-hour events for the series this year, will start at 5 p.m. after a pre-race open-grid fan walk at 3:50 p.m. All of those times are Eastern.

Live video streaming and live timing and scoring will be offered on imsa.com and imsa.tv. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT.

This year is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s 60th anniversary. Do you have a favorite moment or memory about this track that you can share?

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “We’ve been racing at Laguna Seca since 2003. It’s really an iconic and challenging track, and it’s a lot of fun. But in those years, nothing very special stands out — so maybe it’s time to change that with our first F30 win!”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “Last year, Eric Foss and I had a really good battle for third right to the checkered flag. It gave the fans a good show to watch with the two of us sliding around and bumping. It’s really cool that my 60th race is at Laguna during its 60th anniversary.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.: “I’ve had lots of great memories there with BimmerWorld. We finished on the podium twice, and every time it’s been a hard-fought battle. I think the overall experience that you get at Laguna makes the best memories with the track being so close to Monterey and the weather always being great. Typical California!”

This track is famous for its Corkscrew turn. What is that like to drive?

James Clay: “This is a fantastic piece of pavement. In the past, I’ve pointed the car at some tree at the top, but these days it’s a feel thing on placement. Then it’s about as close as we get in a race car to jumping out of an airplane when you launch off the top.”

Tyler Cooke: “It takes your breath away the first time you do it. Turn 9 in the car really doesn’t feel like it drops that much, but when you walk the track you can tell the elevation. The Corkscrew is really special. If you ever run nose to tail or even sometimes side by side, you’ll get how that corner can reward or destroy you.”

Greg Liefooghe: “It’s always a lot of fun to drive this section. Turn 9 has a few line interpretations that depend on the car handling, which makes it an unusual corner, and T10 has a lot of camber at the apex. It takes a few laps to understand how much grip there is at that point of the track.”

The Corkscrew gets all the publicity, but is there another turn at Laguna that you think is especially challenging?

James Clay: “The most challenging for me is Turn 6. It’s so fast, with a cambered apex that requires the right touch of brake to get sucked into. I usually go ahead and get my off there done in the first session.”

Tyler Cooke: “Turns 3, 4, 5. It’s a flowing section of the track and a fun few corners to battle. You know when you get all of those right.”

Greg Liefooghe: “Turn 9 for me is the best corner on the track. When you get used to the blindness of the corner, the Corkscrew is just an easy, on-camber, slow-speed turn. Turn 9’s camber changes three times through the corners, which makes it challenging.”

Mazdas have earned five of the six podium positions in Street Tuner here for the last two years.  What will it take to beat them?

James Clay: “The low grip and number of transitions reward the Mazdas, or they have over the past few years. We were strong there last year though, finishing right off the podium, and we have solid cars that should do well in this longer, four-hour race. Now we just need that piece of luck to go with it.”

Tyler Cooke: “Pace and reliability. This is a four-hour race, and these cars are made to do two. Yes, Daytona was a four-hour as well, but it doesn’t have the stress on the car like Laguna. It’s going to come down to who’s there at the end.”

Greg Liefooghe: “I think we need them to break down. On a two-hour race at Laguna, the Mazdas usually lap all the field but four or five cars, so I’m expecting them to be hard to beat.”

IMSA has changed the length of this year’s race to a longer, four-hour format. How does your strategy change compared to the more common two-hour Continental Tire races this year?

James Clay: “We are sticking with two drivers per car for this event. As we close out the championship, we are minimizing our variables, so for us, hopefully the only difference is driving twice as long.”

Tyler Cooke: “It’ll come down to stretching the fuel as far as possible and not abusing equipment. If we can keep the car under us, we can battle to the end.”

Greg Liefooghe: “I love the four-hour format; it’s a lot of fun with more possible strategies than the usual one-stop, two-hour race. The winning strategy usually involves being the first one to do the last pit stop while still being able to finish the race on fuel. Laguna might be different. The tires get absolutely eaten up in a matter of a few laps, so having fuel AND tires at the end of the race will be important.”

James and Tyler, you’re fourth in the point standings, and still in the running for the championship. What will it take to move up? How optimistic are you?

James Clay: “We’ll have our heads down for another solid finish. The cars have never been better, and Tyler and I are clicking along. I like our chances.”

Tyler Cooke: “It’s a stretch, but we need a podium or win to move up and have the top two [entries] finish not so well. Crazy things have happened in racing, so we will see.

“Last year we had to drive through a lot of variables. James got hit hard during his stint last year, which bent the shock, and we had oil dripping on the tires. We feel like we have a better package this year to charge harder.”

Greg, you’re from San Francisco, and this is the only time the series competes in California. What is different about competing in your “home” race? Will you have family and friends on hand?

Greg Liefooghe: “It’s great to have a race on the West Coast. It would be great to have more. I would love to see Sonoma on the calendar as well. It’s also great to not have to travel for 12 hours to get to the track! We’ll have a lot of friends coming to see the race; lots of fun!”

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 Racing Finishes Second and Fifth At Its Home Track, VIR

BimmerWorld Racing Finishes Second and Fifth At Its Home Track, VIR

The BimmerWorld Racing team recorded its best results so far this year in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series when it won the pole and placed second and fifth with its two turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis) Street Tuner cars Saturday at its home track, VIRginia International Raceway.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. finished second in the Biscuitville Grand Prix with their OPTIMA Batteries No. 84, with a gap of just 1.352 seconds after two hours of competition.

Clay won the pole on Friday with a time of 2:03.584 and an average speed of 95.255 miles per hour. The car that eventually won qualified second and got the jump on the initial start, but Clay powered back into the lead before the first lap was completed and then led every lap of his stint. He stretched that lead to over three seconds at times before turning the car over to Cooke under a full-course caution with 56 minutes remaining in the race.

Cooke started his stint as the class leader after a strong pit stop, but the car that eventually won got the upper hand on a restart on lap 32 with 48 minutes to go. Cooke set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap 43 with a 2:05.026. He stayed in second place through his entire stint, and the strong finish moved the pair up to fourth in the point standings.

The No. 84 led the most laps for the second race in a row, topping the charts for 30 circuits to the winner’s 21.

Clay was also able to come through for the governor of Virginia who had a friendly bet with the governor of North Carolina over whose state’s driver would finish higher. Clay was second, while the N.C. governor’s choice finished 12th.

The Dublin, Va.-based team’s Powerflex BMW No. 81 also recorded its best finish of the season when Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif. and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco came in fifth. Balogh qualified seventh and then had a spectacular save after an off-course excursion at the start. He was in 13th place when he pitted for Liefooghe to take over, but Liefooghe was back in seventh by lap 33 when the second yellow came out after speedy pit work, some attrition, and good restarts. He moved into sixth on lap 42 with 16 minutes remaining by passing Andrew Carbonell, and fifth on lap 49 with just 2:50 to go by passing James Vance. Liefooghe set the entry’s fastest race lap on lap 44 with a 2:05.285.

The race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern.

Only two more events remain in the 2017 season: Sept. 22-24 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif., and Oct. 4-7 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. For more information, see imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“This is our home track, so we know the track and had the car set up well for it. Things have leveled out a little bit, so we have a good car in the field, and that’s super important. We were certainly hoping for a win at Road America, but the weather interfered. We were obviously hoping for the win today, and we just didn’t have the speed for the Nissan at the restart. We got jumped and couldn’t catch back up and couldn’t get around them — they drove a great race. I’m super proud of our team. Two cars in the top five; it was a pretty solid weekend. We have two more before the end of the year, so let’s see if we can win one of those.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had an awesome car throughout the whole weekend, and the track took a big change in my stint, so the car fell off a little different than we wanted it. It got really loose, and the track was ripping up with bits of the track surface digging into the tires. There was a lot of stuff going on, but it was a really fun battle with Owen [Trinkler]. He just had more straight line [speed] than me. I was trying my best through the corners, but he would just get down the straightaway a little better. Second place, home track — I’m pumped for that. It helped us in the points and helped us going into Laguna. We’re pretty good at Laguna, so here’s hoping for the best there.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
“I think it was a good race. It was definitely a battle from start to finish. You know, it’s funny, here the cars are all equal in terms of pace, but they all make their speed very differently, so it makes the race seem very interesting but very challenging at the same time. It was definitely a battle to come up through the pack. Ari was running really well. Unfortunately, there was something that happened at the end of the back straight, and we lost a bunch of positions there, but he ran a really good stint. The guys did great on the pit stop, and we gained a few positions there and then we moved up to P5, so it was a good day.”

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 Racing Is Excited for Their Home-track Race at VIR

BimmerWorld Racing Is Excited for Their Home-track Race at VIR

Southern hospitality will be very evident at the BimmerWorld Racing transporter this weekend as the two-car team from Dublin, Va. competes at its home track, VIRginia International Raceway.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. plan to show the Street Tuner (ST) field the way around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course with their No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis). The drivers of their sister car, Californians Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe, will be working hard to make it a one-two finish for BimmerWorld in Saturday’s 2-hour Biscuitville Grand Prix IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race with their No. 81 Powerflex BMW, although they’d prefer if the order was reversed. Last year Balogh and Liefooghe finished second in this race on a surface that had been recently repaved.

Clay won the pole at the series’ most recent race and led the most laps. He’s anxious to get right to work on Friday when two practice sessions will be held at 10:25 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. before qualifying sessions that evening. The two BimmerWorld BMWs and 16 other ST cars qualify at 6:55 p.m. while the 14 Grand Sport cars entered in the race qualify 15 minutes later to determine the starting lineup for Saturday’s race. Fans can walk among the cars on the grid at 1:15 p.m. Saturday before the track is cleared and the green flag drops at 2:10 p.m.

Live video streaming and live timing and scoring can be viewed on imsa.com and imsa.tv. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. All times are Eastern.

What do you like best about VIR?

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “I love VIR primarily because, as the saying goes, ‘there’s no place like home.’ And more than VIR being our closest and home track, everyone at the facility just goes above and beyond to make you feel welcome. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that our home track is a world-class facility that’s also one of my favorites to drive and race. It’s a real track, rooted in history, where you have to lay it on the line a little to be fast, and I really like that kind of track.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “I really like that the track was an old farm. You can see all the architecture from the old farm as well. It’s a very unique track and one of the coolest ones on the schedule.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.: “VIR is the best track in the United States. It has everything from high speed to low speed, curb hopping, technical parts, flowing parts. The layout is just so much fun to drive.”

Last year new track records were set in both classes with new pavement here, even though it was a wet race. If it’s dry, how likely do you think those records will be broken?

James Clay: “Every year our cars and the IMSA ST field get faster. I’m confident that, weather-dependent, we’ll see track records fall again this year.”

Tyler Cooke: “I think there will be a good chance it will be broken. This year alone we’ve broken quite a few track records.”

Greg Liefooghe: “It will be interesting to see what happens. In this competitive series, the cars go about 1 second quicker per lap every year. Having said that, the pavement hasn’t aged very well and doesn’t seem to have the amazing amount of grip that it had last year.”

How well suited is the VIR circuit for the BMW 328i (F30 chassis)?

James Clay: “This seems to be a good track for our cars and is certainly a good track for our drivers. As is expected, we spend more time here than any other track with our cars, and I anticipate we’ll be dialed in and ready to run at the front.”

Tyler Cooke: “Very good; we’ve always had a fast car there, just not the luck. It’s BimmerWorld’s home track, so we know how to make this thing run up front.”

Greg Liefooghe: “I think VIR will be a great track for our BMW. The car goes really well over curbs, the brakes are great, and we’re making good power to go up the massive back straight. I’m cautiously optimistic about our potential for a good result.”

Do you have a favorite VIR memory that you can share?

James Clay: “I have so many awesome VIR memories, so it’s hard to pick just one. Ultimately, I love the zen of this track, and my favorite memory is probably not a racing one. In the fall, in the late afternoon, when the sun is setting early and the track is cool and fast, I’ve had the opportunity to lap the track a few times in impressive machinery, and there is just something about those solo laps, with no traffic or other disruptions, that approaches perfection for me.”

Tyler Cooke: “My first ever car race outside of Florida was there in 2010, and the crazy elevation changes boggled my mind. It was definitely a track that started out with a good memory and has made many more.”

Greg Liefooghe: “Last year’s race was a lot of fun and a complete adventure. An unexpected storm brought complete chaos and we were able to take advantage of it and finish on the podium. It was definitely one for the history books.”

What would you say to anyone who is thinking about coming out to your race at VIR?

Tyler Cooke: “The race is just a great one to watch. The cars fall off a lot because of the heat, so it really comes down to a driver’s race and who can make the car last at the end.”

Greg Liefooghe: “Depending on the speed of the car, the uphill esses can be boring or the absolute best set of corners in the country. The braking zone at the end of the back straight is another highlight of the track.”

There will be a BMW Car Corral at VIR. Will you interact with it in any way? If so, how?

James Clay: “Our BMW people are always at our races in numbers, and it will be cool to see all the home crowd at this race. We have an official meet-and-greet on Saturday, but we’re looking forward to seeing friends all weekend long.”

Tyler Cooke: “James and I love talking to the BMW Corral. At the end of the day, they help us do what we do by giving us their support. We’ll talk and show them the ins and outs of the race team.”

Greg Liefooghe: “BimmerWorld has a ton of fans in the BMW Club, and with this race being our home race, friends and fans will be numerous. It’ll be exciting to share our experience with them.”

VIR has a wide variety of shooting facilities, including two skeet ranges. Have you ever participated in this type of activity? Have you ever done any other activity other than race at VIR? If so, what?

James Clay: “VIR has a lot more than just the track facilities. I’ve done karting, off-road courses, and both standard-range and long-range shooting. I’m still itching to get my hands on one of the old cop cars to run at nights with the lights off, which was at one time a standard part of one of their training programs.”

Tyler Cooke: “I did some shooting and it was interesting. I’m not a great shooter by any means, but it was cool to take part in it. The go-kart track is a very fun time with all the elevation changes and tight corners. It makes for some great racing.”

Greg Liefooghe: “We’ve had some fun go-kart races at the kart track. I definitely recommend it!”

Greg, last year you and Ari finished second in ST here in a Porsche. What will it take to get on the podium again this year with your BMW?

Greg Liefooghe: “We have a good car this year, and I think we’ll just need to put all the pieces together.”

Our race’s sponsor is Biscuitville, a quick-service chain in North Carolina and Virginia that serves Southern-inspired food. What is your favorite Southern dish?

James Clay: “We just visited the Biscuitville corporate headquarters last week with a car, and they are certainly one of our favorite places to grab breakfast in the area. I’ll narrow it down a little — my favorite biscuit Southern dish is biscuits and sausage gravy, or if I’m cooking country ham also, red-eye gravy.”

Tyler Cooke: “Eggs and biscuits! I got to meet everyone at the headquarters’ office, and they are some real race fans. I’m looking forward to seeing them all there!”

Greg Liefooghe: “What iz zis Southern food you speak 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 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 Racing Dominates Road America’s Rain-Shortened Race, Finishing Sixth

BimmerWorld Racing Dominates Road America’s Rain-Shortened Race, Finishing Sixth

BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay won the pole and then dominated Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at Road America in the Street Tuner (ST) class, but when the two-hour race was halted with 47:37 remaining due to lightning in the area, and never restarted, he and co-driver Tyler Cooke ended up finishing sixth. Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., led 23 of the race’s 28 laps.

Clay turned his No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis) over to Cooke, of Matthews, N.C., under a full-course caution flag for an accident with 56:16 to go, and the entry dropped to sixth due to the pit stop. Cooke was poised to continue at the front, but the race never restarted, and the pit cycle was never completed by a small portion of the field. The weather worsened and the red flag was displayed before the officials eventually called the race completion early.

Clay had started Saturday’s events by capturing the pole with a time of 2:31.288. During the race, the 84 BMW and the 73 MINI of Derek Jones broke away from the field early, with Clay maintaining the lead for the duration of his stint. Unfortunately, in what seemed to be a dominant performance, several cars on track maintained track position having not completed their required pit stop and were declared winners of the shortened event.

BimmerWorld Racing’s No. 81 Powerflex BMW finished right where it started, 11th in ST. Its starting driver, Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif., ran in the top 10 throughout his stint, but he had to make an emergency pit stop for fuel on lap 24 when the pits were closed. The rules stipulate that he would have had to stop again to allow his co-driver, Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, to get behind the wheel, but the red flag precluded Liefooghe from getting in the car.

The race can be seen on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Aug. 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

The next event will be held at BimmerWorld’s home track, Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., Aug. 25-27.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a fantastic car during a trying weekend, and we were able to put together a really solid car for the race. It obviously ran really well. We knew the weather was going to be variable, and I was fine with that. We ran well in the wet and ran well in the dry, and the variable weather put us in odd situations where we were clearly in a position to be on that podium, if not the top step. The weather put us in a situation where nobody knows who should be up there. It almost feels like they threw something on the wall to see what sticks, and that’s what happens. I know it’s a difficult situation all around, and I know nobody is probably really thrilled with how it shook out. It was a disappointment for us.

“The car was great in the dry and great in qualifying this morning. We clearly had the speed. I was a little cautious because of wanting to keep the car on track and not cause damage because that would have been the only thing to cause problems today. I lost that lead for a lap, but I regained it when the other car went a little wide. I hit marks all race long. We had a car to do that at speed. It would be great to have seen it execute all the way through the duration of the race with whatever the weather brought us and without a red flag and oddball stuff.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We got here on Thursday and practice got rained out because of lightning and all that, so we had no time on Thursday. On Friday morning it rained so much you could barely drive on the track on rain tires, so James did about a lap and I did an out and in lap and that’s all we had. Friday afternoon James had two laps and I had two laps, and we got the car pretty dialed in for wet-turning-dry conditions.

“This morning it was a dry track for the 20-minute session. James got two laps and I got two laps and he qualified on the pole. I don’t know what the official outcome of this race is going to be because all the cars that finished on the podium didn’t have their second drivers in yet. I don’t know what’s going on. We’re in the thick of the points hunt, so we really hope to see the results that jive with what we saw on track today.

“We were super confident going into the race. That’s the frustrating part. We had a car that could win. It’s a very confusing thing.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
“We didn’t get to drive a whole lot this weekend. Weather was the real story this weekend. Thursday was pretty much canceled. Friday was more or less a shake down because we thought the race was going to be dry so we didn’t focus too much on anything and just went out there to make sure everything worked well. Then this morning we had the chance to feel out the car in the dry.

“I think one of the positives of the weekend was Ari doing a good job in qualifying. He was really close to the top guys’ lap times. Everybody was really stacked up within a half second of each other in a really competitive field. The car was really good, so it’s too bad I didn’t get to race.

“Regarding the rain, it was the same for everybody, so you just have to drive what you have. I’m not sure how the results will come out but probably how it ended. Even though some cars pitted for driver changes and some did not, nobody broke any rules, so it will likely just stick how it is and be a bit of luck of the draw of how cars pitted and when the race ended.”

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 Racing Has Momentum Heading Into Road America

BimmerWorld Racing Has Momentum Heading Into Road America

BimmerWorld Racing finished in the top five two races ago, and the Dublin, Va.-based team finished on the podium in the most recent IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race. Can it duplicate those efforts or perhaps even win Saturday’s two-hour Road America 120 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.?

Team owner James Clay loves the track and says “It seems possibly in the cards.

“We’ve had a better season than the statistics show, I think,” said Clay, the Blacksburg, Va.-based driver who shares the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW with Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. “We lost an accessory belt at Daytona, had to conserve fuel at Sebring, and we had a wheel issue at Watkins Glen. I think we’re typically top-five capable, and with the recent balance of performance change to level the playing field a bit, we’re now better than before. A win here would be big, and this has certainly been a great track for us in the past.”

BimmerWorld Racing fields two turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) in the Street Tuner class. Two Californians — Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco — drive the No. 81 Powerflex BMW. They duplicated their previous best result of sixth this season at the last race at Lime Rock Park, and they’re sure to be contenders, too. They have been fast and ran at the front of the field in the late stages of races several times this season.

There are two practice sessions at 10 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. on Friday. Race day begins with a third practice session at 10:15 a.m. before Street Tuner qualifying at 10:45 a.m. and Grand Sport qualifying 15 minutes later. The open-grid fan walk is at 3:35 p.m., and the green flag drops on the race at 4:30 p.m. Those times are Central.

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 Sunday, Aug. 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
This is traditionally a good track for you. Why?
“I just love Road America. It’s a fast track, and I generally have a high level of comfort in areas that require hanging it out a little bit, which this track rewards.”

What changes to your mindset do you need to make in going from the shortest track on the schedule to the longest track on the schedule?
“The biggest challenges of this long track are getting laps in and opportunities to make changes. You have to identify your issues quickly to make progress on car setup because it will be about 2.5 minutes until the next opportunity to make a change, and you can easily burn time in a session and not make a lot of progress. I think we really nailed our setup at Lime Rock, and I think the short laps helped, as we were able to work through multiple items. We will have to be on our game this weekend to accomplish at the same level.”

Will you make any changes to the car for this race, and if so, in what areas?
“Our cars change in setup every race, and certainly we have some trends we have been working on. If I could crank up the boost for this one, that would be my ideal change, but that isn’t under our control. Instead, I’m sure we’ll work to maximize fast-corner rolling speed and deep or heavy braking performance.”

What do you think is the most advantageous turn to make a pass?
“With our PFC brake package, the hard braking zones of Road America are good to us. There are a few, and I don’t like to give away my favorites, but one of my favorite racing moments was a pass on the outside into Turn 5 for the win back in the Touring Car days. I love that turn!”

Why is the Kink at Road America so special?
“The Kink is an amazing turn and my favorite type. You have to decide if you can go flat, with a lift only, or with a touch of the brakes; through the duration of a stint, and with a range of weather and tire degradation, all of those answers are possible. A fast, high-risk but high-reward turn like the Kink where you just might want to stay flat calls you into either greatness or a massively painful error.”

What’s your favorite food served at Road America?
“This is an impossible question to answer! Road America has the best track food of any venue we visit! The mint soft-serve ice cream, RGB potatoes, and of course a double-brat are strong contenders, but this is also a favorite of our transport driver Dave Taylor, and I am going to say that he will outdo them all with Wisconsin inspired and supplied pierogies and cabbage rolls.”

It was just announced that the series will not appear at CoTA in 2018, but it will run at Mid-Ohio for the first time since 2013. How excited will you be to return to Mid-Ohio?
“I’ll miss CoTA because I do love Austin and Texas in general. Mid-Ohio is a good track and a nice area and a venue we visited for years. I’ll enjoy going back there, and it certainly helps that it’s only about five hours from the shop.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
This is traditionally a good track for you. Why?
“Road America typically is a good track that suits the BMW. We’ve always had good pace there, and Greg and I won there in 2013. I think we have a shot for a good finish this year.”

What changes to your mindset do you need to make in going from the shortest track on the schedule to the longest track on the schedule?
“Not too much. You have to treat it like any other track and buckle down. Each track has its challenges.”

Two races ago (Mosport) you got your first top-five of the season. At the last race (Lime Rock) you got your first podium of the season. Can you get your first victory of the season at Road America? What will it take, and how important is momentum?
“We hope, but there aren’t any guarantees in racing. Both those finishes helped the team’s attitude, as well as James and I, leading into this one. It’s going to take consistency and keeping the car under us.”

What do you think is the most advantageous turn to make a pass?
“Turn 5 and Canada Corner. If you can work up the courage to carry a lot of speed into those and out-brake your competitor, it will be good for you.”

Why is the Kink at Road America so special?
“It’s a corner that teaches lessons, and you have to respect it. One mistake can put you hard into a wall and rattle your cage quite a bit.”

There is a bike ride to fight cancer on Friday, and Road America also has a disc golf course and a zip line. Have you done any of these things there?
“I did the zip line with my girlfriend, and that was crazy. It was amazing to see the track from that perspective.”

What’s your favorite food served at Road America?
“Since it’s the land of cheese, I’m going to go with a cheeseburger!”

What is the most unusual thing you’ve autographed?
“One of the craziest things I autographed is a head, but you love it because that’s a true fan. At the Nürburgring earlier this year, a guy had one to two photos of every pro car I’ve driven since 2012.”

It was just announced that the series will not appear at COTA in 2018, but it will run at Mid-Ohio for the first time since 2013. How excited will you be to return to Mid-Ohio?
“I’m excited about it. Mid-Ohio is a challenging track to race on, but it’s a great track to make laps. It usually brings out a lot of fans, and there is always a lot of action. It will be nice going back there.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
This is traditionally a good track for you. Why?
“Road America suits BMWs well in general, as our brakes are good and can last the whole race without worrying about wear. The torque from our motors going up the hills is also favorable.”

What changes to your mindset do you need to make in going from the shortest track on the schedule to the longest track on the schedule?
“It’s definitely a different kind of track. Road America is much less of a rhythm track than Lime Rock. Hitting your marks is very important here. There are quite a few passing zones as well, which makes the racing really good.”

You and Ari duplicated your best finish of the season so far when you placed sixth at the most recent race. What will it take to get a top-five, and what will it take to get a podium?
“Even though on paper it shows that our best finishes were sixth this season, we were really quick on a couple of occasions and knocking on the podium’s door near the end of the race. I think we just need to put a whole race together.”

How many times will you shift per lap at Road America?
“There are about 20 shifts per lap. We use a stock gearbox with OEM gear ratio, so there is a fairly wide spread between gears. It’s much busier with real race sequential gearboxes.”

What do you think is the most advantageous turn to make a pass?
“I think Canada Corner is the best place to pass. There’s a long straight before that corner which means the draft works well.”

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 Racing Captures Podium Finish at the Lime Rock Park 120 Race

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Podium Finish at the Lime Rock Park 120 Race

BimmerWorld Racing owner James Clay and co-driver Tyler Cooke recorded their best finish of the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series so far this year when they placed third in the Street Tuner (ST class) Saturday at Lime Rock Park with their BimmerWorld Racing No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis).

Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe also had an excellent result in the two-hour contest, as they placed sixth in a similar car fielded by the Dublin, Va.-based team, the No. 81 Powerflex BMW, to duplicate their best result of the season to date.

Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., qualified fourth, just 0.360 of a second off the pole-winning time for the 1.53-mile, seven-turn road course about 100 miles from New York City. He set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap four and remained in fourth place throughout his stint until he led four laps around the halfway mark when the top three cars pitted under green. He pitted shortly thereafter for fuel, fresh Continental tires, and to turn the car over to teammate Cooke, of Matthews, N.C.

Cooke was back in fourth place only seven laps later. He advanced to third on lap 102 with about 14:20 remaining when the drivers who had been second and third tangled in front of him. The one who had been third got the worse end of that tussle and ended up in a tire barrier, and a little later Cooke brought his BMW home for the final podium position.

Balogh, of Menlo Park, Calif., qualified 16th but he’d advanced to ninth before most of his rivals began their pit stops, and he was fourth when he pitted under green to turn his BMW over to Liefooghe, of San Francisco. The latter was ninth at the halfway point before rising to sixth at the finish despite a track that was getting more slippery by the minute.

The race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The next event is Aug. 3-6 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. More information is available at imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I think we probably got what we could have gotten today, and maybe a little bit more. We definitely didn’t have the pace of the MX-5s on the track, but we had a good pace. We had two consistent cars. We were more consistent than I thought we’d be. The car didn’t fall off, and that was one of our biggest concerns. We were able to gap everybody behind us and keep the car in a good position to turn it over to Tyler. Tyler had a heck of a drive, and we’re pretty happy.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Not bad. Finishing third at Lime Rock is like a win for pretty much any car in the field. It was a great race. The track really fell off at the end, but we were running a consistent pace. We held it in fourth and then moved into third.

“The guys did an amazing job. We had a short time period to get this car ready, but they nailed it. Hats off to BimmerWorld, all the sponsors, and BMW North America.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
“The car was good. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying but in the race, we were really good. I think we can be happy with the results. The car ran really well. We found some speed this weekend. I’m pretty happy. Ari drove the first stint very well, and the car was really good.

“I think Road America is going to be a good track for us. We’re a little bit more of a power car than a handling car, so we might have a little bit of an advantage there so we’re looking forward to that.”

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 Racing Ready to Rock at the Lime Rock Park 120

BimmerWorld Racing Ready to Rock at the Lime Rock Park 120

The 15-minute qualifying session for the Street Tuner (ST) class of the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series at 3:40 p.m. Friday at Lime Rock Park may be the most important qualifying session of the season for the class. That’s because it will set the grid for the start of the series’ 2-hour race on Saturday at 10:25 a.m. at the bullring in Lakeville, Conn., and where one starts this race could be vitally important to where one finishes. Passing is difficult on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn road course, and it’s easy to go down a lap there and never get it back. Last year’s race had zero full-course caution flags to bunch up the field, and the race is 30 minutes shorter than it was last year.

All those things and more will be on the mind of James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., the owner of BimmerWorld Racing. He qualified fifth for this race last year, just 0.405 off the pole, in the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW he shares with Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. Clay’s Dublin, Va.-based team also fields the No. 81 Powerflex BMW driven by Californians Greg Liefooghe and Ari Balogh. Both cars are turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis).

There are two practice sessions at 10:05 a.m. and 1:20 p.m. on Friday before the all-important qualifying sessions for the 18 cars in the ST class at 3:40 p.m. and the 13 cars in the Grand Sport class at 3:55 p.m. There will be an open-grid fan walk from 9:15 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Saturday before the Lime Rock Park 120 starts 25 minutes later.

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 Sunday, July 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
How well suited is Lime Rock to your BMWs?
“It is always tough to predict how our cars will perform, and what strengths one year remain strengths coming into another year’s race. The balance of the field is dynamic both in development and BoP changes. Certainly, the small bit of weight our cars lost recently in the last round of adjustments will hopefully help our cars stay under us for longer runs. A BMW is a well-rounded performance car platform and we are generally pretty capable in a lot of areas. I do think Lime Rock has favored our cars in the past, and I am optimistic that we’re headed there with a strong package for some good results this weekend.”

Since it’s hard to pass at Lime Rock, how important will qualifying be? How do you think you’ll fare?
“Qualifying at the front and racing at the front are critical at Lime Rock, more than any other track we visit. Not only is the track hard to pass on, but the short lap length means the front-runners will be lapping the field in short order, making it difficult for a lapped car to have a top result. I know we qualify well, and we will work to maximize our results.”

Lapped traffic can make things difficult at Lime Rock. Is there a type of car that you dread to see up ahead to pass because it takes turns so differently than you do in your BMW? If so, what car would that be?
“I think the biggest struggle at Lime Rock is the GS class. On a track with long straights, the two classes are well divided, but in this little bullring, the GS cars don’t have a lot of time to flex their straight-line speed and our ST cars are quite capable in the corners, so I anticipate that being a major factor, especially at the start of the race.”

Do you feel you have a bit of an edge here with your brake package?
“Performance Friction has worked with us through this season to further develop our brake package, and in a season when we have struggled in a straight line, brakes have been an important advantage for us. Lime Rock certainly has some light and transitional braking, which has been our focus of work. We are good under braking this year and always, and I hope to see it as a component to work our way to the front.”

How important is it that IMSA races in the New York market? Will you have any sponsors attending this race? What about manufacturer reps, since BMW North America is located in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.?
“This track is in the back yard of BMW’s New Jersey corporate headquarters, and we always see a lot of friends from BMW, as well as customers and business partners in this large New York and Northeast market. A solid result here in front of this crowd is very important to us.”

When you think of all the tracks that the series competes on, is Lime Rock one of the most difficult tracks, one of the easiest tracks, or somewhere in the middle, and why?
“Lime Rock is a relatively simple track to drive, very difficult to master, and overall a tough track to race because times matter down to the hundredths. You hardly have a moment to breathe with no significant straights and under a minute before you pass start/finish to do it all again. But it is a beautiful area, and this race is one I enjoy immensely.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
Since it’s hard to pass at Lime Rock, how important will qualifying be? How do you think you’ll fare?
“Qualifying is always important at Lime Rock. If you get too far behind, you’ll lose a lap, and it’s hard to rebound from that. We feel we have a car that can qualify up front and run up front.”

Lime Rock is the nation’s oldest continuously operating road course. Do you get that sense of history when you race here? If so, in what way?
“You do because you see the old pictures and videos, and when you drive it, you can see all the original architecture still there. It’s still an old-school track which everyone loves.”

Lapped traffic can make things difficult at Lime Rock. Is there a type of car that you dread to see up ahead to pass because it takes turns so differently than you do in your BMW? If so, what car would that be?
“The Porsche and Mazda MX-5 are two tough cars to pass. The MX-5 is lighter and smaller which helps it through the tight track, and the lack of straights really helps its overall performance. The Porsche is a center-engine car which allows it to rotate better, and it has good legs down the straights.”

What other track that you race on is most similar to Lime Rock, and why?
“I’d say Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It has the same characteristics as the downhill at Lime Rock but nothing can come close to the uphill.”

When you think of all the tracks that the series competes on, is Lime Rock one of the most difficult tracks, one of the easiest tracks, or somewhere in the middle, and why?
“I’d say somewhere in the middle. All the tracks have their own difficulties that make it hard to race wheel to wheel. Having the confidence to do it is what makes one track easier than the next.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
Lime Rock is the nation’s oldest continuously operating road course. Do you get that sense of history when you race here? If so, in what way?
“Lime Rock’s history is really what makes the track. Driving over the wooden bridge to get in and being so close to the cars on track at all times makes for a great experience.”

What other track that you race on is most similar to Lime Rock, and why?
“Lime Rock’s layout stands out as you are basically in a corner at all times. The only track that comes close to that is Mosport.”

When you think of all the tracks that the series competes on, is Lime Rock one of the most difficult tracks, one of the easiest tracks, or somewhere in the middle, and why?
“Lime Rock has to be one of the hardest tracks to race on. Unless your car has a big advantage in one of the sections, it’s a no-passing zone. With the super-short lap, it’s also easy to go a lap down with a small mistake.”

Are the Lime Rock fans any different than fans you meet elsewhere? If so, in what way?
“Lime Rock fans remind me a lot of Mosport’s fans. They’re into racing and most of them have been coming to the track for a long time.”

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 Racing Leads Most Laps And Finishes Fifth in ST at CTMP

BimmerWorld Racing Leads Most Laps And Finishes Fifth in ST at CTMP

The BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis) No. 84 of Tyler Cooke and team owner James Clay led more laps than any other car in the Street Tuner (ST) class during Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP, aka Mosport), and finished fifth in class in the two-hour contest.

Cooke, of Matthews, N.C., qualified just 0.154 off the pole, took the lead going into Turn 1 on the first lap, and led the first 35 laps. At one point, his lead was over 8 seconds over his nearest rival before he pitted for fuel, fresh Continental tires, and for Clay to take over under the race’s sole full-course caution. Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., started his stint in second place. He dropped to fourth during a fierce battle around lap 44, and still finished fifth despite getting hit at least twice in the very heated competition.

Despite a heroic effort by the BimmerWorld crew to make repairs, the No. 84’s sister car, the Powerflex No. 81 driven by Californians Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe was withdrawn from the event after an accident Friday in the first practice session. Luckily, Balogh was not hurt.

Highlights of the race will be shown on Fox Sports 1 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, July 15.

The action moves to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. July 21-22. More information can be found on IMSA.com and BimmerWorldRacing.com.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It’s frustrating. You can say we had more progress, yet it feels like we’re slowly falling backward. If you look at the straight speeds, the Mazdas are clearly down, but they make it up in the turns. Our car is heavy, so we’re not where we used to be in the speed charts, and by the end of the stint, you’re just hanging onto the car.

“It was a good effort for what we had. Tyler did a heck of a job, but when things start to get hot and heavy in that second stint, we just don’t have the same speed. Once the sun came out and temps went up, we knew it wasn’t going to be good for us.

“I have a couple strengths on this track, and I exercised those strengths. It worked perfectly fine a lot of times, but a couple guys out there just didn’t want to be side by side in the turns, which is really unfortunate. I had a fully clean car up until this race, and this is not really how I prefer to race. Nobody likes to play the game like this.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We worked hard on the setup to get ready for qualifying and lost the pole by a tenth, but the team worked really worked hard, and they gave us a great car for this race. Things just didn’t play out to our favor. James had some contact, but it wasn’t his fault. Hats off to the team. I can’t thank them enough. They really buckled down and gave us a great car, and we ran in the top five.

“Hopefully, Lime Rock might be a little better, and we’re off to a great start to the rest of the summer.

“COTA is always our bad track, but we were running up front there as well before the car just kind of went away from us. But in the period we had off from racing, the guys really busted their butts and made some big changes that have really improved the car. We’re witnessing that now. So hats off to the team, our sponsors, and the fans.”

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.

Both BimmerWorld Racing BMWs Finish in the Top 10 at Watkins Glen

Both BimmerWorld Racing BMWs Finish in the Top 10 at Watkins Glen

Both BimmerWorld Racing turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis) race cars finished in the top 10 in the Street Tuner class Saturday at Watkins Glen International in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race.

Californians Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco came from a 17th-place starting position with their Powerflex-sponsored No. 81 to finish seventh in class in the two-hour race for the Dublin, Va.-based team.

Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. qualified third in the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries car that he shares with team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. Things started off well for Cooke when he charged into second place on the opening lap, but seconds later the car’s right-front wheel fell off. Cooke slowed in Turn 6 and made it back to the pits, but the entry lost a lap before repairs were made and he could return to the fray. The duo played catch-up the rest of the way, made up the lap, and made it back up to ninth before time ran out.

Balogh got a good start, rising to 13th initially. He had advanced to ninth when the event was red-flagged around the halfway point due to lightning in the area. The team’s pit stop and driver change went well, and Liefooghe started his stint in tenth place. He moved into eighth with four minutes remaining when Spencer Pumpelly lost power in Turn 9 on lap 38. Liefooghe advanced to seventh on the following lap when he passed Connor Bloum. Both drivers managed their Continental tires well and Liefooghe’s fastest lap came late, on lap 37.

Once he had four wheels again, Cooke set his car’s fastest lap of the race on lap nine while he was 21st and last in class. He was 18th during the red-flag period and was 16th with 46:22 remaining. Clay then started his stint and got the lap back around lap 30 while in 13th. He was 11th by lap 32, and with 9:15 to go, he climbed to tenth, right behind Liefooghe. Pumpelly’s misfortune gave them both another spot, and Clay took the checkered flag in ninth place.

The race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 9 from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern.

The action moves to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario next weekend. More information can be found on IMSA.com and BimmerWorldRacing.com.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a solid day but certainly a trying day. The whole weekend leading up to this has been a little bit variable. We’ve had some red flags, weather, and we came here without a promoter test day. We also arrived with a new setup. We needed to perfect it, and we didn’t necessarily get the time, but it turned out better than I would have thought. We had good, capable cars to race with. We had a wheel fall off, and Tyler did a heck of a job recovering, keeping his head straight while driving.

“The guys diagnosed the problem, got it resolved, and got the car back on track. We had great pit strategy and got a lap back, and at the end, we had something left to race through the field. Given what we were dealing with this weekend, I couldn’t be happier, but overall we didn’t get exactly what we wanted.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We went from third to second at the start, which was great. The team has worked really hard this weekend, and it was a little boost to be running second.

“I had a huge vibration on the front end. The typical vibration we’ve been having all weekend was due to the brakes, so we kind of chocked it up to the brakes. Turning into the corner, the only thing that was weird to me was that going up to the esses it felt like the front end was floating, I wasn’t getting any grip, and I was starting to really save the car through there. I thought, ‘This is weird.’

“I came off the gas in the ‘Carousel,’ and the front end did a big wobble, and going into the Laces the front wheel passed me. First off, kudos to the front wheel — it just beat me. But second, it was a real bummer!

“I got the car back to the pits, and the team worked really hard, got a new wheel on, and we went back out and got our lap back. James got up to ninth. So to come away with a ninth after all that wasn’t bad. I mean, what a rainstorm… everything that could have happened in that race happened.

“Thanks to all the fans who stuck it out there through the rain. That’s what you call dedication. We can’t be here without them. Thanks also to our sponsors; without them, we wouldn’t be here either. Thanks to the team. Mosport is in a week; I’m looking forward to it.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
“We were fighting a little bit of a turbo issue the whole weekend. The car was fast but it was very specific to drive so it took me a few laps to get used to it. In this series, if you breathe through a couple laps, you’re going backward. So I went backward, settled, and after that, the car was really, really good. Hats off to the guys. I think we could have done better if I wouldn’t have lost so much right at the start.

“It’s hard to race like this, but the car was clearly fast. I wish it could have been a little better, but I think it’s good for going into Mosport; the car is in one piece, and I think we made some progress on the chassis.”

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 Racing Ready for Busy Summer Schedule Starting with Watkins Glen Saturday, July 1

BimmerWorld-Racing-Ready-for-Busy-Summer-Schedule-Starting-with-Watkins-Glen-Saturday,-July-1

The old Nat King Cole song that speaks of “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” had one thing wrong where BimmerWorld Racing is concerned. Although the summer may have just begun, and it may bring hazy skies and crazy on-track action, it’s hardly lazy for the Dublin, Va.-based team and its fellow competitors in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (ICTSC) series. Beginning with a two-hour race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on Saturday, July 1, the team will field two turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis) cars in four ICTSC races over six weeks.

That’s not all team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his associates have on their plates, either. Clay just returned from Germany where he participated in the team’s first running of the Nürburgring 24-hour race in late May, and he just finished up the team’s first attempt at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.

“Both have been amazing experiences for me personally as well as for our team,” Clay said. “I’ve definitely stepped outside my normal box this year, and I’m sure the experiences will expand our horizons as a business and my skill set as a driver. It’s been an insanely busy spring, and I’m looking forward to this coming stretch of IMSA races where things get back to normal!

“Our BimmerWorld team has fantastic depth, and I have a good group of managers, engineers, and partners all driving the team forward,” he added. “I’ve been focused on an array of other activities, but I stay involved in the race business, and the core guys of this team keep doing their part to ensure we’re well-prepared for this coming stretch of races.

“We have solid cars this year and even with some issues, we’re at the front on any given weekend. We just need to string some of those together in the coming cluster of races to move the cars to the top of the season standings. We have good tracks coming for our cars, and I think we’re all more optimistic than ever.”

One thing is certain — the BimmerWorld drivers love to compete at Watkins Glen.

The Continental Tire 120 at The Glen has attracted 15 Grand Sport (GS) entries and 21 entries in the class that BimmerWorld competes in, Street Tuner (ST).

There are two practice sessions scheduled for 2:55 p.m. on Thursday and 8 a.m. on Friday. ST qualifying is at 1:35 p.m. and GS qualifying is at 1:50 p.m. on Friday. Saturday’s schedule shows the open-grid fan walk at 1:20 p.m., and the two-hour race starting at 2:25 p.m. All times are Eastern.

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 Sunday, July 9 from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
Where does Watkins Glen stand on your list of tracks?

“I love Watkins for the scenic views from the top of the hill. I can clearly remember the view going into Turn 1 the first time I raced this track. It’s fast and flowing, with enough technical components to make it a fun challenge.”

Is there any attraction, restaurant or hotel in the area that you’re looking forward to re-visiting?
“If the weather is nice, I’ll be looking for a hike in the falls, followed by a trip to Great Escapes for ice cream!”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
The schedule is intense now, with four races in six weeks. How have you been preparing for this?

“Practicing on the simulator, getting ready for the tracks we are going to, and doing as much endurance training as possible.”

What will be the keys to doing well here, particularly with your BMW?
“How we keep the tires under us and stretching the fuel as far as possible are the keys points to manage at The Glen. The guys did a great stop at COTA and now at Watkins, we can possibly capitalize on it. It’s a good track for us.”

What other track that you’ve raced on is most like Watkins Glen?
“It’s not easy to compare because it has its own features. The high speed of a Road America and Road Atlanta, the bus stop of Daytona, and the slow speed of VIR come to mind.”

Where does Watkins Glen stand on your list of tracks?
“Watkins Glen is in my top five. It’s a track that always has good racing and it’s a technical track as well. They’re many different corners that really make the track challenging.”

What are your thoughts on racing at such a historical circuit like Watkins Glen? How does it feel to walk in the shoes of some of the sport’s most famous drivers?
“You can really feel the history of this place watching videos of old famous cars driven by the heroes of racing, driving the same corners we drive today. Of course, we have more safety measures today, but not much else has changed.”

Is there any attraction, restaurant or hotel in the area that you’re looking forward to re-visiting?
“Hiking the Falls is always something I look forward to and eating at Jerlando’s Italian in Watkins Glen.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
The schedule is intense now, with four races in six weeks. How have you been preparing for this?

“I’ve been lucky enough to race in World Challenge as well this season, and there’s no better preparation for a driver than to keep racing!”

What will be the keys to doing well here, particularly with your BMW?
“Our BMW should be good around Watkins. There are a lot of elevation changes and especially a lot of corner exits that are uphill, which means the torque from our turbos will help coming out of those specific corners.”

What other track that you’ve raced on is most like Watkins Glen?
“There really is no comparison to the flowing nature of Watkins Glen. It’s in a league of its own. Since the repaving, the track has major grip. The only track that comes close in that aspect is VIR.”

Where does Watkins Glen stand on your list of tracks?
“Watkins Glen is in my top five. The course has a flow that is just awesome.”

Is there any attraction, restaurant or hotel in the area that you’re looking forward to re-visiting?
“The two main attractions around Watkins Glen are the Seneca Lodge and the Harbor Hotel, without forgetting the Panera Bread in Elmira, which is Tyler’s favorite.”

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.

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’s BMWs Dominant at Sebring But Settle for Less

BimmerWorlds-BMWs-Dominant-at-Sebring-But-Settle-for-Less-in-Finishing-Positions

BimmerWorld Racing team owner/driver James Clay led every lap of the first half of Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway in the Street Tuner division after qualifying second, just 0.182 off the pole. He was able to stretch his lead to over three seconds at one point. Unfortunately, a problem adding fuel to the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis) around the halfway point caused the entry to have an extended pit stop, taking 2:01.695, and Clay’s co-driver, Tyler Cooke, started his stint from 13th place. Cooke then produced a drive that was equally as amazing as Clay’s had been, as he had battled back to sixth place when the checkered dropped at the end of two hours, just 0.035 out of a top-five finish.

The drivers of the No. 84’s sister car, Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe, had a totally different approach but they were also left wondering about what could have been with their No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i. Balogh started 14th in class and kept the car out of trouble during his stint, advancing into the top 10. Their car’s pit stop at the halfway point only took 1:28.595 seconds, and Liefooghe started his stint in seventh place.

With 51 minutes to go he cracked the top five on lap 25, and one lap later he passed a Porsche for fourth. Liefooghe stayed in fourth place for the next 14 laps until he was passed on a restart with only 15 minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the top-five finish disappeared with just four minutes remaining when the car ran out of fuel, dropping to 15th at the checkered.

The race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday, March 26.

The series takes a month off and then travels to the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, for Round 3 on May 4-6.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Today’s race was awesome for me. Being at the back of the GS field on the start, I passed about three of the GS cars and that was enough to provide a buffer for me with the other cars behind me, so I was able to maintain a gap. I felt really good about that, and I felt really good about the car we had under us today.

We had an issue with a pit stop and our fueling; something with the dry break nozzle. We haven’t figured it out yet, but the fuel stop was terrible.

We sat there for extra time, and we were fairly confident we got a full load of fuel. The other car had a similar issue. We’re baffled and very frustrated that we had one car that ran out of gas.

I don’t know if that was related to the fueling issue because we know that we’re really short on fuel this year with the fuel tank change and our fuel economy, which seems to have gotten worse. But at least our car finished, and I have to feel good about that.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a really strong car. James led a lot of the race, which is a big confidence booster.

There was a lot of hard driving out there. That’s why we race; we race for the intensity, and there was a lot of intense driving out there. It wasn’t easy to come through the pack, but they gave us a great car, and we moved up seven positions, which was stellar. You can’t ask a team for more than that.

It’s really unfortunate for the No. 81 car, because we could have had two very strong finishes, and the team would have had big smiles all around. But now we have to do some homework and get them at COTA. It’s going to be a tough race because it’ll be hot, and it’s really going to test these cars.”

Greg Liefooghe, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I thought we had a really good pit stop. I think we may have been a little short-filled [with fuel], which is why we had a little lower pit stop time than the other guys.

We moved up at that point. The car was super-strong all race long — super consistent. We didn’t really use the tires. The motor felt good all stint long.

I’m just really disappointed because we were right there. The other guys were super-strong too, but we were definitely able to mix it up with them.

I think we had a podium car. Whether or not we would’ve finished on the podium, I don’t know, but I think we had a fighting chance.”

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 Has a Myriad of Reasons to Look Forward to Sebring, Including The Fact Its BMWs Are Well Suited for the Track

BimmerWorld-Has-a-Myriad-of-Reasons-to-Look-Forward-to-Sebring,-Including-The-Fact-Its-BMWs-Are-Well-Suited-for-the-Track

BimmerWorld Racing considers the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series’ annual visit to Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida, one of the highlights of the season for five main reasons.

First is the opportunity to compete on a historic track during a historic race weekend, as the series’ two-hour race on Friday afternoon, March 17 supports the following day’s 65th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.

The second is that historically the team’s BMWs are well suited for the 3.74-mile road course, taking its long, fast turns and bumpy surface in stride.

The third is that the team has had a great deal of success there, including a pole and a podium finish last year for the entry of team owner James Clay and Tyler Cooke, Greg Liefooghe’s victory and fastest race lap in 2015 in a Porsche, and the fact that Sebring was the site of Cooke’s first victory ever in car racing. Hopes are high that they’ll be able to add to those accomplishments next week.

Fourth, it’s old-home week for several of the team’s drivers, as Cooke grew up in Cooper City, FL; Liefooghe is usually at Sebring ten or more times a year between racing and coaching, and Clay has been racing at Sebring for nearly 20 years.

Finally, the event is a one-of-a-kind spring break party, and the BimmerWorld team enjoys the fact that the fans are definitely part of the show.

The Dublin, VA-based team will field two turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) in the Street Tuner (ST) class for Friday’s race, which starts at 3:40 p.m. Clay, of Blacksburg, VA, and Cooke, of Matthews, NC, share BimmerWorld’s No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i. Two Californians, Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Liefooghe, of San Francisco, have switched from the Porsche Cayman they drove in the series last year to the No. 84’s sister car, the No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i.

There are two practice sessions on the schedule on Thursday, March 16 at 9:50 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. before the following jam-packed day. The action starts early on Friday, March 17 with a 20-minute practice session at 8 a.m. followed by ST qualifying at 8:30 a.m. and Grand Sport qualifying 15 minutes later. The anticipation builds with the open-grid fan walk from 2:50 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. before the green flag drops 10 minutes later.

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 a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, March 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All times are EDT.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
Sebring has a vast history of many great drivers from yesteryear. What’s it like racing at such a historic and renown track like Sebring? How many times have you raced at Sebring before?

“I have been racing at Sebring for almost 20 years now. It was one of the tracks I made the long trip for early in my career. We’ve run the 12-Hour weekend on and off since 2003 and being part of that weekend on this incredible, historic track is one of the highlights of my season.”

Hot temperatures can make Sebring a challenge for a turbo engine. You’ve worked hard to improve your cars’ cooling system. Can you speak about some of the steps you’ve taken in this area?
“This turbo BMW just produces so much heat! It’s a constant battle, but one we seem to be winning. We ran successfully for a podium at a very hot Sebring last year, and our cooling package has been tweaked and improved more since then. One day, we’ll detail all the work we have done in this system because it’s been an engineering exercise that was insanely challenging and probably quite interesting if one wasn’t living through the process. But for now, we reap the rewards.”

In a similar vein, brakes are very important at Sebring. Can you speak about your cars’ brake package?
“Performance Friction has been instrumental in helping us continue to develop our brake package. We have one of the heaviest cars in the series, but we have had arguably the best brakes in the field fairly consistently. We’ve been working hard with PFC in this area, and I think they have made us even better now!”

In general, Sebring seems to suit BMWs. In what ways is this true?
“Certainly Sebring has been good for many of our BMWs in years past, and hopefully that holds! I think there are enough longer, fast turns that are our forte, as well as the notorious bumpy surface that the BMW platform handles well. And with some critical braking zones, I think this track flexes BMW’s all-around, good-at-everything muscle.”

Although you didn’t get the results we were looking for, both cars ran very well at the season opener at Daytona. One car led, and the other was in contention for a podium finish until the very end of the race. Does this give you a feeling of confidence heading into Sebring, and/or added determination to get results that are more reflective of your performance?
“Without a doubt, the four-hour opener was a challenge for us, and I didn’t know how we would shake out. We’ve been working on durability, and for both cars to be fully on pace and to finish without an issue, except for a water pump belt, was a success, so we’re excited for the rest of the season.”

At four hours, the race at Daytona was longer than it’s been in the past. Now Sebring begins a string of races that are two hours long rather than the typical 2.5 hours the series has staged in the past. Although it’s the same for everyone, how do you think the loss of that extra 30 minutes will affect the race strategy, if at all?
“I’m hoping these shorter races bode well for our BMWs. We are, due to the rules, the heavier cars in the field, which is brutal on tires and makes us struggle a little at the end. I’m hoping with a shorter race we can use more tire early to keep pace and still have plenty for a strong finish.”

Do you have any favorite memory of Sebring?
“My favorite memory of Sebring was post-race, back in the days that the camping area was wide open with all sorts of vehicles running around with fans cruising. This event is a party, and I love being here.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
Sebring has a vast history of many great drivers from yesteryear. What’s it like racing at such a historic and renown track like Sebring? How many times have you raced at Sebring before?

“Racing at Sebring is a dream come true. When you first walk to pit road and you see all the years and manufacturers on the roof of the garages and read the stories that follow them, you know you’ve walked into a track that has made legends. I’ve raced there many times since 2010 because I grew up in Fort Lauderdale. I set a track record at Sebring with the Skip Barber series and have also scored a few wins there. It’s a track that has a lot of history for me.”

You and James finished third in this race last year. In what ways does that previous success play into the way you prepare for this event?
“We walk into this event with a little confidence, but James and I know there’s a lot of work to be done. It’s a new year with new challenges.”

The fans are definitely part of the show at Sebring. Do you have any interesting stories about this event that you can share?
“The monks [fans dressed in monk costumes] are usually a funny part of the weekend. The fans at Sebring are passionate to come to that race and meet the drivers. That’s what makes it a great race.”

There were only three full-course cautions in this race in 2015 and only one in 2016. Do you think this year’s race will be similar? Why or why not?
“I think it may be more with the GS field growing and Sebring being as tight as it is. Whether a lot of cautions or hardly any, it will be a good race.”

Will you make time to do anything else in the Sebring area when you’re there for the race? If so, what?
“I like to go visit the town a grew up in (Cooper City) and see old friends.”

Where does Sebring International Raceway stand in your list of race tracks, and why?
“It’s in the top five. Yes, it’s flat, but it’s a great challenge because of the bumps and the uneven pavement that really move the car around.”

Do you have any favorite memory of Sebring?
“My first-ever win in a car was there, and Michael Cooper, Tristan Nunez, Luis Rodriguez, and Jonathan Jorge dumped cold water on me to celebrate.”

Greg Liefooghe, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
Sebring has a vast history of many great drivers from yesteryear. What’s it like racing at such a historic and renown track like Sebring? How many times have you raced at Sebring before?

“When you walk down to the pits and you look up at the banners on the walls of all the winning team names and manufacturers, you just can’t help but feel the history of the place. Between racing and coaching, I’m usually at Sebring ten or more times a year. It’s a great place for winter training.”

You won this event in 2015 in a Next Level European Porsche Cayman and also set the fastest lap of the race for the ST class. What are the primary differences between the BMW and the Porsche here, and how did that victory affect you?
“One of the feelings that comes from winning at the pro level is validation. It validates that your thoughts on lines, techniques, and driving around that particular track work. The BMWs should be great around Sebring. With the very coarse pavement and the heat, Sebring is very hard on tires, and it’s no secret that we were struggling mainly with extreme tire wear on our Caymans, so I’m really looking forward to going back to Sebring with the more stable BMW platform.”

Although you didn’t get the results you were looking for, both cars ran very well at the season opener at Daytona. One car led, and the other was in contention for a podium finish until the very end of the race. Does this give you a feeling of confidence heading into Sebring, and/or added determination to get results that are more reflective of your performance?
“Absolutely! Although Daytona is a very specific track, it felt like we had a good car in the infield and it bodes well for the rest of the season. We were running at the front of the pack and had a shot at a podium until the last lap. I feel like we can put ourselves in the same position for this race and shoot for a podium position.”

Where does Sebring International Raceway stand in your list of race tracks, and why?
“Sebring is in the top 10 on my list of favorite tracks. Although it’s a very flat track, the flow of the layout just works. It has a great rhythm.”

Do you have any favorite memory of Sebring?
“That’s an easy question! Yes, our win at Sebring was the highlight of all my trips to that place. Everything clicked together. You don’t get to have many perfect weekends during a career, but that was one of them.”

If you were a fan camping there, at what turn would you set up camp, and why?
“I usually like to set up in front of T15 because that’s the place where you can see the most. You can see T1 all the way to T5, and then T13 all the way to T16. It allows you to see the cars’ balance and attitude around the track, and follow a race very well.”

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 Kicks Off the Season Battling Up Front at Daytona

BimmerWorld-Kicks-Off-the-Season-Battling-Up-Front-at-Daytona

The BimmerWorld team battled for the win in the season-opening IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) event at Daytona International Speedway but ultimately came up just short in the Street Tuner (ST) class during the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge. However, the two-car Dublin, Virginia-based team has a solid foundation to build on for its BMW 328is (F30 chassis) as 2017 gets underway.

The No. 81 Powerflex entry driven by two Californians, Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, came home in seventh place after fighting for a podium finish with just minutes remaining. Meanwhile the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries entry piloted by 2012 Olympic swimming gold medalist Tyler Clary of Charlotte, Tyler Cooke of Matthews, NC, and team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, VA lost a water pump belt near the beginning of the second stint. They were relegated to a 14th-place result after being forced to battle uphill for the remainder of the race on the 3.4-mile road course at the World Center of Racing.

Balogh qualified the No. 81 car in 12th position with a time of 2:08.439 and an average speed of 99.7 mph. He steered up to the top five during his stint and was running 11th when Liefooghe took over just past the 100-minute mark. Liefooghe proceeded to rapidly climb the leaderboard. Following a caution for an on-track incident involving another ST class competitor, the green flag was waved again with under five minutes remaining. Liefooghe was running second and in contention for the class win but slid wide in the heavy braking zone of turn one. He recovered to bring the car back for a solid seventh-place result.

Clary, competing in his first race at Daytona, began the race from inside the top 10 after qualifying the No. 84 machine in the 10th position. His best qualifying lap took 2:06.780 to complete with an average speed of 101.0 mph. He quickly climbed through the field and was running fifth when he pitted for tires and fuel and gave way to Cooke behind the wheel. Cooke wasted no time in taking over the lead spot. Soon, however, he encountered rising water temperatures and was forced to bring the car to the pits for quick repairs. He drove for nearly two hours before ultimately turning the controls over to Clay, who completed the race while keeping pace with the lead pack.

Greg Liefooghe finished seventh in class, while James Clay came home 14th.

Greg Liefooghe, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The car was really good and very fast. We were turning good lap times. The guys caught us because they were in the draft. On the restart, I just made a mistake. My braking was a little too late in turn one, and then I just got a little wide and lost a bunch of positions. The car was good, though. That was definitely the best it felt all weekend and it was good on the long run, too. I feel like we’re pretty optimistic about the season. I just wish I could have finished a little higher.

“I think I was in the car for 2 hours and 20 minutes or somewhere around there. It’s not that difficult around here (the Daytona circuit), especially because of all the straightaways.”

Ari Balogh, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a great race; we got off to a really good start. It was pretty competitive. On my braking into (turn) one, I lost some positions, but it was a good back and forth. Everyone was pretty good on track, and I just had a great time out there. There were a lot of great racers and a lot of challenges. It was just an awesome time.”

James Clay, Team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):

“It was a little frustrating for me when we lost a couple laps. We had a belt come off, which is just unbelievable because we had such a good car today. I was able to run with the leaders, and I had a great stint. Fortunately, I was able to be in a position to be able to help my teammate out just a bit. Unfortunately for all of us, we didn’t get the result we wanted out of the whole deal.”

“I am really proud of all our drivers today. From a very new Tyler Clary, Ari’s first full weekend in the BMW, and Greg and Cooke of course, everyone executed. That was really cool to see. And while today wasn’t the day, both cars were flawless with the one obvious exception in the longest race they’ve run to-date, which bodes for a good year.”

Tyler Clary, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The race overall was a bit tough for the team. The upside, however, is that both cars showed extreme pace as a factor of our drivers; our drivers did a great job today. That’s not tooting my own horn; I’m talking about the other drivers. During my stint, in particular, I was tentative at the start; I was nervous. There were a couple people that got by and that was great driving on their part, but in many ways, I was taking a backseat a little bit because I figured if I was faster I would make up time later on in the stint. I kind of settled in and started racing a little bit and ended up handing over the car in fifth place. I’m very pleased with that. The goal given to me was to bring the car back clean and in the top ten so I’m very happy with that. Unfortunately, we had a mechanical issue in the 84, and the 81 had an issue in the last lap. But that’s racing. That being said, the team handled it great. I’m really proud of how everybody did today. Hopefully, this sort of bad luck is out early in the season.

“Certainly getting to swim at a high level for a few years helps me cope with the pressure and the competitiveness of everybody else around me. It doesn’t necessarily make the nerves go away; I was really nervous before the race. I think in general, being able to sit down after a swim and review it and look at what went wrong and what can be done better, et cetera, helped me going into this weekend because that’s what is done in racing. My speed seemed to pick up pretty consistently every day, and even today I was running times that were faster than my qualifying time. Personally, I’m happy with how I did this weekend. I would’ve liked it if we had a little bit better luck, but that’s racing as they say.

“I know that we’re working on at least another race. This year is definitely more of a development year for me. My big goal is to be able to compete for 2018. So we’ll have to see what happens, but right now we’re definitely talking about one other race.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It started off as a helluva stint for myself. Tyler did a great job driving the car all the way up to fifth place. The team gave us a great car; Roush gave us a great engine. We had the whole package together. It was great to be able to take the lead, but unfortunately, we lost the (water pump) belt. It caused the water to get super-hot and we lost about three laps. It was a good weekend to learn for the next race, which is Sebring. It’s going to keep helping us evolve, keep helping us build. I’m really looking forward to Sebring and looking forward to another race.”

Friday’s BMW Endurance Challenge will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Feb. 12.

The series’ next event is March 15-18 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., highlighted by a 2-hour race on Friday, March 17 that supports the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.

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 Is Excited to Get the 2017 Season Underway at Daytona; Welcomes Olympic Medalist to Its Driving Squad of BMW 328is

BimmerWorld-Is-Excited-to-Get-the-2017-Season-Underway-at-Daytona;-Welcomes-Olympic-Medalist-to-Its-Driving-Squad-of-BMW-328is

BimmerWorld Racing is excited for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) 2017 season opener on Friday afternoon, Jan. 27 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the Dublin, Va.-based team will field two turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) in the Street Tuner (ST) class for the BMW Endurance Challenge. Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va.; Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C., and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Tyler Clary of Charlotte, N.C. will share the team’s No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i. Two Californians, Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, will switch from the Porsche Cayman they had previously driven in the series to the No. 84’s sister car, the No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i.

This race has been expanded to four hours instead of the usual two and one-half hours. Clary is expected to qualify and start the No. 84, while Balogh will do the same in the No. 81. The team won four poles in this series last year.

Clary, who won gold in the 200-meter backstroke in record time at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, will be making his IMSA debut after driving with the team at the Daytona test earlier this month. “Tyler is a friend of Jerry Kaufman, one of our 2016 team drivers, who introduced us at Lime Rock last year, where we briefly discussed his racing goals,” Clay explained. “In just over six months, Tyler has ramped up, proven himself behind the wheel of cars, and earned his IMSA pro license in anticipation of his Daytona debut. This is quite the amazing path, and we are excited to be part of the journey.”

There are four practice sessions on the schedule on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 2:20 p.m. and 5 p.m. before the 15-minute ST qualifying session at 5:30 p.m. that day. The race itself is slated to begin the following afternoon at 12:15 p.m. A total of 20 ST cars and 20 Grand Sport cars are on the pre-event entry list for a total field of 40. The same 3.56-mile road course used for the Rolex 24 that same weekend will be utilized.

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 a tape-delayed basis on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11:30 a.m. All times are EST.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What improvements have been made to the cars during the off-season?

“As always, the off-season is anything but free time. After finally conquering the reliability issues of this technically challenging platform, we have been focused on smoothing out some of the rough edges that should see this BMW become even more competitive than it was during our successful 2016 season. Our work list has been long, but the BimmerWorld crew has worked steadily to give us great cars for the season.”

How did things go at the Roar? In what ways was that test beneficial?
“The Roar is always a good opportunity for a dress rehearsal to officially kick off our season and get us warmed up for the first race of the year. We had a lot to work on this year with Tyler Clary joining us for the inaugural four-hour Daytona race in the OPTIMA Batteries entry and Greg and Ari moving to the familiar BMW platform. Based on some strong performances by perennial ST teams at the test, and knowing more cars will join that chose not to attend this event, we will have our work cut out for us this year.”

This race is sponsored by BMW. Does that affect your team, and if so, how?
“We led a lot of laps in the 2016 running of the BMW Performance 200 but fell short in the second half of the race with an engine issue. Starting off the season strong is important to us, but winning the BMW-sponsored race is a bit of an extra carrot.”

Tyler and Greg finished second in ST in this race in 2014. Greg was fourth and you finished fifth in 2015. How important is experience at Daytona?
“Daytona is such a wild track; no other track we race has this level of strategy that the draft requires. Like any track, setup and speed are important, but reading the air and setting yourself up sometimes laps ahead of time require experience. We have two solid cars with proven drivers, but there is more than one returning champion in the field that we will be battling.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What have you been doing during the off-season to prepare for this year’s events?

“I’ve been training to keep myself fit, coaching drivers, and I got the opportunity to race in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.”

What will the keys be to a podium finish at Daytona?
“Keeping the car under us. Maintaining fuel and engine usage until it matters at the end. The guys at the shop have been working hard during the off-season to help us push the car harder for a whole race.”

Are you hoping for a sunny race or a rainy race, or doesn’t it matter? Why?
“I’m either. A driver that picks one or the other is one that makes excuses. Drivers should want to race in any weather.”

You and Greg finished second in ST in this race in 2014.  Greg was fourth and James finished fifth in 2015. How important is experience at Daytona?
“Daytona looks like an easy track, and it is to a certain extent. Finding the small tenths is what makes it hard, and learning how vital the draft is. Learning how to use the draft in your favor is the biggest part.”

What does it mean to you personally to be competing on the same track that hosts the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Daytona 500?
“It’s every person’s dream. I remember the first time I went to Daytona with SCCA in a spec Miata, I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real. Driving through the banks feeling your head stuck back against the seat and being on a track full of history is a dream come true.”

Greg Liefooghe, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What have you been doing during the off-season to prepare for this year’s events?

“I’m lucky enough to live in California where there is basically no off-season. Ari and I did a lot of the long endurance races like the 13 Hours of VIR and the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. It’s been a lot of fun.”

What will the keys be to a podium finish at Daytona?
“The main key to finish on the podium is to make the right decisions so that you can be in the lead pack at the end of the race. You have to find the right balance between patience and aggressiveness.”

This race is four hours long. Most CTSCC races are 2.5 hours long, including this race the last few years. What are the main ways the added length will affect things? Although it’ll be the same for everyone, is this good or more difficult for our team?
“It will be interesting to see what happens for the four hours. The strategy has been very streamlined over the years in the 2.5-hour races. Everything has to fall into place with yellows to make it on three stops, so there are high chances to make it a four-stop race. The timing of the pit stops will be crucial, and I know the guys have been practicing all winter on the pit stops, which will give us a great advantage.”

You and Tyler finished second in ST in this race in 2014.  You were fourth and James finished fifth in 2015. How important is experience at Daytona?
“I actually never finished off the podium at Daytona in a BimmerWorld car. Experience pays dividend there. It’s a different type of racing where you live or die by the draft. Although Daytona is not my favorite track to drive, it’s one of my favorites to race for that reason.”

What does it mean to you personally to be competing on the same track that hosts the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Daytona 500?
“The Daytona 24 has been on my list of goals since I started racing, and it’s awesome to be able to drive on the same track and weekend as that race. I’m working hard to be part of it some day.”

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 Welcomes Olympic Gold Medalist To Its Driver Squad for His IMSA Debut at Daytona Next Friday

BimmerWorld-Welcomes-Olympic-Gold-Medalist--To-Its-Driver-Squad-for-His-IMSA-Debut-at-Daytona-Next-Friday

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Tyler Clary has said all along that he wanted to become a professional race car driver when his days as a world-class swimmer are over.

That dream will get a major boost on Friday. Clary is scheduled to join James Clay and Tyler Cooke as the co-drivers of the BimmerWorld Racing No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i in the BMW Endurance Challenge, the season opener for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series, on the 3.5-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

BimmerWorld, based in Dublin, Va., fields two turbocharged BMW 328is (F30 chassis) in the Street Tuner class of that series, which begins 2017 with a four-hour race that supports the Rolex 24.

Clary, who won gold in the 200-meter backstroke in record time at the 2012 Olympics, tested with the team at Daytona earlier this month. He is expected to qualify the car on Thursday afternoon and then take the green flag on Friday at 12:15 p.m. for his IMSA debut.

“Tyler is a friend of Jerry Kaufman, one of our 2016 team drivers, who introduced us at Lime Rock last year, where we briefly discussed his racing goals,” explained Clay, BimmerWorld team owner. “In just over six months Tyler has ramped up, proven himself behind the wheel of cars, and earned his IMSA pro license in anticipation of his Daytona debut. This is quite the amazing path, and we are excited to be part of the journey.”

Clary set up a GoFundMe.com fundraiser to help raise money for his appearance. On the page, he said he fell in love with racing as a youngster while doing fundraisers for his local swim team at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. He has competed in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at the IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix, trophy trucks in the desert, Legends cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Skip Barber formula cars, to name a few.

Last September he tested a Spec E46 3 Series BMW with BimmerWorld Racing at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.

Late last year he also did two multi-hour races and ended up on the podium both times.

“The first was with DriveGear Motorsports at Summit Point [Summit Point, W.Va.]; it was an eight-hour AER event where we ended up with a second-place finish,” Clary said. “The most recent one was with Team LMR at Circuit of The Americas [Austin, Texas] in early December. We battled from a 24th starting position to a third-place finish.”

The latter was an eight-hour World Racing League event where he drove an ex-BimmerWorld car, a former ST-prepared E90 BMW.

Clary said he also learned a great deal at the “Roar before the 24″ test at Daytona earlier this month.

“It’s hard to put all of the things I learned at the Roar into a short quote!” Clary said. “It is a brand-new car to me, a brand-new track, and a different caliber of competition. I learned that Turns 3 and 5 are easy to overdrive, that Turn 6 can be questionable on exit, and that the Bus Stop has a large potential impact on your lap time if it isn’t executed correctly.”

In the weeks since then, Clary has been doing his homework.

“I’ve been watching race video and visualizing as much as possible,” he said. “Also, going over the data again from the Roar is helping me remember the nuances of the track and is reminding me of where I can still make significant improvement.

“I think the key thing for me to remember going into this week is that I have a huge wealth of experience around me in James, Tyler, Greg, and Ari,” he added. “I look forward to picking their brains more about strategy and mindset for my stint.

“To be competing at this iconic track with a series-leading team is a dream come true,” he concluded. “I am inspired by the premise of sharing the same pavement with some of the greatest drivers that the world has ever seen. It feels great to be part of a team that is so passionate about being the best. It reminds me how powerful competition can be and how potent a group of people with the same goal is.”

Recent support from Pervasive-Intel has helped make his racing debut possible, but Clary’s GoFundMe page is still active for those looking to contribute.

It might seem like he is being thrown into the deep end of the pool, but he’s been dreaming of this day since he was a child, even before he worked in a merchandising trailer at the races in a fund-raising effort for his swimming club.

With the experienced BimmerWorld team to help him, one gets the feeling it won’t be long before he’s going for gold again. This time it may be for a gold Rolex watch, though, instead of an Olympic medal.

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 a tape-delayed basis on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11:30 a.m. All times are EST.

For more information, see TylerClaryRacing.com, BimmerWorldRacing.com, and IMSA.com.

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 Announces 2017 Plans

bimmerworld-announces-2017-plans

BimmerWorld Racing Principal James Clay announced today plans for the 2017 racing season. BimmerWorld will focus their efforts on the team’s two BMWs with a focus to win the Street Tuner (ST) class championship in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in 2017.

Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C., will continue to co-drive BimmerWorld’s No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i. Stepping into the team’s No. 81 BMW 328i will be two drivers from the Next Level European (NLE) program: Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif., and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco.

“We are excited about our 2017 program and we have been hard at work on it since October,” said BimmerWorld Racing Principal James Clay. “We continue to spend the time we have before season start improving our BMWs even further, testing and concentrating on making BimmerWorld Racing the best we can. IMSA’s Continental Tire Challenge ST class is very competitive and you have to enter the season and each race at your top form. We are going to focus on doing just that.”

Although BimmerWorld’s sister team, Next Level European, was a successful venture with an early victory and podium finishes, at this time Clay does not plan to field its two Porsche Caymans in the series in 2017 in order to put their full attention on the BimmerWorld program.

“We are rooted in BMW, love the brand, and I want to focus fully on our core strength.  With the Series’ changes pending, including GT4 and TCR adoption, we won’t build a third BMW to join the fight but instead concentrate on running the two F30s we have,” Clay said. “Losing Seth and Dan for the 2017 season feels like a loss in the family, but having Ari and Greg in a BMW will be great. Ari is a BMW guy at heart, and Greg joined the team in a BMW in 2011, and both are eager to be back in the Munich car.”

Although Seth Thomas, Dan Rogers, Kyle Tilley and Jerry Kaufman won’t be with the Dublin, Va.-based outfit in 2017, there are already plans in the works for 2018. “With BMW’s GT4 M4 on the horizon, we are already looking forward to a reunion tour after the 2017 season,” Clay said.

Both current BMW cars are turbocharged and using the F30 chassis. The No. 84 finished tenth in the Continental Tire series point standings in 2016. BimmerWorld won four pole positions in 2016 and ran at the front of the field at multiple events as it developed the F30 turbo-powered platform. It delivered the car’s first podium finish in the series at Sebring in March.

BimmerWorld started prepping for 2017 immediately following the 2016 season finale at Road Atlanta, where they led the most laps. They look forward to getting the 2017 season started with testing at Daytona at the Roar Before the 24 Jan. 6-8. The 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season opener is the BMW Performance 240, a four-hour race on Daytona’s 3.56-mile road course on Friday, Jan. 27 that supports the Rolex 24.

The balance of the 2017 schedule for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge includes: Sebring 150 at Sebring International Raceway, March 15-18; Continental Tire Challenge at Circuit of the Americas, May 4-6; Continental 150 at Watkins Glen International, June 29-July 2; Continental Tire Challenge at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, July 7-9; Continental Tire Challenge at Lime Rock Park, July 21-22; Continental Tire Challenge at Road America, August 3-6; Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway, August 25-27; Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, September 22-24; and Continental Tire Challenge at Road Atlanta, October 4-7.

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 Shows Its Muscle at Road Atlanta

BimmerWorld-Shows-Its-Muscle-at-Road-Atlanta

BimmerWorld Racing’s No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i led more laps than any other Street Tuner (ST) car in Friday’s season finale for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) series at Road Atlanta, and it set the second-fastest lap of the 2.5-hour race for that class. Unfortunately, it lost oil pressure just 20 minutes from the checkered flag and didn’t finish, leaving team owner James Clay and co-driver Tyler Cooke in 20th position but bolstered with the knowledge that they were definitely contenders.

Jerry Kaufman of Mooresville, N.C. and Kyle Tilley of Bath, England finished 12th in the Dublin, Va.-based team’s second BMW 328i, the No. 81. Kaufman focused on keeping the car out of trouble and stayed around 15th place during his stint. Tilley did the same during his time behind the wheel, and it paid off when their car was able to rise to 12th at the end.

Cooke, of Matthews, N.C., set the No. 84’s fastest lap of the race on lap two with a time of 1:37.110 for the 2.5-mile, 12-turn road course near Atlanta. That was almost a second faster than the time the car turned in earning the sixth qualifying spot (1:38.025) on Thursday, and it was just 0.060 off the fastest lap of the race turned by any ST car.

Although the team’s two BMWs (F30 chassis) are among the heaviest cars in the class, their turbocharged engines loved the crisp autumn air that greeted Road Atlanta fans this year, and Cooke was able to vault from sixth to third before the end of the first lap. He was also able to take the lead on lap six when both he and the second-place driver passed the pole-sitter.

Cooke enjoyed a 1.247-second advantage almost immediately. He was able to stretch that margin to 6.484 seconds until a full-course yellow flew on lap 35 for a Honda Civic that was dragging a bumper. Cooke led through lap 38 until he pitted for Clay to take over near the halfway point under that yellow flag.

Clay ran in the top five for most of his stint, trying to conserve both fuel and his Continental tires, but the Blacksburg, Va.-based driver was unable to see it pay off when the mechanical difficulties forced him into the pits just shy of the finish.

The team is already working towards the 2017 season opener and will test at Daytona Saturday.

Friday’s race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 11 AM until 1 PM Eastern time.

James Clay, team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a nice cool day. When things are cool, it’s good for the turbos. We’re generally pretty happy. I wish it was like this all the time. I wish every day was 70 degrees and gorgeous like it was today.

We had a great race. Tyler did an incredible job. Unfortunately, we got that yellow. We were hoping to have a bit of a lead; a little bit of an advantage. It always takes us a little while to put the amount of fuel we need in this car so we lost a couple spots there, but we had a fantastic car. We just nailed the setup. The way the track changed with the weather, we just fell into the right thing. It was good over the duration [of the race], or the car came to us. I’m not sure which, but late in the race, we had a car to run to the front. I don’t know that we could have won it, but I feel pretty sure we could have been standing on the podium.

Unfortunately, it got slippery and I thought ‘Man, somebody is dropping oil,’ and then I realized that it was me. I was the one oiling the track, so we came in and just parked it.

But we were certainly a contender. I don’t mind finishing the season and putting it on the trailer in winning shape.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was actually a really great day. It’s usually raining at the Petit Le Mans, so it was actually nice to have a nice cool, dry day. I came down with a cold yesterday, and I’ve been dealing with a sore throat and a fever while I was in the car.

I was happy to pull out a lead like I did. I was hoping to have it stay green because we were looking great if it had stayed green. The yellow set us back to third when we took the green. James drove a great stint, but, unfortunately, it just ended in smoke. I have no idea what happened to the car yet. Unfortunately, our day ended with 25 minutes left. It was a really strong run at the end of the year, so it’s kind of heartbreaking, but we’ll get them at Daytona.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I couldn’t have asked for any better weather for the season finale. Literally, it was a perfect day here at Road Atlanta, and the car just loved it.

We started off in the middle of a lot of mayhem. We kept our nose clean and we had better pace than everybody else around us. One by one we picked them off. I had a couple of interesting on-track incidents around me and lost a couple places, but we had the pace, so we got everything back and moved up quite a lot.

I wish that yellow hadn’t come out because we were getting ready to pass some more cars. The turbo just loves this cool weather, and we haven’t had it in the last four races. It was great to have that in our bag.

We had a little bit of a mess up in the pits, and it cost us quite a lot of places. Kyle drove well. I guess he had some issues, but the car was great for me. I had a great time out there. I couldn’t ask for a better way to finish the season.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The race was relatively uneventful, actually. We had a great car at the start of my stint, but it gradually went away from us. I think it probably was the same for everybody out there, but we seemed to struggle especially.

We knew we were tight on fuel, so we really had to concentrate on saving fuel. I think a P12 result was about all the car had today. It’s not a bad result, but a top five would have been nice to finish the year. But it is what it is, and I’m not unhappy at all.

Jerry did a fantastic job with his stint. We were looking pretty good. It wasn’t a bad race, but it wasn’t a fantastic race. I had some really good battles with some of my friends out there; no quarter given at times. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoy this track, and I look forward to coming back next year if that’s the way things work out.”

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 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.

Wet and Wild Weekend for BimmerWorld Racing at VIR Home Track

Wet-and-Wild-Weekend-for-BimmerWorld-Racing-at-VIR-Home-Track

Round 8 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) was the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on Saturday. The two-and-a-half-hour event turned out to be a wet and wild race that started in dry weather before a major thunderstorm blew in and brought out a caution after 31 minutes.

That was followed by a 52-minute red-flag delay to wait out the buckets of rain and lightning that moved through the track that borders the Virginia/North Carolina state line. When the race restarted under caution, the 36-car field had shifted plenty when many cars experienced off-course excursions through hydroplaning. The final 23 laps were run under green and provided abundant action on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn scenic road course.

Both the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i team of James Clay and Tyler Cooke and the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley were excited to be competing on the BimmerWorld home circuit, as their race shop is only about 100 miles away in Dublin, Va.

James Clay qualified the No. 84 BMW on the front row in the second position on the grid in the Sports Touring (ST) class for the two-hour-and-thirty-minute race. A small post-qualifying inspection infraction sent the team to the rear for the race start. Clay drove smart through the rainy conditions and made quick work of pacing through the field up to seventh place on his favorite home track. However, a fuel hose left out on pit lane got in the path of Cooke during his driving stint and dropped them back, but he managed to bring the F30 home in P13.

The No. 81 BMW of Kaufman, who qualified and started 19th, took advantage of missing the initial fray by the leaders when the weather rolled in and kept the BMW on track. His teammate, Tilley, who enjoys wet weather racing, also drove smart and took the F30 to the checkered flag in the 21st class position.

Because of the unexpected and intense weather, regular pit stop strategy was thrown out the window and it was a matter of keeping the BMWs on track and bringing the cars across the finish line. To add to the race drama, the official IMSA timing and scoring failed in the extreme weather conditions and final scoring had to be completed manually and audited post-race before results became official.

James Clay, Team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a great car this race, and we had a great car for qualifying. We were over a bit of maximum on camber, so we got bumped to the back, but we knew we had a good car for the race. It was a fun race from the back, and it was obviously pretty wild – not only to race from the back but with the weather getting absolutely crazy. We worked our way up to seventh then had a little bit of bad luck there with nipping a competitor’s hose that found itself in our path on the way out, so we got knocked down a couple of spots, but it is what it is. Great weekend, but unfortunately the results don’t show it.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a pretty rough race. The track had no grip. We were up front when we left the pits, but we ran over someone’s pit equipment, so they [IMSA] made us do a drive-through [penalty], and it made us lose a lot of positions. The car did not like super wet conditions. It liked it as it dried out more, allowing us to run on pace with leaders, but once the second drivers start to break away, it’s hard to catch them. But I was running on pace with them. Thanks to the crew, and we’ll get ‘em at COTA.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Well, James started from the back and I started near the back, but that all proved to be not as bad as we thought, because when the rain came in, it just seemed like everybody started flying off, and we were able to hang in there, pull up pretty far, and get around a lot of cars, but it got so bad to where you just couldn’t even see through the windshield. I’m just happy that we finished. I think this could have been a really bad race for us. I went off in turn one and started braking at the start/finish. It was like a hockey rink out there.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It wasn’t a bad race. I was looking forward to it because the wet weather is usually my preferred conditions. At the restart, we were in P12, but we had a pretty good chance to move up from there. Unfortunately, we ended up with a misfire, so we were just a sitting duck. Every time it came to a straight, we slowly went backward, and that was that, really. So, that’s a shame, but we’ll reevaluate and move on to Circuit of The Americas.”

The television broadcast will be aired on FOX Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, September 4 from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM EDT.

The next race, Round 9 of the Continental Tire Challenge, will be held at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on Friday, September 16.

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.

Challenges Abound for BimmerWorld Racing at Road America

Challenges-Abound-for-BimmerWorld-Racing-at-Road-America

The BimmerWorld Racing team arrived ready to take on the field in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) at the 4.08-mile Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, but they didn’t have the result they wanted or expected in the heartland of America this weekend.

In Friday morning’s first ICTSC practice session, Kauffman experienced an off-track excursion causing much damage to the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i. Although the team worked hard to make repairs, they eventually determined that it could not be safely repaired at the track for further competition, so it was relegated to the transporter to return to the Dublin, Va. shop for major repairs after the race.

Tyler Cooke qualified the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries entry on the front row to start from the second grid position in the Sport Touring (ST) class. After a good start, Cooke was leading when the first of four caution flags were thrown. He led for several laps after the race returned to green-flag conditions until a battle with two Hondas made him forfeit his lead. He continued to race in second place in class before pitting on Lap 16 under the second caution for teammate James Clay to take the wheel.

Clay returned to the track in 11th position until the track went green on Lap 23. He had a great restart and jumped up to sixth position at nearly the halfway point of the race. With less than an hour remaining and a fourth full-course caution, James was leading in the No. 84 BMW 328i before a pit shuffle pushed him up into the top five.

Hard racing and a waning car saw the new F30 chassis with the 2-liter, N20 turbocharged engine fade back into the field as its pace diminished against the challenging 34-car ICTSC field. In the end, the No. 84 car finished 15th in the ST class and 22nd overall in the two hour and 30-minute race.

James Clay, Team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was unfortunate that the No. 81 car had an accident in practice. It’s dangerous sometimes, and that happens. I sure wish those guys would have been able to race with us, but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

As far as my race, it’s kind of the same story we’ve seen all year. We know the car is fast. We know we can put it at the front in qualifying. We know with the fuel load we have, the weight of the car, and the turbo motor, we get heat soak, and we run out of car. It happened today. I predicted it before the race and sure enough, that’s what happened. We can’t run a pace we have to run and keep the car under us. When you don’t have a car under you to drive, you have no choice but to go backwards.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It’s tough. We always have a fast car in the beginning, but somehow it’s not there at the end. It’s no fault of the team – no fault of anybody. It’s just frustrating because we know we have the speed.”

The television broadcast will be aired on FOX Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 11 AM EDT.

The next race, Round 8 of the Continental Tire Challenge, will be held at Virginia International Raceway as part of the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Saturday, August 27.

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 Takes Sixth Place and 14th at Lime Rock Park

mmerWorld-Takes-Sixth-Place-and-14th-in-Surprising-Caution-Free--ICTSC-Race-at-Lime-Rock-Park

Hot temperatures and caution-free conditions were the themes of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race yesterday at Lime Rock Park. The short but fast “classic” layout on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn northeastern Connecticut circuit was a challenge for the two-hour and 30-minute 150-lap race, which saw Mazdas dominate the Street Touring (ST) class podium.

The No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i of starting driver James Clay and co-driver Tyler Cooke began the race from the fifth position on the grid and struggled a bit with the heat and tire preservation on the greasy track. However, they were able to manage their fuel economy to run in the Top 10 all of the race. As the race went on, the duo did their best to maintain position, manage the heat inside the cockpit and push the F30 chassis to the limit under trying conditions to finish in sixth place in class.

The No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Jerry Kaufman, who qualified the car in the 19th class position, and co-driver Kyle Tilley, advanced their BMW to 14th position at the checkered flag, despite a challenging race start. Feeling comfortable with the car setup, Kaufman clawed his way back up through the field after losing several positions early in his stint. Tilley had to manage a brake pedal issue, which proved particularly challenging in the first corner, despite having an otherwise good BMW race car with plenty of speed.

James Clay, Team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):

“It was a good race, but we were struggling with the car a little bit in the second half. We’re the heaviest car without a special tire exception, and it’s just hard to keep the car together for that burst you need at the end. I think we were lucky to run up front today at the beginning, and we were gifted a couple of spots there at the end just because we were able to run up front. Plus, we were able to push our pit stop to a little bit later, so the fuel game played in our favor. Sixth place — I wasn’t feeling that was likely, especially since we saw what was going on with the track. It was a really hot, greasy track, but I’m pretty excited for sixth.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We started off with a pretty good car. The team’s done a really good job working their butts off, and I couldn’t be prouder with a Top 10. We just had nothing at the end for the top guys. The Miata MX5s lapped the entire field, so that’s unreal. That’s not even remotely close to anybody’s pace which just blows my mind. This [Lime Rock] is an okay track for us, so a Top 10 is perfect, but we’re happy to be heading into Road America next, which is a good track for us.

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Well, it was an interesting start. We started from the inside and hung to it, but then we got caught out on the outside for turn three and lost a bunch of spaces but crawled back from 25th to 15th. It was a lot of work trying to keep the right side tires good for the second driver. The car had good pace the whole time, and it never felt like the car went away. As the fuel burned off, the tires went with them, so the car didn’t ever develop any kind of push or oversteer; I’m really happy with the way we ended up getting the car setup. I wish the start went a little bit better because we could have been a lot higher. That really killed us for positions. Once you lose laps at the start, it’s really hard to claw them back. I think our goal for the Road America race is to really focus on getting a clean race start and not getting hung up anywhere where it could cost us.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“On the whole, it was a good race. We lost some track positions in the pit stop, and when Jerry was getting out he dropped the car into gear, so we were held in the pit box longer than we should have been. It just dropped us down a little further than we wanted. The first couple of laps out of the pits we had a brake pedal go to the floor every lap into Turn one. We had to do lots of pumping on the brakes into [Turn] one, so the brakes weren’t really where we wanted them to be. On the whole, our pace was good. Towards the end of the race, we were one of the fastest cars out there. We just need to nail it. The first five laps for Jerry and the first five laps out of the pits would have been a lot better if we didn’t have the brake pedal issue, but these things happen. It wasn’t a bad run by any means. It’s solid points but still not quite where we wanted to be.”

The television broadcast of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will be on FOX Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, July 31 at 12 PM EDT.

The next race, Round 7 for the Continental Tire Challenge, will be held at Road America as part of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase on Saturday, August 6.

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 Earns the ST Pole at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park But Searches for Better Pace During Saturday’s Race

BimmerWorld-Earns-the-ST-Pole-at-Canadian-Tire-Motorsport-Park-But-Searches-for-Better-Pace-During-Saturday's-Race

The No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i of qualifying driver James Clay and co-driver Tyler Cooke started from the pole position in Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but handling issues during the race resulted in an 11th-place finish in the Street Tuner (ST) class after 2 hours and 30 minutes of competition.

The challenge was evident from the start, as two cars got around Clay on the first lap and he was put on the defensive immediately. He was sixth at the 30-minute mark, but he put his head down and advanced to fourth by lap 43 when the race’s only full-course caution waved with 65 minutes gone. He pitted under that yellow for the driver change. Cooke ran most of his stint in seventh place despite a healing broken wrist, but the car faded to 11th at the end.

Jerry Kaufman started ninth in class in the team’s sister car, the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i. His co-driver, Kyle Tilley, took the checkered flag in 15th position. There wasn’t much practice time due to rain and incidents, but they were both fairly pleased with the setup they chose. Both drivers think the team will do even better at the next race, which should favor their BMWs more than this particular track did.

James Clay, Team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):

“We had a great place to start the race, but looking at the performance of the cars yesterday and looking at the data, we knew we didn’t have the car to win the race. We’ve done well with poles this season, and we have solid drivers in the cars. We have good cars, but we don’t have that punch at the end when you need it. It’s tough, and we try to hang on to it to put ourselves in the best position possible so we can have the best finish possible, but we’re not driving up to the finish we want, so it’s a little bit challenging right now.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was just a pretty tough race. We didn’t have the car handling the way we wanted. We had most of the fuel covered until I got a little starvation in the last corner and that sent me backward. We didn’t have the car to keep progressing forward, so all I could really do was try to keep the cars behind me the best I could. We came out in 11th place, and now we’ll move on to Lime Rock.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I’m actually pretty happy with the race. It’s the best the car has felt in race trim this year. It’s not perfect, but it’s been a big step forward from what we’ve had previously. We struggled in two places today. The first was on the back straightaway and the second was onto the front straight, which are obviously two important areas. Just getting the car turned was difficult because it wasn’t having any of it. But, on the plus side, Lime Rock doesn’t have any corners exactly like that, so I’m pretty confident that if we roll off with the same setup at Lime Rock, it will be good. So, it was the happiest I’ve been all year, plus I had a good battle with my fellow countryman, Robin Liddell, and that’s always fun.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The race went pretty well. The pace was a little slower than yesterday after a huge rainstorm, but the BMW carried speed really well throughout the race. I didn’t feel like we used up the tires. It was pretty consistent, similar to Watkins Glen, where we started reeling in cars at the end of the stint. I’m really happy with where we pulled into the pits, and Kyle’s performance made it. We didn’t have much practice, and I know that really hurt him and his confidence going into it, but he did really well. I’m happy and looking forward to Lime Rock Park.”

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on FOX Sports 1 starting at noon EDT on Sunday, July 17.

The next event, Round 6, will take place at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. on Saturday, July 23.

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 Awarded Two Top Ten Finishes in Thrilling Watkins Glen Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race

BimmerWorld Awarded Two Top Ten Finishes in Thrilling Watkins Glen  Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race

Surviving a first-lap melee and hard charging drivers were key components to BimmerWorld Racing’s two Top Ten finishes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Watkins Glen International today.

Round 4 of the 2016 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge boasted a field of nine Grand Sport (GS) and 27 Street Tuner (ST) class entries on a gorgeous summer day in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. However, a storm of cars collided on the first lap and sent numerous cars to the pits for repairs.

Starting driver Tyler Cooke, who was competing with a broken wrist, in the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i avoided the early fracas but had a minor contact with a Porsche Cayman, yet still drove to the lead. After a restart, traffic clustered together and the challenge was on to keep the tires at optimum capability while battling for position. James Clay was able to bring the BMW home in sixth place, an impressive finish that saw Porsche Caymans dominate four of the top five position at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course.

Jerry Kauffman and Kyle Tilley, drivers of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, saw their best finish of the 2016 season when they crossed the finish line in 10th position in the two-hour and 30-minute race. A strong performing F30 car and heads up driving by both racers permitted the duo a strong performance in a challenging race for many competitors.

James Clay, Team Owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was not the way you want to start a race where you have back to backs [races}. That was crazy, but it worked out well enough for us. We kept our noses clean on the BMW front, and we made it through the mess. We backed up a little in doing so, but we found our way to the front and hung out there. Before the restart, we were cruising for a really good finish. When things got bunched back up we worked the tires pretty hard to maintain and gain the positions that we had, and it took them too long to warm back up. It got a little bit rushed there at the end, and we couldn’t fend off some of the other guys. Two top tens and a perfectly clean car, so I’ll take that! I feel so bad about the Porsche guys. One got caught up in the incident at the beginning and another one just in a lapped traffic deal. That’s racing, but that’s not the way you want to start out. One [car] is pretty banged up, but we’ll get it together and all be ready for the next race.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The first lap was quite interesting with the crash that happened right in front of me. I can’t really say what happened. It just looked like a whole bunch of cars trying to go into a two-wide zone. So, I was happy we were saved from that, but then we had contact going into Turn Ten. That was very unfortunate for both me and the No. 22, but that happens in racing. I’m happy I was able to race with a broken wrist. I’m happy I was able to get to the lead and hand over the car to James in the lead. James did a great job, and we can’t complain with a sixth place finish because that’s good for points, and we can’t wait to go to Canada next weekend and see what happens.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was Jerry’s and my highest place finish in the Continental Tire Series. The balance of the car went away from us slightly on a full fuel load, but it eventually came back to us at the end. We need to have a look at better ways around that, but overall it was a very successful race weekend and the car is still in one piece. Jerry did a great job and missed all the carnage at the start, and he drove back up and was running sixth or seventh when he handed the car over to me, which was a great job.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The start of the race was interesting. I ended up starting on the right side of the track and one of the cars a few rows in front of me checked up and must have missed a shift or something. I couldn’t pass him before the start/finish so the whole column on the left side went past and, per the rules, you’re not allowed to pass anyone in front of you, so I dropped back a few spots. I saw the carnage happening in front going up the esses and managed to avoid that, and at the restart, from pretty far back, I managed to make it thru a lot of traffic. The car was really well hooked up. As the fuel load dropped the car kept getting faster and faster. It was actually a shame to come in when we did because the car kept getting faster. I know Kyle had kind of a rough start at the end because he had to go out on a full fuel load with fresh tires with no heat in them and all that extra weight, so he battled a car that I didn’t have to. It was kind of a shame we had to come in as early as we did, but we didn’t want to get caught out on a yellow and get put a lap down. It was still a good finish. It was pretty clear the {Porsche] Caymans had a performance advantage at this track. I’ll take a Top Ten any day.”

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, July 10.

The next event, Round 5, is next week, July 8-10, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport) in Bowmanville, Ontario.

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 Collects Top Five Finish After Second Pole of Season at Laguna Seca

BimmerWorld-Collects-Top-Five-Finish-at-Laguna-Seca

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge weekend started right for the BimmerWorld Racing team when team owner/driver James Clay qualified the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i on the pole for the two hour and thirty minute race, Round 3 of the 2016 Continental Tire Challenge series. This was the second pole for the Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists’ team with their relatively new F30 chassis. Teammate Tyler Cooke collected a pole at Sebring International Raceway in March.

Clay and Cooke drove a strong and lively race, where they stayed in the Top 5 the entire race other than when they pitted for a driver change, tires, and fuel. Even with Clay having a touch of the flu, he drove smart and delivered a fast car to Cooke. Despite a spirited on-track battle, Cooke brought home the No. 84 F30 in fourth place in class.

The results of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Jerry Kauffman and Kyle Tilley with 20th place in the ST class did not show the strength of the car at the start of yesterday’s race, and contact with another car during the race provided challenges that caused Tilley to have to preserve the car to finish and get needed points towards the 2016 championship.

James Clay, Team Owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
”We’re really happy about the race. The car was good. I ran a good stint despite struggling with a little flu, so I was really happy about it given the situation. We’re always hurting a little bit on a pit stop because we have a long fuel fill, based on the fuel usage of the car, but the guys did an awesome job and were flawless. Tyler drove an awesome race. We would have liked to have been on the podium, but it’s not so bad being in fourth.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a really good race. James got the car in the Top 3, which worked out in our favor. The team did a great job, and I got in for a green flag pit stop with driver change, tires, fuel all going smoothly. We had a really great race going between me, Jerry Mosing and Eric Foss. If you could watch the in-car camera footage of Eric or me, it was really sideways. I have a lot of respect for Eric and have looked up to him for years. It was really cool to get to race against him. We had a very good battle going on into the esses. I moved in front of him, we touched and I went sideways, and it was a good ol’ hard-racing battle to the end, which fans love to see. I wasn’t happy after the hit, but it’s racing at the end of the day.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I don’t know whether we broke something or bent something in the rear but we had contact with a car that was a lap down on us. After that there was this crazy knocking noise every time the car was loaded, would transfer, and then become unloaded. So it became a case of damage preservation to get to the finish and score what points we could. It was a frustrating day, but at least our sister car had a good result. So onwards and upwards, we’ll go out again next race and see what we can do, but definitely it was a frustrating race, for sure.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“My race stint went really well. We had a really good start. The track temperatures were up so we had a little less grip. I tried to save the tires as long as I could because I knew they would come into play later in the stint. Rather than gaining places, which is what I did early at Daytona and Sebring, I held off and then pulled all my places at the end of the stint so Kyle could get in the car and do some work. Unfortunately, he had some contact and we didn’t finish as well as we would have otherwise but, the strategy was there. It was strong and the team gave us a good car. It performed much better today than it did all weekend so I’m really happy with it.”

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 Makes History With BMW F30 Pole And Podium At Sebring IMSA Race

2016sebring2

Three seasons of intense development with BMW’s turbocharged F30 (328i) platform by Virginia-based BMW tuning and aftermarket experts BimmerWorld paid off with a thrilling drive to third place in Sebring last weekend.

The accomplishment by BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay and his teammate Tyler Cooke, who earned pole position at the legendary Florida road course, marked the first pole and podium for the four-cylinder turbo BMW F30 in worldwide pro racing competition. Those firsts were only made possible by BimmerWorld’s incredible staff of technicians who overcame adversity on two occasions to help make history.

A broken fuel injector triggered a fire during testing on Tuesday with Clay behind the wheel of the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i, which necessitated a significant amount of repair work before Cooke was able to earn the F30’s maiden pole position.

“I was pulling into pit lane after doing an installation lap and as I lifted off the gas, a lick of flame came out from the hood and I deployed our Lifeline fire system as I pulled it into our pit box to get things under control, and our crew made sure we ended the fire. While I was fine and safe, the car was damaged,” Clay said. “It took a lot of hours to get back to the place where Tyler could go out and show the BimmerWorld F30’s capabilities.”

More drama would emerge after qualifying when it was determined the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW would require an engine change. Per the rules in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series, the change meant BimmerWorld would surrender its first-place starting position. Cooke faced the incredible challenge of starting last in a field of 36 cars—26 belonging to the Street Tuner class where the 328is compete.

Rewarding the BimmerWorld crew’s tireless efforts was a clear motivation for Cooke who charged from the back of the field to a high of second place in ST before handing the car over to Clay, who fought among the leaders and secured an amazing third to thrust the OPTIMA Batteries BMW onto the podium.

“BimmerWorld has been committed to developing the F30 from the beginning and it was fantastic to have that work rewarded with Tyler’s pole and finishing the race on the podium,” Clay added. “I’m even more proud of our team and everything they did to make this possible. And there’s more to come. We know winning is on the horizon.”

The Sebring event ranks among Cooke’s finest overall performances as a young professional racecar driver on the rise.

“The fire put us behind, but I can’t say enough how proud I am of the team for putting in a lot of hours and a late night to get the car rebuilt,” said Cooke. “Qualifying came on Thursday and it was great to see the team so happy after receiving the pole. It was very unfortunate to have the engine changed, but James and I knew we had a pace to get through the field.

“On the start I looked for any and every gap to make passes, but without putting the car in danger. James got in and had an excellent stint to bring the car home third. The best part about the weekend was the history we made. This platform has never sat on the pole nor gotten a podium in the world and I’m happy James and I could do it. I’m proud of the team for all the hard hours over the years to get us there.”

The sister No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW driven by impressive rookie Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley was also gripped by misfortune in the days leading up to the race. For Kaufman, a rookie in the series, the pre-race problems were mitigated by a strong qualifying performance and a combined effort in the race that saw the car finish 13th.

“I did surprisingly well in qualifying, but it was a very hot race,” Kaufman said. “The heat took some power out of the turbocharged engine and I worked the rear tires too hard early in the race.  Once they got hot there was no way to get the tire temps back down, and it became a fight to keep the car on track.  Congrats to the 84 car; those guys did an excellent job managing their car, and they got a great result because of it.  The BimmerWorld team did an amazing job despite problems thrown at them.  This team continues to impress me.”

Added Tilley: “It was a tough week for us in the 81, and Jerry’s effort in qualifying was fantastic giving the challenging circumstances. I was able to drive the car from 23rd to 13th, the crew did a great job of turning our weekend around, and we were able to get some solid points in the bag. Onwards and upwards!”

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 Announces IMSA Lineup for BMW 328i Turbo Continental Tire Series Campaign

2016lineup

Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning experts BimmerWorld have confirmed its driver lineup for 2016. BimmerWorld newcomers Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley will share the turbocharged No. 81 BMW 328i, and team owner/driver James Clay and BimmerWorld veteran Tyler Cooke will share the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i.

Built on the F30 platform, BimmerWorld introduced BMW’s 4-cylinder turbo coupe to IMSA’s Continental Tire Series in 2014. With two seasons of exceptional promise recorded in the Street Tuner class, Clay expects the inbound tandem of Kaufman and Tilley, and his partnership with young IMSA standout Cooke, to steer BimmerWorld and its F30s to the front in 2016.

“It’s no surprise that I am excited about our new BimmerWorld lineup,” Clay said. “Tyler has grown with our team and turned into a formidable driver in the Continental field, and through OPTIMA Batteries’ support, we’ll be able to drive together for the 2016 season. We also continue to find and develop new talent, and the addition of Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley puts another strong BimmerWorld 328i turbo combination on track. We have an experienced and capable team, the support of a tremendous group of sponsors, and this group will make for a solid overall package.”

Cooke has risen up the ranks with BimmerWorld to become one of the most promising talents in the ST field. Building off a breakout season 2015, he’ll continue his ascension with Clay, a race-winning veteran, to form a championship-caliber pairing in the OPTIMA Batteries BMW.

“I expect very good things from the both of us,” Cooke said. “James has two years under his belt with the car, and I spent last season racing the F30, so we both know it very well. Both BimmerWorld 328is proved their potential last year and next year it will really show. It’s been great to be teammates with James for the last three years; he’s taught me a lot, and now co-driving with him will bring great success and hopefully a championship. Jerry and Kyle are going to be a great fit for the team and I look forward to working and driving alongside them as well.”

BimmerWorld’s ongoing efforts to groom talent through club racing, and from the BMW Car Club of America, in particular, will see Kaufman make the leap to IMSA.

“I’ve had a lot of success in the BMW CCA, winning rookie of the year and two national championships, and much of that success is due to my relationship with James Clay and his BimmerWorld team,” Kaufman said. “IMSA is the pinnacle of road racing in North America, and the Continental Tire ST class is extremely competitive. This is going to be a big step up in competition, and BimmerWorld is one of the best in the business.”

For Tilley, who serves as Kaufman’s driver coach and has raced throughout the world in a variety of cars, the shift to a BimmerWorld-built BMW 328i presents a significant opportunity next year.

“I am thrilled to be back in a full-time seat, and not only am I driving with a coaching client, but a close friend, and it is going to be a fun year!” he said. “I cannot express how grateful I am to the Kaufman family, James Clay, and all of his partners at BimmerWorld for the opportunity. With Jerry’s existing relationship with both BMW and BimmerWorld, the F30 was the obvious choice. Having had the chance to test the car at VIR, I am confident that we have the potential to be a competitive package.

“We are under no illusion as to how competitive ST is; however, I think it’s fair to say that both Jerry and I will be disappointed if we aren’t at the sharp end of the action. Jerry is fantastic driver who is very serious about his racing, and I am looking forward to helping him develop even further over the course of 2016.”

Clay, along with his BimmerWorld mechanics and engineers, and numerous technical partners, has worked tirelessly during the brief offseason to take the next step with the BMW F30 package. With the new season set to start in just over a month at Daytona International Speedway, their efforts will be put to the test as a new Championship pursuit begins.

“The offseason has been a busy one for us, focusing on an engine and cooling package that gives us the same speed we showed in 2015 with more consistency,” Clay said. “This little turbo 4-cylinder makes good power, but it also makes a lot of heat in racing conditions. We had to look a bit outside the box to come up with a total solution to keep things happy under the hood, but with our Roush Performance engine partners, along with technical partners C&R Racing and Electronspeed on the job, really came through with a package proven to work. I am excited to get on track with the new equipment!”

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 Closes Promising 2015 Season with Top-7 at Road Atlanta

PostRAtl6

Steady rain made IMSA’s Continental Tire Series season finale at Road Atlanta a highly unpredictable event. When it was over, the BMW tuning and aftermarket specialists at BimmerWorld were able to bring one of their turbocharged 328is home in seventh place with Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto behind the wheel of the No. 81 BMW F30 chassis. The sister No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW F30 of team owner/driver James Clay and Jason Briedis weren’t as fortunate in the adverse conditions, but persevered to record a valuable finish in Street Tuner class.

“The weather was an unpredictable mix of fair and rain all week, and if we learned anything leading up to the race, it was that the forecasts were wild guesses,” Clay said. “We had solid cars that, as testing progressed, became very quick in the dry and predictable in wet conditions. For the race, we took our best guess and started on dry tires which didn’t pan out. Andrie was able to hang on in the No. 81 and move forward as the field shuffled but Jason in the No. 84 car lost ground on the start and was never able to regain in the tough conditions.”

2015 marked BimmerWorld’s first season of solely focusing on the BMW F30 platform, and as Clay explains, the lessons learned and partnerships that were formed will produce more speed and success when the new season gets under way in January.

“We continued to learn a lot this year as we focused on making the F30 drivetrain reliable,” he said. “We made more prudent decisions at times which made us less competitive at a brutally hot Sebring and CoTA, but we increased the lifespan of our powerplants significantly this year through a variety of initiatives internally, and from our new engine partners at Roush.

“We had a true development year this year, and the off-season will complete the process as we are able to resolve our long-term projects, and finally complete the heat management work which is the major piece of this engine.”

The seventh-place finish was a positive outcome for Cooke, who’s developed into a bright young team leader, and for Hartanto, who distinguished himself as one of the fastest and most consistent rookies in the series.

“Starting on slicks was challenging and it took everything I had to not slide off the track,” said Hartanto, who started the race in the No. 81 BMW F30. “Once the guys put us on the wet tires, the car really began to work well and allowed us to climb up through the field. Huge credit needs to be given to the team for putting together a car that was so awesome in the rain and also for their amazing work in the pits which enabled us to jump out in the lead.

“And it’s been a pleasure to drive for BimmerWorld and team up with Tyler. I thought we worked really well together and he was helpful in getting me up to speed. It was such a huge boost to run up front with the fastest drivers in my first season, especially with such tough competition. Being a part of a team that was so easy to fit into made that easier. Everyone on the team welcomed me with open arms and that really meant a lot. This team is one of the best in the business and I’m so proud to be part of BimmerWorld.”

For Cooke, who transitioned into the veteran role of the closing driver this year, Road Atlanta—and the season as a whole—was a positive experience.

“Andrie did a great job climbing his way to third place, and the team did a great pit stop which jumped us to the lead,” he said. “The race for the beginning of my stint wasn’t too bad but the rain got worse and worse and the visibility got worse. The team gave us a great car and walked away with a seventh and I am very happy with that. The team, and Andrie and I have made big strides throughout the year to help the car and ourselves.

“Andrie’s been a great teammate since the first day at Daytona. He has shown his skills all year with how fast he is and how hard he races to go to the front. Andrie has a lot of passion for it and was a really big part of the BimmerWorld family. It was a great year with a lot of learning and good outcomes. Thank you to Andrie, James, and the whole BimmerWorld crew for making 2015 a great season!”

Although Briedis and Clay wanted more from their Road Atlanta result in the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW F30, the effort expended by their pit crew and engineers was undeniable.

“For us, the final round didn’t quite go as hoped; we ended up having to stay out on slick tires longer than we wanted to, and that pretty much determined our outcome,” Briedis said. “Our sister car had an excellent race, and it was awesome to see the crew help get it to the front with strong pit work. James has assembled an extremely talented group of people, and to see them perform week in and week out is a treat. Thanks again to the whole BimmerWorld team for an enjoyable season.”

With BimmerWorld’s turbocharged BMWs ready to visit Victory Lane in 2016, Clay is looking forward to welcoming a few new faces to the program to take part in the journey.

“The F30 has shown serious potential all season and has led races and topped the charts,” he said. “We have learned along the way, and the package continues to get better and more consistent. After our pending offseason to implement some work that has been in the pipeline for months, and testing at the Roush facility which can duplicate the brutally hot conditions we can face during the season in a test cell, we will have the final pieces of the puzzle and be ready to kill it in 2016!

“We have consistent staff on both sides of the wheel, but we will be looking for 1-2 drivers and a crew member or two at the top of their game. This BMW has been as always an awesome car to drive and develop, and we are ready to reap the results of a lot of hard work.”

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.

Another Weekend of Learning for BimmerWorld with New Turbocharged F30 BMW Platform

PostVIR51

The Virginia-based BimmerWorld team was looking forward to a successful race at their home track, and in many ways, the strides made by the BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists during the event were exceptional. Prodigious speed demonstrated in practice and again qualifying with the new BimmerWorld-developed turbocharged BMW 328i had team owner/driver James Clay feeling optimistic for race day with the German brand’s F30 platform.

IMSA’s Continental Tire Series has given the team great opportunities to showcase the F30’s performance attributes, but the 2.5-hour contest at VIR delivered more frustration than fruitful outcomes for Clay’s two-car program. With the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i driven by Andrie Hartanto and Tyler Cooke starring in time trials, and Clay and teammate Jason Briedis following suit in the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW, the best results were captured prior to the race.

“Every weekend these F30 BMW cars continue to get better,” said Clay. “We have tested multiple times at VIR, and we have the cars dialed in there, and they rolled off the trailer quick. We did do a bit of tuning because even though we had speed, the car didn’t feel right and wasn’t the long-distance racer I wanted to drive for hours, but by the last practice, we had them dialed and recorded the unofficial track record in the process. Qualifying again saw both cars inside the top-10, and we had the pace to have both top-5 without traffic issues.”

BimmerWorld races to develop next-generation performance parts for BMW owners, and as VIR proved, a brand-new racing platform like the F30 can present the team with learning opportunities in various forms. And when those lessons take the form of problems, Clay’s staff of engineers and technicians are quick to turn the information into revisions and upgrades.

“We have come far on this N20 turbo engine and it performed well even in hot conditions at VIR, but we had a couple of ancillary issues that caused problems,” he explained. “Now that the long race-every-other-weekend stretch is over, we have an opportunity to go over the cars with a fine-toothed comb. We continue to work on improving the cooling system as the summer moves along and the events get hotter. We were good at the 85 degrees of VIR and will have a few new parts on the car to handle the heat coming up at the next race in Texas.”

With two races left to run in 2015, Clay says BimmerWorld will use the time between VIR and Circuit of The Americas on Sept. 18 in the Lone Star state to bring the team’s F30s closer to Victory Lane.

“The first win of this platform has been within our grasp, but elusive to date,” he noted. “We have the pace and a solid car. I know we are doing everything we can to get that one out of the way before the end of the season.”

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.

Top-5 for BimmerWorld’s BMW Turbo at Road America

limerockPost15

With a chance to show the full measure of BimmerWorld’s in-house-developed turbocharged BMW 328i platform on the renowned Road America circuit, the Virginia-based aftermarket and tuning specialists captured a compelling fourth-place finish with the No. 81 entry driven by Andrie Hartanto and Tyler Cooke.

Cooke, a young veteran, and Hartanto, a rookie in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series, have formed one of the most competitive duos in the Street Tuner class, and with their near-podium at Road America, they captured their best result of 2015.

By finishing fourth on the 4.0-mile Wisconsin road course, Cooke and Hartanto also earned their fourth top-10 result in the last five races. With Hartanto qualifying and driving the opening stint and Cooke taking the closing stint, team owner/driver James Clay says he’s genuinely impressed by the performances coming from the pair in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW.

“Tyler is finishing the 81 car stronger every race, and it is awesome to see Andrie qualifying and running at the front of the field,” Clay noted. “This is their first year together as teammates and in our new F30 BMW platform, but Tyler is on his third year with the team and I have known Andrie in the paddock for years, so their success is not a surprise to me. This is a solid season for them and I am proud to see it coming together.”

Despite his relative lack of age, Cooke has become a fast and reliable team leader with the No. 81 program, and with his promotion to the role of closing driver this year, he says the responsibility of pushing the turbo BMW to the finish line has become a pleasure.

“My comfort level is great; it was nice being able to battle it out with the front guys and really have to fight every lap,” he said. “The team gave us a great car for the race and it showed with Andrie and I both climbing through the field. Andrie had a great stint bringing the car in the pits in the top-5.”

Hartanto’s spirited drive to start the race had a minor complication, but as he recounts, it just meant he got to pass more cars.

“After moving from 14th to sixth in less than three laps, I spun and we lost all the positions we gained and then some,” he said. “Finding myself in last place forced me to dig deep and put in one my best drives to fight back to fourth. That said, I’m my own biggest critic, so the spin was a disappointment. If it weren’t for the ambitious move, I truly believe Tyler would have been fighting for the win and for that, I apologize. I am getting much more comfortable with the team, the car and the field of competitors and I expect our performance to reflect that.”

Clay and teammate Jason Briedis weren’t as fortunate as Cooke and Hartanto last weekend, but in typical BimmerWorld fashion, their No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i contributed to the ongoing growth of the company’s knowledge base and product offerings for the F30 platform.

“We are still learning without question and we are still making strides forward, but I also know we will continue to do so for the rest of the season, and the car is in a very strong spot as we move into 2016 as well,” Clay explained. “We are now fighting at the front, topping session charts, and pulling down good finishes. I am looking for a win this year, which I know is a tall order in the coming three races with such tight competition, but it is also satisfying to realize that winning is now a realistic expectation for the new turbocharged BMW.”

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.

Two Top-10s for BimmerWorld at Lime Rock; Road America Race Up Next

limerockPost

BimmerWorld’s season of rapid development with BMW’s new turbocharged 328i platform continued last weekend at Lime Rock Park where both entries in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series scored top-10 finishes.

The No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BimmerWorld BMW 328i piloted by team owner James Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis raced to sixth-place at the tiny 1.7-mile road course, and came close to matching their season-best run to fifth at Daytona. The sister No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i shared by Andrie Hartanto and Tyler Cooke followed the No. 84 home in ninth, which marked their third top-10 finish in the last four races.

“I’m happy any time both cars finish in the top-10, and I think we got what we could this weekend from the track, even if it wasn’t a win,” Clay said, before noting the continued domination by diminutive cars in the Street Tuner class. “When one of the small cars clears the field by over a half second yet again, we know we won’t be at the top, but our BMW F30s ran strong, and I am looking for big things over the next couple of rounds at longer, flowing tracks.”

The Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning experts have led the charge with the brand’s F30 chassis in competition, and as with everything BimmerWorld races, the knowledge gained will benefit their customers in the form of race-proven components. A recent heat wave in Canada and Lime Rock has helped BimmerWorld to make advancements in heat rejection under the hood, and as Clay explains, the process will continue through the remaining rounds.

“Heat is our enemy in this little turbocharged engine with smaller turbos that really heat things up when running full speed for hours straight, but I think as development continues, the situation is improving,” he said. “We haven’t fully got the package we want yet, but we are making strides in that direction and luckily the Red Line Oil fluids we use are keeping things living well in what I would consider extreme heat. The Lime Rock race finished with higher ambient and track temps, and the engine package stayed with us.”

BimmerWorld transitions from Lime Rock to its next race at Road America in Wisconsin on the weekend of August 8-9. The sprawling road course is a favorite for most drivers, and holds special meaning for Clay, who won his first professional race at the circuit. The track is also near the corporate headquarters of OPTIMA Batteries, and with its high demands on handling, power, and braking, BimmerWorld’s BMW F30s are primed for a competitive run.

“Big tracks have always suited the BMW platform well, and Road America specifically where I won my first pro race back in 2008 in our then-new E90 platform,” he said. “It would really be fitting to have a repeat this year in our new F30 platform, and in OPTIMA Batteries’ back yard. OPTIMA has believed in us in a big way, and been a fantastic supporter of BMW racing as we have moved this new F30 platform to the front of the field, and I would love to see the first win on their home turf.”

After racing at Road America in BimmerWorld’s E90s, Cooke can’t wait to lap the 4.0-mile track with Hartanto in the No. 81 BMW F30.

“My favorite corner there is Canada corner; my dad always told me stories about hearing the race cars scream down the straight after the kink into Canada corner and I finally got to experience it myself and it was truly amazing,” he noted.

“The F30 will be strong through the fast corners and the E90 always had really good pace through there, and this year I feel the F30 is better balanced and can carry better speed then the E90. It will be strong everywhere, but it will really show in the fast turns.”

QUOTEBOARD: LIME ROCK

Andrie Hartanto, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i: “I didn’t qualify as well as I wanted. We had the speed, just couldn’t put it all together. We knew track position was important as this is one of the most difficult tracks to make passes, so I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t qualify better. However, a top-10 finish is an achievement. Next for us is a track that should suit our car well, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Tyler Cooke, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i: “The BimmerWorld boys gave Andrie and me a great car that had great potential. Putting both F30s in the top-10 shows how hard the team’s been working and it’s a great finish for us.”

Jason Briedis, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BimmerWorld BMW 328i: “The race went well for us to bring it home sixth overall. We are making progress with heat management, and hope to keep getting stronger. The team is looking forward to Road America and hope to improve on our finishing position.”

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.

Breakout Drive in Canada for BimmerWorld Rookie Inspires Team Ahead of Connecticut Race

postMosport15

The highlight of BimmerWorld’s visit to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on the outskirts of Toronto came with the standout performance of its Continental Tire Series rookie Andrie Hartanto. Driving the turbocharged No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i with teammate Tyler Cooke, Hartanto pushed the F30-platform BMW to second place in qualifying at the high-speed road course, and quickly transitioned his front-row spot it into leading the Street Tuner class at CTMP.

The sister No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i driven by BimmerWorld team owner James Clay and Jason Briedis qualified 11th, and with Briedis starting the 2h30m race, the second-year racer followed Hartanto’s theme by moving forward during the opening stint.

Cooke and Clay would took over their respective F30s with plans of racing to the podium, but rising ambient temperatures limited the results for both BimmerWorld entries, leaving the No. 81 an unrepresentative 10th at the finish and the OPTIMA Batteries BMW close behind in 13th.

“Andrie was a standout this weekend, qualifying the car on the front row to match Jason’s best this year, and leading much of his stint,” Clay said. “Our cars clearly have the speed but on a hotter track with high intake temps, especially when we start to get back in the pack, we are still hurting a little with heat-soaked turbo motors.

“These are great lessons that will help us improve the products we offer our clients, and we are working with the series to develop a package with more consistent performance across variable weather conditions. For now, we will pray for colder days until those updates are approved.”

For Hartanto, who brings years of semi-pro experience to his maiden season in the Continental Tire Series, the chance to run up front was a demonstration of his capabilities and the collective strength offered within the BimmerWorld team.

“I’ve always been confident in my ability to run up front, however the credit goes to my teammates Jason Briedis, James Clay, and Tyler Cooke,” he said. “They got me up to speed very quickly at a track I had never been to. It was surreal taking the lead, but it felt even better recapturing it and finishing my stint on top. I hope to improve my qualifying performance next at Lime Rock and get the win for the team and my longtime sponsors who have always believed in me.”

And for Cooke, who has developed into one of the series’ top young pros, the run to 10th only hinted at the potential within BimmerWorld’s developing BMW F30 package.

“We had a car that showed we could hang with the top guys,” he noted. “Andrie did a great job getting the lead and staying there. James and I looked like we were going to have a good run together and we still did. A top-10 finish and having the car lead is great and gives confidence to the team. I’m going into Lime Rock confident we will have a good finish with both cars. The team is working very hard day in and day out which is why BimmerWorld is one of the best teams in the paddock.”

The pace and frequency of the 2015 season continues to increase as the next race at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park arrives next week. Based on the potential shown at CTMP, Clay hopes it will carry into the short bullring circuit.

“Lime Rock will be a very fast weekend for us – in and out in just over 24 hours,” he said. “We have these F30 BMWs really dialed in and we are unloading with a solid setup, so I feel like we have a small advantage there. The race is earlier in the day, so I am hoping to see some cooler weather which will put us on par with the field for power and capable of fighting for our first series win with the new platform.”

Briedis is also looking forward to taking BimmerWorld’s OPTIMA Batteries BMW into the thick of the fight at Lime Rock.

“I enjoy the good close racing that Lime Rock provides, the short laps, and all the battles throughout the field,” he said. “Although the smaller cars tend to dominate there, we are hoping that we can be the best of the rest and maybe get some luck with strategy to surprise the pre-race favorites.”

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 Leaves Watkins Glen Focused on Mosport

watkinsPOST15

With little to report that could be described as positive, team owner/driver James Clay says his staff of BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists at BimmerWorld have already shifted their focus to fighting for a win in Canada after wet and unpredictable weekend at Watkins Glen with their turbocharged BMW F30s.

“We came into Watkins with high hopes for the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW and the sister No. 81 car after last year’s performance, and especially after the trend we are currently on with these awesome F30 platform BMWs,” he said. “Unfortunately the rain wreaked havoc on our plans and outlook, and I don’t think anyone is happy with the performance. The next race in Canada at Mosport is another solid track for us and I look forward to getting that first win for this new BMW – hopefully we can put it all together there.”

An incident at the start of the race involving Clay’s teammate in the OPTIMA Batteries car saw the No. 84 BMW trigger a track-wide caution period moments after the 2.5-hour contest began. Despite an impressive sixth-place qualifying position, the No. 84’s day was done as soon as it started.

Once the action resumed, Andrie Hartanto showed his wet weather prowess in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW F30 and battled towards the front after starting fifth in class. Visibility issues would eventually hinder his teammate Tyler Cooke in the run to the checkered flag, and he managed to hold on for an unsatisfying 14-place finish.

“The rain always brings its challenges,” said Hartanto. “Watkins Glen, in particular, is massively challenging due to the amount of mixed surfaces you drive across. When you incorporate some serious rain into the mix, those grip differences demand that you stay on top of your game.

“This was the first race where we started near the front, so we had high hopes. I’ve always performed well in the rain, so in spite of how intense the conditions were, I felt my stint went really well. This marks two solid performances in a row for Tyler and me, and I’m hopeful we can continue this into Mosport.”

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 on the Hunt for Victory at New York’s Watkins Glen Circuit

watkinsPRE15

Keeping busy during the most recent hiatus between Continental Tire Series events hasn’t been a problem for the BMW tuning and aftermarket specialists at BimmerWorld. With two months to fill between the race in Monterey, CA. and this weekend’s contest at Watkins Glen in New York, team owner/driver James Clay says his veteran crew of technicians and engineers has focused on improved durability for the turbocharged engine found in their BMW F30 chassis.

“We are always testing and improving cars, and the F30 platform, being such a departure from the traditional BMW Inline-6 that we have raced for years, demands a lot of development,” he noted. “We have taken the time to develop and implement some subtle changes that will increase the overall reliability of the package as we settle into the hot summer months. This is a fantastic engine, but heat is our enemy, and it certainly won’t be as cool as the Monterey race this summer.”

BimmerWorld newcomer Andrie Hartanto has impressed at every round he’s contested in the No. 81 BMW he shared with Tyler Cooke, and like all of the earlier events on the calendar, he’ll race at Watkins Glen in the F30 chassis for the first time.

“There have been a lot of firsts for me this season!” he said with his trademark smile. “Fortunately for me, the entire BimmerWorld team—and especially my co-driver Tyler—have been a tremendous help in getting me up to speed quickly, which I’m grateful for. That said, Watkins Glen happens to be a track that I’ve driven before, albeit 12 years ago. I recently attended a Chin Motorsports event at The Glen to get reacquainted and I’m anxious to drive the No. 81 there as it’s a great track. We had a strong finish at Laguna and I think we’re poised to improve upon that at Watkins.”

Now in his second year on the pro racing trail with BimmerWorld, Jason Briedis, who shares the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries-sponsored BMW 328i with Clay, reflected on how far he’s come since joining the Continental Tire Series in 2014.

“BimmerWorld does a great job making me feel comfortable within the team,” he said. “Now that I am familiar with the tracks and the other competitors, I can focus purely on extracting the best out of both my driving, and the car. So far this year, we have qualified in the top 10 at every track, and run in the top 5 at every race. For the next few events, personally I will be looking to continue starting at or near the front, and handing the car over to James in a spot where we can challenge for podiums and the first BMW F30 win in North America.”

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 Scores Top-6 Finish with Turbocharged BMW at Laguna Seca

postLaguna

By all accounts, the BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld had a wildly successful trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team’s turbocharged BMW 328i platform was fast in the hands of the drivers who pilot the Nos. 81 and 84 entries, and with local driver Andrie Hartanto combining with teammate Tyler Cooke to place sixth in the Street Tuner class with the 81, it almost felt like a win for the veteran program.

Based on the vast performance inequity between normal-size cars like BimmerWorld’s BMWs and the miniscule cars that have dominated the ST class at the event for five years running, it was hardly a surprise to see the smallest, lightest machines in the field capture the top four positions in the race.

Resigned to a best-in-normal-class outcome, team owner/driver James Clay was realistic in his expectations where finishing sixth was akin to earning second, albeit without the extra Championship points.

“Our BimmerWorld BMWs were strong this weekend – as strong as it gets behind the midget front-runners that typically dominate Laguna,” he said. “We are there racing for the best of the rest of the field, and the 81’s run to sixth was second step on the podium in our eyes. And if not for a piece of bad luck, the 84 would have been right there as well.”

Even with the bad luck that left Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis in 23rd at the end of the race in the No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i, Clay was pleased with the performance from Hartanto and the impressive effort by Cooke.

“I was super happy to see the 81 running so strong,” he remarked. “I know Andrie wasn’t thrilled with his qualifying effort which was diminished with a crack in a charge pipe, but as we expected, he quickly picked his way to the front at his home track. Tyler moved forward in his stint and hung in there for a solid result — it was great for them to lock down a good finish.”

For Hartanto, who is in the midst of a solid rookie season in the Continental Tire Series, Monterey was nothing but a positive event.

“Finishing strong at my home event is very important, especially with friends and family in attendance,” he said. “Having a strong teammate in Tyler certainly helps the cause. I’m really happy we were able to show that we have the pace and looking forward to the next race in Watkins Glen.”

QUOTEBOARD: Monterey Race

No. 81 BMW 328i: Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto

Cooke: The race went very well with the 81 car. Andrie did a great job bringing the car to fourth and both Jason and Andrie showed great team work by working together bringing the cars into the pits in the top-5. My stint was very good, too; I could run close to the same pace as the leaders but couldn’t get close enough to them. All things considered, this was a great race for us and the team moving into Watkins.

Hartanto: My disappointment with qualifying was dampened by learning that a boost leak impacted our result. It was so exciting to be able to fight our way up the field. When our engineer radioed that we were leading the race, it was memorable. The couple of laps in the lead were awesome. Yes, it may have boiled down to the pit stop timing of the eventual winners, but I’ll never forget hearing our engineer over the radio saying that we had the lead.

No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i: James Clay and Jason Briedis

Briedis: We had a solid qualifying starting sixth. I was able slip into fourth when the Honda and the Porsche got together heading into Turn 6. From there we ran in 4th most of the race. James was on track for a strong finish until the mechanical issue. Our car is getting better and better each race and we hope to contend for some wins soon.

Clay: I have historically done well at Laguna, and Jason and I had a fast car last year. The track really came to us perfectly and we were on our way to another strong result until bad luck stepped in in the form of metal fatigue and left us both wishing it wasn’t seven weeks until Watkins.

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‘s Turbocharged BMWs Are Ready for California

preLagunaNEWS

BimmerWorld’s visit to the famed Laguna Seca road course in 2014 revealed the potential of its newest challenger, the turbocharged BMW 328i chassis built on the German brand’s F30 platform. Team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis were incredibly fast in their brand-new F30, and despite competing while still in the early stages of its development process, the BimmerWorld team left the Californian circuit with a clear picture of what the F30 had to offer.

One year later, and with the luxury of a six-week pause since the last race held in Sebring, Florida, BimmerWorld is headed back to the picturesque track located in Monterey with two F30s and a goal of capturing their first victory with the chassis in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series. Among the major improvements made since Sebring by the BMW tuning and aftermarket experts, additional cooling gains have been incorporated into both cars.

“We have put a lot of work and development into the F30 platform in the schedule gap we enjoyed after Sebring to battle the heat that diminished our results at that race, and has previously been a major factor in our engine life,” said Clay, who will race the OPTIMA Batteries-sponsored No. 84 with Briedis. “C&R Racing put together a new charge air cooler package, we have added more extensive underhood heat shielding, and we have done additional work on our ECU package and calibration to manage boost and temperatures. With a hot week forecasted, this preparation will be critical in achieving a result in California.”

BimmerWorld’s F30s are one of the heavier cars in the field, which is far from optimal at a rolling circuit like Laguna Seca. Despite the rules-mandated heft, Clay is confident his BMWs will have something to show against the other entries in the Street Tuner class.

“I am very happy with the BMW F30 chassis package we put on track in Laguna – last year we were the fastest car, but as always, the weight wears the tires and may not make us the strongest at the end,” he said. “Nevertheless, I like our chances at this track.”

The trip to Monterey is particularly special for BimmerWorld driver Andrie Hartanto, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and shares the No. 81 F30 with Tyler Cooke.

“I’m eager to race at Laguna Seca–this will be my home race and I have fond memories having just won the SCCA Runoffs there last October,” he noted. “I’m confident that this will be one of my stronger tracks as I have plenty of laps here. If the amount of friends and supporters attending is any gauge on how well we perform, I’m pretty optimistic we’re in for a good 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, 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 Leaves Sebring With Another Top-10 Performance

postSebringNEWS

BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists BimmerWorld experienced two distinct outcomes during their visit to the legendary Sebring circuit in Central Florida for Round 2 of IMSA’s Continental Tire Series.

Fast in the relatively short qualifying session, the high ambient temperature was less kind when it came time to go racing with the team’s turbocharged BMW 328i platform built on F30 architecture. Team owner/driver James Clay and Jason Briedis placed the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries-sponsored F30 seventh on the grid, and despite running as high as third, sweltering conditions meant the tandem had to settle for ninth at the checkered flag.

The No. 81 BimmerWorld F30 driven by team veteran Tyler Cooke and newcomer Andrie Hartanto lined up 13th and was running strong until being spun by a rival. With time lost as Hartanto sat stationary, the duo was left with an unrepresentative finish of 20th.

“Sebring was a tough race for our turbo cars,” said Clay. “We have been battling high inlet temps since last season, which resulted in some engine failures last year. Looking at the weather forecast going into this race, we knew we were going to have issues if we pushed the power, so we played it safe. It is a real testament to the strength of our BimmerWorld team to take a car that was mid-pack at best over the course of the 2.5-hour race and finish inside the top-10. It was a challenging weekend, but I am proud of the result.”

With BimmerWorld’s on-track efforts paying back to its clients in the form of improved BMW performance parts and services, Clay says even a tough and hot weekend like Sebring will help the company optimize its offerings for F30 owners.

“Turbo cars are tough and very temperature dependent,” he explained. “Both cars executed well in qualifying and gave us our best time of the weekend in the couple of laps we could run before heat soak took over. We are going to take a big swing at cooling these F30 cars off before the next round – that is the solution, and then we can race with pace, consistency, and durability.”

QUOTEBOARD: Sebring Race

No. 81 BMW 328i: Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto

Cooke: The race didn’t go how we wanted it to; Andrie did a great job running in the top-10 until getting taken out and we learned a lot during the race to help us in the races to come.

Hartanto: It was an uphill battle for me, but I’ve learned that we have an amazing team. In spite of the intense heat which forced us to sacrifice power in order to go the distance, the BimmerWorld crew still delivered a car capable of a top-10 finish. I also discovered that the night before my first CTSC race is not the ideal time to showcase my marginal basketball skills; especially not with a group of highly competitive drivers and definitely not when you end up with a bruised bum, a torn-up elbow and a trip to the ER for some stitches! I realized that our race pace is very strong as we made up a lot of ground after starting from 13th on the grid. I also experienced how quickly those places can be lost when you get hit and spun around. Tyler did a great job closing out the race and ensuring that we obtained some valuable data. It was a great first race and I’m really looking forward to my home race at Monterey!

No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i: James Clay and Jason Briedis

Briedis: Considering we were 22nd and 23rd in average fast lap analysis during the race, gutting out a ninth-place finish shows the determination and depth of our team. The heat didn’t help our cause, but we learned a lot and hope to remedy some things before our next race in Monterey.

Clay: Jason did an awesome job with qualifying and in his opening laps before heat soak set in. I was proud of my drive even though we didn’t have the power or pace to do much. Wayne’s pit call was perfect and team execution was spot on. I am super excited to take this strength of team into a weekend with more normal temperatures where we can produce the deserved result!

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 Takes Top-5 in Season Opener at Daytona

postDaytonaNEWS

Round 1 of the 2015 Continental Tire Series Championship at Daytona International Speedway almost went according to plan for the BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld. The team’s new F30-based 3281 turbos were plenty fast as team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis qualified second and finished fifth in the 2.5-hour endurance race piloting the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries-sponsored entry.

The sister No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i driven by Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto was less fortunate, succumbing to fuel supply-related issues before the green flag waved. Daytona left Clay and the BimmerWorld program with a glimpse of the F30’s capabilities against the opposition, and a renewed sense of determination to place both cars inside the top-5 at the next race in March.

“The F30 BMWs are going to be contenders all year, and it was good to see them come out strong at Daytona,” said Clay. “I am happy that our new partners at OPTIMA Batteries had a strong finish in the No. 84 car, and personally quite satisfied with that drive, but I know we should have had the sister car right beside us, and that is disappointing. We have two months until the next round, and we won’t be resting until everything is sorted.”

QUOTEBOARD: Daytona Race

No. 81 BMW 328i: Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto

Cooke: We didn’t come out of Daytona in the ideal situation but everyone has one bad race and hopefully we got that out of the way and now we can focus forward. I’m looking forward to Sebring because I have many laps on the track and the F30 proved it was fast last year. We might not have made a lot of laps at Daytona but in the laps we did, the car proved it had the speed. Sebring will be a race for us to get back in this Championship and BimmerWorld has never been a team to settle for second.

Hartanto: In the end it is racing and stuff happens, and all I want is to represent my sponsors to the best of my ability. We will have an uphill battle from now on and can’t afford any more issues. My feeling with the team is positive and I’m sure that we can bounce back. Sebring is one of the toughest tracks to learn, however, but we have more than a long break which I will use to train myself thoroughly.

No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i: James Clay and Jason Briedis

Clay: The track had less grip mid-corner than it had previously all weekend, and it made the corners run between gears, which was a little tough to work with. Overall though, the winter improvements in the car’s handling were evident and I am very happy with a good start to the season.

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’s New Turbocharged BMW 328i Tandem Set For 2015 Season Opener

SeasonOpenerNEWS

Almost a decade of BimmerWorld’s race-winning research and development with the E90-based BMW 328i platform has been distilled into to its newest challenger, the turbocharged BMW 328i built on the F30 chassis architecture, which will comprise both of the team’s Continental Tire Series entries in 2015.

BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay and teammate Jason Briedis spent 2014 developing the F30 in the Street Turner class, and with a successful test on Jan. 9-11 at Daytona International Speedway to draw from, BimmerWorld’s revised two-car lineup is prepared for a strong opening to the 10-race Championship.

The Clay/Briedis combo will continue in the new No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i, and will have team veteran Tyler Cooke and impressive newcomer Andrie Hartanto alongside in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i at each round.

“The new BMW F30-chassis 328i has certainly been a change for us, and we had to wrestle with it a bit more than I would hope last season, but I feel like we have all the right partners and pieces in place, and I expect good things this year,” said Clay. “Our No. 84 car was strong at Daytona last year with the exception of a weird engine issue. I think we have shaken most of those out and I am looking forward to bringing the new OPTIMA-branded chariot home with a strong result to start the year.”

BimmerWorld’s four-car effort from 2014 has been reduced, but the size of Clay’s race operation hasn’t changed. His new Next Level European team debuts at Daytona with a pair of Porsche Caymans in the ST class, and despite the dissimilar brands, he says both camps will contribute to a solid overall showing.

“It is helpful to have friends on track, and our change of structure this year leaves us with only two BimmerWorld BMWs, but the Next Level European Porsches are under the broad team umbrella, and we will contribute to each other’s efforts,” he explained. “And I think the more focused BMW effort will be helpful as we can concentrate our team’s results for the marque.”

QUOTEBOARD: Daytona Pre-Race

No. 81 BMW 328i: Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto

Cooke: The cars at the test demonstrated a good pace and really showed they had something for the rest of the cars in the field. I’d be satisfied with top-5 and top-10 performances throughout the year which would help us big in the Championship. A good, consistent season can have a great outcome at the end of the year.

Hartanto: After a strong showing at the test, I’m very optimistic of our prospects for the 2015 season. My first impression of the BimmerWorld team was great. While I’ve always been incredibly passionate about racing, this has been the most excited I’ve been to kick off a season for a while.

Tyler is a strong driver and I believe we have one of the strongest pairings in the series. I still need to acclimate myself to the higher level of competition, especially under race conditions, so it might not show in the first race. However as the season goes on, I’m confident that we will prove that we’re a championship contender.

No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i: James Clay and Jason Briedis

Briedis: The cars looked great at the Daytona test, and they performed well. We can definitely podium this year under the right circumstances. After the first few rounds we will have a better idea of the possibility of Victory Lane. I am looking forward to having fun this year and being a force to reckon with
every weekend.

TV TUNE-IN INFO: IMSA.com, Live, Friday at 1:45 p.m. ET.

FOLLOW BIMMERWORLD THIS WEEKEND 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 Announces Driver Lineups for Two-Car Turbocharged BMW Continental Tire Series Program

12.18NEWS

Recent news from the front-running Continental Tire Series BimmerWorld Racing team confirmed the veteran program would field two turbocharged BMW 328s next season, and drivers for both cars have now been nominated by the perennial Championship contenders.

Team owner/driver James Clay and Jason Briedis, who made his Street Tuner debut in 2014, will continue in the No. 84 BimmerWorld entry built on BMW’s F30 chassis platform. They will be joined by BimmerWorld’s young veteran Tyler Cooke, who marks his third season with the BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists, and new BimmerWorld driver Andrie Hartanto, who brings years of regional touring car experience to the No. 81 BMW.

BimmerWorld spent the 2014 ST Championship developing the F30 platform as the future model of choice in IMSA’s top-tier production-based series, and as Clay explains, 2015 should be the year where BMW’s forced-induction drivetrain and renowned handling combine for great success.

“This is gearing up to be the year of BMW turbo power!” he said. “We have over a year in the development of this car and a new engine partner onboard for 2015 that has smoothed out some of our issues, and I am very much looking forward to displaying the potential of this new BMW platform.”

Clay’s team made headlines as the first North American racing team to win with the BMW 328 E90 chassis, and expects to put all of BimmerWorld’s BMW build and development expertise into achieving the same outcome with the F30.

“We have played with turbos for a while now, but in keeping with the mantra of our company, racing a product is really what pushes our boundaries and allows us to really learn at the limits of a car,” he explained.

“With the future of BMW headed in the turbo direction, this is a very timely move for our team, and our business as we adopt best practices to apply to new products and customer work, in the F30 3 Series, the new M3/M4 cars, and the multitude of other turbo platforms.”

Making the complete shift from E90s to F30s will be aided with consistency in the cockpit of the No. 84.

“I was thrilled when Jason came back for another year in the 84,” Clay added. “He is an excellent driver and we made gains as a team through the season last year. It is always nice to skip the settling-in process and continue momentum from the previous year into the new season, and I like our chances for results this year.”

Briedis is aiming higher than ever as he looks to the new season.

“Like everyone, our goal is the Championship, but that starts with podium finishes, so I am hoping we can grab some of those,” he said. “Definitely staying in the same car and continuing with James will be a major benefit. It will be nice to build on what I learned in 2014 and take that next step to being up there battling week in and week out.”

Cooke spent two seasons learning from BimmerWorld’s Greg Liefooghe, who will move to a different car within Clay’s racing operations next year, and with the chance to demonstrate everything he’s learned, the emerging pro is looking forward to sharing the No. 81 with Hartanto.

“I am ready to take the leadership role along with Andrie, and I’ve already learned a lot from Greg, and all the people at BimmerWorld,” he said. “I’m ready to make my third year with the team an even bigger success after running in the top-5 all last year. And I’m excited to be in the new F30 chassis after seeing their potential last year.

“Moving from driving with Greg to Andrie is exciting for me; I’ve heard many good things about him and his results show how good he is. Like everyone else, we want to win a race, and better than that, a Championship, and I think we have a really good shot to do that with all the hard work BimmerWorld puts into this program.”

Hartanto has extensive chassis building, development and racing experience that will be invaluable for the No. 81 entry, and says stepping up to Street Tuner with BimmerWorld is the culmination of everything he’s worked towards.

“It has always a dream of mine to run a full season in professional racing, and to join such an established and competitive team like BimmerWorld Racing is icing on the cake,” he said. “While I’ve been racing for a number of years and have even dabbled in professional racing, I’m still a rookie. I’m excited to learn a lot from Tyler and my other teammates, James and Jason.

“Even though I’m the old guy when compared to Tyler, I’m just as hungry and always want to win. It will be really hard with such tough competition out there, but we will give it our all and I’m confident that we have a good chance at the Championship.”

Follow the BimmerWorld Racing team as they prepare for the first official test of 2015 at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 9-11 by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.

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

postRoadAtlantaNEWS

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

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

postRoadNEWS

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 Leaves Indy With Fast Cars But Few Results

postIndyNEWS

Motor racing can present team owners and drivers with numerous levels of frustration. Possibly the most dreaded outcome, as the BimmerWorld Continental Tire Series team can attest, comes from days where a team has race-winning speed yet comes away without the results to support that pace and potential.

Notorious for its frequent caution periods, the Continental Tire Series followed a familiar script during its first two visits to Indianapolis Motor Speedway where late-race yellows slowed the field and eliminated the need for a final splash of fuel to make it to the finish.

The 2014 event defied convention as the second half of the 2h30min race went caution free, ruining BimmerWorld’s plans to score its second win at the famed Speedway as its fastest entries were forced to surrender the lead and visit pit lane for a few drops of fuel.

It left the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW E90 328i of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke as the first car home in 12th, followed by the new No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW F30 328i piloted by team owner James Clay and Jason Briedis in 13th.

“As a whole, we just got caught out with pit strategy this race, which ended with an hour and twenty minutes of green running,” said a befuddled Clay. “Since when does that happen in our series? We needed a yellow and we didn’t get it, and we didn’t have the fuel we needed to give a different set of results, but everyone worked hard and we had all the makings for another win this weekend. I really hate it when we are at the tracks where we CAN win and fall short. This was just one of those weekends.”

BimmerWorld’s in-house development of the turbocharged F30 BMW platform continues to pay dividends as the No. 84 car visits each track for the first time. Indianapolis offered another chance for Clay and Briedis to gain valuable knowledge with the chassis, and despite the unrepresentative finishing position, BimmerWorld’s F30 was in the mix for most of the race.

“I am really happy with the progress of the new platform 328i that Jason and I drive, and with our work in the car,” Clay added. “Every weekend is getting better, and I am very aware that we are headed to the track where I got my first pro win next week. Certainly I expect big things for the F30 next race, for the rest of the season, and for a lot of seasons to come. It has been a difficult road to make this car a winner, but I think we are just about there!”

Liefooghe and Cooke are still in contention for the Street Tuner Championship, and according to the sports car veteran, the best outlook after Indy is to concentrate on the remaining races on the calendar.

“It didn’t make for a very good points day for us with two of the cars we are fighting against for the championship finishing on the podium,” said Liefooghe. “But we still have four races to go and I think we have made some progress chassis wise which allowed us to run upfront at Indy, so I’m looking forward to what we can do over the upcoming races.”

Liefooghe’s teenage teammate spend the event pulling double duty as the opening driver in the No. 81 and the closing driver in the No. 80 he shared with Street Tuner rookie Eric Zimmermann, and can’t wait for the next round at Road America to give it another go.

“My first weekend pulling double duty went very well,” said Cooke. “I got to learn how to drive in two completely different handling cars as well as giving the feedback. We were having a great race in both cars and I definitely think we can carry that momentum to Road America.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: Road America, August 9

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

INDY RESULTS:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Eric Zimmermann & Tyler Cooke: Qualified P32, Finished P24

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Tyler Cooke & Greg Liefooghe: Qualified P14, finished P12

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Seth Thomas & Dan Rogers: Qualified P25, Finished P17

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), James Clay & Jason Briedis: Qualified P10, Finished P13

BimmerWorld Returns to the Brickyard with Another Victory in Mind

preIndieNEWS

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 On A Hunt In Watkins Glen

preWatkinsNEWS

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’s Frustrations Continue To Mount After Race In Kansas

postKansasNEWS

Tensions are mounting at BimmerWorld, the veteran Continental Tire Series team, after contesting its fourth consecutive event where the rules make reaching the podium with one of its four BMW 328is little more than a fantasy.

Known for its fast and highly developed BMW sedans in IMSA’s Street Tuner class, BimmerWorld, along with the other BMW teams in the series, finds itself unable to break the stranglehold of the current rules, much less win a race, due to the current Balance of Performance inequities.

Left once again to fight for a best finish of fifth—behind the other marques, BimmerWorld’s drivers watched as Honda Civics and Porsche Caymans ruled the Kansas “roval,” a slight change from the three previous rounds where the Mazda MX-5s dominated each race.

BimmerWorld ended the 2hr30min race with two cars inside the top-10, but team owner/driver James Clay was in no mood to celebrate eighth- and ninth-place finishes by the Nos. 81 and 82 328is.

“I’m livid right now,” he said. “We haven’t gotten less smart; we haven’t forgotten how to win; we haven’t forgotten how to be a championship caliber team. The other cars have been getting breaks and gifts for years and we’re basically stuck in 2010. We’re on the same restrictor as 2010, we’re had more weight added since then, and keep getting slowed down to the point of being uncompetitive.”

BimmerWorld’s other two cars, the No. 80 and the No. 84, finished 15th and 22nd in ST.

Through the inconsistencies of the four most recent winners, BimmerWorld’s No. 80, with drivers Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke, find themselves leading the ST points standings after Kansas, but as Clay explains, it won’t last if the rules for the BMW 328i remain the same.

“Oddly enough, we’re barely able to get inside the top-10, but we’re leading the points because we’re more consistent than the cars that take turns winning,” he added. “Our cars are almost a full second off of the pace in this race, and we’re having to do some pretty wild things with race strategy and take a lot of gambles to get to where we end up, while the other cars just go about their races with no concerns. We’re almost at the halfway point of the season, enough is enough, and we’d like the same opportunity.”

Liefooghe, who turned in another flawless performance to earn eighth with Cooke, echoed Clay’s sentiments. “One of the only positives is we’re now leading the points, but that’s out of consistency more than anything,” he said. “We’ve just been consistent because that’s all we can be right now. It has been frustrating because we’re not gaining speed like the other cars. We’re just fighting to get a top-10.”

Kansas saw the debut of Eric Zimmermann in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW with teammate and rising star Corey Fergus mentoring the BimmerWorld Driver Development program graduate during the event.

“I’m still standing and that was the primary goal for the weekend,” Zimmermann said with a laugh. “I ended up in the car for most of the race because of how the yellows fell. Our pro Corey only got 40 minutes or so which was unexpected. It wasn’t quite as overwhelming as I expected. The quality of drivers is higher than what I’ve faced and it was a great learning experience. It was great to meet Corey, who is a consummate pro and great teacher.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: Watkins Glen, June 26-28

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

KANSAS QUOTEBOARD:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Corey Fergus & Eric Zimmermann: Qualified P28, Finished P15

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Greg Liefooghe & Tyler Cooke: Qualified P17, finished P8

Tyler Cooke: I was just using my head. A lot of cars out-braked themselves into Turn 1 and I just stayed out and made the most of the situation before handing over to Greg.

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Seth Thomas & Dan Rogers: Qualified P26, Finished P9

Dan Rogers: This track, because it’s so simple and so long, is like a dyno. It shows you who has the power and the answer is the other cars, unfortunately. It was really a strategy thing that saw us running Seth in the car so much because I’m out of the points because I missed the Lime Rock race. We ripped them up on strategy, but we had nothing for them on speed–the Porsche Cayman was 1.2 seconds faster than our fastest lap with a pro’s pro like Seth driving. It’s a pretty hard act to follow. Given the way things were stacked against us, we have to be satisfied.

Seth Thomas: The strategy and the crew put us in the right spot. The big thing is, that it’s the only way you can get a BMW in the top 5. The best shot we have now, no matter how hard you drive or work the strategy, is a top 5. It’s frustrating. We’re going as fast as we can.

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), James Clay & Jason Briedis: Qualified P18, Finished P22

James Clay: It was another learning opportunity for our new turbocharged F30 chassis and we’ll see how things go at Watkins Glen.

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

preKansasNEWS

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

postMonteryNEWS

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

postSebring

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

preSebringNEWS

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

1.20news

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

preseasontestnews

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

2014driverweb

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

LimeRockNews

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 Improves Championship Positions In Monterey

monterynews

With one round to go before the season finale, BimmerWorld Racing needed to maximize its results last weekend in Monterey, and with a pair of top-10s for its Grand-Am Continental Tire Series Street Tuner Championship contenders, the Virginia-based BMW experts scored more valuable points in their quest for the 2013 Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles.

The No. 81 duo of Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke improved their position to third in the standings after claiming fourth at Monterey, and Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas moved into a tie for fourth in points after securing a seventh-place result, giving BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay a cause for optimism as the team prepares for the Championship decider at Lime Rock.

“As always seems to be the case, our team’s focus and strategy is about the endurance side of our sport and making our cars competitive over long runs,” he said. “Once again, we had more yellows than we would have liked; a little bit more green racing would have suited our cars, but given the way the race played out, we’re moving on with some sense of satisfaction that we captured a lot of important points in the Championships and know we can do the same at the end of the month for the finale.”

With two cars in contention for the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships, Clay knows that despite the solid results for the No. 81 and 82, anything other than a win by one car and a second-place by the other at Monterey would leave BimmerWorld with a significant points gap to overcome at the title-deciding round.

“We’re at crunch time in the Championship and we’re not in the lead, so other than continuing to give our best effort, we’d have to benefit from some of our rivals having bad days at Lime Rock to feel more confident about coming out on top, and that’s not what any team wants to wish for,” he continued.

“You want to earn a Championship based on your results, and we’ve had a solid season, but if we look back at the races where things didn’t go our way, you could point to any one of them and say that’s why we’re in a position where a little bit of luck would go a long way. We’ll keep doing what we do, keep going about our game plan, and see if one last push can make it happen.”

For Liefooghe, who has become one of the breakout starts of the Continental Tire Series, taking a fighting fourth around the 2.2-mile California road course was a bittersweet finish after coming close to cracking the top-3.

“We had really hoped to earn a podium, although we didn’t expect to beat the smaller cars,” he said. “But we raced them very strong the entire time, and found a very good balance with our car to use all day. Our engineers did a fantastic job on getting the setup right, and we were able to go very hard, but the Monterey track is a more natural fit for some cars more than others, so we did very well to get fourth.”

The sister No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW of Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas, as Thomas describes, struggled to find the same balance as the No. 81, yet nearly finished in Liefooghe’s wheel tracks before settling for seventh.

“Overall, we were pretty good at Monterey,” he said. “We struggled with front-end grip, and the balance of the car being rear wheel-drive helped us to rotate the car and stay ahead of all but the front wheel-drive cars most of the time. I got pushed off track by a car on the final restart, which would have left us fifth, but that’s just how racing in this series goes sometimes. It leaves us with a slim chance of earning the Championship, but we won’t stop trying until the last lap is complete at Lime Rock.”

The third BMW E90 entry from BimmerWorld, the No. 80 piloted by Connor Bloum and James Colborn, finished an unrepresentative 18th at Monterey, while the promising new No. 84 F30 chassis driven by Clay and John Capestro-Dubets logged more data as the team tests the car during the final races in 2013 for its full-fledged debut in 2014.

“In our second event with running a brand-new car, we learned a lot and the car was competitive in the field,” said Clay, whose BimmerWorld aftermarket performance business caters to new and old BMWs alike. “We passed cars, got passed and did all of the things you do in racing. That’s a good step for the car at this early stage because we have very few miles on the car in competition, and being able to mix it up with established cars and teams is a valuable benchmark. We’re confident Grand-Am will establish an equal footing for the new 3-Series in ST, and look forward to developing the car for next season.”

Catch the Monterey Continental Tire Series broadcast on Saturday, September 15, at 4 p.m. ET, and be sure to follow the BimmerWorld team as they prepare for Lime Rock at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.

BimmerWorld Closes The Championship Gap At Kansas

kansas013

Coming off of a win in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race at Elkhart Week on August 10, the BimmerWorld Racing team traveled to the Kansas “Roval” just days later with a repeat victory in mind.

Although a pair of top-6 finishes would stand as the best the team’s four-door BMW 328is could manage on the flat-out circuit, the results strengthen the BMW expert’s bid for a first Street Tuner championship as the No. 81 BimmerWorld entry driven by Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke claimed fifth, followed home by the sister No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers.

With the rules requiring BimmerWorld’s in-house built BMW 328 racecars to carry more weight than the rest of the other models being used in the ST category, a track like Kansas—one where drivers spend more time accelerating per lap than any other circuit—was always going to favor smaller, lighter two-door vehicles.

But with the inherent handling and braking capabilities offered by BimmerWorld’s aftermarket components, most of the acceleration limitations could be clawed back when turning or stopping was involved. Knowing the limitations they faced, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay would have liked for another Elkhart Lake finish, but accepted the Kansas result as the best outcome for what the current rules have to offer.

“We had a couple of very solid results in a row for the BimmerWorld team, and we made some big gains in the championship,” he said.  “With two races to go, we are about a half a race behind, in baseball terms.  I feel like we have excellent cars and the best team in the field, but we don’t necessarily have the strongest cars in field due to the current performance balance, so we will need a little luck to close this thing out on top.”

For Liefooghe and Cooke, cracking the top-5 was a major accomplishment that has tightened the run towards a Championship.

“The track was basically three long straights with three extremely tight hairpins linking them,” Liefooghe said. “We were great on brakes but with the weight we have to carry, we were not shining in the drag race out of the corners. The layout was not a good fit for our car, but we made the best out of it.

“As far as the championship, we will focus on what we can control: our preparation and our performance on track. We’ll see where we stand after that. Each race can see some huge points swings. Just two races ago, we were sitting eighth in the championship, and now we are third. I am confident we can move up even more.”

Although BimmerWorld lost out on having all three of its cars in the top-6 when the No. 80 driven by Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum retired at the halfway point, the sixth-place finish by Thomas and Rogers now has two of BimmerWorld cars sitting tied for third in the standings.

According to Thomas, the possibility of being in a tense situation–with drivers from both cars fighting over the same title—won’t materialize in BimmerWorld’s professional team environment.

“With two races left in the championship anything can happen,” he explained. “Having two BimmerWorld 328is fighting for the championship speaks volumes for the teamwork we have displayed all year long.  I don’t see this changing as we go to fight for the title.  We are behind other cars in the points so we need to put distance between us and them. Two cars working together is always faster on track and I believe the No. 81 and No. 82 drivers will work together to make this happen.

“It would be really nice to come into the season finale at Lime Rock with two BimmerWorld BMWs in the points lead so we can decide the championship as a team at BMW’s home track.”

Follow all of BimmerWorld’s activities as they prepare for the penultimate round at Monterey on September 8 by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the Kansas race on August 25 at 3PM ET on Fox Sports 1.

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

elkhartwebsite2013

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

IndyWebsiteImage

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 Takes 5th, 8th At Barber Motorsports Park

Barber2013

One year ago, BimmerWorld celebrated a win at Barber Motorsports Park after a perfect storm of opportunity, driving talent and strategy vaulted the No. 81 BMW 328i driven by Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine into Victory Lane.

Expecting that perfect storm to strike again during the 2013 race at Barber would have been too much to ask, but that didn’t stop Liefooghe and new teammate Tyler Cooke from doing all they could to overcome a deck that was stacked against the 4-door sedans in GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series Street Tuner (ST) division.

With Round 3 of the championship hosted at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park, a rolling 2.3-mile, 17-turn facility originally created for motorcycle racing, it was no surprise that the bike-sized cars in the ST class held the upper hand all weekend. As they ran away to a 1-2-3-4 finish, the No. 81 battled back to earn informal ‘Best In Class’ honors, taking fifth at the checkered flag.

Not far behind Liefooghe and Cooke, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers came home in eighth, giving the BimmerWorld team a mostly positive outcome for the event.

“I am very happy with our team’s execution and result at Barber, said team owner/driver James Clay. “Before the weekend started I had predicted we would be looking for a top 5 with luck, and we knew the MX-5s and 1 Series that is 125 pounds lighter than our cars held a clear advantage still.  Ignoring those top 4 cars, we fought it out with the rest of the cars in the series and had a really good result that we are proud of.”

With a winning tradition in the Continental Tire Series, BimmerWorld isn’t wired to accept fifth- and eighth-place finishes without some degree of dissatisfaction, but with the Nos. 81 and 82 adding valuable points to their respective runs towards the 2013 Championship, Clay says he and his group of BMW experts knew a victory at Barber was going to be out of reach with the current ST rules package.

“The series constantly works to balance all the models of car on the track, but the 2300-pound MX-5 and 2700-pound 1 Series are just plain light and nimble,” he explained.  “At 2825 pounds, we are the heaviest car in the field and while we work to balance the effects of physics, until those rules change, we will be looking to GRAND-AM to make some adjustments on their end to bring the competition a little closer together.”

For a talented driver like Liefooghe, whatever weight advantages the opposition currently holds is beyond his control, and as usual, he drove as hard as possible at Barber to take fifth with Cooke.

“Even though we were not able to repeat our win from last year, there are a lot of positives coming out of the race. With rain cancelling our qualifying session, we basically unloaded the car off the trailer and went racing. The result shows just how strong our base package has become over the years of development and it makes me very optimistic for the rest of the season.”

Now three races into their collaboration as teammates in the No. 81, Cooke says he and Liefooghe have become a strong package for BimmerWorld.

“Gregory and I have great chemistry and also get along great,” he remarked. “We both know how we like the car and what our driving styles are which makes working with the engineers very productive. He and I will talk about a session for hours and go over data to see what can be done to get better and it’s paying off with strong performances.”

Thomas and Rogers now sit third in points as a result of finishing a hard-fought eighth at Barber.

“Barber is a race where we usually finish well in the mix because of the great BimmerWorld team strategy and great balance of the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i,” said Thomas.  “We knew going into the race our nemesis was going to be the weight of the car, but we battled hard to work up to eighth and to maintain the position.  Throughout my whole stint in the car I was fighting with another car for position and trying to keep my tires in check for a fight to the end.  To come out in eighth with us still in great spot for a fight for the championship was our main goal and we achieved it.”

The third BimmerWorld entry for Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum in the No. 80BMW 328i was unable to join the Nos. 81 and 82 inside the top 10 after retiring before the halfway point in the race.

Next up for BimmerWorld is Round 4 at Road Atlanta on April 18-20, so follow the team’s progress as they prepare for the vent at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

And be sure to catch the Barber race broadcast on April 13th at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Begins 2013 Championship Campaign With Strong Run To 2nd, 4th At Daytona

daytona240

Entering its fourth season as one of the elite teams in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series, Dublin, Virginia-based BimmerWorld Racing went into last weekend’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway with one goal: To leave with a bounty of points.

With numerous pole positions, class wins and a runner-up finish in the championship to its credit, the BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists are locked into acquiring the coveted Drivers’ and Teams’ titles this season, and Round 1 certainly kicked off that initiative in style.

BimmerWorld left the 3.56-mile road course with two of its three entries in prime positions—a podium for the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i driven by Gregory Liefooghe Tyler Cooke, and a close-fought fourth for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82 328i, which was just what the veteran team needs, according to team owner James Clay.

“I was very happy with BimmerWorld’s start to the season–our best to date at Daytona,” he said. “My new drivers are all capable and rapidly getting up to speed and our veterans are right where they left off. The work behind the scenes over the winter has been tireless to improve an already solid and established car, but we made clear strides forward which were absolutely necessary to be able to fight for the front in this stacked Continental field.”

The team’s thirst for wins will never be quenched, which makes yet another visit to the Daytona podium—albeit one step down from the top—slightly frustrating, but in the big, season-long picture, Clay knows that BimmerWorld’s strong opening at Daytona will pay dividends through the year.

“In 2013, BimmerWorld is all about the Championship,” he said. “It is always nice to win, but Daytona takes power and we clearly weren’t on par with the (race-winning) Nissan on that front. We got a little lucky with some issues that struck our rivals, and the No. 81 playing leapfrog in the draft in the closing laps with the Honda was a nail-biter. But I feel very good that we maximized the opportunity this race and wins will come to us during the season at the right time. For now, we had a solid Championship-level start and I think everyone feels great about that.”

Placing two cars inside the top-4 in the Street Tuner class didn’t happen without a bit of adversity to overcome. A freak failure with the team’s refueling equipment sent BimmerWorld’s peerless pit crew into problem-solving mode, and also tasked the team’s respected engineering group to make some daring race strategy calls to get back in contention.

“BimmerWorld puts a lot of effort into consistent pit stops and our crew practices often at the shop and track to stay sharp,” said team engineer David Wagener. “The issue for the No. 81 on the first pitstop was due to a fuel rig problem which resulted in the car not getting filled. We decided it was an acceptable risk to pit early under green to make up track position at a later time. Then, the No. 82 pitted under green as planned during the pre-race meetings when the fuel window opened. You don’t do this unless you have full confidence in your crew and drivers not to make a mistake since the penalty would be losing a lap. Everyone executed flawlessly and we expect that from ourselves every time.”

For Liefooghe, who has been one of BimmerWorld’s biggest weapons since joining the team in 2011, partnering with second-year Continental driver Tyler Cooke in the No. 81 was a major success.

“I think we had a strong showing in Daytona, and that we put the No. 81 on the map for another strong championship run,” he said. “Tyler drove a great stint, and came in with the lead. Even though we had some fueling issues, we were able to fight back to the front of the pack in a very hectic race. Tyler and I clicked right away and it feels like we have been teammates for much longer than just one race. We will keep working on the small the details that make all the difference and focus on racking up points one race at a time to get to our end goal: the championship.”

Cooke also had high praise for his teammate.

“Greg went to the back of the pack three times and each time he got right back to the top-3, and I expect our performance in Daytona will carry on to each race,” he said.

The 2012 Daytona race wasn’t kind to Thomas and Rogers in the No. 82CRC BRAKLEEN® entry, but the duo made up for it with a solid fourth in 2013.

“Our finish in the No. 82CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW definitely gives us a great foundation for fighting for the championship all season long,” said Thomas. “We know BimmerWorld gives us a strong car that is capable of top-5 finishes every weekend. Our job as drivers is to keep our car in contention by limiting our mistakes. Dan and I both did that at Daytona, and now we have to drive like this at 10 other tracks to make it happen!”

Rogers added: “The championship run starts with the first step, and this was a good first step.”

The only sour note to the event for BimmerWorld came with an oil pressure issue that forced the No. 80 328i out of the race prematurely. For Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum, the team’s newest driver combo, it wasn’t the result they envisioned, but they anticipate picking up right where they left off when Round 2 arrives in one month.

“It was a very unfortunate end to our BimmerWorld debut, but both Connor and I had both worked really hard and with our pace we had already picked up a number of positions,” said Strelzoff. “I’d like to congratulate Greg, Tyler, Seth and Dan on their opening weekend success, and we plan on sharing in it the next time out!”

Bloum, showing maturity far beyond his age, echoed his teammate’s optimistic outlook on the No. 80’s potential.

“Many things were learned throughout the weekend and I am really enjoying working with the team,” he said. “My teammates and engineers were key in my rapid progress and I want to thank them all for their help over the weekend. I am determined to continue to push and work on coming back even stronger.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as it prepares for Round 2 at Circuit of The Americas by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and tune into the Daytona race broadcast on February 2nd at 4 p.m. ET on SPEED.

#84 BimmerWorld 328I

livery84.2015

Engine: 245 hp, 6500 RPM, 2.0L Turbo 4, Bosch Motorsport electronics, full Motec Data Acquisition

Driveline: Getrag 6-speed transmission, custom Diffsonline differential
Suspension: 2-Way MCS dampers with BimmerWorld, BMW Motorsport, and Hyperco racing components
Wheels: 17 inch Volk Forged aluminum race wheels
Brakes: Custom Performance Friction stock-based system
Drivers: James Clay, Tyler Cooke

Tyler Cooke

tyler_cooke16

2016: Changed cars to co-drive with James Clay in an effort to further develop the F30 BMW 328i. The driving team maximized all aspects of the turbo 4-cylinder BMW’s performance, earning a world’s first pole position with four pole positions (two from Tyler) through the season as well as delivering the first-ever podium finish for a turbo F30 BMW 328i.

2015: Assisted with continuing development of the second new F30-platform BMW 328i with Andrie Hartanto, with multiple top-10 finishes through the season that saw the F30 become a true series contender.

2014: Started the season with second place at Daytona and continued with numerous top-5 and 10 finishes. Finished the year 5th in the Drivers’ Championship.

2013: One win and three podium finishes, resulting in third for the Driver’s and Team Championships, and scoring points to help clinch the BMW Manufacturers’ Championship for the second year in a row.

Previously: After humble beginnings running a go-kart built by Cooke’s father in a local school parking lot, the Plantation, Florida native showed promise at the St. Lucie dirt kart track, scoring two wins and a third place finish in his first season. Cooke was also a four-time pro shifter kart champion at the Homestead karting facility. Moved to cars in 2011 in the Mazda MX5 Cup series with six poles, seven wins, and 22 top-5 finishes, then full time in a professional series in 2012.

Personal: Born August 18th, 1994, Cooke caught the racing bug from his grandfather who ran a late-model team where Cooke was a fixture early in his life, with father Tom continuing to mentor Tyler through his career and into his professional years. Aside from his studies, work, long walks on the beach, and busy race schedule, Tyler still finds time for occasional modeling shoots where he proclaims to be close to mastering Magnum.