BimmerWorld Kicks Off the Season Battling Up Front at Daytona

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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

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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

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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

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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’s Busy Off-Season Efforts Produce Great Gains at Daytona; Unexpected Marriage Proposal

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Based on the final results, the opening round of IMSA’s Continental Tire Series Championship wasn’t kind to the BMW tuning and aftermarket specialists at BimmerWorld, but the team still managed to demonstrate great pace and progress.

The team’s pair of turbocharged BMW 328is, built on the F30 chassis platform, impressed in qualifying and led the race at Daytona International Speedway as team owner/driver James Clay and Tyler Cooke pushed the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries entry to the front. Even with a drivetrain issue derailing their progress, and contact ruining the chances for Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley in the sister No. 81 BMW, Clay left the event confident in BimmerWorld’s potential.

“We obviously had the cars to contend and win at Daytona, and I just wish we had been able to have the results to show it,” Clay said. “I led the race for a few laps and was solidly running in the top-3 during my full stint, and I know Tyler would have been right there as well, but it seems like we had what may be a failing spark plug and he never got the opportunity.  It is a shame that something so trivial can cause an issue, but that’s racing, and I think we showed that we will be racing to win this year.”

Daytona also marked the debut of Kaufman and Tilley in IMSA with BimmerWorld.

“I knew from our work before the season that Jerry and Kyle would be a good combination, but Daytona was the ‘trial by fire’ race weekend for them, and as expected, they rose to the occasion,” Clay added. “Jerry had a solid qualifying, and on the second restart when I found him beside me in Turn 1, I chuckled a little – that was a good moment.  Their contact in the race was unfortunate, but I am looking forward to seeing the results they achieve when things go their way.”

Although BimmerWorld’s fortunes in the race were less rewarding than anticipated, Kaufman ensured the team’s pre-race activities made headlines. Dropping to his knee on pit lane, he surprised everyone—including his girlfriend—with a perfectly-timed proposal.

“My fiancé and I have an amazing relationship; we spend most of our time together when we are not working, and we wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said. “That time together makes surprising her with a proposal almost impossible, so while I was at the pre-race test a few weeks earlier, the idea of proposing at Daytona hit me.  I asked James to help set it up with IMSA, and the series was more than happy to help and get FOX involved.”

With TV cameras trained on Kaufman, his proposal became part of the festivities.

“Looking back on it, I don’t have any regrets,” Kaufman continued. “The proposal couldn’t have gone any better, and then my first race was a crazy mixture of highs and lows.  It was very cool to have great young talented drivers start the race just in front and just behind me. I didn’t know what to expect, but when the green flag dropped I was able to pull out and beat a few cars to Turn 1.  The No. 81 BMW worked really well, and I was able to work my way from 12th to fourth in the first 30 minutes of the race.  The top-3 cars were just in front of me, and my goal was to stay with them.”

Kaufman and Tilley would lose a lap while the BimmerWorld crew repaired the No. 81 after the clash with another car, and both drivers say they’ll learn from the experience.

“The race for me was bitter sweet,” Kaufman noted. “I am thoroughly optimistic about this season, but the results in Daytona are not a reflection of where we should be.  Lots of lessons learned. Time to move forward.”

“Jerry’s contact was an unfortunate racing incident,” Tilley added. “I was delighted to see Jerry show the kind of pace that I knew he could. It really does bode well for the rest of the year. Sebring can’t come soon enough.

The highly competitive environment within BimmerWorld makes celebrating a race like Daytona somewhat hard, but Clay knows the team can be proud of its showing.

“I had a great time trading spots in the draft for the lead, and feeling out the strengths of our car so we would have a plan for the race finish when it was time to grab that win,” he said. “As much fun as I was having, I am equally excited for our sponsors, and especially OPTIMA Batteries, who help us put this whole show on the track. I know they got great and well-deserved coverage for their brand with BimmerWorld being out front at Daytona.”

Like Clay, and the No. 84 drivers, Tyler Cooke can’t wait to race again at Round 2 in Sebring, FL.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted from both cars, but we learned a lot with our development program,” he said. “James did a great job qualifying the car and had a great first stint leading most of it. We know we can compete for wins, and I expect our story to be better for Sebring.”

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 Set For Daytona IMSA Season Opener With Turbocharged BMWs

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Two years of steadfast development for the BimmerWorld-build turbocharged F30 (328i) platform has the BMW aftermarket and tuning experts prepared for an exciting season of IMSA Continental Tire Series Championship action.

Coming off a strong pre-season at Daytona International Speedway earlier this month, the Virginia-based team returns to the famed Florida circuit to kick off 2016 with the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW F30 driven by newcomers Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley, and the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW F30 piloted by team owner James Clay and young series veteran Tyler Cooke.

Drawing from BimmerWorld’s extensive efforts to shape the turbo F30s into race-winning packages during the 2014-2015 IMSA Championships, Clay is confident the team’s developments, which also filter down to its customers, will have the BimmerWorld BMWs vying for a title at the end of the year.

“This F30-platform BMW with the 4-cylinder N20 motor has taken a bit of work to dial in for racing, but after this winter’s extensive work I feel like we have tremendously improved if not completely resolved the nagging issues.  The car was competitive and fast last year and we are all ready to see it win!” Clay said.

Clay is also keen on the evolution of its driver pairings, and the progress made by BimmerWorld’s experienced mechanics and engineers with the new season about to start.

“I am excited to race with Tyler and have that level of experience to dial in our car, and Jerry and Kyle are a great addition to the team and will hit the ground running,” Clay continued. “The crew was off to the best start ever at the recent test in our 14 years of pro racing starts, and while preparation is everything in racing, we clearly have a team of guys that will be able to dig in and make luck when we are coming up short. I am pumped for the year.”

With racing serving as the arena for BimmerWorld to test and finalize new aftermarket components for its clients, Clay is also proud to have the start of the IMSA season coincide with the launch of a new BimmerWorld.com website where BMW owners can find the company’s extensive array of performance tuning products.

“Our BimmerWorld performance BMW parts business, and all the tremendous customers that support us in that business, are what keep us on track and enable us to develop and race these new BMW platform cars,” he said. “We have been hard at work for the last two years and are celebrating the launch of our new BimmerWorld.com website this month.  We invite our fans, and all BMW owners, to check out the new site’s capabilities and offerings – we have a lot of excitement on all fronts this season at BimmerWorld.”

For the No. 81 driving tandem, the chance to test at Daytona before the big race was a huge help, and with the spectacle of endurance racing descending on the legendary track, both drivers anticipate memorable experiences on their Daytona race debuts.

“The test is a fantastic event because Daytona can be an intimidating venue to race at,” Kaufman said. “Track time at the test was pretty limited, so it was critical to get up to speed quickly and make sure the car setup will work for the long race stints.  Coming back to Daytona for the race is beyond exciting.  The fans are truly terrific, and I’m thrilled to finally race in front of such a great crowd.”

“I am incredibly excited to be part of the race weekend!” Tilley added. “I can’t wait to get out on track Wednesday! At the test, we spent the time working through some items we had with the car, as well as adapting our respective driving styles to suit the F30 platform. Jerry and I have had some time to analyze video and data, and I think come race day we will see a big improvement.”

For Cooke, moving up to race once more with Clay is a perfect fit for one of IMSA’s burgeoning talents. With a race-winning co-driver, and the support of OPTIMA Batteries with the No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW F30, Cooke believes his fourth year with the team will be his best.

“It’s been great learning throughout the three years I’ve been with BimmerWorld to become the driver I am today,” he said. “James and the rest of the team have really helped me to develop into a more professional driver and now running with James I feel we are going to be a tough car to beat.

“Running at the test a couple weeks ago showed we both had a lot of the same feedback and ran similar times to each other. From all the offseason development BimmerWorld has done, and with James being a very fast driver with lots of knowledge, we are going to be a strong car this year.”

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.

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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 Concludes Successful Pre-Season Test at Daytona International Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEST RESULTS AND DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

BimmerWorld Ready To Kick Off Strong GRAND-AM Championship Run At Daytona

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With three years of remarkable wins and a steady presence at the front of the championship standings, BimmerWorld Racing is pushing harder than ever to make 2013 the year it claims the driver and team Championships in GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series.

Known for its unrelenting approach to the sport, the James Clay-owned team spent the off-season in familiar fashion as each of its three BMW 328is were stripped bare, analyzed, optimized and reassembled. Tweaks were also made to a number of procedures, practices, and BimmerWorld’s 3-car driver lineup also underwent a few changes that should benefit the program as a whole.

Now, with the big “Roar Before The 24” test behind them and the season-opening round set to take place this Friday at the famed 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway, the veteran Continental Tire Series team is ready to fight the other cars in the packed Street Tuner (ST) class as the 11-race championship kicks off in Florida.

“This will be BimmerWorld’s fourth year in the ST class and with these cars, and the transition into 2013 at the Roar Before The 24 was as smooth as ever,” said Clay. “We have done a lot of work over the offseason on the cars and equipment and have a few additions to the driving roster, and our winter development program showed well and everyone dug in to get to work quickly.  Even though I felt we were very prepared, the guys in the shop have been working tirelessly up until we left for the event, but that is the level of preparedness that we feel will bring us the result we want this year – a Championship.”

Clay, who’s been a staple in professional touring car racing for the past decade, won’t be donning his suit and helmet to drive at Daytona, nor will his rapid teammate John Capestro-Dubets. After making the decision to develop BMW’s brand-new 3-series platform at select ST races this year to prepare for an all-out assault in 2014, Clay and “JCD” will switch gears and add their experience to BimmerWorld’s effort behind the scenes at Round 1.

“The new BMW F30 328i I am sharing with JCD isn’t yet ready and fully tested, and that is the only way we are willing to run it,” Clay confirmed.  “So instead of racing this weekend, JCD and I will be assisting the rest of the team to bring success.  Both of us work with clients for driver coaching on non-pro weekends, so a couple of pairs of experienced eyes on data, video, and during sessions should help the effort.  At BimmerWorld we operate as a team and if we can’t be driving, we will be contributing to the team where we are best suited.”

Clay’s trio of race-winning BMWs won’t have it easy this weekend—or at any ST event in 2013—but there’s every reason to feel optimistic about what the close-knit team can achieve, starting with the new driver combo in the No. 80 BMW 328i.

“I learned a lot in the ‘Roar’ and was unfortunately too ill to drive in the last day of the test because I had the flu, but I did learn that the balance, braking and wet weather ability of the car was excellent,” said Greg Strelzoff, who will partner with Connor Bloum this season.

“I’m eager to continue to make forward steps as we get closer to my first race with the team, and I am very excited to race with BimmerWorld and my teammate Connor, and hope we exceed the goals we have set for ourselves.”

Tyler Cooke, the BimmerWorld newcomer who will share the No. 81 BMW 328i with team veteran and tin-top ace Gregory Liefooghe, heads into the season with high expectations as an ST sophomore.

“I’m very confident that we can start up front,” he said. “I started a couple races last year and stayed in the top 10 in my stint. Greg is definitely a pro, and he can get the job done to finish the race on top.”

The No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW entry of Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas remains unchanged for 2013, and coming off a season where they achieved the highest of highs by winning the ST race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Rogers says he and Thomas will be aiming for more wins while seeking more consistent finishes throughout the year.

“Seth and I have been talking all winter and working on plans for the upcoming season,” Rogers explained.  “The plan is largely the same as last year: Qualify well, stay out of trouble, and shoot for a top 5 finish.  Consistency and staying out of other people’s problems is the key to a successful season in ST.

“We have also been working on some improvements in execution.  For me personally, that means improving my qualifying position.  We’re hoping this translates into spraying some more champagne at the end of January, and throughout the season!”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress this week at Daytona atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and tune in to watch the race when it airs on SPEED in February.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

BimmerWorld Earns Top-6 Finish with Wilden and Michaelian on GRAND-AM GS Debut at Daytona

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The bar was set exceedingly high for the BimmerWorld Racing Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team after nearly winning the Street Tuner teams’ and drivers’ championship at its first attempt. Adding two new cars to the team for 2011–to run in the bigger, faster Grand Sport class–required unparalleled amounts of work and dedication in the off-season, as two new BMW M3 V8s were transformed into GS race cars in just a matter of months.

And with a highly competitive showing at the opening round of the 2011 GRAND-AM championship last weekend at Daytona International Speedway, BimmerWorld’s efforts in the Grand Sport (GS) category made for a seamless transition from one season to the next.

2009 GS driver champion Ken Wilden and his teammate Bob Michaelian drove their Bizrate.com-sponsored No. 78 BimmerWorld BMW E92 chassis to a remarkable sixth-place finish in their maiden race with the team. With the majority of the BMW E92 runners in GS armed with years of experience racing their GRAND-AM M3s, BimmerWorld’s quick progress with their new GS cars impressed Wilden.

“We have a lot to do and a lot to learn with the E92, but we aren’t miles off. What I like about this team is that right after the race, [team owner] James Clay called us right into the trailer and had us detail every little thing we as drivers thought could be improved. He didn’t want to celebrate; he wanted to create a plan to make us faster for the next race.”

Despite the team’s business-like approach, Wilden rejoiced in their race result.

“Taking sixth was a great way to start the year for Bob and me. Our goal is to be in the top-6 at every round, and if we can do that, we’ll have a shot at a championship.”

Michaelian, a driver who is accustomed to being at the sharp end of the field, came away from their sixth-place at the GRAND-AM 200 with similar impressions.

“Kenny and I both feel like there is a huge amount of potential with the car. The fact that this was the first race for BimmerWorld in the GS class, and both cars were already very competitive gives us a lot of confidence. We know that with more work, both cars will be vying for podium finishes. The BMW E92 platform has proven that it can win races and championships. We are definitely looking forward to the opportunity to work with James and Seth to further develop the program at BimmerWorld.”

Having raced and won for a well established GS team in 2010, Michaelian was quick to offer praise for the BimmerWorld team after his first race with the Dublin, Va.-based outfit.

“The overall takeaway was that we were super impressed with the operation that BimmerWorld has put together. We were able to work very closely with the crew to improve the Bizrate.com car over the weekend. The progress we were able to make over the test days and throughout the race weekend was really encouraging. The crew, strategy, and pit stops were all first rate. I don’t think we could have asked for anything more in our first weekend.”

The potential was also there for James Clay and Seth Thomas in the No. 79 Johnstone Supply sponsored BimmerWorld BMW E92. After posting impressive times throughout practice and again in qualifying, a penalty for body contact forced Clay to pit lane, and around a big track like the 3.56-mile Daytona circuit, losing the slightest amount of time will can ruin a race.

“We should have been right there with Ken and Bob, but we were penalized and had to accept it and move on,” said Clay. “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we did learn a lot with both cars and seeing the No. 78 do well will only make us work harder. The GS class is just as intense as ST has proven to be, and the top cars are well-sorted and highly developed. Getting our E92s to that state is our mission in 2011, and we’ll be pushing to get there as fast as possible. It will be an intense month of work until we go to the next race at Homestead.”

As a veteran member of the BimmerWorld team, Thomas says he was delighted to see the hard work that went into building two new E92s pay off at the season opener.

“I won’t lie and say we’re where we want to be. Winning is about the only thing we’ll consider as a good result, but with that being said, we have a good foundation to build from here. Ken and Bob drove their hearts out, and the BimmerWorld mechanics should be proud to get a top-6. It isn’t easy in GRAND-AM. But I’m really proud of the team and our teammates. Having two great drivers like Bob and Ken makes all the difference, and these new E92s are just awesome.

“The build quality is like nothing I’ve seen, and they still have that BimmerWorld DNA. They brake better than anyone out there, and we’re going to get the handling to that level too. Just give us some time. I’d say we exceeded expectations for our first GS race, and the cars were 100 percent reliable. Everyone huddled up after the race to brainstorm on our next steps to move up the finishing order, and all of our partners and sponsors are right behind us pushing like crazy to get us into Victory Circle. We’ll get there. I’m as confident of that as I’ve ever been.”

BimmerWorld races with unrivaled support from key business partners. Learn about them by visiting Bizrate.com, CRC Industries, Escort Inc., GearWrench and Johnstone Supply.

Tune into SPEED on February 5th at 3 p.m. ET to watch the race broadcast, and follow BimmerWorld’s progress as they ready themselves for Homestead-Miami by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

BimmerWorld’s Clay and Thomas Unite to Drive GS-Class BMW M3 V8

media

The names James Clay and Seth Thomas have been synonymous with BimmerWorld’s multi-car assault in touring car competition and, starting in 2010, the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Street Tuner (ST) championship. Despite their long association, the two veterans have never shared a car in a professional racing series.

All of that will change starting next January when Clay and Thomas partner to drive the No. 79 BimmerWorld BMW M3 V8 in the Grand Sport (GS) class as the season kicks off at Daytona International Speedway.

Clay, who owns and runs BimmerWorld’s successful BMW performance shop and the four-car BimmerWorld Racing team, says the opportunity to partner with Thomas behind the wheel of their new BMW E92 chassis has come at the perfect time.

“The ‘driver/team owner’ label that I am often given is actually more ‘team owner/driver,’ honestly. I have to make decisions based on what is best for the team and unfortunately that usually puts my opinions as a driver at the lowest level of consideration. However, this year everything fell into place perfectly with Bill Heumann and David White returning to impart their experience in the ST program and Gregory Liefooghe and John Capestro-Dubets filling the other car with a competitive driver package. This leaves me with the freedom to put my driving focus toward the GS program where I am most needed. Being able to finally team up with Seth in the new program is awesome – it has been a long time coming.”

Thomas says he leapt at the invitation to partner with Clay in 2011.

“Honestly, we have talked about partnering in a car for the last few years, and this year seems to be the perfect year to make this partnership come true with the new E92 M3 effort. When James asked me, I jumped in immediately. BimmerWorld just came off one of its most successful years in racing; having James and I in the same car will give us the strongest chance possible to win the GS championship. Last season–our first in GRAND-AM–gave people a taste of what we could do. 2011 is a year for us to drive home what BimmerWorld is really about.”

Both drivers are incredibly fast and share almost 20 years of combined racing experience, yet Clay and Thomas bring different strengths and skills to the No. 79 E92.

“Beyond the team owner duties which go into autopilot on a race weekend, my strongest ability as a driver is setup and chassis development, which will be important in this new program,” said Clay. “I have an engineering background and I have built cars from the ground up, so I have a strong grasp of how everything works mechanically. Wayne Yawn, our engineer for the last four years, and I work together like a well-oiled machine which will be very important in getting us up to speed immediately.”

After five years of driving the BMW E90 platform, Thomas expects to carry all of the knowledge he’s gained to compliment his share of the E92’s driving duties.

“Driving the E92 is going to be a lot different than what I am used to from the E90. The car is heavier, has two more cylinders, more power, wider tires, and bigger brakes. But, it is still has that classic BMW feel in the way it drives and performs. The races are going to be about keeping the car under me for the duration of my stint, which I feel is one of my strong points. Driving with James will help me to develop this style further along with pushing the limits of the car better to be a faster all around driver. I can’t think of a better balanced team than James and I.”

With the driver lineup of BimmerWorld’s first GS entry in place, Clay says he would rather let their performances do the talking next year, rather than make bold predictions for what he and Thomas can accomplish.

“Certainly we will have our work cut out for us in the GS program, but we don’t enter a series if we don’t think we will be competitive. The new cars are awesome and we have already learned a lot about the chassis in World Challenge and the tweaks required for Continental Series cars in our ST program and so far everything seems to be translating to the GS program.”

Thomas expects the GS class–one filled with big, V8-powered cars from Detroit–to be just as tough as the ST class proved to be in 2010.

“I think the competition with the E92 will be tough just like last year with the E90s, but our strengths compared to what our competitors have to offer is still very similar. One of our strong points last year was the Performance Friction brakes; they never faded or changed throughout a race. With PFC brakes returning on our E92 M3s, we know what kind of punishment they can take, and best of all, that they will be there for us when other cars are struggling.”

Clay partnered with David White in 2010, while Thomas shared driving duties with Bill Heumann, which helped White and Heumann to establish themselves as top pilots in the Street Tuner class. White earned two pole positions during his rookie season of GRAND-AM racing, while Heumann scored two wins, the MESCO Rookie of the Year award and finished second in the ST championship. Based on their standout performances, White and Heumann have teamed to drive the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW E90 next season.

Although Clay and Thomas will no longer be sharing the cockpit with rookies, they will still provide the same level of coaching and support to all of the drivers under BimmerWorld’s tent in 2011.

“Seth and I won’t have rookie drivers with us, but that won’t change how we work as a team, how we debrief as a group, or how we coach and analyze data after each session. With Greg and John in the No. 81, David and Bill in the No. 80, and our teammates in the pending sister GS BimmerWorld entry, all of our resources and experience will go into the team. All the tools for winning have been put in place.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as they prepare for the 2011 season by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.