BimmerWorld Leaves Indy With Fast Cars But Few Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Returns To Indianapolis Seeking To Defend Its 2012 Victory

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The BimmerWorld Racing team left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year with an incredible 1-2 finish on GRAND-AM’s debut at the famed circuit, claiming the Street Tuner class victory with the BMW 328i platform it has developed since 2006.

On the series’ return to race on the Indy road course built within the iconic 2.5-mile oval facility, the Virginia-based BMW tuning and aftermarket specialists are gunning for a repeat of the stellar result that was earned in 2012.

But as BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay shares, while the team is confident going into the event, there are no guarantees of success in a competitive championship like the Continental Tire Series.

”Certainly you can’t expect the same results every year at the same tracks, but I do feel that there are trends of some tracks suiting some car models,” he said. ”Similarly, there are trends of models being stronger and less so as the series balances performance. I think the last round of adjustments continued to help the cars already making more power than development gains on the other areas that make a car fast.

”But luckily, there is also a trend of our team digging in and making our own luck and results with a well-developed and well-prepared car and I feel like there is certainly a good chance for a BimmerWorld repeat based on that fact alone.”

BimmerWorld’s 1-2 finish was the highlight of its season, and also put a spotlight on its supremely talented pit crew members and race strategists.

Beyond the excellent performance by its drivers at Indy, BimmerWorld’s staff on pit lane also contributed heavily to the win.

”Last year’s Indy race was a crazy combination of the speed that our team and cars brought, and making good calls on pit lane with solid team execution,” Clay explained. ”Strategy always plays a role in results, but last year$rsquo;s Indy is an example where it became pivotal. I think in a normal race we would still have had a similar result, and I am content we can achieve a good finish this year with our team effort with three strong cars, no matter how crazy the race starts to get.”

For Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas, the drivers who piloted the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i to victory at Indy, the upcoming race feels like a homecoming after creating such indelible memories in 2012.

”The Indy win was undoubtedly huge,” said Rogers. ”It is always the race people bring up when they start talking about racing with me, so, in that sense, it is something significant to be remembered. When I occasionally reminisce regarding the race, the memories and thoughts that come to mind are of HOW we won the race, not THAT we won the race. Indy 2012 was truly a team win.

”The crew was spot-on with the car, Wayne Yawn and the engineering staff made the perfect call, given the rain and poor weather, and Seth drove the wheels off the car in changing conditions. In that sense, it makes the victory even sweeter, since the win is shared among the team members.”

BimmerWorld’s Gregory Liefooghe is always a threat to win with teammate Tyler Cooke in the No. 81 BMW 328i, but was unable to finish the inaugural Continental Tire Series race at Indy. The respected touring car ace has been waiting for a second chance to race at the Brickyard, and sees a lot of strengths throughout the program to utilize in his bid for a win.

”Rovals tend to fit the strength of our BMW 328is, and I am optimistic about our chances of a good result at Indy,” he said. ”Last year, the No. 81 ran into some bad luck in the middle of the race, but we showed that we had the speed to join our teammates up on the podium by posting the fastest lap of the race. Tyler has done a great job so far this season, and I am confident he will be running upfront as he usually does, which makes my job easier for the end of the race. Still, the competition will be tough, but the potential for a good result is there.”

The team will have a new addition to the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i program as Greg Strelzoff welcomes Kevin Gleason to the cockpit for the event. Gleason, who is driving in place of Connor Bloum who injured his leg in an off-track accident, says he&rsdo;s looking forward to driving for one of the elite teams in the GRAND-AM paddock.

”Before I started racing, I watched BimmerWorld race and win,” he stated. ”To join them is an honor, and to be joining them at Indianapolis makes it all the more special. The team is always well prepared and professional which should make my introduction easy. I am looking forward to working with my co-driver Greg and the rest of the team to maximize our chances for a great result.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at Indy atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to tune-in for the race broadcast at 4 p.m. ET on August 3rd on SPEED.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Ready For Its Debut At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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If racing on the high banks of the famous Daytona International Speedway wasn’t enough of a privilege for GRAND-AM teams and drivers, another milestone will be achieved this Friday when BimmerWorld and the rest of the Continental Tire Series entrants participate in their first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Established in 1909, IMS recently celebrated the centennial event for its hallmark event, the Indy 500, which began in 1911. With the addition of the Brickyard 400 in 1994, the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix in 2000, and MotoGP in 2008, sports car racing was the final piece of the puzzle for the Speedway to incorporate.

And now, as part of its “Super Weekend at the Brickyard,” the sound emanating from BimmerWorld’s trio of wailing BMW inline-6s will be added to Indy’s lore.

“We’re in heat of a championship battle and still have a lot of work to do to this season, but the track is an impressive place and when you walk around the infield as a participant, you get it,” said BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay about the historic track.

“Indy is a place that has defined racing in our country for decades and when you walk over that yard of bricks that extends right to Victory Lane, it leaves an impression.  We spent two days testing at Indy earlier this month and the track earns your respect, and it is clear, beyond geographical happenstance, why it has had such an impact on racing and I am proud to be there for this exciting event that will make road racing history.”

Despite everything BimmerWorld learned about the 13-turn, 2.5-mile road course during the aforementioned Indy test, plenty of challenges will remain as the team adapts to practicing, qualifying and racing on the rarely-used track layout within a matter of hours.

“During the course of the two-day test there, the infield, which is a much smoother aggregate than the diamond-cut banking, rubbered up nicely,” said Clay, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW with rising star John Capestro-Dubets.

“The temperature at that point was over 100 and undoubtedly a factor and should be less of one on race weekend.  Still, we certainly don’t know the track as well as others we visit yearly or more, but with a one-day event for our cars, the BimmerWorld crew have been working tirelessly to perfect the equipment we are putting on track and give us the best chances to succeed.”

Compared to some of GRAND-AM’s more familiar circuit, the IMS road course features a much wider track and longer, more sweeping turns, which should hopefully keep contact to a minimum and allow for plenty of passes to be made by the BimmerWorld team.

“I feel once we get back to Indy and quickly get in the groove of the race, we will be fighting for a top spot,” said BimmerWorld veteran Seth Thomas, who will pilot the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with teammate Dan Rogers.

“It won’t be easy and it will take a lot of effort from the BimmerWorld crew and engineers to call the right shots so we spend the least amount of time on pit lane. With the big front straight and tight turn 1, our great Performance Friction brakes are going to be a key for making passes into one of the prime passing zones on the track.”

For Gregory Liefooghe, getting ready to lead the charge on the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW with co-driver David Levine has involved plenty of physical training and exceptional amounts of pre-race preparation.

“The main components have been getting some simulator time to get the rhythm of the track to be able to be at 100 percent right from lap 1, and to get back to working on fitness after a brutal schedule that has seen us on the road for the last five weeks,” he said.

“At the test, we saw temperatures in the car approaching 140 degrees and even if it’s forecasted to be ‘only’ in the mid-90s instead of the mid-100’s, it will still be a hot race, making fitness an important part of going fast at the end.”

Liefooghe, who won Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park this season with Levine, says finding success at Indy will be an even greater challenge due to the compressed schedule.

“The big challenges for this particular event is that there is very little time in between sessions and that the track will change massively between the first practice session and the race,” he explained. “It will put a lot of pressure on the engineers to make the right decisions on set up for the race. Fortunately we learned a lot during the test days and we have a good handle on most of the moving parts.

“For the less experienced drivers, the fact that the sessions are so close gives very little time to digest the data analysis and there will be a balance between making improvements and overloading them with too much information. My teammate David was fast at the test and I think he will deliver another strong performance, and I know the entire BimmerWorld team will come prepared and ready to adapt to whatever we face.”

Joining the BimmerWorld team for the race weekend will be the winners of the CRC Industries sweepstakes which also included passes and VIP hospitality for the entire weekend for the lucky pair.  “Having CRC and their guests with us this weekend is going to be an awesome addition” stated Clay.  “CRC is a fantastic sponsor, a company with racing heritage who gets what we are doing here, and a company that invests to bring additional excitement to our sport – in addition to core products like Brakleen that teams throughout the paddock use.  We are excited to have them with us for this historic Indy event!”

Follow the BimmerWorld team this weekend atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and tune into the broadcast when it airs August 5th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.