IMSA 2020 Announcement

IMSA-2020-Announcement

BimmerWorld has confirmed its 2020 plans for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge season with a pair of BMW M4 GT4 race cars and fast and familiar faces at the controls. The BMW specialists return for their third season with the F82 M4 platform in GT4 trim and 11th straight IMSA endurance season. The team has committed to the full 10-race MICHELIN Pilot Challenge schedule with the traditional opening round at Daytona taking place January 23-26, 2020.

Behind the controls of the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4 will be Nick Galante and Dillon Machavern. Galante and Machavern are past teammates with strong chemistry. Galante, a two-time Champion in the IMSA Street Tuner class (2016 and 2018), claimed his last title behind the wheel of a BimmerWorld BMW F30 328i. In 2019, he finished in the top ten of the intensely competitive TCR series. Machavern has won races in just about every form of GT motorsport and earned the 2017 IMSA GS Championship and multiple SCCA club championships. He finished the 2019 season with the GTD victory at the Petit LeMans in a BMW M6 GT3 and was runner-up in the TransAm championship.

In a second M4 GT4, team owner James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va. will again pair up with Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. in the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. The pair earned third place in the GS standings in 2019 with three podiums and eight top-ten finishes which also landed the duo top-finishing BMW team honors in the GS class. This will be Clay’s 11th straight season of IMSA endurance racing. Jones is the 2018 ST-class driver champion with a BimmerWorld F30 328i. The No. 82 BMW will carry the OPTIMA and Veristor livery.

The No. 80 BMW will carry the livery for Racing to End Alzheimer’s with a focus on raising both awareness of the disease and money to fund the cure. Throughout the season, donors will add names to the living livery to honor friends, family, and loved ones affected by this debilitating disease.

The 2020 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge will be a 10-round series at race tracks across the U.S. The season kicks off with the BMW Endurance Challenge 4-hour race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida on January 23-26. Other rounds will take place at Sebring, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Mosport, Lime Rock, Road America, VIR, Laguna Seca, and Road Atlanta.

Additional 2020 racing plans will be announced in the coming weeks.

The BMW M4 GT4
GT4 is a global racing class for mid-sized sports and GT cars. The unified set of rules allows manufacturers to offer a single racing car for multiple series around the world. BimmerWorld is one of the premier customers for BMW GT4 racing in North America, having competed continuously with the M4 in multiple series since the car was introduced. The race car is based on the F82 M4 street car, using the same S55 twin-turbo inline-6, 7-speed DCT transmission, and suspension layout. Only minor changes are made to make the M4 into a highly competitive race car. The M4 competes with more purpose-built sports cars like the McLaren 570S, Audi R8, and AMG Mercedes GT, along with other GT cars like the Ford Mustang.

BimmerWorld Racing
BimmerWorld is the preeminent BMW racing/performance specialist in North America, racing professionally in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (BMW M4 GT4), World Challenge GT4 America (BMW M4 GT4), and World Challenge TC America series (BMW M240i Racing). The team will be making its third entry in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a V8-powered BMW E36 M3. BimmerWorld also builds cars and supports racers in various BMW CCA, AER, NASA, and SCCA club series. Off the track, the business is the last, and only, independently-owned major BMW parts specialist in North America. The catalog at www.bimmerworld.com has everything from accessories and OEM replacement parts to highly specialized racing parts with a knowledgeable staff, competitive pricing, and quick service.

Pre-2020 race season quotes follow:

No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4
Nick Galante: “A return to team BimmerWorld racing is an amazing opportunity I can’t wait to capitalize on. The memories of our 2018 championship season are still vivid. The top-level team that James Clay has built has proven itself over and over. To be paired up with Dillon Machavern this season is as good as it gets. I know we’ll be looking ahead and working hard all year. I’m excited with not only the strategic planning, but also the familiar friendship dynamic that’s here. Honored to run alongside James Clay, Devin Jones, and Dillon Machavern again. The opportunity couldn’t exist without the epic heart of Phil Frengs and his Racing To End Alzheimer’s initiative. I know this will be a great platform to make huge strides in the fight against Alzheimer’s and the R2EndAlz.org cause.”

Dillon Machavern: “I’m excited to return to the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge for a full championship effort in GS. The opportunity to co-drive with my former teammate Nick Galante with a top-level team like BimmerWorld is a recipe for success. I’m also very proud to be part of the Racing To End Alzheimer’s initiative, a program I’ve been following from its inception when I first met Phil Frengs years ago. Nick and I both know what it takes to win a championship and we already have great chemistry which will pay dividends in what’s shaping up to be a very competitive GS field. I’ve had great success with BMW in GTD and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum into GS with BimmerWorld in the M4 GT4.”

Phil Frengs, Founder at Racing to End Alzheimer’s: “Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation goes racing for its fourth season. Our premise of honoring loved ones who are or have been affected by Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia depends on the generosity and participation of our fans, our racing team, and our cosponsors. 100% of all donations go to our beneficiaries along with corporate matching. All costs and expenses are funded by sponsor Legistics.

“By putting the names and hometowns of our loved ones on our race car over the past three seasons, funds raised have exceeded $250,000 and have benefited the work done at the Nantz National Alzheimer’s Center at Houston Methodist Hospital, The Alzheimer’s Care Program at UCLA, and Baycrest Foundation in Toronto.

“As founder of our foundation and CEO of Legistics, we are delighted to return to the BimmerWorld family for the upcoming season. We have high expectations for competitive success and record fundraising.”

No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4
James Clay: “I think we have one of the strongest driver line-ups in recent memory. Devin and I will team up again, and he’s just a terrific co-driver. We work extremely well together, and we have a proven track record which we aim to improve on those last couple of spots. We welcome Nick back to the team, and not only is he fast, but he’s experienced as well. His driving will be complemented by Dillon Machavern who is also super quick and crafty. I expect these guys will be our own best competition, which will be fun. We have a couple of seasons now with the M4 with a tremendous amount of data at our disposal, and I expect us to win.”

Devin Jones: “I’m extremely excited to be returning to BimmerWorld Racing for the 2020 IMSA season and co-driving once again with James. It’s a great feeling to have continued support from OPTIMA Batteries and Veristor. With their backing, we can’t wait to make another run for the championship in our BMW M4 GT4 next year after coming up just a bit short in 2019. James and I had solid chemistry last year and enjoyed some success throughout the year, I’m looking forward to building on that. I can’t wait to get down to Daytona and start working towards the goal of a championship in 2020.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a pair of BMW Motorsport M4 GT4s, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. BimmerWorld Racing also continues to race in the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars.

BimmerWorld is Top American GT4 Team for Second Year in a Row; Third Place Overall

BimmerWorld-Racing-Takes-Third-Place-in-2019-IMSA-MICHELIN-Pilot-Challenge-GS-Championship

BimmerWorld drivers James Clay and Devin Jones capped off the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season this past weekend, securing third place in the Drivers and Teams Championship, the highest-finishing BMW team in the overall standings. While this weekend’s FOX Factory 120 did not go to plan, Jones recorded the race’s fastest lap and enough points for another solid Championship run.

Road Atlanta has been especially good for BMW teams in recent years. The combination of fast corners and challenging braking zones plays to the strengths of the BMW M4 GT4. While unable to match the top speeds of the supercar-based cars in the class, the sedan-based M4 GT4 showed exceptional balance everywhere else. In proven BMW fashion, the M4 had the right package to keep the speed of the McLarens, Audi R8, and Aston Martin in check. The BimmerWorld M4 GT4 recorded the race’s fastest lap at 1:26:770. Were it not for bad racing luck, the team might have realized their fifth top-five finish of the season.

That bad luck came about on lap 26 during an overtaking maneuver on the back straight between the BimmerWorld M4 and the Winward Racing Mercedes. James Clay in the M4 feinted a pass to the right, the Mercedes defended, and Clay took to the left to complete his pass. However, the Mercedes moved left as well with an illegal block, and the two cars made contact. Both cars were assessed a drive-through penalty, and that dragged the BimmerWorld car far out of the top ten.

Clay’s teammate Devin Jones fought back and advanced five positions in the closing stages of the race to finish on the lead lap and record a twelfth-place result as the top-finishing BMW.

The FOX Factory 120 race at Road Atlanta will be broadcast on NBCSN on Friday, October 18 from 7-9 p.m.

BimmerWorld is not putting its racing arsenal away just yet—the Pirelli World Challenge season has one more round for the Copart/BimmerWorld BMW M240i Racing car this coming weekend in Las Vegas.

Post-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4GT4:
“We had a decent qualifying spot and had a little more pace with the car. That allowed me to work my way through the field, which I was methodically doing. We had a great team strategy; I stayed in the car at the first yellow in a fast pit stop and we were on the leading edge of our chosen sequence. The second yellow was due to an unfortunate exchange with another competitor and our car. I fainted right on the No. 33 Mercedes coming down the back straight. As soon as he moved right to defend, I jived left, then he did his second move, which was blocking. Unfortunately, I was already committed at that point, so he took himself out on my front bumper. Unfortunately, they (Race Control) gave a drive-through for both cars.

“Devin had to serve that penalty, otherwise I think we would have been standing on the podium. I’m not very happy that our race ended that way, thanks to another competitor. I’m sure they’re less happy about it based on the damage to their car. We still ended up third in the GS championship this year, so it’s been a great year.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“This weekend we had a little more speed in the car than we’ve had in the past few races, which was really encouraging. I was really looking forward to today. This is a really big race—the last race of the season, so we have a lot of people who come out to watch. James did a great job in the opening stint and kept it near the Top 5. Unfortunately, that issue with the 33 caused us to get a drive-through. We didn’t necessarily agree with that, but we had the penalty which kind of ruined my stint in the car, or at least I wasn’t able to make up any ground because of it. We did end up third in the championship, which was our main goal coming into this weekend. We know the car had a lot of speed in it, which is encouraging going into next season.

“I just want to thank everyone on this team as they’ve been really great all year, and the same for all of our supporters. I’m really happy to reward them with third place in the championship, so it’s a big deal overall for us.”

BimmerWorld Racing team plans have not yet been announced for 2020. Stay tuned in the coming months.

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Ready to End Season on High Note at Road Atlanta Finale

BimmerWorld-Racing-Ready-to-End-Season-on-High-Note-at-Road-Atlanta-Finale

As the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Series finale comes to Road Atlanta this weekend, the BimmerWorld Racing Team is ready to end the season on a high note.

Drivers of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4, James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., seek to battle to a victory and finish the season strong. Although they enter the final round of the 10-race series tied in third place in the GS points championship, they are still in contention for the runner-up spot as they look to add an additional triumph to their history at Road Atlanta.

The Dublin, Va.-based team, has had much success at the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta road course. One of their most sensational finishes took place ten years ago when BimmerWorld came to Road Atlanta with three entries and took an entire sweep of the podium, plus the pole position. Last year, they bookended that masterful success by capturing the Sport Touring (ST) championship at the season finale in the final year of the class, while the sister GS-class car won the race. With numerous successes throughout the years, BimmerWorld Racing considers Road Atlanta one of their favorites.

The FOX Factory 120 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race is a two-day event with three practice sessions on Thursday, at 8:45 a.m. for one hour, from 12:35-1:20 p.m. and 4:10-4:25 p.m. GS qualifying follows TCR at 4:55 p.m. for 15 minutes. On Friday the Open Grid/Fan Walk commences at 12:30 p.m. and the field will warm up its Michelin tires at 1:15 p.m. The two-hour race is scheduled to start at 1:25 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 18. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
As you end the second season with the BMW M4 GT4, what would you say are the biggest accomplishments or advances you’ve made?
“In our sophomore year of the effort, I feel like we’ve had some solid competition from the field and the other BMW teams as well, and it’s satisfying to have come out at or near the top again. We continue to develop this GT4 platform and even with a less favorable BoP (Balance of Performance), we’re still collecting podium finishes. That has been a real challenge and a meaningful reward.”

You and Devin had some good races and some tough ones this year. Please give us an overview or assessment of the season up to this point.
“Devin has been awesome to drive with and we absolutely killed it this year together. We were consistently on the podium in the first half of the year with a good BoP, and even when that changed, we’ve had good strategy and teamwork and still kept putting solid points on the board. This season seems to have been a lot about the weather with some consistent rain disruption, and I feel good about how we’ve dealt with that and the results.”

Where does Road Atlanta stand on your favorite track list and why?
“I like Road Atlanta a lot—I’ve been going there since the early days of my racing. The blind Turn 12 is a ton of fun, and there are multiple larger sections of curb to skip over, which provides some amazing images from the racing.”

Road Atlanta is a fast track with a variety of corners of different types and keeps the driver busy in order to lay down a fast lap. How do you master a good lap here?
“It helps to have a car that’s good on the very long back straight, but downforce matters a lot, all the way from the entry of Turn 1 through 5, or really onto the back straight. If we can get the car hooked up in the turns and spend more time on throttle, we’ll be fast.”

You’ve raced at Road Atlanta many, many times. Do you have any favorite or special memories that stand out?
“My favorite memory at Road Atlanta is easy to recall. In 2009, we ran a team of three touring cars and qualified on the pole, swept the podium, and won every award for speed and performance given. That was a dominant weekend, and in pro racing at this level, one that is hard to replicate. It felt like a 300 score bowling game or a round of hole-in-one golf.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
Road Atlanta must have a special memory for you from last year when you and BimmerWorld teammate Nick Galante won the ST class championship following your third-place finish at Atlanta. Share your memories.
“Last year was a special one. Knowing that we only had to start the race to win the championship was a nice way to spend the week. We started from the pole and finished third and were really able to enjoy our time with the team and have fun after the great year we had.”

You and James had some good races and some tough ones this year. Please give us an overview or assessment of the season up to this point from your point of view.
“The team has been spot on all year, even during the races where we have struggled and not finished where we deserved. The balance of performance has hurt us during the second half of the season, but we want to end this year on a high note.”

How have you found the switch from the BMW 328i you raced last year to the BMW M4 GT4 this year?
“The switch has been seamless. The GT4 is a great platform to race with and a lot of fun.”

How important is using the curbing when racing at Road Atlanta and where can you go all wrong?
“You use a lot of curbing at Road Atlanta. Turns 3, 5, and 10 all require a decent amount of curb use to be fast. You do have to be mindful of this, though, and not overuse the curbing because it can affect the alignment of the car.”

In the past, you’ve said that Road Atlanta has one of the most fun sections of any race track in North America going from Turn 1 to Turn 7. How important is racing at Road Atlanta to you each year?
“Road Atlanta is really like another home track to me. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the years and enjoy the chance to race here. We have a lot of friends and sponsor partners that come and join in on a great race weekend. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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

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

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

Bimmerworld’s Biggest Win at Laguna Was for Their Racing to End Alzheimer’s Effort

Bimmerworld’s Biggest Win at Laguna Was for Their Racing to End Alzheimer’s Effort

While the BimmerWorld team struggled with an uncharacteristic lack of pace for their car during Saturday’s two-hour IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race at Laguna Seca, there were bright spots in team performance in the pit lane. However, it was ultimately Racing to End Alzheimer’s that was the big winner at Laguna, with more than $20,000 raised in this single event for the team’s charity effort.

The No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 of James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. was as high as tenth but finished 14th in the Grand Sport class.

The driving duo went into the event tied for third in the driver point standings, and despite a less than ideal finish in Saturday’s race, bringing the BimmerWorld drivers remain tied for third in the championship. The drivers who were leading the point standings going into the race placed second on Saturday and now have a big enough advantage to win the championship simply by showing up at the season finale next month.

Clay qualified 15th with a time of 1:33.380 but spent most of his stint in 13th place, successfully staying out of conflicts in order to give Jones a good car for the finish. Clay set his fastest lap of the race on lap 4 with a time of 1:34.684.

An accident brought out the first full-course caution on lap 24, and the pits opened just as the driver’s minimum drive time was surpassed. Clay took advantage of the opportunity and pitted under that yellow with 45 minutes gone. The BimmerWorld team responded with excellent service on that first of two pit stops, gaining three positions as Jones began his stint in tenth place before dropping to 14th shortly thereafter. Like Clay, he ran in 13th or 14th during most of his stint.

The championship-leading car pitted for right-side Michelins and fuel on lap 46 with about 38 minutes remaining. BimmerWorld countered that move with right-side tires and fuel for Jones under green on lap 47 with 36 minutes remaining in the high-speed chess match. Once again, the BimmerWorld crew was up to the challenge and got the car in and out of the pits at lightning pace.

Jones set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap 50 with 31 minutes to go with a time of 1:33.280. He was 11th one lap later as other drivers began to make their final pit stops.

The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 will be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 1-3 p.m.

The Fox Factory 120, the final round of the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series, will take place on Friday, Oct. 11 from 1:25-3:25 p.m. at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. All times are Eastern.

Post-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4GT4:
“This was just a frustrating weekend, all weekend. We fought through some mechanical issues and did work to improve the car, but we never had pace. I’m aware that we’re still playing a little injured with the current BoP [Balance of Performance], but it feels like we missed on more fronts than carrying a little more weight and with less power this weekend. A big thanks to everyone on the team who pushed hard to the end. Weekends like this with no reward for the result are the most challenging for everyone, and every person on the team worked with the same drive and effort as they would have for a podium finish.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“This weekend was a struggle, but I’m still proud of everyone for fighting right until the end. We didn’t have the pace in the car, but we really tried to make as many changes as possible in practice to find something that worked. James did well in the starting stint, keeping us in the hunt, and we had amazing pit stops so I was able to hold that track position. I’m hopeful we can turn it around and end the season strong at Road Atlanta. I have to thank everyone who supports us.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Focused on Winning at Laguna Seca While Supporting Racing to End Alzheimer’s

BimmerWorld-Racing-Focused-on-Winning-at-Laguna-Seca-While-Supporting-Racing-to-End-Alzheimers

The next and penultimate stop of the 2019 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series is at one of the most scenic race tracks in North America, world-famous Laguna Seca, outside of Monterey, Calif.

James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. will once again be using their No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 as a national billboard to raise awareness for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. They partnered again this year with Legistics and have been raising funds for Racing to End Alzheimer’s charity campaign via donations over the past few weeks. Along with matching contributions, they’ve also been giving fans the opportunity to add the names of loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s on the car for the two-hour WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120.

Seeing so many names on the BimmerWorld BMW in 2018 was inspiring, especially as Devin Jones and his former BimmerWorld co-driver, Nick Galante, put their ST car on pole and then won the race. They went on to capture the ST class Team and Driver’s Championship at the season finale.

This year, Jones and Clay hope for the same positive energy and outcome as they bring their GS class BMW M4 GT4 to the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course in Salinas, Calif. A victory would certainly be welcome to get them back to the top of the points charts as the end of the season draws near. They currently sit third in GS points heading into this weekend, just 29 points from the lead.

The Laguna Seca race weekend starts on Friday, September 12, at 9:35 a.m. with a one-hour practice, followed by Practice 2 from 2:10-2:55 p.m. Practice 3 will take place Saturday morning from 10:05-10:20 a.m. Qualifying for the GS class follows TCR qualifying immediately after the third practice from 10:50-11:05 a.m.

The open-grid fan walk begins at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 2:55 p.m. for formation laps, and the race will start at 3:05 p.m. for two hours of wheel-to-wheel action and excitement.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, September 18 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
You and Devin are still very much in the hunt going into the penultimate race of the season. What’s your game plan for the final two races?
“As always, our goal is to do our best. Win races. Get points. Nothing changes—we’re focused on winning.”

Do you think you will finally have a rain-free race this weekend after so many rain races in a row this season?

“I’ve turned into quite the weather enthusiast this year and have been watching it like a hawk. It seems like we may avoid the rain in California, and also the brutally hot temperatures of last year’s race. I’m personally fine with whatever we get at this point, but as we look back at this year, the weather has certainly been a major disruptor at multiple events.”



What do you find as the most challenging aspect of the Laguna Seca circuit?
“The biggest challenge at Laguna is the constantly changing grip. We always start the weekend with no rubber on the track and chase the grip, and then the sand and fine dirt just off the track make the surface continuously variable and the setup work a little difficult.”

Your No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 will have a lot of signatures from donations for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s cause again this weekend. Has this been another successful charitable campaign to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s this year?
“Every time we can have a positive effect like this with both awareness and donations to a charity that we believe in is a win, and this year is no exception. We’re proud to partner with Phil Frengs and his Racing to End Alzheimer’s group again, and our contribution to the fund thanks to our customers is once again noteworthy—I’d really like to thank all those who supported us in the cause.”



This area is known for the beautiful Monterey Bay, among other things. Have you taken part over the years in any activities in the area like kayaking, whale watching, or just touring the Aquarium?

“I love the Bay, and the whales are cool if you can catch them. But it will come as no surprise that on a trip to California, I turn my focus to the outstanding Mexican eateries. And while it’s rare but not unheard of to bring a pup home, the SPCA for Monterey County is right across the road from the main track entrance, and hanging out with shelter dogs is fun and rewarding—and they love it!”

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

Your No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 will have a lot of signatures from donations for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s cause again this weekend. Has this been another successful charitable campaign to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s this year?
“It’s amazing to have Racing to End Alzheimer’s on our BMW again this year at Laguna Seca. Hopefully, we can pull off the same result as last season and make all the names of loved ones on the car who’ve been affected by Alzheimer’s proud.”



You and James are still very much in the hunt going into the penultimate race of the season. What’s your game plan for the final two races?
“VIR was a big hit to our championship hopes. The only thing we can do now is really push hard for a good result this weekend. We need a strong finish to have a chance going into the final weekend at Road Atlanta.”

Last year, you and your teammate won the ST race at this circuit and departed with an excellent points lead and ultimately won the ST championship. How pivotal will this race be for you and James this year in your GS point hunt?
“This race is huge for the championship. However it shakes out here is where we’ll sit going into the final race of the year. We need a super-strong run here, and I know our guys are the ones to make it happen.”

This area is known for the beautiful Monterey Bay, among other things. Have you taken part over the years in any activities in the area like kayaking, whale watching, or just touring the Aquarium?
“I love Monterey and the whole surrounding area. I spent my childhood in San Luis Obispo, Calif., which is down the coast a bit. I always loved going on bike rides on the coast when I had a chance.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Podium Finish at VIR in Unpredictable Race

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Podium Finish at VIR in Unpredictable Race

The Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge two-hour race at VIRginia International Raceway was filled with mayhem. Four full-course cautions brought about unpredictable lead changes due to numerous accidents between leading cars, and the on-and-off rain around the 3.27-mile circuit only intensified the bedlam.

With solid driving and a bit of luck on their side, the No. 80 BimmerWorld Racing/Airbnb BMW M4 GT4 of Ari Balogh and Mike Sheen was able to take advantage of the dynamic situations. Their third-place result in the Grand Sports (GS) class gave them their first podium finish of the season in their first co-driving effort.

Unfortunately for BimmerWorld’s team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver Devin Jones, the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 was caught up in the madness. Just three laps before the race finish, a Mercedes-AMG driver hit the BimmerWorld car, causing them to spin and resulting in a broken rear suspension which ended their race and greatly reduced the team’s overall points standing.

Again this season, rain conditions were a major factor in the outcome of today’s race as many drivers befell to the changing conditions.

Qualifying was canceled due to weather, so the starting grid was set based on points. That resulted with Clay starting on the front row, second in class, and Balogh starting in 24th.

The first caution came out on Lap 4 when rain caused the first off-track excursions as a McLaren and Mercedes-AMG collided hard. By that point, Balogh had already charged his way up 10 spots into 14th overall while Clay maintained his runner-up spot.

IMSA officials were able to open Pit Lane while the safety car stayed out, allowing teams to change to rain tires if they so desired. The green flag was displayed nearly 40 minutes in with the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 in fourth place and the No. 80 in eighth after both entries had taken advantage of tire-change pit stops.

With just 45 minutes remaining, both BimmerWorld cars pitted for driver changes and new tires. Jones replaced Clay in the cockpit, while Skeen replaced Balogh. Skeen soon found himself wedged between the TCR class leaders as he fought for position before a second full-course caution came out. The top 16 GS cars were all on the same lap with just 10 laps remaining, and approximately 20 minutes left in the race.

On the restart, the two leaders collided and went off track, causing the third full-course caution which lasted only two laps. On the restart from that caution, Jones, running sixth in the scrum, was jostling for position when a Mercedes hit him at Turn 5 and spun the No. 82 BMW M4 off-track, breaking the rear suspension and bringing out the fourth and final caution of the race with just three minutes to go.

The final restart was run in tandem with the white flag, setting up a one-lap shootout. The leading Porsche went a bit too deep into Turn 1 and made contact with the second-place McLaren, causing him to spin. This brought Skeen up into fourth for the checkered flag.

Although the Porsche crossed the finish line in first, a post-race penalty was assessed for the last-lap incident, and the win was awarded to the second-place Ford. This elevated the Skeen/Balogh BMW M4 GT4 entry to third place, giving Skeen his best MICHELIN Pilot Challenge finish while Balogh matched his previous best finish. The 19th-place finish for Clay and Jones moved them down to third in the GS points championship, 29 points out of first with two races remaining.

The VIR MICHELIN Pilot race, the Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix, will be televised tape-delayed on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The next and penultimate round of the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series will be the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Laguna Seca, Calif. on September 13-14.

Post-race quotes follow

Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., driver, No. 80 BimmerWorld/Airbnb BMW M4 GT4:
“The whole weekend has been awesome, but surely the last few minutes of the race were hectic. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to finish under green with the conditions and the timing, but I’m really happy we could move up a few more positions and put the car on the podium. Ari did a killer job to drive it from the back and get the BMW up into the hunt. Then I just tried to finish it off from there.”

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4GT4:
“We knew it was going to be a crazy day. It seems weather has affected every race this year. We weren’t as good as I’d hoped in the wet. Unfortunately, that shuffled us down a little bit. Devin was making up a couple of spots before he got drilled early on, and then we had a little bit of a handling problem after that. Then it started raining again, and everyone wanted to be on the top step with the final lap restart. Ultimately, we got taken out by one of our competitors.

“Certainly, I’m not thrilled with the results of our race, but as a team owner, I’m thrilled for our No. 80 car. They drove a great race, ended up on the good side of the luck out there today, and capitalized to bring home a very solid result for the team!”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“Starting from the beginning of the weekend, it was great to be here at VIR, a home race for us. We have a lot of friends and family that come out for this one, so we always want to try to do well. We didn’t have quite the pace we wanted in practice, but we were pretty optimistic about it going into the race. The first part of the race, our pace seemed pretty good; we were on par with everybody. James did a great job at the beginning in another race with mixed conditions of dry, rain, then dry again.

“I got in the car and it seemed like we were in a pretty good spot, able to work our way up to sixth. I knew those last restarts were going to start to get crazy. A lot of guys started driving a little bit over their head, trying to make something happen. I probably got hit four times in this race, which I think is more than I’ve gotten hit all year, so that was frustrating. Then the No. 35 car finally finished us off and really drilled us pretty hard, which was unfortunate to have happened. Overall, a big bummer because it set us back in the points, but we have to keep marching forward and try to make the best of the next two races for everybody who supports us. We’ll try to finish the year out strong.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Announcement

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

Pre-race quotes follow:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Finishes Ninth in the Rain at Road America

BimmerWorld-Racing-Finishes-Ninth-in-the-Rain-At-Road-America

Rain delayed, shortened, and complicated Saturday’s MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race at Road America, but BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay and Devin Jones still recorded a top-10 finish despite the treacherous conditions and uncompetitive package under the current rules. They remain second in the point standings with just three races remaining.

After the race was delayed more than an hour due to rain and lightning, IMSA officials shortened the original two-hour contest by 45 minutes. Rain continued to play a starring role in the racing drama; at times the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course was drying and at other times the drivers could barely see due to the deluge of water their cars kicked up. The team’s race strategies came down to simply guessing as to what the weather would be and whether to run on slick or rain tires.

Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., had an opening lap for the ages in the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. Choosing wet tires for the first stint, he started 17th but advanced nine positions immediately and was up to sixth by lap three. Setting his best lap on lap nine, he pitted under green for the driver change, fuel, and much-needed dry tires with 48 minutes to go.

Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., began his stint in 11th place, but it only took him three laps to vault to eighth, setting the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap 16 with a time of 2:21.221.

Unfortunately, it was pouring two laps later in Canada Corner and raining steadily in the pits, so Jones was forced to hang on for the final half-hour of the race. He dropped to 15th at one point, but then the BimmerWorld crew brought him in for rain tires. Some rivals had to pit too, and despite an electrical problem, he was able to rise to ninth before a yellow caused a one-lap dash to the checkered flag. He finished in that position, holding off the McLaren that finished tenth by a mere 0.422 seconds behind at the finish line.

BimmerWorld fielded a second BMW M4 GT4 in this weekend’s race, making two of the three BMWs in the Grand Sport field BimmerWorld cars. All three qualified together, with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif. recording the best time of the three in the BimmerWorld Racing No. 80 Airbnb BMW M4 GT4 that he shared with Seth Thomas of Cumming, Ga.

Like Clay, Balogh had an excellent start, advancing five spots on the opening lap to rise to tenth. With one hour to go, Clay was seventh and Balogh was eighth.

The BimmerWorld team brought the No. 80 in for its first pit stop at the same time the No. 82 pitted, and Balogh was 11th when he pitted for Thomas to take over. Thomas dropped to 15th with the stop, but he set that car’s fastest race lap on lap 15 with a time of 2:20.725.

With 33 minutes to go and Thomas holding the 13th position on dry tires, the rain picked up. With 24 minutes to go, he spun, making a couple revolutions before nosing into a wall to bring out the first full-course caution of the race. The car had to be towed back, and the entry ended up 20th in class.

The Road America MICHELIN Pilot race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on the NBC Sports Network on Monday, Aug. 12 from 3-5 p.m. Eastern time.

The next MICHELIN Pilot Challenge event, round eight of 10, will be the Michelin GT Challenge at BimmerWorld’s home track, VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., Aug. 23-35. That track is about 100 miles from BimmerWorld’s headquarters in Dublin, Va. On July 26, BimmerWorld announced it would invest $1 million to expand its operations, bringing 15 full-time jobs to Pulaski County. The expansion will primarily help with warehouse space and the company’s customer care center.

Post-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4GT4:
“This was a tough weekend and unfortunately, unless something changes heading to our home track [VIR], it’s going to be a tough weekend too. We know this track well; we love it, and we’ve won here multiple times, but we didn’t have anything we could put on track this weekend that was competitive. It’s super frustrating.

“Thank goodness we had some curve balls thrown at us so we could advance and kind of sneak our way up there a little bit further. We’ll see how the next round shakes out—certainly, we have our work cut out for us with the current weight and power regulations for the BMW.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“This weekend was a real struggle for us. Right from practice, we didn’t have much pace at all. The BMWs seemed pretty far off, which was a little bit surprising.

“James did a really great job in the opening stint trying to manage all the tough conditions. We were hoping for rain because we knew we had just about zero chance of anything in the dry since we had no pace. We got the rain we wanted, and James did a great job getting the car up well into the top 10. We went out initially on slicks, but it started raining again so we went to rain tires.

“We felt like we had decent pace in the rain, but then we had a little electrical problem and lost some track position but then gained some back with the one lap we had green again. Overall, ninth is not what you want at all, but it still keeps us in the hunt for the championship.

“We always want better than that, but I guess we’ll take it. VIR is the next race, and it’s our home track, so we’re really looking forward to it. We plan to come in there really strong and hopefully get our pace back and be fast.”

Seth Thomas, Cumming, Ga., driver, No. 80 Airbnb BMW M4 GT4:
“Coming back to the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge paddock was awesome. Getting back into the BMW M4 was like a duck to water. It was easy to adapt to and get up to speed again.

“The race was probably one of most testing races I’ve been in for a while. With the mixed conditions, [I had to] adapt to the car [in response to] what it does in the wet. Everything was going pretty well, and then we had an unfortunate spin. We were coming in for tires, and I needed about two more turns and we would have been good. I had a good time, and I’m glad the BimmerWorld guys had me back out for a race.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Expands with Two-Car Team at Road America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-race quotes follow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Finishes Just Off Podium in Valiant Drive at Lime Rock Park

BimmerWorld-Racing-Finishes-Just-Off-Podium-in-Valiant-Drive-at-Lime-Rock-Park

The BimmerWorld Racing duo of team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. took their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 to a fourth-place finish in the challenging Lime Rock Park 120 race. The MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series’ two-hour race featured 33 cars vying for victory in two classes, Grand Sport (GS) and Touring Car (TCR), around the tight 1.478-mile, 7-turn road course in the northwest corner of Connecticut near the Berkshire Mountains.

Qualifying driver Clay started from the 10th position on the grid in the GS class in the nail-biting race that was run under sunny skies. The record-setting heat and humidity forced the team to deal with a heat index of 99 degrees F, and the track’s surface temperature registered at a whopping 109 degrees, making the short and technical track that much more challenging under race conditions.

Clay quickly moved up one spot before confronting a familiar Mercedes that brought about unneeded contact in the previous race. Joined by former teammate Tyler Cooke in an Audi R8, the duo finally shoved their way past the very wide car. Clay then focused on turning clean laps and passing lapped traffic for a long, hot driving stint, eventually pitting his BMW M4 from third position in class before the first stop on Lap 55 at approximately 53 minutes into the two-hour race.

The BimmerWorld Racing executed another great pit stop with the driver change, a full load of fuel, and four tires in a green-flag stop late in the pit cycle. This had co-driver Jones rejoining the field in the 14th position and one lap down, but with the pit cycle completed, the No. 82 settled out on the lead lap and inside the top 10 again. After ten more laps of foot-down driving, Jones elevated himself into seventh before setting his first fastest lap of the race on Lap 66 with a time of 54.8.

Several competitors had come in for their second stop with a short fuel fill, but the BimmerWorld team, along with several others, were on a daring strategy to wait for a yellow flag that might have prevented the need for the additional fuel. But as the minutes ticked down and time was running out, it was clear that the team was being boxed into a losing strategy. Just as the team made the call to pit, they were gifted the yellow flag they were hoping for, which was the only full-course caution of the race, came out on lap 87 with just 35 minutes remaining for debris on the track.

Jones stayed out in the initial pit cycle while the majority of top cars came in, putting the No. 82 BMW M4 on the lead lap in the pass-around process as the pace car caught the new leader positioned behind him. The BimmerWorld team then made the daring call to pit off-sequence on the very short track for two left-side tires and a splash of fuel, sending Jones out of the pits mere seconds before the leader as the track went green. This put Jones in the podium-fighting position of fourth after jumping multiple cars in the pits.

Jones put his head down from the lap-94 restart in a valiant effort to finish on the podium, even besting his earlier fastest time on lap 98 with a time of 54.777 around the small and tight Lime Rock circuit. As close as he got in the final minutes of the edge-of-your-seat race, he couldn’t quite break into the top three and had to settle for fourth position on the final lap.

Although it was a strong finish for the BimmerWorld team, they fell from first to second position in the GS championship points battle and three points down, having had a one-point advantage coming into the Lime Rock race weekend.

The Lime Rock Park 120 race will be televised taped delay on the NBC Sports Network on Friday, July 26 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The next MICHELIN Pilot Challenge event, Round 7 of 10, will be the Road America 120 race held at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. on August 3rd.

Post-race quotes follow:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4GT4:
“After our BoP (Balance of Performance) change before the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park race, I think we’re really scrapping hard for anything we’ve got. I think these next races are going to be a challenge and, unfortunately, I believe we’re in a prevent type situation. But we’re still bold with strategy and still trying to win races. I think Road America is going to suit our car better than this track did, so I like our chances going in there. But with the Audi in the points lead right now, that’s going to be a really tough car because they’re also really solid right now. So we’ll see.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“Going into this race, we knew it was going to be tough. Practice was up and down, and we weren’t sure where we were speed-wise, but we were pretty confident in our long-run pace. I think that showed today, along with a great job by James in keeping his nose clean and keeping us on the lead lap in the beginning because that was a concern. We went a lap down under the caution but had good strategy and were able to get it back. We came in and put on left-side tires and started running good lap times and salvaged a fourth-place finish. We can’t really be too disappointed with that. Every weekend you want to win or be on the podium, but you’ve got to take what you can get, especially because it’s a long season. It was a solid points day, even though we lost the lead. We’re still right in contention and we’ve still got some good tracks coming up for us. I’ve got to thank all the guys for the hard work this weekend. It was really hot. I’m exhausted!”

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

BimmerWorld Racing Pushing Hard to Maintain GS Points Lead at Lime Rock Park

BimmerWorld-Racing-Pushing-to-Maintain-GS-Points-Lead-at-Lime-Rock-Park

The BimmerWorld Racing team and their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 of team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. heads to Lime Rock Park inspired to maintain their point lead. The driving duo sits atop the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Grand Sports (GS) championship points by a mere single point over the second-place duo and two points over third place.

The competition in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge is expected to be as challenging as ever at the two-hour Lime Rock Park 120 race on Saturday, July 20 at the 1.478-mile, 7-turn road course. Clay and Jones do not plan to give up their points lead and are resolute to continue their GS championship quest this season as they enter Round 6 of the 10-race calendar.

The Lime Rock Park MICHELIN Pilot Challenge abbreviated two-day event starts with one practice session on Friday, July 19, at 11:05 a.m. A second Friday practice will be from 1:15-2:00 p.m., followed by Practice 3 at 3:40-3:55 p.m. This leads into qualifying with the GS class following TCR at 4:25 p.m. for 15 minutes. The open-grid fan walk begins at 10:20 a.m. on Saturday. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 11:00 a.m. for formation laps and the race is scheduled to start at 11:10 a.m. for two hours.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN on Friday, July 26 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
It’s now the middle of the season, and you and Devin are leading the GS points. What is your plan to stay on top of the points when you have a bullseye on your backs with everyone aiming to dethrone you?
“The points battle is very tight at the front this year, and quite honestly, I expect there to be some position swaps in the next few rounds. We got hit with weight and a power reduction recently, and that hurts. We still have a solid car, but the next rounds won’t be easy, and, as always, our strategy is to prepare the best we can, race hard, and let the result come.”

Lime Rock is a very different circuit with no long straights and short, tight corners. How well does this circuit play for your turbo BMW M4 and Performance Friction Brakes?
“I’m not totally sure we’ll be strong at Lime Rock—we certainly weren’t last year. I’m aware that it’s easy to put other cars a lap down if we get a lot of green flag running, and I hope that plays in our favor.”

In the past, you’ve said the uphill is your favorite turn because it either is a passing zone or sets up for a pass into West Bend. How easy will that be this year with this challenging GS field?
“I love the Uphill and it has been a strength on this track in the past for us. West Bend is a really tight place to pass, but so is this whole track. I think at this point in the season, it’s all just challenging at the front of the field. Nothing is a given or expected, which will lead to some really good hard racing.”

Most every race this season has had multiple in-race cautions because of accidents and offs. You and Devin seem to be able to stay on track very well. Is there an art to knowing when to take a chance as well as how to avoid someone else who makes a risky move?
“I think this is racing experience combined with tempered goals. We aren’t points racing—we’re racing to win. But I think we’re also acutely aware that you don’t win by taking excessive chances, and in the moment in situations where things have gone wrong around us, we’ve just left a little change on the table for avoidance. As I look back through the season so far, I’m aware that we could’ve taken more chances and maybe moved slightly forward in doing so, but you can’t argue with the results of our approach.”

Do you and the team ever get to do something fun when you’re up in the Berkshires like boating, hiking, or something during this classic mid-July race week?
“Lime Rock is a very fast in and out event for us. In years past, we’ve raced on the Monday of a holiday weekend and had some time to enjoy the area, but this weekend we’ll be intensely race-focused for 28 hours, then looking forward to a small break in the action before Road America.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
It’s now the middle of the season, and you and James are leading the GS points. What is your plan to stay on top of the points when you have a bullseye on your back with everyone aiming to dethrone you?
“We’ve had a really solid first half of the season, but it’s still way too early to be worrying about points standings. We know it’s going to be a fight right down to the end of the year, so our focus is to execute one race weekend at a time. I have full faith in our team to continue performing well during the second half of the season.”

You have said that the short, tight Lime Rock circuit reminds you of the quarter and half-mile short track ovals on which you started your racing career. How does your racing history of the short tracks help you sling your BMW M4 around this circuit?
“Lime Rock is the shortest track we go to, and I love it. The first time I came here, I was still fresh off oval and stock car racing, and the track immediately meshed well with me. A lot of the same driving techniques apply to ovals and being fast around Lime Rock. The biggest difference is you’re going right most of the time instead of left!”

Cautions and avoiding accidents are part of the game in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series, especially on a small track like this. How do you best avoid getting caught up in another driver’s bad choice?
“It really just comes down to racing instinct and knowing when to push the issue and when not to. These races are long and a lot can happen—sometimes a little patience pays off with a good finish.”

You and James both seem to be good at gaining positions, particularly after a pit stop or restart after a caution. Not to give away any of your racing tricks, but what do you look for?
“James is the start/restart master! I think he’s gained at least two to three spots each race this year on the start. My main key would be quick decision making and trying to be as efficient as possible when battling for position with other cars. It’s the best way to make up positions, aside from beating others out of the pits, which our guys do an amazing job of as well!”

The first automobile law was passed by the state of Connecticut in 1901 to set the speed limit at 12 miles per hour. Do you think you could go 12 mph if you even tried?
“Only if I was on the bike going up a hill… or it probably would’ve been a safe speed for a period of time this year at Watkins Glen when the heavy rain hit and we were on slicks!”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Retains Points Lead With Sixth-Place Finish in Canada

BimmerWorld-Racing-Retains-Points-Lead-With-Sixth-Place-Finish-in-Canada

Two days after celebrating Independence Day in the U.S., Canadian Tire Motorsports Park offered plenty of fireworks north of the border for BimmerWorld Racing at the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race. The Dublin, Va.-based team finished sixth with the only BMW competing in the Grand Sport (GS) class, and the team unofficially holds on to its lead in the points championship by a single point in the extremely competitive series.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and co-driver Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. nearly finished fifth in their No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. A total of 24 Grand Sport and 14 Touring Cars were entered for this contact-heavy race on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course, formerly known as Mosport.

Clay started 16th but was determined to get into the top 10 quickly while preserving the car’s PFC brakes as much possible. He passed two cars on the first lap and spent most of his stint in a fierce battle with a Mercedes which ultimately led to contact between the pair. Stewards reviewed video footage of the incident, but no action was taken.

Clay passed his former co-driver, Tyler Cooke, for 11th place on lap 21 and was only 0.472 of a second behind the 10th place car when the first full-course caution flew on lap 24, just 36 minutes into the race. That yellow was important to the team’s strategies, as it occurred right before the 40-minute minimum drive time.

All but four cars pitted during the first caution. With tidy and fast pit work, the BimmerWorld crew gained two positions in the stop (from 11th to ninth) as Clay pitted to turn the car over to Jones.

Thanks to the BimmerWorld crew’s quick pit stop, Jones came out of it with good track position and moved quickly into seventh when the green waved again. As the remaining cars pitted, there was some post-caution shuffling as Jones settled into the sixth-place position where he set his fastest race lap on lap 33 with a time of 1:24.313.

Jones juggled positions throughout the race and through the team’s final pit stop, eventually elevating his BMW M4 GT4 into fourth place until a McLaren passed him on lap 56 with 33 minutes remaining. He held on to fifth until a Mustang got by with less than one minute remaining on the penultimate lap of the 78-lap race. Jones finished 0.986 behind the fifth-place finisher and 0.748 ahead of the seventh-place finisher at the checkered flag.

Although the BimmerWorld team did not repeat their podium appearance at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park 120, they do continue to hold the GS points lead at the halfway point of the season.

Saturday’s race will be shown on the NBC Sports Network on Tuesday, July 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT. Prior to that program the June 29 race from Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. will air on the same network on Thursday, July 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. EDT. BimmerWorld Racing finished second in class in that race.

The next event is at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. July 19-20. It will air on NBCSN on Friday, July 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT. All the races are also streamed live on imsa.tv.

Post-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“I clearly wasn’t happy with qualifying; I didn’t put down a good lap anyway, but I had my top two laps removed with some contact there, unfortunately. I just wasn’t happy with that effort at all.

“Of course, during the race, I paid for that and had to work my way forward in some challenging traffic. I don’t think we were trying to be a hero here today; we just needed to get some solid spots, and we needed to have a solid finish. I wasn’t going to take excessive chances, and after getting banged around by the No. 57 Mercedes a couple of times, I was pretty content to let them keep the spot and deal with it later. I don’t think that ultimately affected our outcome or my race, but it certainly added to some frustration we had to get through today.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“First, the guys in the pits did a great job of getting us out and gaining us a few spots in the pits. James did a really good job racing smart with some of the other cars he was around.

“We wanted to play this race a little bit conservatively. We knew we didn’t quite have a winning car today, but we definitely had a top-five car. With the strategy and a good pit stop, we were in a solid position to get a top-five finish. We came up a little short of that, which was a little frustrating, but overall, we can’t complain about finishing sixth and still maintaining the points lead.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Charges to Mosport in GS Points Lead for MICHELIN Pilot Challenge

BimmerWorld-Racing-Charges-to-Mosport-in-GS-Points-Lead-for-MICHELIN-Pilot-Challenge

The BimmerWorld Racing team from Dublin, Va. charges into the next round of the 10-race IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sports (GS) points lead.

Round five of the 10-race series will be the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park 120 for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge two-hour race on Saturday, July 6 at the 2.459-mile, 10-turn Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada road course.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and teammate Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. drive the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 for BimmerWorld Racing. The duo is tied for the lead in driver’s points and leading in points for the GS class after finishing second at Watkins Glen International in an exciting fight to the finish last weekend. Clay departed from the track immediately after his stint to compete in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, where he finished an impressive sixth in the Time Attack 1 class in the No. 36 BimmerWorld Racing 2018 BMW M4 GT4.

In previous IMSA races this season, Clay and Jones finished ninth at Mid-Ohio, second at Sebring International Raceway, and fourth at Daytona International Raceway in January. Holding onto the points lead is their goal this weekend and for the remaining six races.

Last year, Jones took the pole with a new track record in the former Street Touring (ST) class in the No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing 328i and followed up with a class victory with former BimmerWorld teammate Nick Galante. Along with the team’s second-place finish last weekend, Jones also set a new track record for fastest lap at Watkins Glen International during that thrilling four-hour race.

Practice for the CTMP 120 on Friday, July 5, at 10:00 a.m. for a one-hour session and from 3:05-3:50 p.m. Saturday has a practice session at 9:15 a.m. for 15 minutes then leads immediately into qualifying with the GS class following TCR at 10:00 a.m. for 15 minutes. The open-grid fan walk begins at 1:00 p.m. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 1:45 p.m. and the race is scheduled to start at 1:55 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
You just came out of a whirlwind week of going back and forth between Pikes Peak and Watkins Glen. Now you are jumping right into another IMSA race in Canada. Have you caught your breath yet, or are you running on pure adrenaline?

“The pace has actually been quite fun. I touched down at home for about 20 hours, and if anything, it’s a little tough for me to dial it back right now—which seems like the right mindset to be in.”
 

You and Devin had a strong drive at The Glen and catapulted yourself back into the GS championship lead with your second-place finish. This class is very competitive, so how do you plan to stay on top for the remaining six races?


“I don’t think anyone could plan for that, and while I know we’re happy to be in the position we’re in, there’s a lot of racing ahead. As always, we’ll do our best and the team is super on it. No secrets—just hard work and focus.”

Mosport is a very fast flowing circuit. Do you think your BMW M4 will have the speed, coupled with the Performance Friction Brakes package to master the circuit this year?

“Fingers crossed, but this is one of my absolute favorite tracks in the world, and I think we punch a little above our weight class here typically. With where the car sits currently, I think we should be in a decent spot. We may lose some power due to BoP after our recent performances, but we have the handling dialed in, and the PFC brakes at this track play a critical role.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
You captured the pole at Mosport last year in the ST class. What will it take to repeat that in the GS class this year?


“Mosport is probably my favorite track. It seems to really suit my driving style, and I just enjoy racing there. We had a great run last year in the ST car, but the GS class is always super competitive. However, I think we can carry our momentum from Watkins and hopefully put together another strong performance this weekend.”

How do you like the fast flowing Mosport circuit? What’s your favorite part?

“I love the fast, old-school nature of the track. Every corner flows right into the next, and the elevation change makes this track truly amazing. I can’t pick a certain corner—I just love the whole place.”

You and James are now back on top in the GS championship points battle after a strong run at The Glen. With six more races to go, how do you plan to stay on top?

“There’s still a long way to go this season, and the next batch of races are going to be really important to set the tone for the finishing stretch. We’ll just have to stay focused on agenda and taking the schedule race by race.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Finishes Second in Thrilling MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race at The Glen

BimmerWorld Racing Finishes Second in Thrilling MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race at The Glen

The Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 at The Glen race for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on Saturday was one of the most thrilling races the series has seen in recent years. Thirty-seven cars in two classes competed during changing weather and numerous cautions from spins galore while teams were chasing victory.

BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Devin Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., drove their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 to a second-place finish in the Grand Sport (GS) class in the four-hour enduro, just 1.946 seconds down from the winning No. 35 Mercedes Benz-AMG.

Qualifying driver Clay started from the fifth position on the grid and immediately passed two cars on the first lap, elevating the BMW M4 to third place. A total of five cautions over the 103 laps as well as some intermittent rain led to an exciting race that had fans on their feet cheering.

The first full-course caution was displayed on Lap 8, and Clay pitted for a fuel top-off two laps later. On Lap 17, another caution was thrown as Clay continued to take advantage of any inch of track space he could to advance his No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor-liveried BMW. By Lap 28, he drove the race car into the lead and turned his fastest lap of the race on Lap 37 with a time of 1:55.971. He held the number one position until his next pit on Lap 43, nearly one hour and 40 minutes into the race. The team’s choice to pit at that time turned out to be brilliant, as Clay narrowly entered the pits just before the third full-course caution of the day was displayed, approximately one hour and forty-five minutes into the race.

Jones started his stint and quickly maneuvered the No. 82 BMW back into the lead as he kept bettering his fastest lap, ultimately collecting his fastest on Lap 74 with a time of 1:54.077 and earning fastest lap of the race honors, as well as setting the new track record.

Rain began to fall on parts of the circuit just before the final pit stops. The BimmerWorld crew took a chance by staying on Michelin slick racing tires, while many of their competitors opted for rain tires. After the restart following the final caution with just 15 minutes remaining, the cars with rain tires held the front positions, but as the rain stopped and the track quickly dried, the gamble paid off as Jones climbed back into second place. He ran out of time to capture the victory as the checkered flag was displayed at 6:56 p.m. Eastern time. Jones lead the most laps of the day with 49 of the 103 total laps.

With their second-place finish, Clay and Jones moved back into the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge points lead after four of 10 rounds this season.

Jones had to handle the Victory Lane honors solo as team owner and teammate Clay was well on his way to his flight to Denver for competition at the 2019 running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds. The invitational automobile and motorcycle event is a 12-mile, 156-turn hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak held every year at the end of June.

Clay competed in the Time Attack 1 class on Sunday at Pikes Peak and finished in sixth place in class in a BimmerWorld Racing 2018 BMW M4 GT4 with a time of 10:39.786 and an average speed of 67.523 mph.

The Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 at The Glen race will broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, July 11 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Post-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“We have a great car today, clearly. And we have pace, but most of the positions were gained when a competitor had a wiggle or an error. It bunched up at the start of the race. I didn’t have to check the throttle. I was able to have a clean run and get up near the front. We don’t have the pace for the Mercedes and found no reason to burn the car down trying to keep up. We found ourselves in the right place at the right time and gained a number of positions.

“The team strategized for short fills, avoided incidents, and drove clear which nearly gifted me the lead. We managed a smart and clean drive, and Devin drove the same.

“We watched it (the race) while we headed to the airport to head to Pikes. It was one of the craziest race finishes I’ve ever seen. So much happened, and it was such incredible racing with the rain. We had a great car today, and Devin did a fantastic job. We were headed for a win, but it didn’t quite come through. I’m so proud of Devin and the team and the great job they did today, and I’m happy we’ve regained the championship lead.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a really interesting race. We’ve been working really hard on getting the car set up for the longer run, and it was starting to pay off today. James did an incredible job in the first stint and was out in the front, battling for the lead, and doing a great job, especially after he didn’t get much practice coming in from Pikes Peak. It put a lot of pressure on me to get in the car and do well. I thought we did a pretty good job. We were out front for most of the race. Towards the end, the No. 35 was fast, and he was running about the same pace as me.

“When the rain came, it kind of changed everything up and threw a curveball. I didn’t really want to see it because I knew how fast we were in the dry. We were able to hold onto it, and the track was starting to dry up towards the end. We were running them down and just ran out of time. It was still a really good run for us. We want to get a win, but we’re knocking on the door, so hopefully soon. I just want to thank everybody on this team. They do such an incredible job with this car, and it’s really a privilege to drive it. I have to thank Veristor and OPTIMA Batteries too. It’s weird not having James here since he’s probably already on a plane going to Pikes Peak. So, good luck to him on Sunday and hopefully we can carry some momentum going into Mosport.”

The next event, Round 5 of 10, of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge will be the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park 120, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, next weekend, July 5-7.

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

BimmerWorld Racing Juggles IMSA and Pikes Peak next Weekend

BimmerWorld-Racing-Juggles-IMSA-and-Pikes-Peak-this-Weekend

BimmerWorld Racing will be competing in dual events next weekend as they seek to close the points gap in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in Watkins Glen, N.Y., while also racing in the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.

Watkins Glen International will host round four of the 10-race series for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race on Saturday, June 29. The Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 at The Glen will be a four-hour race at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and co-driver Devin Jones of Mooresville, Va. will pilot the BimmerWorld Racing No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. Clay will have an intense travel schedule during the race weekend as he shuttles between Watkins Glen, N.Y. and Pikes Peak, Colo., where he will compete in the Pikes Peak Open class in the No. 36 BMW, a second M4 GT4 from the Bimmerworld Racing stable. This is the 97th annual running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Clay’s second effort.

The Dublin, Va.-based BimmerWorld Racing team is just two points out of the points lead in the Grand Sport (GS) class after three rounds. The popular BMW team finished fourth at Daytona International Raceway in January, second at Sebring International Raceway, and most recently finished ninth at Mid-Ohio.

The Watkins Glen MICHELIN Pilot race is a three-day event with one practice session on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. Friday will feature two practice sessions, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. and from 12:40-12:55 p.m. This leads into qualifying at 1:25 p.m. for 15 minutes. The always-popular open-grid fan walk begins at 12:50 p.m. and the field will warm up its Michelin tires at 1:45 p.m. for formation laps with the race being scheduled to start at 1:55 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, July 11 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
Tell us about your schedule this week with competing in both the IMSA race and at Pikes Peak.
“Pikes Peak is a very difficult event on its own, but combine the run up the mountain to the over 14,115′ summit with the logistics of practicing on the mountain all week, then flying 1,700 miles for our IMSA race on Saturday, then back for an early morning race up Pikes, and I will be pushed pretty hard this year.”

You and Devin seem to have found a good connection this year as teammates. How are you two similar and how are you different?
“I think we’ve merged very quickly into a very effective driver pair. We drive similarly enough to have matching feedback, so car development is very quick, which I think gives us an edge. And we can apply the other’s feedback to small nuances of a given track and immediately make it work. This will be especially helpful this race with the double-duty I’ll be pulling with Pikes Peak in Colorado happening simultaneously. I’m really glad Devin will be there to focus on the GT4 development through the weekend. It’s in good hands.”

We are back to racing at a 4-hour event at The Glen. In the past, you’ve said it doesn’t matter if you’re racing two or four hours, you’re ready to race either length. What are some of the preparation difference the team must perform for the longer races?
“Really, we just look at consumables and component life and plan accordingly for the extra two hours, but otherwise, the preparation is the same—the guys put together the best car they can.”

What do you think is the most fun part or corner to drive at The Glen and why? What do you find as the most challenging?
“The most challenging corner for me is 11 onto the front straight. I had a pretty brutal brush with the old tire wall there a bunch of years ago, and I always give that turn and that wall a fair amount of respect coming into the weekend.”

No matter what grid position you start from, you seem to be very good at advancing quickly. What weakness do you look for in the other cars/drivers when you’re on track to get by them?
“A couple of years ago I was on pace for a record number of pole positions, but this year it seems to be more about a decent qualifying and then progress through my stint. I’m working on that, but without a second team car, it’s a tick tricky to nail the exact window for the tires with the right situation in front of you to put down the best lap. Once the race starts, I’m focused on adapting to the car I’m driving and the challenges of the individual cars around me. I’ve been able to hustle up to the front so far this year, but it’s also largely from having a really good car to work with.”

Watkins Glen has a lot of racing history over the decades. If you could drive any car on this legendary circuit, which would you want to drive and why?
“I’m always very content to be in the car I am at the moment in almost any given weekend and situation—as long as it’s a BMW!”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
You and James seem to have found a good connection this year as teammates. How are you two similar and how are you different?
“James and I have really meshed well so far this season. We both want a similar feel in terms of car setup, which is always important with co-drivers. How we both get a lap time is different, which is actually really interesting and helpful because we can both learn from each other and improve our performance.”

We are back to racing at a 4-hour event at The Glen. As a driver, what are the differences in preparing for a four-hour race versus a two-hour race?
“As a driver, the preparation isn’t much different than any other event. We know that during a four-hour race, a lot more can happen in terms of strategy. Usually, at these longer and bigger races, teams will push that little bit harder because it’s a special event. A driver’s job is being prepared to run a longer stint, and if we see temperatures as high as they were last year, you have to be ready for that extra physical exertion.”

It appears you’ve adjusted well and quickly to the GS class after winning the ST class championship last year. What do you find to be the biggest differences?
“The competition in the GS class is stacked with talented drivers and teams. Any given weekend, multiple teams and manufacturers have a chance to win. The switchover from ST has really been a lot easier since I’m still with the same group of guys on the BimmerWorld team; they are the best in the business, and they make my job easy.”

You seem to have found the position as the closer in most races this season after James qualifies and starts. How do you like that position and what are you most often seeking to be able to advance?
“I’ve liked closing races in the past; I’ve been able to start my fair share as well. James and I are both equal drivers, so we’re both comfortable in either position. Starting and finishing both come with a big responsibility and are equally important in terms of getting a good finish.”

Watkins Glen has a lot of racing history over the decades. If you could drive any car on this legendary circuit, which would you want to drive and why?
“I was able to race a NASCAR Xfinity race there last year and that was really awesome to drive that kind of car at Watkins!”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Takes Top 10 in Mid-Ohio’s MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race

BimmerWorld-Racing-Takes-Top-10-in-Mid-Ohios-MICHELIN-Pilot-Challenge-Race

The Mid-Ohio 120 race for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio brought about unpredictable weather conditions that challenged the teams, drivers and engineers. Leading the Grand Sports (GS) points coming into the race, the duo of James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., drove their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 to a ninth-place finish in the Lexington, Ohio two-hour race with mixed weather.

James Clay qualified in sixth position on race morning on a wet track with a constant drizzle. After the previous two days of on-and-off rain, the BimmerWorld team prepared for the afternoon race ready for any possible condition.

Although Round 3 of the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race started with fairly dry conditions, radar showed rain coming mid-race. Clay lost a couple of positions on the race start when his row stalled before the start line, but he methodically worked his way forward into the second spot by the one-hour mark when the third caution of the race flew.

Windshield wipers were waving throughout the field and rain was falling around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course, leading the BimmerWorld team to make the defining call for their race. In the scheduled pit stop under yellow, the field pitted with several cars opting for rain tires, including the BimmerWorld No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 Grand Sport (GS) entry. At that time the team executed their driver change from Clay to Jones.

Jones pushed hard, but when the heavy rains didn’t materialize for their rain tire strategy, speed was elusive. In the end, the team had to settle for a ninth-place GS class finish and 12th overall in the 37-car field.

The Mid-Ohio 120 race will be shown on NBCSN from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, May 11.

The next event will be the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240, a 4-hour endurance race, at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y on Saturday, June 29.

Post-race quotes follow:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“Things went great all weekend. We had a good practice on Thursday. We never really got to exercise the car on Friday, so I started race day so amped up. I love the track, and we had everything together this weekend. I just wanted to race all weekend. We finally got to race, and the car was fantastic. We definitely had a car to win the race this weekend. We made a pretty bold call in the pits with the (rain) tires. It wasn’t the right one in retrospect, but at that moment, it wasn’t the wrong one either. It played out, and we’ve seen the weather go all over the place this weekend. We had no idea, and Devin hung on to what we had and did a great job out there. It’s not the finish we wanted, but it was a good race.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“When I got in the car, we were banking on it raining harder than it was. Looking at the radar, we were hoping it was going to pick up and it never quite did. I was stuck out on rain tires with a few other guys. It was definitely interesting. It was like driving a street car out on the track for 40 minutes.

“James did incredibly well and had a great first stint. He was running up towards the front. I think if we would have put on dries (tires), or if the race would have been dry the whole way, we could’ve definitely had a shot at a podium. But that’s how it is, especially at this track. They were really unpredictable conditions. We saw that all weekend with mixed track conditions and the weather was just super weird all weekend. We’ll take ninth and move forward. I just want to thank everybody that supports us, and we’ll look forward to Watkins Glen.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Returns to Mid-Ohio with Success on Their Minds

BimmerWorld-Returns-to-Mid-Ohio-with-Success-on-Their-Minds

As the Dublin, Va.-based BimmerWorld Racing team travels to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio this week, they arrive leading the points chart of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series.

Round three of the 10-race series will be the Mid-Ohio 120 for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge two-hour race on Saturday, May 4 at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. will co-drive with Devin Jones of Mooresville, Va. in the BimmerWorld Racing No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. The duo is tied for the lead in the Grand Sport (GS) class after finishing fourth at Daytona International Raceway in January and second in the last round at Sebring International Raceway, both in Florida. Winning is on their minds as they continue to develop their solid-performing M4 GT4, now in its second year of competition.

The Mid-Ohio MICHELIN Pilot race is a two-day event with two practice sessions on Thursday, at 11:40 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. Saturday features practice session three at 9:20 a.m. and leads immediately into qualifying, with the GS qualifying session following TCR at 10:05 a.m. The open-grid fan walk begins at 12:50 p.m. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 1:35 p.m. and the race is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 11. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
Last year was the first year back at Mid-Ohio since 2013. How do you like the Mid-Ohio circuit, and what do you like best? What is the most challenging part?
“We had a very successful 2018 race at Mid-Ohio that ended with us on the podium and almost with a win, so I certainly like the track, our chances there, and our demonstrated performance. Certainly, this is a very technical track with blind corners and many corners with multiple approaches, so it’s a track that keeps you constantly thinking and adjusting, which is a challenge I enjoy.”

Do you think another podium in the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 is possible this year?
“So far, Devin and I have been a formidable team, and we’ve had strong results. With our performance so far this year and our previous Mid-Ohio performance, I think a podium is on the table at this race, and really any race in the schedule this year. Of course, in this very competitive field, we’ll be racing very hard for it.”

You and Devin are tied in first place in the GS points with the Motorsports in Action McLaren drivers. When you go into the third race of the year in first place, how does that affect your mindset? Does it give you more confidence or put more pressure on you?
“We’ve finished twenty percent of the 2019 race schedule and while it’s nice to have banked good points, I honestly feel it’s completely meaningless. Our goal is to go out and perform and win this race, and every other one on the schedule. Late in the season, I may have a different answer, but not now.”

This year there are only two classes competing in the Michelin Pilot series, your class of GS cars and the TCR class. What’s the main difference in the two classes, and how difficult is it to race around the other class cars?

“Mid-Ohio will be the biggest challenge so far in the mixing of the two classes. The TCR cars are quite good in the turns, and this track minimizes out power advantages with only a few longer straights. We hope to be in front of the scramble, leaving us with the potential of lapped traffic that’s usually quite considerate in this series. But the TCR cars are similar enough in speed in the corners to bring up some tough situations.”

Ohio boasts the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the home to the Wright Brothers. Which of those subjects resonates most with you…aviation, football, or rock & roll?

“While I have some level of interest in music and planes, Ohio is also home to many historic and incredible barns. This is one of my favorite stops of the year because we’ll be staying in cabins on a farm, complete with our own barn and cow who pokes her nose in to enjoy a dinner with the team. Not exactly the Hall of Fame, but maybe better…”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
Tell us about your history of racing at Mid-Ohio.
“My first time at Mid-Ohio was last year. Out of all the tracks on the schedule, it’s by far the one I have the least amount of experience on; however, I really enjoyed running there in 2018. It’s a unique track with great fans. We’re aiming to try and end up back on the podium like we were able to do last year.”

How do you like the Mid-Ohio circuit, and what do you like best? What is the most challenging part?
“It’s a technical track, and you have to conserve the tires through a stint. Every corner there is different from the last, and it keeps you on your toes the whole lap. Traffic can also be a bit of an issue because there aren’t many passing zones.”

You and James are tied in first place in the GS points with the Motorsports in Action McLaren drivers. When you go into the third race of the year in first place, how does that affect your mindset? Does it give you more confidence or put more pressure on you?
“It’s a great place to be early in the season. We’ve run strong, and we’ve really been focused on getting the car set up well. It gives us a lot of confidence because we know we can compete for wins. There’s still a long way to go, so we have to stay focused on our own goals.”

At Sebring, you set the fastest lap of the race in your BMW M4. How are you enjoying driving the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 this year?
“Our car this season has been strong, so credit goes to the BimmerWorld Racing crew for all the work and preparation it takes to be competitive in this series. James and I, along with our engineer Wayne, have been working well together during practice on car setup. I’m looking forward to jumping back in the car and picking up where we left off.”

Ohio boasts the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the home to the Wright Brothers. Which of those subjects resonates most with you…aviation, football or rock & roll?
“I’d say Rock & Roll. I raced a car that was sponsored by the punk rock band Social Distortion. One of the coolest car designs I’ve been able to drive, plus I was and still am a huge fan!”

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

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

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

#82 BimmerWorld M4 GT4

BWR_M4_82-210w

Engine: 3.0L Turbo Inline-6, BMW Motorsport electronics, AiM data acquisition

Driveline: 7-gear DCT with Motorsport software, Motorsport differential with separate cooling

Suspension: Motorsport-specific control connections, 2-Way adjustable dampers, adjustable motorsport anti-roll bars front and rear

Wheels: 18-inch Motorsport race wheels

Brakes: 6-piston, fixed calipers front; 4-piston fixed calipers rear; adjustable brake bias via balance bar

Drivers: James Clay, Devin Jones

BimmerWorld Racing Charges to Podium in MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race at Sebring

James and Devin with champagne on podium - BimmerWorld Racing Charges to Podium in MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race at Sebring

BimmerWorld Racing executed its game plan to near perfection today, and it almost paid off with a victory in the second round of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series at Sebring International Speedway.

James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Devin Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., drove their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 to a second-place finish in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 race, just 7.750 seconds out of first place.

Qualifying driver James Clay started from the seventh position in the two-hour race on the 3.47-mile, 17-turn circuit in Central Florida and made a dash to the front, quickly battling in the top three.

On the first of two cautions, Clay pitted for fuel and tires and handed the driving duties to Jones. Although it was a bit earlier than their planned pit stop, tire wear under the 80-plus degree Fahrenheit conditions required it. Jones kept the BMW M4 GT4 in the top three and soon elevated himself to the second place. When a second caution flag was thrown a few laps from the end of the 49-lap race, Devin dashed into second place and nearly grabbed the lead from eventual winner Jeff Westphal in an Audi R8. During his hard charge, Jones, the reigning IMSA ST class champion, set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:11.945 and a speed of 100.964 mph.

Clay and Jones are unofficially tied for first place in the GS class points standings after two rounds.

Friday’s race will be shown on NBCSN from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, March 28.

This race supported the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The next event will be the Mid-Ohio 120 held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on May 3-4.

Post-race quotes follow:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a great day—an almost perfect day. We had a good car over a long run. We knew we had a good car. Devin put it at the top of the charts in one of the practice sessions, which is not necessarily what we focus on, and we weren’t at the top of qualifying, but we knew we had a race car under us that was going to move forward, especially as the hot surface wore out the tires. I was proud of my stint, and I’m obviously super proud of Devin. What a teammate! What an awesome job. The guys executed fantastic pitstops, and it was a really good day.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“This was an awesome race. James did such a good job in the beginning keeping the car up in the top three. He moved up really quickly from seventh and got us in a great spot. The driver change went really well. All the pitstops were good. We got shuffled back a little bit in the last caution just with differing strategies, but overall, I’m really happy. This is a good result for us. It’s nice to be on the podium at 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. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018. 2019 also marks BimmerWorld Racing’s return to the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars.

BimmerWorld Racing is Eager for IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Race and Challenges of Sebring

BimmerWorld-Racing-is-Eager-for-IMSA-MICHELIN-Pilot-Race-and-Challenges-of-Sebring

The BimmerWorld Racing team of owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and co-driver and reigning ST champion, Devin Jones of Mooresville, Va., are prepared and eager to face the challenges of the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway, March 14-15 for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120. The two-hour race is round 2 of the 2019 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series.

Clay and Jones will compete in the BimmerWorld Racing No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 in the GS class. After finishing fourth in the four-hour season opener at Daytona, they are ready for the flat but bumpy former Sebring airfield circuit that is renown for its legendary 12-hour race.

Clay has competed at Sebring for over 20 years and understands the distinctions that are unique to this classic circuit. Jones has raced nearly a third fewer times and is still attempting to master the perfect lap, especially in the always challenging final turn, but he loves the test it provides and is honored to compete at this exceptional circuit. Experience is key at Sebring, and the BimmerWorld team has an abundance of that.

The two-hour race format should see plenty of action as 43 cars take to the track, with 28 GS class entries expected and 15 TCR class cars in the two-class MICHELIN Pilot series. With high temperatures expected to reach the mid-80 degrees range, heat could be a compelling factor in the Florida race outcome.

Thursday features two morning practice sessions, one at 8:30 a.m. for an hour and the second from 11:30-12:15. Practice three runs from 5:30-5:45 p.m. with qualifying scheduled for 6:15-6:30 p.m. for the GS class. The two-hour race starts on Friday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. All times are Eastern.

The Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 race can be viewed live on Friday, March 15 from 11:55 a.m.-2:05 p.m. ET on IMSA.tv. The race will be broadcasted on Thursday, March 28, 2019, from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network.

Pre-race quotes follow

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
The No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT finished 4th at Daytona in the first race of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series. What have you done to prepare yourself and the car for the race at Sebring?

“I think we came into Daytona ready for the season, and I’d like to think we can stay slightly ahead of the curve. We had a somewhat odd car issue earlier in the race, but the guys dug in hard, and I feel like we have our head around it now. I’ve been in a GT4 working with our engineer, Wayne, to develop the car for another series, and that exercise keeps us sharp for our IMSA work.”

How did you and Devin get along as teammates, and what are your goals for the second race of the year?

“I didn’t know what to expect from Devin in that close working relationship as co-drivers; he was solid and a great addition to the 2018 team, but that was the first year we had run two cars but in separate classes, so we didn’t interface on the technical aspect. But I think it was immediately obvious from the Daytona Roar test that Devin is fast, a hard worker, and a good decision maker, and developing the car is a very collaborative effort between us. I think through this season, we’re focused on wins and podiums, and I think we have the elements to make it happen.”

You’ve been racing at Sebring for over twenty years. How is this track unique to you, and what are some of the challenges you know you are going to face?
“Sebring is a unique track in our series because it’s mostly flat with not much elevation or camber, and of course, it’s super bumpy. And this week it looks like it will be very hot, which our BMW doesn’t always love. I think we come to this event knowing the car and track and how to make it work well, and the heat will be a big factor in the race.”

You and Tyler Cooke had a pole position and finished on the podium in 2016 at this track. What is it going to take to do it again this year?

“In this year’s almost 30-car GT4 field, capability and execution are enough to get you in the top half, and it’s a lot of work and a little luck to move to the top of the pack.  But we’re consistently there, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Assess the competition for us going into this Sebring race.
“The McLarens were rockets at Daytona, and at the tail end of last year as well, and the weight adjustment should put them more in line with the field. I’m very aware of the new Porsche’s strength, and I think we haven’t seen their full strength yet. I like our driver and team package on a level playing field and think we would be at the top, but in modern racing, the Balance of Performance is a major factor, and I think we’ll see where it sits once we get close to race time in Florida.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
You and James did really well at Daytona and barely missed out on a podium spot. What have you done to prepare yourself for a podium finish at this upcoming Sebring race?
“It was great to start the season with a top-5 finish. We’re really excited for Sebring and seeing where we stack up again in the competitive GS field. Sebring is a tough track to prepare for because it’s so unique, but the BimmerWorld guys always give us a car that can win any weekend, so we plan to hit the ground running right off the trailer.”

This is about your seventh time to compete at the Sebring circuit. What have your previous race experiences and results prepared you for up to this point?
“I’ve been coming to Sebring for some time now; it’s crazy how fast time goes by. I’ve always loved this track but haven’t won here yet. I’ve raced here in IMSA, MX-5 Cup, and even some formula car races, but the luck has never completely fallen my way to get into victory circle at Sebring, so I am really motivated to make this the year it finally comes together.”

What do you like best about the Sebring circuit? What is the most challenging?

“This track is legendary in so many ways. It just has a special vibe when you drive in; you have to respect the track. I always think turn 17 is one of the most challenging corners, not only at Sebring but in all of North America. It’s so unique to any corner in racing—super bumpy and little room for error. It’s an epic part of the track; there are so many ways to go fast through there, and it’s hard to get perfect.”

You and James co-drove together for the first time at Daytona in January. How did that go, and what are you working to improve for the second round?
“It’s been an honor to drive with James. He has so much knowledge and experience; I can learn a lot from him. We both also seem to like similar setups in the car, which is always a big advantage with co-drivers. I’m looking forward to continuing to lean on him for knowledge and to learn from each other to make us, as a team, the best we can be for each race this year.”

Sebring is a special little town. What do you like to do outside of the race track at Sebring?
“It’s a unique place. I love coming down here! It’s a festival and a huge party, especially in the infield. I expect this year to be the most packed it’s been in years with the huge amount of racing slated for the whole week.”

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

BimmerWorld Racing Proves It’s Not Over Until It’s Over at Daytona

BimmerWorld-Racing-Proves-It’s-Not-Over-Until-It’s-Over-at-Daytona

Championship-winning athletes stick to their game plan despite what the competition is doing, think independently when necessary, keep persevering, and pounce when opportunity knocks. BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay and Devin Jones showed all of those attributes in Friday’s season opener for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series and came away with a solid fourth in the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Raceway. The finish was a thriller, as their car advanced three positions in the last three minutes of the four-hour race.

James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., started ninth. He stayed at the controls of his Dublin, Va.-based team’s No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 for the entire first half of the race, despite watching his main rivals peel into the pits during three of the race’s nine caution flags in an attempt to gain an advantage with their teams’ strategies. He stuck to his guns and didn’t let them affect his team’s master plan, and he also dealt with an unusual power problem with the No. 82.

Clay made two pit stops under yellow flags on lap 18 and 30, had a tremendous battle with Austin Cindric, stayed out of trouble even when Fred Poordad spun in front of him, and was eighth when he pitted for Jones to take over under the fifth yellow with 2:01.40 remaining.

Devin Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., was unable to get a good rhythm going initially due to more caution flags. He also had to deal with the major disadvantage of no radio contact with the pits and its spotters through his entire stint. But the series’ 2018 Street Tuner co-champion responded like the champ he is, setting the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap 77 with a time of 1:53.792. Jones led laps 78 and 79 before the team requested a black flag be displayed to signal him to come in for his final pit stop for fuel and a set of fresh Michelin tires on lap 80.

The stop put Jones back in 19th place, and at one point he was a lap down, but once again the team stuck to its plans and kept digging. Jones was 15th with 30 minutes remaining, and he was 12th when the final full-course caution flew with 15:29 left. He had a great car under him, but with three minutes left, Jones was still in seventh place. He wasn’t done passing cars, though. In 6th with just 1:19 to go, Jones took advantage of the two cars battling ahead which gave him the massive Daytona two-car draft in the last turn of the last lap before taking the checker about a nose ahead of the other two, nailing 4th-place when the checkered flew on lap 101 for the thrilling finish.

A second BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 driven by Kaz Grala of Westborough, Mass. and Aurora Straus of Cold Spring, N.Y. started 16th but cut a tire very early in the race and had to spend a great deal of time in the pits and the garage for repairs. The team worked hard to get the car back into the action, and both drivers got some time behind the wheel. Their car, sponsored by Richard Mille watches and Straus’s Girls With Drive program, was credited with a 30th-place finish in the Grand Sport class. Straus set that car’s fastest lap of the race with a 1:54.847 on lap 57.

Friday’s race will be shown on NBCSN from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

This race supported the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The next event will be held March 13-16 at Sebring, Fla., as part of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring weekend.

Post-race quotes follow:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“We had a tenth-place qualifying and the car had better in it. But then at the start of the race, there was something wrong with the power. Last year here we had a good car on the straights, and we were pretty much lining up and passing people. There wasn’t a single car I could even hold on to in the draft today.

“We reset after the first stint, and we feel like it got better, or we think there was some sort of ECU compensation or something going on. We’re going to dig into it. Obviously, towards the tail end of the race, we had the power and could hang with cars on the straight. Devin did an awesome job with that last few laps and last-lap pass. We didn’t have a fourth-place car today, but we had a team to pull out a fourth-place finish out of a top-10 car. So this was just a super way to start the season. If you’re not going to win it, this is OK too.

“The No. 80 car started off with a flat tire when someone got a nose in and damaged an upright in the same bit of contact, and it was just fighting from there. We replaced some car parts in the garage. It wasn’t the race they wanted, but it was great to have BMW with us to run that historic livery, which is one of my favorites. I absolutely love it. It was a real pleasure having Aurora and Kaz with us. They were great to work with and they’re great upcoming drivers.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“This was a really wild race! James did a good job managing the car at the beginning and keeping it right where we needed to be. Our pit strategy worked out well, but I had no radio communication the whole time, so I was out there by myself. That made it kind of difficult to judge when I needed to come in.

“I was thinking I needed to come in at the same time they threw the black flag for me because I was watching the gauges. I barely knew it was the white flag [last lap], and I tried to time it right to get around those last two cars at the end and it worked out.

“I have to thank BimmerWorld. They gave me a really awesome car and it handled well. I have to thank OPTIMA Batteries and Veristor, too. I think this is going to be a really good year for us.”

Kaz Grala, Westborough, Mass., driver, No. 80 Richard Mille/Girls with Drive BMW M4 GT4:
“It was an eventful race not only for us but for others too. It was too eventful for us, unfortunately. We cut a tire early and spent about an hour in the garage trying to fix the damage and eventually got back out there. We were pretty good and had a good car from there, but we were just so far behind. But Aurora and I had fun. It was a cool event to do. It wasn’t the best outcome, but hopefully we can come back again sometime this year or next year and see if we can get some redemption.”

Aurora Straus, Cold Spring, N.Y., driver, No. 80 Richard Mille/Girls with Drive BMW M4 GT4:
“This wasn’t the outcome that Kaz and BMW and I wanted, but there was a lot of good that came from the day. It was a really crazy race, and you have to count your blessings and be very thankful to come back with a car that’s in one piece and has almost no damage. Kaz kept it relatively clean, and despite our bad luck, I got an hour of track time, which was nice. I only had the privilege of doing a couple laps during practice, and despite all the hiccups, I managed to run the fastest lap time for our BMW during the entire race. The fastest time in a BMW at the end of my last stint in the race makes me kind of sad because I wonder what we could have done without the bad luck. But on the other hand, I’m happy and healthy, and my car looks good, so I’m feeling pretty good. Despite a lot of issues, we still managed to pull off a really good time at the end of four hours. So, kudos to the car and the team.”

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ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018.

BimmerWorld Plans to Begin 2019 Like It Ended 2018 – On the Top Step of the Podium in IMSA Competition

BimmerWorld-Plans-to-Begin-2019-Like-It-Ended-2018---On-the-Top-Step-of-the-Podium-in-IMSA-Competition

The only constant in life is change, but BimmerWorld Racing hopes to begin the 2019 season like it finished 2018 — on the top step of the podium in the top class in what is now the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series with the introduction of the new Michelin tire for 2019. The Dublin, Va.-based team will field two BMWs in the top Grand Sport (GS) class in the 2019 season opener after finishing third in the GS championship last year and winning the Street Tuner (ST) championship.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. will co-drive with one of those ST champions, Devin Jones of Mooresville, Va., in BimmerWorld Racing’s No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 this season. With a full year of development work on this car behind it, BimmerWorld has high hopes for a great finish in the season opener, the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway this Friday afternoon, Jan. 25. It’s a companion event to the 57th annual Rolex 24, which begins the following day. Besides winning the pole and the race in the ST class last year at Daytona, BimmerWorld finished second in GS in the season opener in the GT4’s debut a year ago, and it won the season finale in GS at Road Atlanta last October.

A second BMW M4 GT4 in the BimmerWorld garage at Daytona will carry the No. 80 and have the names of two 20-year-olds, Aurora Straus and Kaz Grala, over its doors.

Straus, of Cold Spring, N.Y., finished second in the Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS SprintX-Am class last year in another BMW M4 GT4.

Stock car fans will remember Grala won the NASCAR Camping World Truck series race at Daytona in 2017 at the age of 18. Sports car fans may recall that this driver from Westborough, Mass. finished fourth in the GS class in a BMW M3 in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Daytona in 2014 shortly after he turned 15. He’ll be back at Daytona on Feb. 16 for the NASCAR Xfinity race; he finished fourth in that race last year.

Straus and Grala’s BMW will bring sponsors Richard Mille watches and Straus’s Girls With Drive program, which encourages girls interested in male-dominated careers. The duo’s participation with BimmerWorld was spearheaded by another driver that IMSA fans know well — veteran driver Nick Longhi.

Jones, who is only four years older than the drivers of the No. 80, has fond memories of Daytona’s 3.56-mile speedway road course. His victory in this race last year was his first one in this series, and a huge milestone for a kid who first came to the birthplace of stock car racing in 2004 to run a go-kart.

Clay, 45, is the veteran of the group taking his 10th Daytona start this week, and he’s already thinking about race strategy.

“Our team finished on the second step of the podium in our first race with the new platform last year, and fielding a strong and capable two-car effort will multiply our chances at this draft-critical track to stand on the top step,” he said.

The season opener is one of only two four-hour races on the 10-race schedule, as the typical format is a two-hour event.

Thursday will be busy, as there are practice sessions at 9 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 2:45 p.m., and 5 p.m. before the TCR class qualifies at 5:25 p.m. and the GS class’s starting lineup is determined in its qualifying session at 5:45 p.m. There will be a 20-minute warm-up the following day at 9:20 a.m. before the open-grid fan walk begins at 11:15 a.m. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 12:05 p.m., and the race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
In what key areas have you developed the BMW M4 GT4 last year and in the off-season that should make it even more competitive in 2019?
“I’m supposed to talk about how we worked all winter, explored all these areas, and did a ton of testing, but honestly, that’s not what we did this year. We had a very solid 2018 season in the new BMW M4 GT4, and we learned and progressed every weekend at the track, and at some notable points in the shop. I took my first real off-season in five or more years and didn’t strap in for two months. To some fair degree, that’s how good this BMW is — it doesn’t require the level of obsessive engineering work we’ve done for the last decade-plus on the previous platforms, and maybe it just feels easier because of what has become the standard workload. We ended last year with a list of things we knew we wanted to improve, and our team executes well, and that’s what we did. We’ll see, but I’m pretty confident that work will put us where we left off last year — at the front of the field.”

How big of a deal is the change to Michelin tires?
“There is always a lot of discussion on tires, but in a series where everyone is on the same tire, I really don’t feel like it’s that big of a deal. There are some nuances in our car’s response to the different tire, but everyone has that. Some guys have wider tires this season, and there will be different reactions to the carcass from different platform and suspension types that will both likely skew the performance slightly, but Daytona isn’t the track that will pronounce the differences.  The reduced tire allocations and reduced stint length due to lower fuel capacity probably have the biggest effects when you have a race-related tire discussion, so that’s where our focus will be.”

Your team won the ST championship last year, and now it has two cars in the GS class at Daytona. Is running two cars in the same class easier than running two cars in different classes, does it make it harder, or is it just different?
“Two cars in the same class certainly leads to a little more of a cohesive strategy and weekend. There are fewer spares in the trailer and more input to scratch those engineering itches on set-up. And certainly on the track a good, reliable partner goes a long way. It took a while last year for both cars to come up with a qualifying plan without a teammate in the field to produce a result there.” 

How did the Roar go?
“Our Roar test was great. The team is perennial and it was great to be back at the track working with my friends. Devin and I quickly settled into lock step and progressed the car every session. The team had the needed dry run to shake any cobwebs off.  And I stayed on the beach in Florida while it snowed at home, which felt like the first win of the year!”

How optimistic are you going into this race and into this season?
“As optimistic as ever! Of course, I’m pretty optimistic even when history has shown I shouldn’t be. But we have a solid, reliable car; fast drivers, and a great team that, with a pinch of luck, seem to be championship ingredients. It’s going to be a hard-fought year and the field is big and competitive, so nothing about this season will be easy. But I can’t wait to hit the track and get started!”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
The BMW M4 GT4 is very different than the BMW you drove last year in ST. What are the biggest things you have to get used to?
“The M4 GT4 is quite different from the 328i but the learning curve was pretty seamless. The M4 is such a solid platform and does everything really well; it’s a very confidence-inspiring car. The car is heavier, with more power and downforce compared to the ST car, but at the end of the day, it’s still a race car. As a driver, there are some things you change about your style to suit a certain car’s needs, and that’s a fun challenge for me when I jump into something new. I’m really excited about our chances with this team and car.”

How much confidence did winning the ST championship last year give you? In what ways are you a better driver now than you were at this point last year?
“The ST championship was a big deal for me and the whole BimmerWorld team. The car took years to develop and to reward the team with a championship in the class’s final season was special. As a driver, I feel more confident than ever before, especially since I’m back with the same guys that made last season so successful. I just want to keep doing my job the absolute best I can because I know the whole team is doing the same.”

What do you think is the biggest key to doing well in this race?
“The season opener is slated to be an awesome one, both for the fans and the drivers. Everyone in the GS field seems to have really stepped up their game for 2019, and I feel really fortunate to be part of it. I think the biggest key will be to just focus on what we can control with strategy, set-up, and execution throughout the weekend. If we focus on our race, I think we have a really strong chance.” 

It’s been 14 years since you first came to Daytona to run a go-kart. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 10-year-old self?
“A lot has changed since then; it’s really been an incredible journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve had a lot of people who helped me along the way to get to this point. If I had to say something to my younger self, it would be to keep believing in yourself and know that those great moments make all the hard times worth it.”

Aurora Straus, Cold Spring, N.Y., driver, No. 80 Richard Mille/Girls with Drive BMW M4 GT4:
You ran a BMW M4 GT4 last year, but in an entirely different series. What will it be like to run it at Daytona?
“While I’ve had the privilege of racing a BMW M4 GT4 before, this coming weekend will be my first time driving it at Daytona. I can’t wait! BMW has done an incredible job with its GT4 platform, and I suspect that it will be just as competitive as it was in my World Challenge season last year. The MICHELIN Pilot Challenge is also an incredibly competitive series, and I look forward to testing some new waters with the M4 and learning everything I can!”

What is the biggest thing you feel you’ll need to concentrate on at this event?
“The biggest thing is to block the rest of the world out and focus all of my energy on driving. With the help of Nick Longhi, I run all of my own marketing, sponsorship, team communications, financials, etc., and this coming weekend is huge for me. I’ll have a group of Girl Scouts and their chaperones at Daytona on race day, and I’ll have two film crews there all weekend. (I can’t say much more on that, but there are exciting things in the works!) Especially since Kaz and I didn’t test at the Roar, it’s going to be crucial for me to forget about everything else I have going on, and drive the M4 like it was meant to be driven.”

Are you doing any promotions with the Girl Scouts at Daytona? If so, would you please tell us a little about it?
“I’m elated to be running my Girl Scout program at Daytona. The full-day program is a part of Girls With Drive, a nonprofit I founded to help young girls get engaged in male-dominated fields, including but not limited to the automotive industry. The group at Daytona will be a bit smaller since Friday is a school day, but I’m looking forward to being able to spend more time with each individual girl. The girls will have a half-hour classroom session on the physics of my BMW race car and its Michelin tires. They’ll spend some time in the garage, where they’ll get to sit in the car, pop the hood, and ask some questions. They’ll also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the paddock and pit lane, where they’ll get driver autographs.”

How excited are you to be doing this race?
“Excited is an understatement! Daytona has a special place in my heart — my first time in a GT4 was at the race weekend last year, where I went out on track with no prior testing and drove the car from outside the top 20 to ninth place. I’m thrilled to be back with my BMW family, and I have no doubt Kaz and I will represent BMW and BimmerWorld the best we possibly can. We also have an exciting livery that we’ll be announcing soon — needless to say, the car will be very easy to see, especially at the front of the pack!”

Kaz Grala, Westborough, Mass., driver, No. 80 Richard Mille/Girls with Drive BMW M4 GT4:
This is your first time co-driving with Aurora, but you’re long-time friends. In what ways are your driving styles similar, and what do you think will be your main advantages as teammates?
“Though I’ve never co-driven with Aurora, I’ve known her for years and think that we’ll be a great combo for this weekend’s event. We’re both very analytical drivers, and I think we’ll be able to use the data to our advantage in between sessions. We’re also both young, determined drivers with something to prove, so I think that will allow us to get an edge on our competition.”

You’ve been in the Rolex 24 and other sports car races, yet you are concentrating on a stock car career. How will running a sports car at Daytona in January help your stock car effort here in February?
“I wish I could say that racing in IMSA at Daytona translates directly to racing a stock car there, but they are completely different animals. Not only are sports cars and stock cars completely different to drive on any given weekend, the restrictor plate-style racing of Daytona is something completely unique unto itself in NASCAR. If nothing else, I’m looking for this weekend to help me get warmed up and re-acclimated behind the wheel before the NASCAR season starts.”

How excited are you to be doing this race?
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a sports car, especially a BMW. It’s been a few years since I’ve raced in IMSA and even more since I’ve raced in this series. It truly is one of my favorite times of the year to be able to have a change of pace from what a normal NASCAR weekend feels like for me.”

You didn’t participate at the Roar. Have you tested the car anyplace else, or will Thursday at Daytona be your first time in it?
“This deal came about so recently that we didn’t get a chance to shake the car down at the Roar, unfortunately. Thursday at Daytona will actually be my first time ever sitting in the car, as I haven’t been able to test it elsewhere beforehand. I’m confident that everyone at BimmerWorld will help me settle in quickly and get up to pace in practice.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018.

Devin Jones

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2018: Jones enjoyed an exceptional year with BimmerWorld in 2018, winning four races, finishing on the podium nine times, and winning the ST championship in its final year. Jones will be joining team owner and driver James Clay for the 2019 season, co-driving the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 and working toward another championship in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series.

2017: Jones had a successful season racing in the ICTSC in a Porsche Cayman while also making his debut in the NASCAR Xfinity series at Watkins Glen.

Previously: In 2013, Jones made his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series before transitioning to sports cars the following year. He began competing in the IMSA Continental Tire Series part-time in 2015 before completing full seasons the past two years in a Porsche Cayman with positive results. 

Personal: Growing up in California, Jones became a young karting star and was considered an “expert” by the age of 11. After his family moved to North Carolina, he began racing in the Legends cars by age 13 and then advanced to the PASS Super Late Model cars. 

BimmerWorld Racing Returns to IMSA with Michelin Pilot Challenge Program for 2019

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The fan-favorite BimmerWorld Racing team will return to IMSA competition in 2019 with a strong championship effort. The winner of the final race of the 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series at Road Atlanta in October, and third place in the year-end GS class championship, will compete in the newly named IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series. Team owner James Clay will return to the driver’s seat in the Grand Sport (GS) class, paired with Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C.

“A pillar of our expanded 2019 BimmerWorld Racing program will be the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series with our BMW M4 GT4 again vying for the championship,” said Clay of Blacksburg, Va. “I’m looking forward to running with Devin this year. He was awesome in our BimmerWorld ST car last year, and we have shared momentum moving into this year. We may run a second car in GS as well, but we’re still waiting for the right driver combination that can also contend for the championship.”

“We really had a great year with BimmerWorld in 2018,” Jones continued. “Nick (Galante) and I won four races, had nine podiums, and won the ST championship in its final year. That was a big deal to us and for my career. I enjoyed working with James and the whole BimmerWorld staff and wanted to come back for 2019 and drive the BMW M4 GT4 and try for another championship. I can’t wait to get back on track.”

OPTIMA Batteries will return as a primary sponsor, along with Veristor, and Red Line Oil, Performance Friction, Lifeline Fire and Safety Systems, and Johnstone Supply will continue as team and technical partners for the IMSA effort. Clay and Jones will compete with the car number 82 once again for 2019.

“We’re still finalizing details of our other initiatives for 2019, but we’re going to be quite busy in 2019,” explains Clay. “IMSA has been our home for almost a decade and this GS program is important to me, and I think the best racing in the country currently. But these BMW M4 GT4 cars can be raced anywhere in the world, and we’ve just picked up some new M240i Racing cars as well, and of course, the monster Pikes Peak car we’ve been building for over a year, as well as several customer programs. We’ve spent the winter recharging and preparing, and everyone here is fired up to get the season fired up at Daytona!”

The No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 will be on track at Daytona International Speedway during the Roar Before the 24 test days, January 4-6 and then for Round 1 of the Michelin Pilot Challenge series for the BMW Endurance Challenge 4-hour race on Friday, January 25.

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender, as well as the 2018 ST class champion.

BimmerWorld Racing Claims Victory in GS Class plus Podium and Championship in ST Class

BimmerWorld-Racing-Claims-Victory-in-GS-Class-plus-Podium-and-Championship-in-ST-Class

BimmerWorld Racing saved the best for last.

After three previous podium finishes in the Grand Sport (GS) class this year, including two second-place finishes in which they came very close to the overall victory, BimmerWorld Racing co-drivers James Clay and Tyler Cooke were victorious in the season finale for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series on Friday at Road Atlanta. Not only did they win, but their OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 was a whopping 8.999 seconds ahead of the second-place McLaren after two hours of grueling competition in the Fox Factory 120.

The team’s entry in the Street Tuner (ST) class, the BimmerWorld Racing No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis), was in the spotlight too. Nick Galante grabbed the team’s ninth ST class pole, he and co-driver Devin Jones led most of the race, and they ended up on the podium in third place to seal the drivers’ and team championship for that division, which ended with the running of this race. The BimmerWorld pair was the one to beat all season, as Galante, of Greenfield, Mass. and Jones, of Mooresville, N.C. had nine podium finishes in the 10-race series that started with the first of their four victories at Daytona in January.

Two other ST cars led 11 laps total, but the BimmerWorld No. 81 truly dominated, as either Galante or Jones were in front for an incredible 60 laps. Galante was in the lead when he handed the car off to Jones during a pit stop on lap 28. Jones maintained the lead, but with just 6:19 minutes left in the race, the No. 81 was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, which allowed a MINI and a Porsche to sneak ahead. Still, Jones was just 0.686 behind the second-place car at the checkered.

In GS, team owner/driver Clay started sixth. The Blacksburg, Va.-based driver maintained fourth place for most of his stint, trying to conserve both his car and his tires. He turned the car over to Cooke, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., under yellow on lap 26. Cooke took the lead for the first time on lap 40 with about 50 minutes remaining, but he had to make a final pit stop about 10 minutes later for left-side tires and fuel. The Dublin, Va.-based team’s stop was timed to perfection, as Cooke got out of the pits faster than many of his rivals and before some of them even made their final stop. He was fourth after the stop but he regained the lead on lap 55 with 26:33 remaining and then left everyone behind him as he powered around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course.

With the hard-earned victory, Clay and Cook advanced one spot to tie for third in the GS drivers’ championship out of 93 drivers who earned points this season. BimmerWorld also finished third in the team standings in GS.

In the next-to-last race of the year in September in Salinas, Calif., the BimmerWorld cars bore the names of hundreds of supporters and people affected by Alzheimer’s disease in a tribute generously provided by donors to the “Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation.” That effort continued at Road Atlanta and was notably successful in raising both money and awareness for the fight to end that debilitating disease.

The FOX Factory 120 race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern time.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“I’m super excited for our first win! We had a good car all weekend. We qualified sixth, which I believe matches our best qualifying. That typically means we’re going to have a solid race, and race to the front. I was pumped with my drive and thrilled with Tyler’s. I was waiting for the trouble to happen and it never did. What a great team behind us, and what a great finish to the season!

“It’s been really special to take the ST points championship in the final year of the class. That’s the class we entered when we sprouted our roots in IMSA, and to close it out with a championship after so many years of hard work is very special.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It was an awesome race! The team did a flawless job, and we’ve been there all year. Finally, finally, we get that win! It was quite special and a very emotional win. The last time we got a win, my dad was still alive, and I remember getting that phone call from him right after the race with him just screaming and excited. So it’s been tough for the memories, but I’m glad to get that win for him and for the team, James, and BMW Motorsport. BMW gave us a great car out of the box, and we proved that at Daytona. I’m looking forward to celebrating. I think James and I have a lot to celebrate!

“Hats off to the ST guys; they deserve that championship. I’m happy for them and happy for James and me for winning the last Continental Tire race of the year.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Nick got another pole, which is just incredible how many poles we’ve gotten this year. That was a huge deal. The race started out great and he did a fantastic job maintaining it up front. We were in a great position, just like we’ve been in almost every race this year. He kept it up front and kept it clean.

“I got in the car and cautions fell at bad times like we’ve had in some of the previous races this season, and we struggled a bit. We were about 10 minutes short [for fuel] when I got in the car. I can save fuel, but I can’t quite save 10 minutes. We went from saving, to just go for it and hope some other guys run out, too. We had to go in and do a splash-and-go while leading, so it was definitely a little bit of a disappointment to not end the season with a win, because I know we were capable of doing it. The season as a whole has been incredible. This team has come together really well. It’s been a pleasure to drive with Nick and race this car. It’s been just an incredible season.

“I have to thank the ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s’ campaign. It’s been a big deal, and we had the names on the car again at Road Atlanta with even added more since the Laguna race. Obviously, I have to thank Veristor too. This is their home race, so a lot of their employees came out from Atlanta, and it’s just really great to have the support from two great companies.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a good opening stint. Right at the start, I was getting pressure from Max Faulkner in the Bodymotion car. He put on a great outside pass into Turn 1 and passed me for the lead, but I found a good opportunity a couple laps later on the restart after a caution. We got him going into Turn 10 and repassed him for the lead. We maintained the lead for most of the stint and then the track got rather slick out there, but the Continental tires held up well. It was just really tough spacing for the cautions, and we were just maybe a gallon short on gas and had to stop for a splash which really cost us the win here. But we wrapped up the ST drivers’ championship, which was our main goal. I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t get the manufacturers’ championship for BMW, but it was really close and a really fun weekend.

“I want to thank Phil Frengs from Legistics who created the ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation,’ the guys at Veristor, who have been with us all season, and everyone at BimmerWorld – James Clay, Tyler Cooke, the whole entire team, Trent Brown, Wayne Yawn, Jason Marks, Dave Simpkins. The entire team is amazing.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Ready to Take 2018 Championship at Road Atlanta

BimmerWorld-Racing-Ready-to-Take-2018-Championship-at-Road-Atlanta

The Dublin, Va.-based BimmerWorld Racing team returns to Road Atlanta for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series race finale with the series championship on their minds.

The Fox Factory 120 race on Friday, Oct. 12 at the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta road course in Braselton, Ga. will be the final race of the hugely competitive 2018 IMSA Continental Tire Challenge season.

BimmerWorld Racing’s Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., drivers of the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis), lead the ST class points championship by 16 points heading into the tenth race of the 10-race series.

BimmerWorld Racing team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., drivers of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4, continue to maintain fourth place in the GS points championship, 44 points out of the GS class lead.

Although Road Atlanta has not always produced the best results for the BimmerWorld Racing team, the drivers still enjoy the popular 48-year-old racing circuit which is just one hour north of Atlanta, Ga., and they are optimistic about producing good results this weekend while ending the season on a high note, especially as the ST class takes its final bow this weekend.

Galante and Jones have captured four victories (Daytona, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Road America, Laguna Seca) and eight podiums in nine races in the ST class, which will be retired by IMSA after this season. They are coming off a huge victory at Laguna Seca where their car was bearing the names of thousands of supporters and people affected by Alzheimer’s in a tribute generously provided by donors to the Racing to End Alzheimer’s foundation.

Teammates Clay and Cooke have collected three podiums in nine races in their impressive inaugural season with the new BMW M4 GT4 as they enter the finale at Road Atlanta.

BimmerWorld, which Clay founded in 1997, has developed many BMW fans at Road Atlanta over the years and hope their support will add to the team’s strength as they go for the gold this weekend.

The three practice sessions start on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 8:55 a.m., 1:05 p.m. and 4:35 p.m. Qualifying for the ST and TCR (touring car) classes will follow at 5:00 p.m., with Grand Sport qualifying at 5:20 p.m.

The FOX Factory 120 features a pre-race grid walk at 12:30 p.m. on race day, Friday, Oct. 12 before the race start at 1:25 p.m. for two hours.

Live video coverage and live timing and scoring of the race, which supports Saturday’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans, will be available on imsa.tv and imsa.com. The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season finale will air on FOX Sports 1 from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Oct. 21. All times are Eastern.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
This is the final race of the 2018 season. Share your most memorable moment of the year with us.

“Daytona this year was really special. The ST car won the race, our new M4 GT4 finished second, I had my dad with me celebrating his 75th birthday, and we had a group of German BMW engineers in our pit box watching their M4 come to life. There was a lot to like about that weekend.”

This is the end of the era for the ST cars, with Road Atlanta being the final race for this class. What’s been the best thing about the ST class and the BMW 328i? What’s your favorite memory?

“This will be a bit of a sad farewell to the class, but the challenges it presented as we were on the bleeding edge of developing new technology won’t be something I miss. But looking back, that whole program made us work hard, be fully engaged, and learn a ton, and I appreciate that about it.” 

Devin and Nick have had a fantastic season and look poised for the ST championship. How important would it be to close out this chapter on the ST class with a championship this year?
“I’m eager to see how this ends, but superstitious enough to not talk much about it. I hope for the best, and our team is working hard this weekend just like any other, and Nick and Devin will do their thing.”

How has the first year of the new BMW M4 GT4 gone for BimmerWorld? Have you been able to accomplish the goals you set for its first year?
“I’m really happy with our return to the GS class and the gains we’ve made through the season with the GT4 car.  We were immediately successful, which I think is a nod to both the product BMW developed and our team’s capability to optimize it—and Tyler and I have become a formidable pair in the driver’s seat.  I almost feel like we did too well early and we’ve really struggled with the power reductions handed out through the season, but I think if you’d have asked me before the season started what my expectations were, we have exceeded them and are on an upward path for the future.”

Managing tires is always critical at Road Atlanta. What are some of the most important ways you can manage them at this track?
“We are going to get a little help from the weather this weekend with some reasonable temperatures, I think, although I’m not sure that the higher temps and greasier conditions don’t play to our advantage. Or they have in past events, I think. We have a little more weight to carry this weekend but have regained some power from the regulations, so I like the cooler temps for both.  It will just require us to be consistent and save enough of the car to fight at the end, which I feel Tyler and I both do well.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:

This is the final race of the 2018 season. Share your most memorable moment of the year.

“I would have to say the charge at the end of the Daytona race was the most memorable. It was a special moment to share with James, the team, and BMW Motorsport. It was the first podium for the M4 in North America which made it that much better.”

How do you feel the first year of the new BMW M4 GT4 gone for you and the team?

“Very well. The class change is a tough transition, and I think James, myself, and the team handled it very well with three podiums and seven top-10s. I think it’ll get better with all the extra knowledge we have now.”

What’s your favorite part about Road Atlanta? Where does the track stand in your list of favorites?
“Road Atlanta is in my top ten. The racing is typically very close, and it’s the last race. A lot of guys take more chances because most of the field has nothing to lose. It ends up always being very action-packed.”

You’ve had extensive heat and sometimes rain at this race in past years, how do you plan for just about anything?

“As a driver, you have to know how to drive in many different types of conditions. You always have to plan with the team and co-driver on how the car will be set up and how the pace of the race should go, but you learn to adapt to anything.”

The 2018 points championship is coming down to the wire this weekend. Do you expect much craziness on track when the championship is so close?
“There will be some dicey moves and people taking chances, but more moves would come from the guys not in the hunt and trying to leave the year on a high note.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):

This is the final race of the 2018 season. Share your most memorable moment of the year.

“I instantly thought of our race at Sebring. It was very early in the season. Even though it was our worst finishing of the year, we battled many elements that were out of our control and came together as a team and never quit pushing. I knew from there that we would not stop fighting for this championship, no matter what was thrown at us.”

You and Devin have had a fantastic season and look poised for the ST championship. How important would it be to close out this chapter on the ST class with a championship this year?
“It’s very important, not only for Devin and I, but the whole team. We’ve all been trying to master this unique class in racing, and to top off the final year with a Championship title would be even sweeter.”

The 2018 points championship is coming down to the wire this weekend. Do you expect much craziness on track when the championship is so close?
“I think we have to expect some shenanigans. I’ve been trying to imagine every possible scenario in my head, and it’s kind of funny where my thoughts go. It’s a fun problem to have. This is part of what makes racing great, these unique scenarios. The weather and the MINIs have been the main subject on my mind.”

Managing tires is always critical at Road Atlanta. What are some of the most important ways you can manage them at this track?

“I think turn one is a spot that can help or hurt tires. It’s possible to get in there hot and drift all the way up the hill. But with the tires in mind, I’ve seen tight shorter routes up that hill that are just as fast. I agree that it will be something to keep in mind on this demanding track.”

With all three classes fighting for their respective championships. What are the concerns for lap traffic as these classes try to coexist?
“It’ll be very important to pay attention to when and where you come near any other class battles on the track. As a driver, you don’t want to interrupt any other class outcomes in the championship. It’ll be a tough challenge as we’re focused on our own task at hand.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
This is the final race of the 2018 season. Share your most memorable moment of the year.

“This has been a memorable year for a lot of reasons. The win at Daytona was very special and it really set the tone for the season; everyone on the team has really meshed well and it shows with our results. Our most recent race at Laguna Seca was really meaningful, too, with all the names of people that have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease on the car. It was a great feeling to win with that car.” 

This is the end of the era for the ST cars, with Road Atlanta being the final race for this class. What’s been the best thing about the ST class and the BMW 328i? What’s your favorite memory?

“The ST class has produced some of the best races in the series for years. The history of the drivers, cars and amazing battles through the years are something I’ve been thankful to be a part of. I made my first start in ST during the 2015 season, and since then, I’ve had the chance to race with the best of the best in MX-5s, Caymans, and the BMW 328i. All the cars in this class require a real skill set to push them to the limit. I’m going to miss the raw and unfiltered nature of racing an ST car and the competition that was unmatched for years.”

You and Nick have had a fantastic season and look poised for the ST championship. How important would it be to close out this chapter on the ST class with a championship this year?
“We’re thankful for the position we’re in, but we still want to finish the year with a win. It would be an amazing honor to win the final championship in ST class history, but I’m trying not to think about it too much until the checkered flag waves at Atlanta.”

What’s your favorite part about Road Atlanta? Where does the track stand in your list of favorites?
“I’ve spent a lot of time at Road Atlanta and it’s a special track for me. It’s very high speed and requires a high level of commitment to turn fast lap times. From Turn 1 all the way to Turn 7 is one of the most fun sections of any track in North America. With the elevation change and unique sets of corners, it’s a one-of-a-kind track.”

Many drivers use the curbs at Road Atlanta to gain a better lap time. How do you manage using the curbs to your benefit without creating drivetrain issues?

“Usually in practice or early weekend test session we try to limit how much curbing we use to save the car. At Road Atlanta, you have to use as much of the track as possible to run a good lap during the race.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Takes Pole, Victory at Laguna Seca While Supporting Fight Against Alzheimer’s

BimmerWorld Racing to End Alzheimer's at Laguna Seca Victory

The BimmerWorld Racing team fulfilled an important goal this past weekend at the legendary WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race with a pole and win for their special entry to support the fight again Alzheimer’s.

Nick Galante, of Greenfield, Mass., qualified the BimmerWorld Racing No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) and captured the team’s eighth ST class pole in nine races with a time of 1:39.831 at 80.704, his fifth pole this season. He and teammate Devin Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., maneuvered their Bimmer to a near perfect WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 two-hour race and straight to the Winner’s Circle. Additionally, they depart Monterey, Calif. with a large points lead in the ST class 2018 points championship with one race remaining.

The highlight of the race was putting the No. 81 BMW 328i into Winner’s Circle as they lead a strong effort this season to fight Alzheimer’s. Their car has carried a special “Racing to End Alzheimer’s” color scheme on the front fenders all season, but this weekend the team elevated their awareness campaign. In place of corporate sponsors, fans and viewers saw the names of people affected by Alzheimer’s in a tribute generously provided by donors to the ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s’ foundation. With 100 percent of the funds they collected being donated to Alzheimer’s-related organizations and a special bonus from the foundation’s sponsors who generously agreed to match every donation, a victory was the icing on the cake.

The sister car, the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 of team owner/driver James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Tyler Cooke, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., started tenth and finished just one position lower, in 11th place. The unpredictable race saw two competitors run out of fuel on the final lap of the 70-lap race.

The Continental Tire race started under sunny conditions and with a 36-car field on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course. Clay was the starting driver of the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 from the 10th place in the GS class while Galante had the enviable pole-sitter position in ST in the No. 81 BMW 328i.

Both drivers had a strong start with Clay climbing into ninth place on the first lap and Galante holding his lead from a pack of hungry ST competitors. Both drivers turned their fastest laps of the race in the opening round. Galante’s fastest lap came on Lap 3 with a time of 1:40.863, while Clay’s fastest was on Lap 4 with a time of 1:34.835.

On lap 25, Clay pitted for tires and fuel with no driver change while under caution and 51 minutes into the two-hour race. Galante then pitted on Lap 27 for tires, fuel, and driver change to Jones before the track went green one lap later. He went out in fifth position but quickly moved up to third by Lap 33 and second place one lap later, but having pitted before the halfway point, had to diligently work to save fuel for the majority of the race.

Clay had advanced to fifth in the competitive GS class before pitting on Lap 36 with 54 minutes remaining in the competition. The rules stipulate that each driver must drive for a minimum of 45-minutes, so pit stop timing is always critical in IMSA competition. Cooke entered in 16th position and had to go straight to battle.

Jones continued his fight with a MINI in front and a Porsche behind until Lap 60 when he pushed his BMW 328i past the MINI to take back the ST class lead, which he held to the checkered flag and had a 9.221-second margin of victory. Cooke slowly climbed up the leaderboard as he passed the GS field that was spread out due to second pit stops, and eventually crossed the finish line in 11th place. Both cars managed critical fuel strategy of preserving fuel while maintaining race pace.

Galante and Jones continue their ST class points lead with only one race remaining. They have a strong lead with 292 points (unofficially) with the second place point holder, Mat Pombo, with 276 and third-place, Jason Rabe/Max Faulkner, with 269 points. Clay and Cooke are unofficially in fourth place in the GS class with 217 points to the leaders’ 261.

The finale for the 2018 season will be the Fox Factory 120 at Road Atlanta on Friday, October 12.

The WeatherTech Laguna Seca 120 race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, September 16 from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern time.

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a really wild race. It just came down right to the end and trying to save as much fuel as I could to keep pace with the cars around me. Nick did a great job in the opening stint, keeping our position. Once that happened, it was just a matter of saving as much as we could. I started the stint about four minutes down on fuel, so it was nerve-racking right down to the end. I didn’t know if we were going to make it, but I’m just really happy it worked out, especially for ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s’ and all the names on the car. It’s just really special to win here and especially in Nick’s hometown. This is a big deal for us.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“So, it’s my first win here at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It all came down to the strategy. Trent Brown did an awesome job on the strategy call. We would have been lost without him. We would have run out of fuel halfway through the race if we just left it to ourselves. So, he did great, keeping us calm and pacing ourselves. The true winners of the race are the ‘Race to End Alzheimer’s’ family members who are on our car that we’ve raced over the past seven months. Over 100 names have been nominated on, and we raised over a $100,000 with 100% of the proceeds going straight to the charity, so that’s awesome. Points wise for the championship, we’re looking pretty good. We have a nice lead here, and we should be able to pull it off.”

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

“It was a challenging weekend for us. We had an issue that we resolved on test day, but it doesn’t really matter because Laguna is always challenging because of the surface and total lack of grip. We had a very frustrating day yesterday in practice. We threw a lot at the car and we were not able to get it to work. We thought on it overnight and put a whole new set up on the car and made it happen and today was a much better day, but it still wasn’t a great day. I think that we got what we could get out of the car. If you drove a BMW, this just wasn’t your day in GS. 

“For the ST guys, it was an awesome race to watch, and I was glad to be on the stand for the last half of the race to watch it unfold. Devin and Nick just killed it with another pole and another win. These guys are really running like a championship team and have almost locked down the championship, and I’m so proud of them.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4: 

“The frustrating part about this weekend was the end of the race.  We set the car up to be good at the end of the race. We can’t help that we can’t make it on fuel like the rest of the guys. The other GS BMW team pitted at the same time as some of the cars that finished in the top ten, and he had to come in about five laps before the end for more fuel. We just don’t have the needed fuel capacity in the BMW to run the strategy that the winner did, and you can’t save 5 laps of fuel. The teams are doing a great job. It’s a bittersweet thing because we definitely needed the points here if we were to stand a chance for the title. Going into Road Atlanta, hopefully we can end with a win and go off with a high note.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Races Head-to-Head Against Alzheimer’s

BimmerWorld-Races-Head-to-Head-Against-Alzheimer’s

BimmerWorld Racing has its sights not only on Laguna Seca’s Victory Lane this weekend but also on the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. The No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30) will run the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race with a striking livery of names affected by Alzheimer’s as the team and drivers hope to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research.

Nick Galante is one of the drivers of the No. 81 BMW 328i and is leading the team’s effort to fight Alzheimer’s. Their car has carried a “Racing to End Alzheimer’s” color scheme on the front fenders all season, but this weekend the team is taking the purple theme to new heights. In place of corporate sponsors, fans and viewers will see the names of people affected by Alzheimer’s in a tribute generously provided by donors to the Racing to End Alzheimer’s foundation. One hundred percent of the funds will be distributed to Alzheimer’s-related organizations with a special bonus from the foundation’s sponsors who generously agreed to match every donation.

Galante sums up the effort nicely, “It’s wonderful to be able to do this at the place where I learned to race. Now I’m racing professionally here and doing it for a good cause. Being able to give back in a sport that sometimes demands quite a bit feels good: I’m fighting for something with real human meaning.”

Monterey and Laguna Seca occupy special places in the heart of both BimmerWorld 328i drivers. Galante has a long history with Laguna Seca and his co-driver, Devin Jones, often visited the track with his father while growing up in California. Jones feels at home on the track and has high expectations as the season winds down. The Galante/Jones duo are currently leading the ST class championship with just two races remaining.

Also in the title hunt is the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 of James Clay and Tyler Cooke. They have been near the top of the title standings all season long, despite some setbacks with their new-for-2018 car. They are currently in fourth place overall with just two races remaining. Laguna Seca is famous for its low grip and emphasis on braking as much as it is for it’s twisty layout. The M4 GT4 will be sporting a special brake compound this weekend thanks to the team’s technical partner Performance Friction Brakes.

Even with the season drawing to a close the team is not looking past this weekend. Maximum points must be captured if the team wants to stay as title challengers.

The BimmerWorld team hits the track for practice sessions at the 11-turn 2.24 mile course on Friday, followed by qualifying on Saturday morning. The two-hour race is Saturday afternoon at 3:15pm PT. Live race broadcasts can be seen on IMSA.TV, or the rebroadcast can be seen one week later on September 16 at 7:00am ET on FoxSports 1.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
This is the penultimate race of the season. Rate the year so far for both the GS and ST classes for BimmerWorld.

“This has been a tremendous year for our whole team. The ST car really reached the point we have been working towards for years, and Nick and Devin have used a well-developed tool to bring in podium performances all season. Tyler and I have visited the podium in our GS entry in a large and highly competitive field multiple times and are near the top of the championship as a result. Every weekend is an opportunity to win with both cars.”

How do things look going into the Laguna Seca race for the BMWs in each of the two classes entered?
“Our BMW F30 in the ST class has traditionally been the fastest non-MX-5 at this track, and now that Mazda has retired their cars, I expect good things. I really don’t know how our M4 GT4 will perform, but Tyler and I are a solid duo and I have high hopes.”

Braking is critical at this circuit. Talk about which turn require the most finesse and how you manage braking at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course.
“We have been working on the brake package all year with our technical partners at Performance Friction, and we have a unique friction recipe that we’re very happy with and I think will be even better on this lower grip surface.”

Last year was a 4-hour race at Laguna and this year it’s back to a 2-hour Continental Tire race. Which do you prefer and why?

“Honestly, it doesn’t matter much to me.  We have solid equipment and a solid driver lineup, and either format works well for us.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
You’ve had a pretty good year with the new GT4 BMW, how confident do you feel going into the Laguna Seca race this week for a good result?

“I’m feeling good about it. James and I have had some strong races going. Luck hasn’t played into our favor, but I think it should be good for us.”

Last year was a 4-hour race at Laguna and this year it’s back to a 2-hour Continental Tire race. Which do you prefer and why?

“I like the two-hour race more at Laguna. It’s a track that I feel favors a short action-packed race.”

At last year’s race, you had a pin issue that sent the hood up on the windshield at the beginning of the race, and then another driver made contact with you causing a spin so you had to play catch up all race. What’s the strategy going into this year’s race?
“To be smart and try to get that win. (Race Engineer) Wayne has made some great calls this year, and I think if we have the right strategy with some good battles, we should be in good shape.”

What kinds of things do you like to do in the Monterey area?

“Walk along the ocean and check out some of the local restaurants. It’s an overall great place.” 

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What’s your strategy this weekend to maintain your points lead with just the final two races to go?


“Our strategy this weekend is to execute and make no mistakes. We’ve had a great season, but this race is really important for the championship. With only two races left, we all have to be on our game to finish this season at the highest level possible.”

Share your thoughts about the Laguna Seca circuit and both your favorite and most challenging parts of it.
“Laguna Seca is a legendary track. It also suits my driving style pretty well with lots of technical corners where you have to roll in speed. Obviously, the corkscrew is my favorite corner, it’s so unique and there’s nothing else much like it.”

At Laguna Seca, you race counter-clockwise. Do you have a preference for racing clockwise or counter-clockwise and why?

“I don’t really have a preference, but it does make the pitstops and driver changes a little bit different. I grew up only turning left, so I’m used to it this way!”

Share your favorite Laguna Seca story and what makes it a special track.

“I grew up in San Luis Obispo, CA and would always come with my dad to the Sea Otter Classic, which is a big bike race/festival held at the track. I wanted to drive on the track since I was a kid. It’s really a special place for me and my family, and I enjoy every lap I get to turn here in a race car.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
What corner, or group of corners, do you like best at Laguna Seca and why?


“Of course the Corkscrew is exciting and fun, but I really love the complexity of turn 6. It’s such a high-speed entry which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but it’s tricky because the view of the apex only becomes visible at the last moment, just before turn in. The entry is actually downhill and has a unique compression at apex.”

Tell us about your most memorable race at Laguna Seca.
“In 2013, I had one of my first pro races with team Racers Edge in a GS Mustang. We had the odds stacked against us and were able to pull off a fifth-place finish. It was my first time running up front in the series, and it was great to have the support of the home crowd cheering me on. I’m looking forward to improving on that same feeling this weekend.”

You’ve got a lot of weight on your shoulders to maintain the lead in the ST points championship. Does that kind of stuff get in your head? If so, how do you manage it and stay focused on racing?
“It’s exciting and has a little extra buzz in the air, but I don’t think it gets in my head. I like to look at it as that extra feeling in the moments you look for. It’s a great thing to enjoy. I’ll be racing this weekend like I always do…giving it my all.”

How much of a dog-fight do you expect it to be this weekend among the ST competitors?
“I expect it’ll be a close battle like always. I hope it’s close, but I won’t complain about a little space as long as we are in front. It’s been a really fun year. Hats off to Team MINI JCW and Bodymotion Racing for making this season fun.”

What kinds of things do you like to do in the Monterey area while you’re there?

“I really like the short but beautiful hikes at Point Lobos or getting to play golf at one of the best golf courses I know, Spyglass Hill. If the timing is right, sometimes you can catch a music concert by local Monterey hero Mike Beck.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

Hometown Team BimmerWorld Racing Leaves VIR with Mixed Feelings

Hometown-Team-BimmerWorld-Racing-Leaves-VIR-with-Mixed-Feelings

Thanks to a home track advantage, BimmerWorld Racing entered this past weekend’s Biscuitville Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway with high expectations. Both BimmerWorld BMWs were in the top ten in championship points heading into the weekend’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race.

As usual, racing luck, penalties, cautions, and always-surprising VIR weather played a big part in the strategy and outcome to round eight of the 10-race series. After capturing the pole in qualifying, the leading BMW team in the ICTSC series was proud to put their F30 BMW 328i on the ST class podium for the seventh time in eight races. The race was not as bright for the team’s GS class entry with a tough battle to 19th place after an unexpected component failure.

Nick Galante, of Greenfield, Mass. qualified the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) on the ST class pole with a time of 2:04.987, procuring the BimmerWorld team’s seventh pole in eight races and his fourth.

BimmerWorld Racing team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. qualified the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 in sixth place in the GS class with a time of 1:54.528. He had a masterful race start and immediately jumped up to third place on the first lap.

Starting the race under the threat of rain, the skies opened up shortly after the fourth lap of the two-hour, 59-lap race, as rain came down over much of the 17-turn circuit. By the fifth lap, it was raining heavily and many competitors pitted for rain tires; however, a number of drivers elected to stay out a bit longer to see if the rain would subside.

BimmerWorld was one of the teams that elected to leave both BMWs on track and let the drivers manage the slippery track conditions on dry-weather Continental tires. Galante was able to maintain the ST class lead and Clay jockeyed near the front of the field as cars slid off around him. Clay’s best lap time came on lap 3 with a time of 1:55.804, the fastest turned in the No. 82 entry.

By lap 11, the sun was peaking back through the dark clouds and Clay was running a commanding third-place in GS while Galante continued the ST class lead.

On lap 21, 45 minutes into the two-hour race, Clay felt a vibration and had problems while braking and pitted with three rolling wheels, with the forth being dragged as a result of sheared wheel studs. Although they knew their chance for victory had eluded them, points towards the championship were still an important factor, so the BimmerWorld crew went to work making the needed repairs to get the BMW M4 GT4 back on track. On lap 39, 18 laps after they pitted, Tyler Cooke, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., took the car back on track. Even though they weren’t able to run at full race speeds, Cooke nursed the injured car for the balance of the race and eventually crossed the finish line 19th in the GS class.

Meanwhile, Galante stayed on track until lap 30 when he pitted for tires, electing to switch to rains as the skies started to open up again, as well as fuel and a driver change to Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. Galante’s fastest lap came before the rain, on lap 3, with a time of 2:06.482. Jones started his stint in fourth place, one lap down from the ST class leader.

On lap 38 with over 38 minutes remaining, Jones passed the No. 37 MINI of Derek Jones (no relation) for third place in ST. Then on lap 45, with 25 minutes left, as the track dried, Jones’ rain tires started deteriorating and the left front tire eventually went flat and required a pit stop for a tire change under green-flag conditions. Although he lost valuable time with the additional pit stop, being out on fresh tires allowed Jones to click off some good times once back on track. His fastest lap came on lap 52 with a time of 2:05.301.

Jones crossed the finish line in fourth place. However, the first place ST class competitors received a post-race technical infraction, allowing the entire class of ST cars to move up one position. Additionally, the third-place finishers were assessed a drive-time infraction, and so the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) of Jones and Galante was then awarded second-place honors and the points to match, keeping them comfortably in first place in the ST point championship with two races remaining.

The penultimate round for the 2018 season will be held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on September 8 followed by the finale at Road Atlanta on October 12.

The Biscuitville Grand Prix race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, August 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“When I got in the car, we put on rains [tires], kind of gambling that the rain was going to keep steady. It was working for the first few laps, but then it started to taper off, and the track dried. Then the rain tires started coming apart and started getting really hot, and then one of them went flat. We had a left front flat, so we had to come in and put dries on. We lost a bunch of time there, but we were able to knock off some good laps. We were running everyone down and just kind of ran out of time, honestly. We were probably the fastest time at the end there, but everybody rallied really well. It’s just one of these races where it can fall either way. Rain races are tricky, especially when it’s off and on like that. I just have to thank Trent, James, and all the guys that worked on the car this weekend. We’re kind of disappointed. We thought we had the car to win, but at least we were able to salvage some points and maintain the points lead going into the last two races. With the leader and another car being disqualified, we finished higher than originally scored at the checkered so, overall, we can’t complain.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We knew the rain was coming and the track was actually wet when we started the race. It was a mayhem of a start with the TCR cars and some of the GS cars dropping back. So, we were actually battling two different classes and a championship at the same time within our own class, which was quite interesting. Jason Rabe drove really well, and we had a great battle back and forth. Collin Mullin had a great start and passed me at the start. We had contact at the exit of turn three, unfortunately. It was unintentional on both sides and it was just good, hard racing. We actually broke our window and had some glass in the car that was affecting our throttle pedal. The car’s pretty good on rain tires in the wet, but on slicks it was a handful. Devin did a great job keeping the car on track and closing in the end to keep us on the podium. The bonus of the extra steps up on the podium after the technical inspection rulings post-race helped with the points.”

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a great start. A great first turn, then the weather started coming and we navigated through that, fell back, and it just got slick as ice out there. Five miles per hour and you were just pirouetting off track. We survived, I’d say there’s a good bit of luck in there, but we made it through all that running strong. The track was drying up. Everything was starting to go our way. We played our strategy. We kept the slick Continentals on the car and all of a sudden, I got a little bit of a vibration. Then, braking into turn ten I said, ‘Oh man, we’ve got a real problem. I need to come in’ and we sheared some wheel studs so I brought it in on three wheels/tires. That wasn’t an easy repair, so we were stuck in the pits a while, watching the cars go by and watching our championship go with it. We got back out, but it cost us dearly. Fingers crossed for a win at Laguna Seca.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“Unfortunately, James had a good stint going in, but we broke some wheel studs and the wheel just started flopping its way off. The guys worked for thirty-eight minutes on pit row and got it back. It was tough because we had a car that could have run up front. If this was our bad race of the year, we’ll take it and salvage something out of it, which we did. We noticed that there was something wrong with the car throughout the race. I ran slow laps and wanted to bring the car home. And at least we got points out of today, and that’s the main thing we want to take away. James drove a great stint. I thought we were going to have an amazing race with how he was driving, and it just didn’t play into our favor. The BMW was pretty solid throughout the rain. James stayed on dry tires the whole time, and he was probably the second fastest car on track besides the McLaren, but overall his stint was amazing. I can’t say much about mine because I was just on cruise control trying to get the car back home, but it should have been a great weekend.”

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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Eager to Extend Championship Lead at Home Track of VIR

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The Dublin, Va.-based BimmerWorld Racing team is ready to return to VIRginia International Raceway, it’s home track, for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series and collect more valuable points in its quest for the series championship.

The Biscuitville Grand Prix, a 2-hour race at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road course on Saturday, August 18, will be the eighth round of the 10-race Continental Tire series.

BimmerWorld Racing’s Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., drivers of the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis), lead the ST class points championship by 11 points heading into the weekend.

BimmerWorld Racing team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. drive the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 and are currently in fourth place, just eight points out of the GS class points championship lead, so all eyes are still on the championship.

The BimmerWorld team considers VIR their home track, as their shop is only about 100 miles away. Clay, who founded BimmerWorld in 1997, started coming to the track after Connie Nyholm and Harvey Siegel reopened its gates in 2000 under the “country club” model. Using the multi-faceted road course for testing and racing (as well as down-time recreation at the karting track and various shooting ranges) has become a common activity for his local BimmerWorld team.

VIR is also a circuit where the team performs well. Last year BimmerWorld Racing had one of their best races of the year at VIR when Clay qualified on the pole, and he and Cooke finished second on the podium while the second team entry finished fifth.

Galante and Jones have dominated in the ST class this season with three victories and six podiums in seven races. Meanwhile, in the ultra-competitive GS class, Clay and Cooke have captured three podiums in seven races but are still seeking that elusive victory and are hoping for a home track advantage this weekend.

The team feels getting the car setups sorted out early will be a relatively easy task given their knowledge of the track. Adding another enhancement for them is the fact that many family, friends, and sponsors are expected to come out to the Biscuitville Grand Prix race to cheer on their favorite team. The added boost of team spirit and pride to bring home victories for both BMWs in both classes and write a storybook ending for their home track race weekend are prominent on their minds as they eagerly reach for maximum points towards their championship effort.

Practice begins on Friday, August 17 at 9:40-10:40 a.m. and from 3:20-4:05 p.m., followed by ST qualifying from 7:10-7:25 p.m. and GS qualifying from 7:30-7:45 p.m. Pre-race and Fan Walk activities are from 1:20-2:05 on Saturday with the two-hour Biscuitville Grand Prix race scheduled from 2:15-4:15 p.m.

Live video coverage and live timing and scoring of the race will be offered on imsa.tv and imsa.com. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, August 26 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.

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

Share some of your thoughts about your home track here at VIR.
“I never get tired of driving, testing, and racing at VIR. It’s one of my favorite tracks with an amazing layout to drive. There is simply no piece of pavement in the world as challenging and rewarding as the Uphill Esses, and there are over three miles of sections that are similarly awesome to drive and race. With a variety of scenic vantage points, it’s also one of the best tracks in the U.S. for spectators to watch a race.

“On top of that, the staff here is just awesome. Whether it’s leading the charge in development and implementation of safety standards for racetracks or serving up the best buttermilk biscuits and country ham short of home, everyone at VIR digs in to make this facility the best in the world. I’m lucky to have it essentially in our backyard!”

As the end of the season is just three races away, share your thoughts on the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series this year and what you’re focusing on.
“As we’re closing in on the end of the season, racing at VIR is an enjoyable homecoming to all of us at BimmerWorld. The Continental Tire Challenge points championship is super important to us, and we’ve managed to have our foot in the door all year. With just two races to finish the season after we leave here, getting maximum points in both our GS and ST cars is our goal. In order to do that, we really need to win with both cars in both classes, so it’s a pretty tall order! While it’s not an easy feat, being here at our home track eases the pressure just a little. We always have a lot of family and friends who come out and cheer us on, and that also makes a difference when we’re on track and under pressure.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
BimmerWorld usually does some fun stuff at VIR each year for family and friends. What’s on the agenda this week?
“I’m going to be celebrating my birthday on Saturday with my family and team. We typically have a cookout with friends and family of the team and drivers. I’m hoping we win the race, as that would be a great birthday present, and the track would be providing the champagne to celebrate!”

VIR is not always a strong BMW track. Do you think you can overcome that by your familiarity with the circuit as your home track and testing facility?
“I think it’s still going to be a difficult race for us, but I’m confident we can do well. The track suits our BMW M4 GT4 nicely.”

What’s your favorite part of the VIR circuit?
“Oak Tree and Hog Pen turns are my favorites. They are two great parts of the circuit to watch.”

How have you enjoyed competing in the GS class in the new BMW M4 GT4 this year?
“I’ve enjoyed it very much. The racing has been close and the competition tough. I’m looking forward to the next three races.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
As the season is drawing to a close how important will these last three races be?

“We’re excited to be in the position we are, but we need to stay focused and keep the same amount of pressure on that we have been. These remaining three races are the final step in the championship and are crucial to our goal.”

You and Devin have a good lead in ST points. Do you have confidence you can stay on your success path at VIR and through the end of the year for your championship hunt?

“We do have confidence, not only in our driving abilities but even more importantly, the entire BimmerWorld team. They are the solid foundation that got Devin and I here. Without their ability, knowledge, and professionalism, we wouldn’t have this opportunity.” 

Do the VIR fans appreciate that you’re a Virginia-based team?
“I think they definitely do. Being based out of Virginia will be a big boost in fan-favorite support this weekend. Not only do I love VIR, it’s the fans that make it such a great venue.”

How have you enjoyed competing in the ST class in the BMW this year? 

“At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t sure if I’d fit well with the car and if my driving style would adapt to the unique demands of the car. I’ve been more than happy with the car, and it really is a fun ultimate driving machine. The racing this season has been great too. Even though the number of entries in the final season of the ST class has been a bit lower than usual, it’s been a really enjoyable season so far.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
We’re closing in on the final races of the season now. How important will these last three races be?
“These last three races are going to be extremely important. I feel confident in all three tracks; our BMW should be suited well but we just have to keep our heads down and continue to put our best foot forward.” 

What do you expect to be the most challenging thing this weekend?
“I enjoy VIR so much, it’s one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. However, the weather there is always unpredictable, and as a team, have to be ready for any kind of conditions.” 

You and Nick have a good lead in ST points. Do you have confidence you can stay on your success path at VIR and through the end of the year for your championship hunt?
“There are still three races left on the schedule and a lot can happen in that amount of time. Everyone is gunning for us, so we just need to take everything session by session and do want we’ve been doing all year. This whole BimmerWorld team has all my confidence.” 

What’s your favorite part of the VIR circuit?
“VIR is not only one of my home races but it’s also BimmerWorld’s home race as well, so needless to say, I couldn’t be more excited to come here. This track has everything a driver wants: technical corners, high-speed areas, elevation, hard braking zones, and everything in between! The uphill esses are still my favorite part of the track, but I love the flow of the whole circuit!”

How have you enjoyed competing in the ST class this year?
“This year has been an extremely hard-fought battle. The drivers we’re competing against are top-notch and so are the teams. I am going to miss competing in ST, and the cars in the class will be missed as well when they go away next year. This class has been a staple of the series for years, and come next year, manual gearboxes will be a thing of the past in IMSA, which is crazy to think about!”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Third Victory of 2018 in Their Street Tuner Class BMW 328i

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Third Victory of 2018 in Their Street Tuner Class BMW 328i

The only goal on the minds of BimmerWorld Racing drivers Devin Jones and Nick Galante was to add a third victory to their 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season total during the action-filled Road America 120 last Saturday at Road America. Not only did they win, but their victory allowed them to extend their points lead in the Street Tuner (ST) class championship with just three races remaining in the 10-race season.

BimmerWorld Racing also competes in the Grand Sport (GS) class, where team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. qualified the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 in sixth place with a time of 2:30.311 and an average speed of 103.860 miles per hour. His longtime teammate, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., drove the second half of the race and took the checkered flag in ninth place in the GS class on lap 44 in the two-hour race in what ended up being a wild game of fuel conservation and pit strategy.

Galante won the pole in the ST class with the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) with a qualifying time of 2:31.968 at an average 95.393 mph, and he was the starting driver of that car. His co-driver, Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., took the BMW to the finish and victory circle. Together they dominated the class, leading 47 laps to their closest rival’s 11.

There were two full-course yellows during the race, including one on lap 15 when a GS-class car went off track, flipped, and caught fire. The lengthy caution period enticed many cars to the pits and a number of different strategies developed regarding fuel mileage. Exactly when each car pitted for fuel, tires, and its driver change during the nearly 30-minute caution precipitated who would need to pit for fuel before race end.

Galante, in the No. 81 BMW 328i, had a good early battle but maintained the lead before pitting during the caution, and bounced down to fifth in the ST class after the pit stop and driver change to Jones. He was quickly back to second after some very competitive racing with the three MINIs. He finally passed the leading No. 73 MINI of Mat Pombo with just over 30 minutes remaining in the race. Jones took it to the checkered flag and won over Pombo by 6.724 seconds.

As cars pitted and shuffled the order, the No. 82 BMW M4 of Clay pitted immediately during the caution and was able to move up as high as second place but pitted once more to top off with fuel and change drivers, putting them in 18th place in class for the restart before Cooke started moving up the leaderboard. A number of the leaders had to pit for a splash of fuel or had unexpected off-track excursions, which played to BimmerWorld’s strategy with the late-caution stop and moved the No. 82 up as high as 6th. But even without the heavy fuel conservation pace and the extra fuel from the late stop, the top GS car ran all the way to the finish without fuel issues, leaving Cooke and Clay with a top-10 finish.

Jones and Galante extended their lead in the ST class championship. They now lead by 11 points with 225 to their nearest rivals’ 214. Clay and Cooke are fourth in the GS point standings, just eight points out of the lead, with 183 points to the leaders’ 191.

The Road America 120 race will air on FOX Sports 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, August 12.

The next race for BimmerWorld Racing is the Biscuitville Grand Prix for the IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge, a two-hour race, scheduled for August 18 at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. The BimmerWorld Racing team is eager to get to its home track and try to double up on the race victories.

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It’s great to win here at Road America. It’s my first win here ever. Nick did an excellent job in the beginning of the opening stint, holding off the Cayman, so that was awesome to see. Then, we had that long caution and we were able to come out second and stayed right there with the MINI. I knew as the run went on his tires would fade a little bit, so I just kept the pressure on him. He was stronger in some areas of the track but I was stronger in other places, so I was able to set him up and finally made it stick after a couple of times trying. From there, I played the traffic a little better with the GS cars and we got a little bit more of a gap. But then we knew we were going to be close on fuel. Even from the beginning of the stint, I really had to save a lot, so I couldn’t enjoy those last few laps. I had to really baby it around to save on fuel. I really want to thank Trent, Nick, and everyone who helps this program, and hopefully we finish this year the way we’ve been doing leading up to it because it’s been fun.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I think this was definitely a pivotal point in the season; extending that lead just a little more like we needed to. The Pombo brothers have been really tough, and they’ve been really great. They’re making this season truly fun because they’re making us work really hard for it. It’s not just Devin and I working hard, it’s Trent Brown on the engineering side of it, and James Clay and the whole BimmerWorld team doing a phenomenal job. It’s nice to be out there contending for championships and winning races, but while we’re doing that, we’re doing it for a good cause. Raising awareness and collecting names for our ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s’ charity, which you can Google and find out more about, but it’s nice to be out there and what a great team in BimmerWorld.”

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a good race for us. We made a change after qualifying. We had this ‘a-ha moment,’ and I think we had our car back. We’ve been struggling the last couple of rounds, so it was a really great car today. It turned into a fuel race. Once we started catching the yellows, we made strategy calls that I’m comfortable with. We got fuel early. We were the latest out of the pit lane, and we ran out of fuel on the cool-down lap. I say we did pretty well, but we really had to back off the pace to stay out that long and some of the other cars didn’t. It’s frustrating because it all comes back to the BoP [Balance of Performance], and it’s a really frustrating way to race and, of course, it’s when you play a fuel game and you don’t win the fuel game. At least we finished the race [in the] top 10, and that’s good for points. I think we had a great car and a great race; the strategy was there. It was all good except for the finish.” 

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“I can’t complain. We really thought we had a shot to win this one. Wayne [the race engineer] made the perfect call, except the leader crossed the start/finish line five seconds before and we had to do one more lap than expected. For the last 20 minutes, I was in big-time fuel-saving mode, but I had some good battles there at the beginning. We were struggling a little bit, so it made me make some hairy passes to make the most out of it that I could. I think it was a good points day for us. I think the No. 46 took the points lead now though, so that’s a bummer. Going into VIR, I feel pretty good about it. I really want to get on the podium’s top step soon. I think the BMW deserves it. I’m looking forward to VIR.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Team Excited to Take on Road America

BimmerWorld Racing ready to take on Road America 2018

The BimmerWorld Racing team is ecstatic to get back on track at their collective favorite circuit as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series advances to the beautiful Road America circuit this weekend for the Road America 120, round seven of 10 in the 2018 season.

Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., drivers of the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis), lead the ST class points championship with four races remaining as they enter the race weekend.

The Grand Sport (GS) co-drivers of team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4, are currently tied for second place and four points out of the GS class lead.

Clay qualified on pole in ST here last year; he and Cooke finished sixth. In an odd turn of events, the race was halted with 47:37 remaining due to lightning in the area. While weather can always be a factor in the Wisconsin farmland, rain does not bother this quad of drivers.

Road America, a 4.048 mile, 14-turn road course that runs clockwise, has three straights on which drivers are going over 150 mph. With approximately five critical hard-braking zones and four or five where brake release is critical to corner speed, the BimmerWorld Racing team has called out the strength of their Performance Friction brake package as a critical factor to the race. With a track where slowing the car and transitioning into fast mid-corner speeds is so critical, these packages designed for the ST machine and more recently applied to the GT4 by the long-time technical partners at PFC are in the spotlight.

Although winning is always a goal, staying atop the point charts at this crucial point in the season will be on their minds this week.

A promoter’s test day will be held on Thursday, and the BimmerWorld team plans to use that opportunity to make sure the setup of the cars are ready for Friday’s official practice sessions.

Practice begins on Friday, August 12 at 9:55 for one hour, and again from 3:05-3:55 p.m. Saturday features Practice 3 from 10:15-10:30 a.m., followed by ST qualifying from 10:40-10:55 a.m. and GS qualifying from 11:00-11:15 a.m. The race is Saturday afternoon from 4:05-6:05 p.m.

Live video coverage and live timing and scoring of the race will be offered on imsa.tv and imsa.com. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, August 12 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. All times are Eastern.

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

You have said Road America is one of your favorite tracks. What are the elements of the track you like so much and why? Do you think competing here already once this year will help you?
“I love how fast this track is, and with massive braking zones.  The Kink is maybe the best example we see in a season of a turn that is high-consequence and on the edge of flat on the throttle, which makes it super challenging to hit the limit. I ran here in the GT4 earlier in the year, but the spec was both heavier and higher, which provided less aero, so I am excited to get in our IMSA car and go fast!”

Weather can be unpredictable at Road America like last year when the race was ended with 47 minutes to go due to lightning in the area. How do you prepare for difficult racing weather as both a team owner and as a driver?
“Fingers crossed that we won’t have any monkey wrenches like last year.  That was a freak stroke of luck that we just couldn’t plan on and took our winning car in the middle of a dominant performance to the tail of the top 10 to finish in a pit-lane adjustment.  I think as a team we are ready for anything, but I prefer this year to win with strategy, not a crapshoot.”

The long lap times at Road America mean you have fewer laps to get your set-up right in the practice sessions. Do you come to the track with your best-known set-up and just tweak from there with regard to weather and other conditions?
“Luckily, we have a test day before the race weekend, but in recent years those have been rained out as much as they’ve gone smoothly. We’ve unloaded strong almost all season, and I think we have a strong handle on our car, and I also think our race at Road America earlier in the year gave us a good picture of how to approach this track.”

You had the pole last year. Do you think you can repeat that this year? If so, what will it take?
“We haven’t been strong qualifiers in GS all season, which has been a little frustrating.  We always race well, but we’ve had a couple of red flags and just a couple sessions where we were around the wrong cars.  We’re only running one car per class, so we won’t have a drafting partner in our team, which is a critical factor to this track—hopefully we can figure that part out.” 

You and Tyler seem to really have gotten into a groove as co-drivers. What makes a good co-driver/teammate in your eyes?
“We discuss this occasionally and I agree that, as a duo, we’re really even better than the sum of the parts.  I think the critical factor is trust.  I trust Tyler’s input on the car and decisions in the car and his ability to create and capitalize on opportunities, and that allows us to constantly build on the work of each other both through a weekend and through the season.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:

James had the pole here last year and you were second on the grid the year before. What does it take for fast lap times at the Road America circuit?
“Having the confidence to go through the fast corners and know the car is going to stick and having patience in the slow corners. Having the car setup to work with both types of corners helps as well.” 

You and James finished sixth last year with the abbreviated race. What’s been your best result at Road America during your career and share your thoughts about the circuit.
“In 2013 I was able to win with Greg Liefooghe there and that was an amazing result for not only us but the team as well. I love the circuit. It takes a lot of courage to run a quick lap here and be able to make passes. It’s definitely a good race to watch.”

You and James are tied for second in the championship points. Do you ever get think about the points standing during a race weekend and do calculations? Does it ever get in your head?
“You’re always thinking about the points, but there’s always one goal in mind and that’s to win. Yes, at times, knowing that one more position with the person you’re battling within the points will give you that advantage helps, but you always have the goal to win.” 

You and James have been able to manage really clean racing this year without really any on-track incidents. How do you manage that in the heat of some of these intense battles?
“James and I know rubbing is going to happen, and to win this championship some hitting will be involved but all in respective boundaries. We know it’s part of racing, but both of us race clean if possible, and I think the lack of damage and resulting finishes to date reflect that.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You and Devin are continuing to lead the ST points standing with four races remaining. Tell us about your strategy for the final four races to remain on top.
“We got to this point by having a solid, all-around package. The entire team has been rock solid. We are going to continue the same plan that got us here while continuing to hone every detail so we can seal this final year of ST racing up with a championship.”

What was your best result at Road America, and in what series and car. Share your story. 

“In 2016, we were able to pull off a win here along with Spencer Pumpelly and team RS1. I learned some stuff from that win and am looking to repeat that again this year. Last year, every team had a tough race—the thunder, lightning, and rain brought out a red flag, and they had to stop the race a little early. I’m looking forward to giving these awesome Wisconsin fans a good race they missed out on last year.”

You and Devin are new co-drivers this year but seem to make a compatible pair. How’s it going? 

“It’s a great pairing. We run almost exactly identical lap times so we have the luxury of not necessarily needing to change drivers due to lap times, we can change according to fuel and ideal race strategy. It’s nice. The interesting part is how we create those identical lap times. We do it in very different ways. I don’t want the competition to know how we do it though.”

How do you like the IMSA pre-race Fan Walk and the opportunity to interact with great fans like here at Road America?
“I love these Wisconsin fans! They’re proud of this track and rightfully so. I feel they have a true passion for motorsports. I love it here. The Fan Walk is a great way to get to know the fans and connect in a real visceral way.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
How do you like Road America and what’s been your best race result there?
“Road America is a great facility and definitely an iconic track. Success there has seemed to elude me in past seasons. I’ve had some decent results there in the past in different series, but hopefully this weekend we have some luck and are able to bring home a result worth mentioning!”

Last year weather was a factor when the race time was cut short. How do you like racing in the rain, especially a track like Road America?
“I enjoy racing in the rain and being able to search around the track for grip. At a track like Road America, you really have to watch the braking zones and rimshot a number of corners. Avoiding the normal racing line is critical because it’s slick from the rubber and oil that gets laid down.”

With the combination of long straights and 14-turns, what’s the trick for a best lap around Road America?
“Road America is full of hard braking zones. It’s important to have a car that is stable under braking and able to rotate to the center of the corner. Keeping your minimum speed up is also important. It’s a track that’s very enjoyable to race on because of the high number of passing zones.”

The fans at Road America are known to be knowledgeable and true road racing fans. Who is a race driver you are a fan of (past or present)?
“Road America is always packed with fans and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy going to that facility so much. As a kid, I always looked up to Jeff Gordon. His racing style and the way he treated fans is something I always tried to model myself after.”

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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Celebrates Fifth Podium in Six Races at Lime Rock Park Race; Continues to Lead ST Points Championship

BimmerWorld No. 81 328i 2nd place at Lime Rock

After six of 10 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series races, the BimmerWorld cars continue to rank high in the season-long championship points battle. The No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) of Devin Jones and Nick Galante leads the ST class championships, while the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 of James Clay and Tyler Cooke is tied for second and is just four points out of the lead in the GS class, with 161 points to the leader’s 165 (unofficially).

Competition in any Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race is tough, but add the drama that happens on the short, tight “bullring” 1.478-mile, seven-turn Lime Rock Park circuit in Lakeville, Conn., and it could be anyone’s race. Two full-course cautions were part of this year’s Lime Rock Park 120 race that ultimately saw Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., and Galante, of Greenfield, Mass.,finish second in the ST class and Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Cooke, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., finish seventh in the GS class.

While a number of race teams had to take home mangled cars that got caught up in contact and off-track excursions over the two-hour race, the two BimmerWorld Racing BMWs expertly avoided damage, and the team loaded up their transporter to head back to their shop in Dublin, Va. with unscathed BMW race cars.

The No. 81 BimmerWorld ST class BMW 328i was a fast car all weekend. Galante, originally from Greenfield, Mass., just across the state line, was the qualifying driver for this round and got the pole with a time of 0:59.543. His teammate, Jones, set a new track record on Friday with a time of 0:59.262 in practice. Saturday’s second-place finish was their fifth podium in six races, including two hard-fought victories.

Galante led the first 48 laps of the 113-lap race before pitting during the first full-course caution. He turned the car over to his teammate, Jones, who exited the pits in second and battled with the Pombo brothers in a pair of MINIs through his entire stint. Finally, on Lap 86 with 31 minutes left to go, Jones got past Mark Pombo and was just 2.505 seconds behind the leader, Mat Pombo.

The second caution was thrown on lap 91 with just 25 minutes remaining. The track went green on lap 98 with 14 minutes to go, and Jones crossed the finish line in second place, just .650 behind class winner Mat Pombo and was 2.175 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher, Mark Pombo. Galante had the fastest lap in the No. 81 BMW with a time of 1:00.008 on lap 2.

BimmerWorld Racing’s team owner/driver Clay started the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 from an untraditional 16th position after struggling with some setup issues heading into qualifying on Friday afternoon. By race day, those issues had been erased and he quickly climbed through the field to fifth place by the time he pitted under the first of two cautions at the 50-minute mark on Lap 50.

Cooke had some big battles under green-flag conditions and often ran between fifth, sixth, and seventh position before finishing in seventh on Lap 113, 13.554 seconds behind the overall winner. Cooke’s fastest lap came on lap 57 with a time of 0:56.375, one of a number of sub 57-second laps by Continental Tire Challenge competitors.

This race will air on FOX Sports 1 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, July 29. The season continues with Round 7 for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on August 3-5.

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis): 

“First off, we were really strong right when we unloaded here. Right off in practice, we were fast, which is a good place to be. We made a few adjustments to the car through practice and Nick was able to go out in qualifying and put in a great lap. It was close, and he did a really great job putting in a lap there. Then, in the race, he got a great start. It’s just kind of how we’ve been all year—maintaining a good gap during the first stint. We had a caution that we didn’t really want because it erased our gap a little bit. From there, we came off pit road in second, fell back to third for a little bit, but I just kept putting the pressure on the MINI guys and was able to get around the No. 52, which was good because he’s behind us in points. So, we were able to open our gap in the championship, which is awesome. Overall, it was a good day. You always want to win, but we’re happy with second, too. I just have to thank BimmerWorld, Veristor, Race to End Alzheimer’s, and everyone who came out to support us.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., starting driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis): 

“It’s so nice to finally get on the podium here at Lime Rock. You know, I grew up in New England, went to Greenville High School, and grew up in Greenville, Massachusetts, just an hour and forty-five minutes north of here. I’m finally on the podium here and couldn’t have done it without the great work of James Clay and the entire BimmerWorld team giving us a great car. They did the development on the car over the past couple of years, and now we’re reaping the benefits of that. We fought the MINIs really hard there in the end, and Devin did a great job staying on their butt and keeping them honest. This is such a fun season, being right there, fighting back and forth with them. It’s fun to have some good competition, you know… We’re not just walking away with it. We’re barely in the points lead, and Devin is doing a great job helping keep that fight alive.

“It’s nice to be out here fighting for a good cause, raising money for Alzheimer’s. We’re doing the ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s’ charity. If you Google it, you will find good information on what we’re doing (https://www.r2endalz.org/). We’re collecting names to be on the car at the Laguna Seca race of family members who are fighting or have fought Alzheimer’s.”

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

“It was a little bit of a challenging weekend for us. With the compressed schedule, it makes it tough. We had a car issue that we were fighting in our 82 car, and it was a struggle in qualifying. We ended up sixteenth and that’s not really where I want to start—it’s a lot of cars to work your way through to the front. There were a number of quick cars, but we knew we had a quicker car. We fixed a problem that had been nagging us, so today was a brand-new day. There were lots of battles in my stint since I had a poor qualifying because of the problem. I had a much better car today, and it was easy to work my way through. Tyler did an awesome job. The car was what it was, and I think we ultimately didn’t have quite the grip that some of the other cars out there did, and I could see one of the Mercedes drive right around me on the outside of a turn. Man, we just didn’t have that kind of grip today, but that’s alright we still had a solid finish and made the best of it.

“Devin and Nick continue to be impressive out there. They’re both very capable drivers, clearly, which makes them a consistent pair. We’ve gotten all the little bugs worked out, so those two are cruisin’. Today, they were second, which is their fourth podium in a row, and they’ve stood on the top step a couple times and are currently leading the championship. Fingers crossed, but those guys are on it and producing results, and it’s great.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“We didn’t have the pace we’d have liked this weekend, but we had good pace in the race. James did the best he could in his stint, and I was happy to get as far as I did in mine. We were just struggling with front end grip, where the Mercedes seemed like it had a lot of grip in the corner…the Mustang, same thing. We were just one of the cars that didn’t have the grip they did. We really saw that toward the end of the race. We’re walking away with seventh, but we really need to get that win. We’ve come so close a couple of times. We know we have the pace, so we’re looking forward to Road America. It should be a good track for us.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

 

BimmerWorld Racing Carrying Momentum into Lime Rock Park Mid-Season Race Weekend

BimmerWorld M4 GT4 leading the pack

With five races down and five to go in this year’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series, the BimmerWorld Racing team is poised to continue their ‘never say never’ and ‘battle to the finish’ racing philosophy as they prepare for this weekend’s Lime Rock Park 120 two-hour race, July 21.

Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., drivers of the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis), come into the halfway point of the season leading the Street Tuner (ST) class points standings with 158 points. This year’s results include two victories, one second, one third, and a single fifth-place finish. Driving clean races and staying at the top of the leaderboard and on the podium nearly every race has certainly aided in their points advancement in the popular class.

The Grand Sport (GS) duo of team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., co-drivers of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4, have progressed their class point standings to second place, just six points out of the lead at the halfway mark of the season. With two second-place finishes and one third-place GS class finish in five events, the BimmerWorld drivers have been a consistent challenger in a hugely competitive class and series.

All four BimmerWorld drivers love the short, tight and tough 1.478-miles and 7-turn Lime Rock Park circuit in Lakeville, Conn., nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, but none take the fun circuit for granted. Sometimes referred to as a ‘bullring,’ the historic track is over 60 years old and has featured races of some of racing’s royalty: Mark Donohue, Dan Gurney, Stirling Moss, Sam Posey, Paul Newman, Bob Sharp, and Mario Andretti, to name a few. BimmerWorld Racing looks to add their name to the Lime Rock Park history stats with another victory this weekend.

Practice begins on Friday, July 19 with three sessions: 10:05-11:05 a.m., 12:45-1:30 p.m. and 3:15-3:30 p.m. and qualifying will be held later on Friday afternoon. The ST and TCR class cars qualify 3:40-3:55 p.m. and the GS run from 4:00-4:15 p.m.

Live video coverage and live timing and scoring of the race will be offered on imsa.tv and imsa.com. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 29 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
You and Tyler are currently tied for second in the GS points after some hard-fought races this season. Give us an overview of this year so far.
“This has been a solid season for Tyler and me so far in general, but considering it’s our first year with a new car, it’s been spectacular!  The BMW M4 GT4 is a solid platform and that alone has been good for us. But additionally, Tyler and I continue to have an extremely effective relationship to continue to progress both one another and the car, and the BimmerWorld team has performed continuously behind the scenes. All the elements are there, and I think the results are showing that.”

LRP is the shortest track on the series’ schedule at 1.47-miles and 7-turns. How do you like the short, tight circuit, and what’s your favorite section?
“I recognize the challenges Lime Rock presents, but I really do enjoy this little track. The uphill is probably my favorite turn because it either is a passing zone or sets up for a pass into West Bend, and you can throw a lot of speed into it.”

Last year you qualified fourth at LRP and you and Tyler finished third. Do you feel this is a good circuit for you and your 2018 BMW M4 GT4?
“I think Lime Rock will be decent to us the way we are currently sitting with car specs. There are no long straights to really flex our turbo engine’s muscles, and I don’t think we have quite the same downforce as some of the other cars, but I think again it will come back to our effectiveness as a team. We’ll stay on the lead lap and maybe out of some of the TCR cars, who I think will be very fast at this track and will be a major dynamic in the race.”

You’re in the thick of the summer racing season. How do you relax in between races?
“So far, I haven’t had much time to relax at all!  I’ve been spending a lot of time in a variety of races this year. This has really, unfortunately, cut into my stand-up jet skiing, but I hope to remedy that in the second half of the summer!”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
You and James are currently tied for second in the GS points after some hard-fought races this season. What’s been your favorite race so far this season and why?
“Watkins Glen was a good outcome that we felt really good about altogether. We hope to have more races like that, but we need one more step up at the finish.”

How difficult is it to pass at LRP? How much will a good qualifying position play into that?
“Lime Rock is one of the hardest tracks to pass, it’s our version of Martinsville (NASCAR). With the GS field this year, qualifying is a big deal and helps determine the outcome of the race.”

What’s been your best result at Lime Rock Park during your career and share your thoughts about the circuit.
“In my Continental career, a third-place finish was my best in 2013. Overall, I won two races back-to-back in the Skip Barber Series. I really enjoy the track and love racing there. It’s great for the fans and the racing can be a real nail-biter.”

Faster cars don’t want to get stuck behind the slower cars and we sometimes see some risky moves and subsequent cautions. How much do you think cautions will play into the race results?
“You have to know where you can pass a car and not lose ground. It can hurt your race finish if you don’t time it right.”

What do you like to do outside of the track when you’re up in Connecticut?
“I hang out with my family, have a fire, and take in the beautiful scenery.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You and Devin jumped to the top of the ST points standing after your second victory at the last race at Mosport. What was that feeling like?
“Of course, it felt great, but to be in the points lead at the halfway point of the season is just reassuring of the team we have behind this effort. To consistently finish at the front of this series takes a truly professional team, and that’s what we have.”

What was your best result at Lime Rock, in what series and car?
“For the past two years, I’ve finished fourth here at Lime Rock. We’ve been the top-finishing team that wasn’t a Mazda. I think this could be the year for my first podium or win here.”

Lime Rock Park is a natural-terrain racing venue. How much of a difference does that make compared to a truly man-made circuit in your eyes?
“The flow of Lime Rock is very different from most tracks. It’s apparent that it’s a natural-laying track. To be fast at Lime Rock, you have to change your style and have a good fitting setup on the car. It’s a great challenge that’s fun when it works.” 

Do you ever get a chance to interact with the fans at Lime Rock? What are they like?
“Yes! The fans at Lime Rock are great. I grew up in New England and feel at home here. They are so passionate about their racing. I’m looking forward to being back.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You and Nick jumped to the top of the ST points standing after your second victory at the last race at Mosport. Share your thoughts about your successes so far this year.
“Having the points lead at the mid-point in the season is a good feeling. We’ve had a little bad luck here and there, but this BimmerWorld team has fought hard to keep our #81 BMW in the battle for the championship. The results we’ve earned up to this point in the year have been awesome, but this championship is going to be a fight right down to the end. Nick, myself, and the team know we have to keep working on bettering the car and perfecting everything we do on race weekends in order to keep the momentum rolling for the rest of 2018. I’m excited about our chances and thankful to be in the position we’re in.”

How do you like the short, tight Lime Rock circuit?
“Lime Rock is such a cool place to race, I honestly really enjoy every part of the track. It’s a bullring and the closest thing to what I grew up racing on, which was quarter-mile to half-mile short track ovals. It’s close quarters racing that requires technique and finesse for fast consistent laps. The track kind of races like an oval, except for it’s mostly right turns!”

How much more difficult will passing be on the small 1.47-mile, 7-turn circuit than some of the other tracks on which you’ve competed this year?
“Passing will be difficult but what will be even more of a challenge for our class is traffic. With the TCR and GS fields expected to be close in speed this weekend, the race will be very hectic. The ST cars will be constantly looking in our mirrors to see what’s coming next. During the race, it’ll be a matter of who’s losing the least amount of time while being passed by the faster class cars.”

Tell us about the best result in your career at Lime Rock.
“My first time at Lime Rock was a Skip Barber National Series race; I was battling for the lead when I got in oil from other car and spun into the grass. Not the best result but one that sticks out to me. Even though the end result wasn’t great, the first laps I made around the track in practice that weekend made me immediately feel at home on this track. Hopefully the best results come this weekend.”

Do you ever get your bike out during the Lime Rock race weekend and go cycling in the Berkshires or elsewhere?
“I’ve been driving to a lot of races this year, so I’ve been able to bring my bike more which has been fun. I’m planning on driving up this week with my bike and hope to ride a little around the area. I love being able to travel, and going on a ride is the best way to explore a new place.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld’s Street Tuner BMW 328i Victorious at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

BimmerWorld Devon Jones and Nick Galante Win at Mosport

BimmerWorld Racing’s Devin Jones and Nick Galante catapulted to the top of the Street Tuner (ST) point standings of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series with their second victory of the season on Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Their No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) also leads the class’s VP Fuels Front Runner Award standings at the season’s halfway point.

James Clay, owner of the Dublin, Va.-based team, and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke, finished eighth in the Grand Sport (GS) class Saturday. They are second in that division’s point standings, just six points out of the lead, with their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4.

Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., won the ST class pole Saturday with a time of 1:31.378, setting a new track record. He immediately broke away from the pack, building up as much as a 40-second lead during the first half of the two-hour race. Jones also set the class’s fastest race lap on lap seven with a time of 1:32.944.

But the victory was not certain for the BMW team until the very end of the race, as a full-course caution on lap 46 obliterated its huge lead. Galante was second until he took the lead for the final time just six laps from the end when the leading MINI stopped off course due to mechanical issues after contact. The race stayed green as the MINI was removed, and that sealed the victory for the BMW squad. Galante took the checkered flag with a 5.205-seconds margin of victory over the runner-up.

Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., qualified 13th in the GS category with a time of 1:25.228 on the flowing, 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course. He broke into the top 10 just 44 minutes into the race by passing Dillon Machavern in the point-leading Porsche and was still in that position when he pitted under green flag to hand the car over to Cooke about 10 minutes later. A limping ST car stopped at the exit of Turn 5 with about 51 minutes remaining, bringing out the only caution of the race, and regrouping the field. The pits roared to life as multiple GS drivers pitted under that yellow to top off with fuel, including Cooke. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. driver dropped to 12th as other GS cars gambled with fuel strategy but had raced back in the top 10 with 39 minutes remaining.

Cooke battled with Eric Foss for ninth place as the pair swapped that position several times. Cooke’s hard driving finally awarded him the spot with 24 minutes remaining in the race, about the same time that one of the entry’s main title contenders made an unscheduled pit stop for brake issues. In a multi-lap chess match, including a lapped car and fellow BMW driver Greg Liefooghe, Cooke snuck past Paul Holton to snare eighth place with 15 minutes remaining in the race, where he ultimately finished.

This race will air on FOX Sports 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, July 15. The season continues with Round 6 on July 20-21 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“First, I have to thank BimmerWorld and all the guys who got the cars turned over in time to race here at Mosport. It’s always a quick turn-around, so I have to thank those guys. We had speed all weekend and were really fast right off the trailer. It made my job pretty easy. I was able to just go out there and get a pretty big gap. We were hoping it would stay green, but a caution came out there at the end and still we were able to pull it off. It’s just a huge win and really good points day for us, and we’re really looking forward to Lime Rock.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a perfect weekend. Devin did most of the hard work there with the pole position and new track record and the gap in the field that he managed. I think it was a 40-second gap when he handed me the car, which was awesome. I got in the car and thought I had a comfortable lead, but Mark Pombo came and started breathing down the back of my car. I had nothing for him in the first quarter of my stint, and then I started reeling him back in. I think he had some trouble after some contact, which is unfortunate, and I hope those guys recover and can fight us the rest of the season. The BimmerWorld team did an awesome job. We were sorting out some gremlins after the second practice session. We had a loose motor mount, and the guys spotted that perfectly. Trent Brown did an awesome job on the box in the pits with the fuel and the strategy. My wife and I are going to go home now and relax for a week before Lime Rock.”

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a fair day for us on the track. I feel very comfortable saying we gave it everything we had out there. I was happy with my stint. Tyler drove great again. The BMW stayed under us. It wasn’t a Mustang today, and it seemed like that’s what you needed. I’m super proud of my teammates in the No. 81 ST for their second win of the year. We’ll be back at Lime Rock and maybe things will be a little different there.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It wasn’t a bad race for us. There was a lot of hard battling and some battling that was harder than it should have been. We really have nothing for the Mustangs right now. We don’t know what can happen for us [as far as Balance of Performance changes] going into Lime Rock, but hopefully we’re able to be more competitive. Wayne [the team’s engineer] made a great call changing the car overnight, and he gave us a rocket ship. We had a car that would have been in pretty good contention, but it definitely wasn’t a podium contender here. I’m looking forward to Lime Rock. I love Lime Rock. It’s one of my favorite tracks.”

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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

Both BimmerWorld BMWs Finish on the Podium at the Glen with the GS Car Now Tied for First in Championship

Both BimmerWorld BMWs Finish Second in Class at the Glen with the GS Car Now Tied for First in Championship

Both of BimmerWorld Racing’s BMWs finished on the second step of the podium in the four-hour IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race Saturday at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The double runner-up finishes vaulted the Dublin, Va.-based team’s Grand Sport (GS) entry into a two-way tie for first in its overall championship, while its Street Tuner (ST) car rose from third to second in that division’s point standings heading into the next event this Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., did his best to keep the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 in contention in the GS division while protecting it so his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., could mount a charge at the end. Their strategy worked well. There were 18 GS cars on the lead lap after the four-hour slugfest, and Cooke took the checkered only 7.938 seconds behind the winning Ford Mustang.

The strategy was different but the results were the same for the team’s ST entry, the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis). Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. captured the class pole and then dominated the race lead for most of the first half and built up a healthy lead before turning the car over to his co-driver, Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass.

Clay qualified eighth, avoided a multi-car wreck in the esses on the first lap, and stayed in the top 10 during his double stint. He had several good battles, particularly with Kyle Marcelli and Dillon Machavern, and on lap 19 he was hit by Andy Lally, who struggled with handling problems all weekend with his Mustang. Clay survived it all. He was seventh at the halfway point and third due to pit stops by others when he pitted too and turned the car over to Cooke with about 1:47 remaining in the race.

Cooke started his stint in tenth. He broke into the top five with 1:15 remaining on lap 73, passed Al Carter for fourth six minutes later and rose to third with 56 minutes remaining when a lot of his rivals pitted. He pitted himself on the following lap with 55 minutes remaining under a full-course caution, and he was fifth for the restart with 45 minutes remaining. While the BMW M4 has air-conditioning, it was primarily turned off fo conserve every last horsepower, making the sealed cockpit even hotter as the track temperatures registered 128 degrees.

After another yellow, Cooke passed Eric Foss for fourth on a restart with 31:20 left. After another battle with Marcelli that saw them side by side for almost a full lap, Cooke wrestled third away from him on lap 90, only to have Marcelli regain the spot with 26 minutes left. Cooke passed Marcelli back on the following lap, however, and with 23 minutes remaining he was 4.5 seconds behind the second-place driver, Owen Trinkler, who ended up fifth at the end. Cooke was able to methodically cut that distance down and he passed Trinkler for second with 16:47 remaining. He set the entry’s fastest lap of the race on lap 99 while trying to catch the eventual winner, Chad McCumbee. That proved impossible, but he was able to hold off Marcelli’s Mustang by 0.912 to finish second with 106 laps completed in the time span.

In ST, the BimmerWorld entry led the most laps by far, heading the field for 65 of the 101 laps the class’s three podium finishers completed in the four-hour time span. Jones led the first 28 laps, gave the lead up when he pitted, and then led again from laps 34 through 56 before pitting to let Galante take over. The latter started his stint in fourth but led laps 65 through 78 before he had to make another pit stop.

While pitting for tires and a final fuel fill, disaster struck as a hose broke on the team’s fuel rig, leaving Galante sitting in the pits waiting for fuel that wasn’t flowing.  Through some quick calls and crisis management from the BimmerWorld team, the car was sent out to stay on the lead lap, the fuel rig repaired, and the fuel cell filled the next time by which enabled the 81 to start at the tail end of the lead lap, which gave a fighting chance for a podium finish with 55 minutes left.  With 23 minutes left he was third, only 0.430 behind the second-place driver, Mat Pombo. He set the car’s fastest race lap on lap 89 while in third and moved into second place with 9:57 left on lap 100 to seal the runner-up finish.

The race will air in the U.S. on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 8 at 7:30 a.m.

This coming Saturday’s Continental Tire Challenge race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (aka Mosport) will be half as long as the Watkins Glen race. Three practice sessions will precede it at 1:45 p.m. and 5:25 p.m. Friday and 9:50 a.m. Saturday. Qualifying is at 10:15 a.m. Saturday for the ST class and 10:35 a.m. for GS. The race is slated to get the green flag at 3:05 p.m. that afternoon.

Live video coverage of the race will be available on imsa.tv from 2:55 p.m. to 5:05 p.m., with live timing and scoring on imsa.com. That race will air on FOX Sports 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 15. All times are Eastern.

Post-Watkins Glen quotes:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“Awesome race! We were watching the weather and it was going to be a hot one, and we knew that. The biggest question was ‘Is the car going to stay under us?’ We got dinged a little bit with Balance of Performance [BoP], but we had a BMW and that counts for a lot.

“The heat was brutal. The track temperature was 120 degrees, but our Red Line fluids were up to the challenge. With a turbo engine and all the required coolers for both cars, heat management is critical to keep components from failing, or a car with factory electronics from going into a reduced output mode. Red Line has clearly dropped our temperatures and put us in a safer operational zone.

“I was pretty happy with my drive. Tyler just drove a stellar race. I’m thrilled about this result. To have two of our BimmerWorld BMWs on the podium as a team owner and to have cars that are all together, ready to go to the next round next week is fantastic. We’re one step short, but I’m thrilled!”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“We had a good race at The Glen. If you had asked me at the beginning of the race if we were going to stand on the podium, I probably wouldn’t have had that answer. The team worked really hard. Our race engineer, Wayne, made some great calls; James drove a great stint, and it was a great points weekend for us. I think we may have tied for the points lead. That was our main focus of the whole weekend, so we’re leaving Watkins Glen happy as we move on to Mosport.

“James and I tend to be pretty good at Mosport. We think we have a good base set up for that, so we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do. It should be quite a bit cooler than we experienced at Watkins Glen, which will be great. I’m ready to go.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Every time I get in the heat I notice that I’ll start overdriving, and then I see the other drivers start overdriving. So you have to remind yourself that everybody is going through the same thing. You have to just take a deep breath, under drive just a hair, and let the pack come to you. It started to happen there at the end, but we got a couple of things wrong. It was so greasy out there [on track] that the Continental tires were hanging on as long as they could, but it was just so hot we couldn’t do anything. Our tire pressures may have been too high for that middle stop. But I tell you, the BimmerWorld guys nailed this one. The pole position Devin ‘Too Fast’ Jones put in, his opening stint, gapping that field…it was all phenomenal. He did his part better than I could in the race. I was just hanging on; he was comfortable. The kid is fast.

“I know these BimmerWorld guys are going to polish these cars up and get them ready for Canada. They’ll probably be ready the morning after the race, knowing the way these guys work. I think at Mosport we’re going to have some speed. I think we can still hang on and fight for this championship, no problem. We’re still in it and we’re not even halfway through the season.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The BimmerWorld Racing guys did a great job preparing this car. It was fast all weekend. The heat played a little bit of a role today from the standpoint of track conditions. The track was a little greasier and there wasn’t as much grip today for the race, so that caught everybody off a bit. We were chasing the rear end of the car a little bit during the first stint. We made a little tire pressure adjustment for the next stint and it seemed to help the car a lot. I really thought we had the car to win. We had an unfortunate little issue with fueling the car on our final pit stop which kind of set us back a little bit, but everybody rallied well. And we still came away with second, which is good for points and something to build on when we go to Canada this week. I just have to thank Veristor; Nick did an awesome job, and we’re really looking forward to the rest of the season.

“I think we have some good momentum going into the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race. We are hungry for a win and came pretty close at The Glen, but that just makes us want it even more this coming weekend in Canada.”

Pre-race Q&A for Saturday’s upcoming race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park:

James, you and Tyler qualified just 0.154 off the pole and led the most laps in this race in ST last year, got hit twice, and still finished fifth. What do you think will happen this year, now that you’re in GS and with a new car?
James Clay: “The best thing about IMSA racing and this insanely competitive class is that I have absolutely no idea how it will go — but it will be spectacular! The BMW M4 GT4 is a well-balanced car and BMWs are historically very good in the long, flowing turns there, and I know I love the track and level of commitment it requires. I feel good about it, but I wouldn’t even stick my neck out very far at the green flag as to how we will fare.”

Mosport has predominantly high-speed corners but is very easy on brakes. How will that benefit you and your BMWs?
James Clay: “It has very few significant hard-braking zones because it has primarily fast, flowing corners, but I think the braking performance of the car is more critical here than almost any track! The ability to slow the car down into Turn 8, but with a smooth release so the car will float through the corner at about 150 kilometers per hour is something our Performance Friction Brakes excel at. And braking into the steep hill into Turn 5 is the most pedal pressure we will throw at the car all year, and a critical area for speed. We hope we will have good straight-line speed, but with the fast flow of this track, the few braking areas are where we are going to have to make or defend our position.”

How do you like back-to-back races? Are they exhausting, or do they really get your momentum going?
Tyler Cooke: “I love it; racing is my passion and I love to be in the seat racing wheel to wheel.”

The Mosport track is treacherous in the rain. How do you prepare for a rain race/driving in the rain? Do you like it?
Tyler Cooke: “Rain racing is great. It’s where you see some awesome racing and brings everyone to a level playing field. You prepare for it from years of doing it. If it’s a rainy race, it will keep people on the edge of their seat.”

James and Tyler have proved your car can be a real contender at CTMP. What are your thoughts going into this event?
Nick Galante: “I’ve been watching some videos of our car at that track and am really looking forward to it. This will be my third race there, and I’m finally comfortable at this beast of a track.”

How do you like back-to-back races? Are they exhausting, or do they really get your momentum going? 
Nick Galante: “I love being in the car as much as possible. I think I’m like a goldfish and forget a lot if there is too much down time in between races. I get excited for this busy part of the season. Also, my wife gets to come to most of these upcoming races, and she’s a proven good luck charm.”

Mosport has predominantly high-speed corners but is very easy on brakes. How will that benefit you and your BMW? 
Nick Galante: “I’ll be a little bummed not to be able to use those great brakes, but will have a lot of fun in the corners. Our car has been very predictable and stable thanks to our great engineers.”

Historically, if you go off track at Mosport, the car is usually damaged. That usually leads to a number of cautions. How can you take advantage of that?
Devin Jones: “We just have to stay out of trouble and keep our nose clean through TCR and GS traffic. Hopefully the added cautions will help our current fuel situation with the car.”

What does Canada have that is better than its counterpart in the United States?
Nick Galante: “I love the United States, but sadly this would be a long list. I’ll keep it short and sweet. The top three: kindness, health care, and poutine.”
Devin Jones: “Milk sold in a bag?!”

Do you have a memorable “Mosport Moment” that you can share?
James Clay: “One of my favorite memories involves a much younger BimmerWorld team from over 10 years ago and a series of events in a pair of rental vans that ended with us driving to the track and through the paddock with one side door open and a very questionable windshield — and parental supervision for the rest of the weekend. I blame the whole incident on Seth Thomas.”
Tyler Cooke: “Mosport was my race first out of the U.S. and is where I met my girlfriend, so it’s definitely memorable to me.”
Nick Galante: “I guess I can share my not-so-great moment. My first time here was back in 2015 and I found out the hard way that this is one of the only road courses in the world where a downshift into Turn 1 will make things very interesting. I had a momentary lapse of judgment in the first practice and spun the car on my third lap around.” 
Devin Jones: “The best moment for me was 2015 when I got my first pole and the track record. It was unexpected and a fond memory from Mosport.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Has High Hopes For Saturday’s CTSCC Race at The Glen

BimmerWorld Racing ready for Watkins Glen

Success breeds added confidence. Although it’s a long season, one of the BimmerWorld Racing BMWs is second in the Grand Sport (GS) point standings and the team’s Street Tuner (ST) entry is third in that championship heading into Saturday’s four-hour IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

It’s an important time for the team to try to be at the top of its game, as The Glen begins a stretch of five events in only eight weeks. Saturday’s race, which is scheduled to get the green flag at 1:55 p.m., is the fourth of 10 events on the schedule, while the fifth one is the following weekend, July 7, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., drive the Dublin, Va.-based team’s GS entry, the brand-new No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4. Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass., and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., share the team’s ST entry, the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis).

Practice at The Glen begins with one session on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. and two more on Friday at 8 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. Qualifying will be held later Friday afternoon, with the ST cars going under the timing beacons at 12:50 p.m. and the GS field doing the same 20 minutes later.

Live video coverage and live timing and scoring of the race will be offered on imsa.tv and imsa.com, respectively. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 8 at 7:30 a.m. All times are Eastern.

Watkins Glen is one of only two four-hour races on the 2018 schedule, and BimmerWorld did terrific in the first one, with the two of you finishing second in GS and the ST winning at Daytona. What will it take to do that well again at Watkins Glen?
James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“The keys to success in racing are pretty standard — bring a good car, run it with a talented crew and driver team, and stay on your toes and execute well. We had a great race at Daytona, and we have dug in to fine-tune the team for the coming stretch of three races in four weekends. If we did our homework, I think we have a great package for both this 4-Hour and the races immediately following.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It takes planning the right strategy, which Wayne Yawn does very well. We have to make sure the car is there at the end. That’s something James and I did well at Daytona. We managed our pace until the end when I got to push towards the front.”  

Watkins Glen is one of only two four-hour races on the 2018 schedule, and BimmerWorld did terrific with you guys winning the ST class at Daytona. What will it take to repeat that at Watkins Glen?
Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It’s going to be tough, but it’s something I think we are well prepared for as a team. I feel the longer the races are, the more variables get factored in. It’s important to have a solid team, and we may very well have the best out there this week.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The longer the race, the more you have to focus on execution, and the BimmerWorld guys always do a great job with that. A four-hour race also means more pit stops. Nick and I are going to really focus on making our driver changes flawless and making sure our stops are as quick as possible. I enjoy these four-hour races because a lot can happen, and to have one of the two longer-distance events at a track like Watkins Glen is a big plus. It’s one of my favorite tracks.”

Do you think the BimmerWorld team, or your BMW car, is especially well suited for races longer than two hours? As a driver, do you prefer two-hour or four-hour races?
James Clay: “Our BimmerWorld-built F30-platform ST cars haven’t always been smooth sailing, but in recent years with a lot of work and development from our partners at Roush Engines and Electonspeed, I think we’ve tamed the beast and we have just fantastic BMW race cars.  And, of course, the M4 GT4 comes from BMW ready for us to dial it in and race it, and it has proven to be such a stable platform. Equipment-wise, we’re good either way, but longer races play to our reliability. Additionally, we have two extremely solid driver teams this year, and the longer the races go, the more our consistently fast pace pays off.”

Tyler Cooke: “I think our car is just great at the end of a run; that’s where we start to really shine. I don’t prefer one or the other. I just love to race!”

Do you think your team, or your BMW car, is especially well suited for the longer races?

Nick Galante:With this team, I’m excited about the longer races. This team is so organized and prepared, more than I’ve seen on other teams. There’s this one guy on our team that kind of creeps me out with the level of focus and detail he brings to the team. It’s weird, but I bet that’ll help us win races!” 

Devin Jones: “I think our team and the car are suited for any situation or race distance. However, the longer the race, the more strategy and pit work come into play, which should give us an advantage this weekend. On the driving side, I personally live for these longer races, especially looking at the weather forecast for this weekend with temps in the mid-90s on race day. I work really hard on my fitness for weekends like this. I want to be ready in case I have to drive a double stint in hot and humid weather. I think the heat will play a role in driver fatigue during the course of this four-hour race.”

What is one of the most challenging parts of the Watkins Glen circuit?
Tyler Cooke: “The uphill esses look intimidating from outside the car but being in the car and threading the needle on used tires takes your breath away. Any error will be a big hit, but you have to take the chance of running that fine line and getting every little bit.” 

What do you enjoy most about the Watkins Glen fans?
Nick Galante: “If there’s anything I know about fans at Watkins Glen, it’s that they know a lot more than me! I love talking to them; you can learn a lot about the track that way. I was talking to this one guy about The Boot last year, and he has been sitting and watching that turn at every race for the past 20-plus years. The level of detail he went into surprised me.”

Is there anything competitors and fans don’t realize or don’t take into account fully about racing at Watkins Glen?
Devin Jones: “Watkins Glen is a high-speed track with little room for error, but one thing fans may not realize is drivers have to be mindful to not exceed track limits in certain corners. This is especially true in qualifying. If you go outside track limits on a fast lap, officials will disallow your time.” 

You’re coming off a race at Road America in another series last weekend. Tell us about your run in the BMW at Road America.

James Clay: “I love Road America — the track, the people and area, and it always suits a BMW well.  This was a great opportunity to run our spare car and have some fun in the process!  The car was a bit of a tractor in the spec we ran, but it was still quite capable with all the weight and higher ride height.  I’m looking forward to getting back there in a bit over a month in IMSA trim!

If you were advising a fan where to watch this race from, where would you suggest they go and why?
Tyler Cooke: “The Bus Stop or the second-to-last corner. Both are good areas to see some fast speeds and good battles.” 

Devin Jones: “The Bus Stop is an awesome place to watch; seeing the cars bouncing around, hopping curbs is a sight you don’t want to miss. Honestly, there isn’t a bad place to watch from anywhere around Watkins Glen; every corner is unique.” 

What do you think about the famous Watkins Glen Bus Stop corner?
Nick Galante: “I’ve always wanted to watch the cars coming at me as they enter the Bus Stop. I think it’s such a fascinating section of the course. Most Bus Stops have straights before and after them. This one at Watkins Glen is unique; you have a significant turn immediately after you exit. You have to be planning for the long right after the Bus Stop before you enter.”

If you could go back in time, which driver who has raced at Watkins Glen in the past that you never met would you most like to meet and/or compete against?
Tyler Cooke: “Jackie Stewart would be an awesome guy to have raced against.”

Nick Galante: “There is so much rich history at the Glen, it’s a tough choice to pick just one. The F1 drivers from the late sixties were so commendable. I can’t imagine tossing those cars around this track back then. If I had to pick just one driver it would have to be the great Scot, Jim Clark. The way he would artfully carve some tracks was truly admirable.”

Devin Jones: “I grew up watching NASCAR and seeing Jeff Gordon dominate at Watkins Glen, so I would have loved to race with him at The Glen. Although I still wish NASCAR would run the Boot!”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Celebrates Double Podium Finishes at Mid-Ohio

BimmerWorld Racing Podium at Mid-Ohio 2018

BimmerWorld Racing of Dublin, Va. finished third in both the Grand Sport (GS) and the Street Tuner (ST) classes on Saturday as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Series staged a race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for the first time since June 2013.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were in the hunt throughout the race with their GS entry, the new No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4. Clay qualified seventh with a time of 1:28.397 and was second by lap 12. Their first pit stop for fuel under a full-course caution on lap 16 dropped the BimmerWorld M4 back to seventh, but Clay was able to advance into fourth place by lap 20. Due to pit stops, he was in second place again when he made his second pit stop on lap 38, handing the car over to Cooke with fresh tires and more fuel.

There were an unusual number of penalties in this race, and unfortunately, the No. 82 M4 received a drive-through penalty for excessive wheel rotation (wheel spin) during the second pit stop. Even after serving it, Cooke ran a strong fifth and advanced to fourth on lap 48 with about 41 minutes remaining. He slipped to fifth on lap 50 but regained fourth with 36 minutes left. He was the fastest of any driver in the top five on lap 54 and passed Hugh Plumb for third on lap 58 with 27:57 left in the race. Cooke set the car’s fastest lap of the 77-lap race on lap 65 with a 1:28.663 and finished third even though he had to conserve fuel at the end.

The team’s ST entry had an equally impressive run. Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass., set a new ST track qualifying record with the BimmerWorld No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) with a time of 1:34.309 to earn the class pole. He led the first 15 laps before pitting for fuel on lap 17 under the same early caution that Clay used to make his first pit stop. Galante dropped to fifth in class after the stop but battled back to third by lap 30. He set the car’s fastest lap of the race with a 1:35.631 on lap 34, two laps before he charged into the lead again on lap 36. Galante led for five laps before pitting again to allow his co-driver, Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., to take over.

Despite never having seen Mid-Ohio before, Jones started his stint in fourth place and was able to advance to third when the second-place MINI of Derek Jones (no relation) pulled off into the infield with mechanical difficulties with about a half-hour remaining. Devin Jones was then able to keep his BMW in the final podium position until the end for another strong finish for BimmerWorld.

The race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, May 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The next event is June 28-July 1 at Watkins Glen, N.Y. More info is available on imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“We had the best car we’ve had in this GT4. The setup was just perfect and we knew it in qualifying. Unfortunately red flags kept us from putting more qualifying laps down. We knew we had pace out there and a little help from the other competitors who got together, and we were able to stay clean. I had a great drive, one of the most fun in recent memory. Our early stop for fuel was a great call by the guys, and I handed the car off to Tyler with a short pit stop coming. Then we had a little bit of bad luck obviously with the ding in the pit stop, but Tyler drove great, and now we’re here on the podium. We’ve had good pace for the last three rounds, and I think we’re really starting to figure this car out, so I feel really good about what we have going on. We needed to do well here; it’s a strong BMW track so the points are hugely valuable with less BMW-friendly tracks coming up. I love driving with Tyler. He’s an excellent co-driver, and I think we have a great team, so I’m absolutely looking forward to the next one.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“The team gave us an awesome car. James gave us a hell of a stint to the front and ended up getting second, which gave us a really good boost. The fuel call was perfect on (Race Engineer) Wayne’s part, and it really put us ahead. Our pit stop allowed us to jump the leader, but unfortunately, a little miscommunication in the pits resulted in us having to do a drive-through, which is kind of heartbreaking because we knew we had a car to go win it. But it was an amazing job by the team and by the guys on pit row. Without a team, you can’t win, so hats off to them and hats off to everyone in the pits. I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen in about two months.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We ran well. We had a good opening stint, and we had good pace for the opening drivers. The car setup was great. We had a good strategy, but some of the cars on track didn’t follow the correct yellow flag procedures and instead of starting with our ST pack on the restart, we were in the middle of a jumbled field and weren’t able to build the gap we wanted, and that’s ultimately what kind of got us. If we had a couple yellows, we could have battled for the lead since we had the same pace as the two cars in front of us, but we just couldn’t gain on them. I think we have the car that can win; it just didn’t go the way it’s supposed to, and we can’t control the other cars that aren’t following the procedures in the rules. Sometimes it’s a crapshoot and unpredictable, but we have some of the top guys working for us at BimmerWorld.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“First off, Nick had a great first stint and great qualifying run. He had a lot of speed all weekend, which was awesome. Our car was great all weekend, too; just a few little minor adjustments were all we had to make. Nick opened up a pretty good gap, which we gave away to come in and get fuel. That kind of shuffled us back during the first stint. He was able to make up some ground, but we came in for the driver change under green in third, and we weren’t able to make up the deficit. The MINI guys got on me a little bit when we had cold tires, but once we got some heat in the tires, we were able to keep pace with them. By then, the gap was already opened up. I want to thank Veristor, Legistics and everybody who supports us.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Drivers Optimistic About Their Chances at Mid-Ohio

BimmerWorld M4 GT4

BimmerWorld Racing sits third in the Grand Sport (GS) point standings and second in Street Tuner (ST) as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series prepares to compete at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this Saturday, May 5, for the first time since 2013.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., say it’s too early to think about points, but they’re both optimistic about their chances with their new No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 at the very technical track in Lexington, Ohio.

Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. has run at Mid-Ohio in the past, but his co-driver, Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., will be making his first start there. They’re confident BimmerWorld’s past accomplishments at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course will help them come up with a good set-up for the team’s ST entry, the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis).

In quizzing the BimmerWorld drivers as they prepare for this race, we learned some of them sing in the cockpit at times, and Clay might have to explain the meaning of the word “buckeye” to his teammates before the first of two practice sessions on Friday. A third practice session will occur on Saturday morning before ST qualifying at 11:10 a.m. and GS qualifying at 11:30 a.m. Fans can enjoy the open-grid fan walk before the two-hour race gets the green flag at 2:20 p.m.

The race will be covered live on imsa.tv, with live timing and scoring at imsa.com. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, May 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
When was the last time you raced at Mid-Ohio, and how did it go?

“I raced at Mid-Ohio at least once a year since around 2004 in a variety of BMW machines, and I have a fair amount of history at the track. It’s a solid track for me personally, and I’m looking forward to returning this year for another go at it!”

How do you think your new BMW M4 GT4 will like Mid-Ohio?
“It was always a fairly good place for our BMW cars because it requires a bit of everything — power, braking, and tidy handling. I think we’re progressing on our M4 GT4 work with some recent testing, and I think we’ve improved the soft spots in the last couple of rounds, which weren’t even all that soft.  I like the M4 package and I am hopeful for a solid result.”

Does being third in the point standings give you added confidence, or is it too early to be counting points?
“It’s way too early to be looking at the points; if nothing else, that’s just bad luck! I do think we have a great car and team, and Tyler and I click along extremely well together as a driving duo. I’m confident in any track we will hit this year, but I’m certainly aware that there are a lot of other good cars and teams out there. It will be a battle every weekend, but one we hope to win.”

Please tell us a little about the third-place finish you got recently at the Nürburgring and about your plans to run in the 24-hour race there later this month.
“The Nürburgring is a special place. Honestly, it was a trip I likely wouldn’t have made on my own, but OPTIMA Batteries has such a passion for the automotive and enthusiast culture and encouraged us to take it on as part of its new European DIN fitment battery launch and testing program last year. We have one year under our belts, and we’re continuing to learn and progress to the point Tyler and I stood on the podium for our first time in Germany at the six-hour Qualifikationsrennen event leading up to the 24-hour race. It’s a really difficult track and a fierce BMW M235i racing field, and I’m really proud of that one.”

Mid-Ohio is known as a technical road course. Do you think it’s the most technical one you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“Mid-Ohio is technical due to some blind turns and linked sections, and less reward is placed on just letting it all hang out. But we’re just coming off of Sebring, which is technical and difficult due to track surface challenges and similarly linked turns. Every track is challenging in some way.  I don’t think we’ll be baffled by anything in the layout this weekend.”

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“Most importantly, a buckeye is a chocolate-covered peanut butter piece found in Graeter’s Buckeye Blitz, which is frustratingly only found in Ohio. So yeah, we’ll be having some of that!”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
Have you raced at Mid-Ohio since that event in 2013?

“I’ve participated in some BMW events at Mid-Ohio with a couple guys I coach. It’s a great track to make laps and a tough track to race. The race will be close and intense.” 

How do you think your new BMW M4 GT4 will like Mid-Ohio?
“I think we’ll do well. We found some things when we tested that should help us on tracks like Mid-Ohio.” 

Where does Mid-Ohio stand on your list of favorite tracks, and why?
“It’s in the top 10 because you never know what you’ll get. When it’s wet, it’s one of the slickest tracks on the circuit. It’s a great track to learn at and race at.” 

Does being third in points give you added confidence going into Mid-Ohio, or is it too early to be counting points?
“It’s too early to be confident. A lot can happen in a year, or even a race. James and I witnessed that at Road Atlanta last year. You always keep points in mind and how you can keep gaining.”

Please tell us a little about the third-place finish you got recently at the Nürburgring and about your plans to run in the 24-hour race there later this month.
“It was a dream come true. It’s such a tough track and tough race. The class we’re in is one of the toughest in the field and accomplishing that with James was a great feeling. We all feel really good about the 24, and we think we can improve compared to last year.” 

Mid-Ohio is known as a technical road course. Do you think it’s the most technical one you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“They all have their uniqueness. This track has a lot of blind uphill corners, but Lime Rock has a lot of elevation changes, and we run the most laps there. It’s hard to say because each track has its challenges.”

Ohio is the only state to have an official rock song. It’s “Hang on Sloopy,” which could be very appropriate for a race car driver at times. Do you ever sing during a race, and if so, what?
“I’ll sometimes sing some AC/DC or one of the latest hit songs to come out. But only under a long caution, because it keeps your mind busy so you’re not sleeping at the restart.” 

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“I think it’s a type of plant.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
When was the last time you raced at Mid-Ohio? What were you in, and how did it go?

“The last time I was at Mid-Ohio was in 2013. It was one of my first races in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series. I was in a GS Mustang Boss 302R. We ended up finishing mid pack, but I learned a lot. I fell in love with this fun track the first time out. It has some really challenging corners mixed with some really fun places!”

How do you think your BMW 328i (F30 chassis) will fare there?
“The F30 should fit very well at Mid-Ohio. I’ve been trying to estimate how she’ll behave there. I’m excited to find out, and I’m sure we’ll be near the front.” 

Where does Mid-Ohio stand on your list of favorite tracks, and why?
“Mid-Ohio is tied for second on my list with Road America, with Watkins Glen being first. All three of these great tracks have a similar natural-topography flow to them. I love it.” 

We’re entering race three of a 10-race series and you and Devin are second in ST. Does this give you added confidence going into Mid-Ohio, or is it too early to be counting points?
“We’re all looking good at this point in the early season. I know we’re putting everything we have into staying up front, and I’m looking forward to challenging for the championship.”

Mid-Ohio is known as a technical road course. Do you think Mid-Ohio is the most technical road course you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“Mosport is up there with Mid-Ohio in the importance of technique and theory. They’re really fun on the brain.”

Ohio is the only state to have an official rock song. It’s “Hang on Sloopy,” which could be very appropriate for a race car driver at times. Do you ever sing during a race, and if so, what?
“I do sometimes sing in the car during some challenging moments. If I do sing at Mid-Ohio, it’s definitely going to be ‘My City Was Gone’ by The Pretenders.”

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“I’m not completely sure, but it may be a flower or tree. Are they edible? Could one have a bowl of buckeyes?”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
When was the last time you raced at Mid-Ohio?

“I’ve actually never been to Mid-Ohio, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge of learning a new track. I’ve seen a lot of racing at this track and it seems like one that will fit my driving style well.”

How do you think your BMW 328i (F30 chassis) will fare there?
“Our car should be strong at Mid-Ohio. The BimmerWorld guys have some past experience at this track with the current package, so this should be an advantage for us, and we’re hoping for a great result.”

We’re entering race three of a 10-race series and you and Nick are second in ST. Does this give you added confidence going into Mid-Ohio, or is it too early to be counting points?
“We had the car to beat at Sebring until we ran into issues in the pits and a motor issue during my stint; this hurt us a bit in points. We’re still sitting second in the standings, but for now, we’re just focusing on winning races and getting results.”

Do you think Mid-Ohio is the most technical road course you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“From what I’ve seen in video and on iRacing, it seems very technical. That suits me well, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this track compares to others of the same nature.”

Ohio is the only state to have an official rock song. It’s “Hang on Sloopy,” which could be very appropriate for a race car driver at times.
“That song might be a little before my time! Ha-ha!”

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“I thought about this for a while, and honestly had no clue. I gave in and looked it up, and my guesses would’ve been nowhere close to what a buckeye actually is!”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Takes Top-Five Finish In Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Sebring

bimmerworld racing takes top-five finish

BimmerWorld Racing had strong showings in the GS and ST classes of Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series race at Sebring International Raceway. However, adverse circumstances in the 2-hour and 45-minute race led the Dublin, Va.-based team to finish down the order, with a fifth-place finish in ST and eleventh-place in GS.

In the GS class, team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had an eventful race with their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4. Clay started seventh, topped off the fuel during a strategy stop on lap 11, and handed the car over to Cooke with 50 minutes remaining on lap 26.

Cooke resumed in ninth place and was setting blistering fast laps to regain ground. He advanced several positions, but with 25 minutes remaining, the BMW and a McLaren went for the same spot of race track and made contact. Cooke was hit with a drive-through penalty that all but ended his run to another podium.

In the ST class, Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass and Devin Jones of Mooresville, NC started from the third position in the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i. Galante was able to nudge the F30 328i into the lead on lap 1, holding his spot for four laps. The run was short-lived, however, as the 2nd-place MINI made contact with Galante in an effort to take back the lead. Both cars spun but were able to continue. Galante was able to fight back and retake the lead four laps later. Overall, the No. 81 led a total of 14 laps through the race. Fate had other plans for the BMW though, as the car was low on fuel and the team was forced to pit for emergency fuel under a yellow flag while the pits were closed. This drew a 60-second penalty.

The car made its only scheduled pit stop a few laps later when Jones took the controls. Jones had a solid and less dramatic stint, but the time deficit was too much to overcome the speed of the MINIs.

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“My stint was good, and I had a good start. I had a good pass on one MINI going into Turn 1, and then I got the lead from another MINI going into Turn 7, so that was good.

“I had some pressure from the No. 37 MINI and out of nowhere, I got hit. It seemed like it came from very far back, so I didn’t see it coming. Luckily, our car wasn’t that damaged. It went from 100 percent to about 95 percent. The contact knocked some toe out of the rear, which may have actually helped it turn better in some of the turns. I hunted down the other ST car and regained the lead again four laps later.

“Then we were running out of fuel as a yellow came out. We entered the pits when they were closed to take on an emergency five gallons of fuel which drew a penalty.

“After the driver change, Devin had to come in and serve our drive-through penalty. If we had another yellow, we might have been able to fight back and have a chance to win, but it wasn’t our day.

“Being out there to race couldn’t happen without Legistics, Racing To End Alzheimer’s [R2Endalz.org], and Veristor. BimmerWorld Racing did an awesome job with the car; James Clay is the best. It was just tough.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was an interesting race. Nick did a great job in the first stint recovering from the spin. He was able to rebound and get back in the race and was leading when he came in for fuel.

“We were hoping for another caution, but even if we had one, we ended up with a sensor issue, so we were running low on power.

“It was just one of those days. The BimmerWorld guys did a great job getting the car prepared, and we’ll get back up there for Mid-Ohio. The car has the speed; we just have to work some of the kinks out of it and we’ll be good.”

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“We made a change to the car after qualifying and were hopeful we’d addressed a small handling issue, but unfortunately, I think we made it a little bit worse. The car was still solid and able to run fast, especially in longer stints and after half the fuel load was burned.

“Our strategy kind of led us to always run at a full tank. We pitted early and used the opportunity to fuel up, and we had great pit stops, but ultimately track position was probably more important than a fast car this weekend. We had a drive-through penalty for some contact during Tyler’s stint which didn’t help, but he did a great job out there, and it is what it is. Sebring is a tight track, so when you have two cars that are good on the straight, you’ve got to find your place to pass. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the room, and maybe they thought it wasn’t their place to give it. That’s racing.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“We had a car that we knew could have finished on the podium. I was battling with several cars, and I went down the inside of the No. 69 McLaren. We both turned in for the corner, and he gave me a little less room than a car could fit. I ended up tapping him and received a penalty for it, and that kind of killed our day. It’s unfortunate for the team.

“We had a quick car, and as the stint went on, we got quicker and quicker. I knew we had about 25 minutes left when I made the pass, and I knew it was ‘go’ time. Unfortunately, the outcome is what it is. Eleventh place isn’t that terrible, so we’ll move on to Mid-Ohio and make up for the hit to our points.”

The race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, March 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The next event is May 4-6 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. More info is available on 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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Plans to Maximize Its Momentum at Sebring

BimmerWorld-Racing-Plans-to-Maximize-Its-Momentum-at-Sebring

After getting off to its best start ever in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series with a pole and a victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class and a second-place finish in the Grand Sport (GS) division at Daytona, BimmerWorld Racing will try to carry that momentum into the second race of the season Friday afternoon, March 16, at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will drive the Dublin, Va.-based team’s GS entry, the brand-new No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4. Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. will share the team’s ST entry, the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis). A total of 38 cars in three classes will duke it out on the historic 17-turn, 3.74-mile road course before a partying crowd of fans enjoying their annual rites of spring.

Three practice sessions will be held on Thursday, March 15 at 10 a.m., 2:05 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The five ST cars and six Touring Cars will hold a joint qualifying session at 5:55 p.m. that day, while the 27 GS cars will qualify 20 minutes later.

The Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 race will be from 2:45 p.m. through 4:45 p.m. on Friday followed by the 66th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday.

Live video coverage and live timing and scoring of the race will be offered on imsa.tv and imsa.com, respectively. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, March 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
How is getting off to such a great start helping the team and its drivers?
“Our Daytona weekend was our best start to an IMSA season, or maybe any pro season, to date! Our two-class attack this year provides the opportunity to win twice, which we almost did. BimmerWorld’s mastery of our F30 328i ST car after five years of development along with BMW Motorsport’s support of our GT4 M4 really give us the tools we need. I think I can safely say that everyone here is very happy with how the season started, but of course now that puts us in the position of trying to repeat, or even better that result, which of course will be a challenge. It’s a long season, but I like where our momentum is set four hours into it.”

In what ways is BMW Motorsport helping you develop your new M4 GT4?
“BMW has been great to work with as we sort out this M4 GT4 race car. Our BimmerWorld team has a lot of familiarity with the chassis which has certainly helped as we continue to work on what started as a great platform. But when we come up with an oddity, question, or issue, BMW is there with a solution, which is a big shift from our previous in-house cars. We are still learning the car and technology, which is important for our BMW performance parts business, and now we are working with the engineers that designed the car to get there much faster — and win some races along the way!”

You’ve developed a lot of different BMWs. What are the main strengths of your new GT4, and what are the areas that you’re working on most to improve it for the Continental Tire series?
“So far, our M4 GT4 has shown to be very reliable and consistent. That may sound bland, but that’s very important to me because that’s what wins endurance races. To run a four-hour event for our first race with such a great result says a lot about the car. The car wasn’t originally tested on or designed for the Continental tires we run, so we’re working on the setup to make them work well — especially with putting power down coming out of turns, which was a soft spot for us at Daytona due to some compromises we made for the race there and which will be more important at other tracks.”

The car you ran here last year was one of the heaviest cars in the field. Where does the new M4 GT4 stack up in the GS field? Is it also one of the heaviest cars?
“The BMW M4 GT4 is currently about average with the IMSA BoP. The light and very slick Porsche had some clear advantage at Daytona, and it will be interesting to see where our strengths are as the season progresses.  A BMW has always been just ‘pretty good at everything,’ but this is obviously a stacked field, and we’ll certainly be working hard all around.”

Last year you qualified second and led every lap of the first half of the Sebring race in ST until a freak problem on the pit stop caused a long delay. Still, you were able to battle back for a sixth-place finish, just 0.035 out of a top-five. Now you’re in a brand-new car and in a different class, but you’re still fielding the ST car for Nick Galante and Devin Jones. The size of that car’s fuel tank changed last year due to the rules and its fuel economy suffered. Is that still a challenge, or has that been rectified for 2018?
“The BMW 328i ST car picked up where we started at the end of last year with a fair balance of performance from IMSA. We’re still a gas-guzzler when we stay in the boost all the time, and the large fuel tank and heavy fuel load add to the already heavy car, but we worked really hard to minimize the effect of those challenges and have a solid car. Devin and Nick came out of the gates strong, and we had a perfectly reliable car for the race with two strong drivers, and the result followed. I hope for more of the same at Sebring.”

One of the special things about Sebring is its spring-break crowd. Do you have any favorite memories of things you’ve seen at Sebring that you can share?
“We have been racing at Sebring since the early 2000s, and it has certainly been wild at times. I think we solidly held our ground in Green Park in years past, but my favorite memory was going to get pizza one night after I put my car into the Turn 17 tire wall. When I came back to the car, which had been attached to our transporter with chains while the guys pulled the frame with our dually under the direction of one of our friends and competitors, the side was peeled off the car like a can opener. And one of the race fans and certainly local heroes who introduced himself as Awesome Randy explained the finer points of straightening our bent door by digging a hole and running over it with the truck. You can’t make up a more absurd sounding cast of characters!”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
Last year at Sebring you started your stint from 13th place due to a refueling issue, and yet you still almost got a top-five finish. It was an intense effort. Since you’re in GS now and there are more GS cars than any other class, do you think you can do it again?
“I’m confident it can be done. We have a strong car; that was shown at Daytona. After the February test, James and I felt really good about what we are showing up with, and we think that can be done again.”

Sebring is known for its bumps. Since you have a lot of experience there, do you know where most of them are and do you actively look for new bumps during practice? What is typically the bumpiest part of the track?
“Turns 1 and 17 are where they’re the worst. In the old ST car, there were many pictures of us three-wheeling through 17 because the bumps were that violent. It’s what makes Sebring the challenging track it is.”

You grew up in Cooper City, Fla., and Sebring was the site of your first victory ever in car racing. If you could talk to yourself back before that first victory here, what would you tell your younger self?
“In 2010 I won my first-ever car race, and what a moment that was. I would’ve been smarter with my passes and how I could’ve gotten to the front sooner. Overall I wouldn’t change much because it’s still an awesome day!”

Sebring has a great deal of history. What does it mean to you to be able to race on such a historic track?
“It’s great! You can see and feel the history. It’s a track that all the guys I have looked up to have raced on. The best part is, most of the pavement is still original.” 

One of the special things about Sebring is its spring-break crowd. Do you have any favorite memories of things you’ve seen at Sebring that you can share?
“Something that makes Sebring the way it is, is the people that dress up like cows, the guys that dress up like monks, and the school bus that got turned into a giant Corvette. It’s controlled craziness, and that’s why so many people love it.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You and Devin were winners in your first time driving together. How excited does that make you for Sebring and for the year ahead?
“The entire combination this season is exciting. The entire team is a good fit. I know I’m looking forward to driving with Devin this season and keeping this train rolling.”

How do your individual driving styles compare?
“I think we’re very close and similar in lap times, but looking over the data so far, we are achieving the same result in a different way. This is always a good thing. We can take a couple of little things from each driver and go faster.”

You won this race last year in ST with Spencer Pumpelly. Now you have a whole different car, a whole different team, and a whole different co-driver. What will it take to repeat?
“Last year was an exciting race for sure. I learned a lot from last season. I’m looking forward to a repeat with BimmerWorld. It will take the entire team coming together and doing what we do.”

This race is half as long as the season opener. Is that good, bad, or does it matter?
“I don’t think it will matter. I feel we have a good overall package we’re bringing to the series. By that, I mean the team, the drivers, and the equipment.”

Sebring has a great deal of history. What does it mean to you to be able to race on such a historic track?
“It means a lot, from the World War II training field to the historic racing throughout the years. It is an honor to be out there competing on the world stage.”

One of the special things about Sebring is its spring-break crowd. Do you have any favorite memories of things you’ve seen at Sebring that you can share?
“The level that these fans go to is like no other track. I love it! There are the elaborate makeshift party stations constructed through the facility and then there are the fans themselves! Roaming packs of cow costumes and Vikings are great to see. You never know what to expect.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You and Nick were winners in your first time driving together. How excited does that make you for Sebring and for the year ahead?
“Our performance at Daytona has given us a great deal of momentum leading into Sebring. Our Veristor/BimmerWorld Racing BMW is strong and we’re confident with how it’s running. The season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start with a pole and a win, but Sebring is a different animal, so we have to stay level-headed and focus on executing another race with no mistakes.”  

Do you think you can duplicate your Daytona pole at Sebring?
“I think we’re very capable of another pole at Sebring, with Nick or myself in the car. I came close to getting the pole there last year but ended up getting knocked to third in the final seconds of the session, so it would be nice to get some redemption. Our car should be suited well for Sebring, so our chances are good.”

What’s the biggest difference driving a turbocharged car than the non-turbocharged car you drove last year?
“The turbocharged BMW is very different to cars I’ve driven in the past. It requires a change in driving style and it helps to have some patience with it. Once I learned what the car liked in terms of my driving, it can be a big benefit in gaining time around the track. The main concern is always keeping the tires in good shape through the stint.”

Nick is a former series champion, but the season opener was your first Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series victory. What did you do to celebrate, and now that you’ve had a little time to reflect upon it, how does it affect you going forward?
“It was a huge win for me personally. My mom and dad were there, which made it really special. They supported me so much through my career in racing and to have them with me at Daytona was something I’ll never forget.

“Daytona is a place you dream of racing when you’re a kid. I never imagined I’d get a win there. Getting Veristor to victory lane was also really cool. We have been together since I ran late models in 2012. They watch every race and to finally get them an IMSA win had me really pumped up. Now we want to go get some more!”

One of the special things about Sebring is its spring-break crowd. Do you have any favorite memories of things you’ve seen at Sebring that you can share?
“I think the key part of this question is, “that you can share;” there is a lot of wild activity at Sebring! This is going to be my sixth time at the 12-hour, and it’s become one of my favorite events of the season. 2011 was my first time coming down for the race week, and I just remember all the creative buses and RVs that were in the infield. It’s truly a race that’s one of a kind, and the fans that attend make the race what it is. I always enjoy rolling around the infield in the golf cart and seeing how packed it is around the whole facility.”

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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Takes Victory and a Podium in First Round of IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series at Daytona

BimmerWorld-Takes-Victory-and-a-Podium-in-First-Round-of-IMSA-Continental-Tire-SportsCar-Challenge-Series-at-Daytona

What a race for BMW at Daytona International Speedway! The BimmerWorld Racing team from Dublin, Va., had a near perfect weekend, collecting the pole and victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) series on Friday, as well as second place in the Grand Sport (GS) class.

The BMW Endurance Challenge race, a part of the 56th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona race, was a four-hour enduro with its fair share of cautions.

Polesitter Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. and teammate Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. dominated the race in the ST class in their No. 81 BMW 328i (F30 chassis), never putting a wheel wrong, and it paid off in a proud victory for the duo. It was also the first victory for the F30 328i in the ST class, after multiple podiums. Devin, who collected his first IMSA Continental Tire victory today, drove the first 85 laps before changing to teammate Galante.

BimmerWorld team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Tyler Cooke of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. started from the 18th position in the GS class in their international GT4-spec No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4. Qualifying and starting driver Clay charged into the Top 10 and even led one lap (lap 17) in a convincing run to the podium in the inaugural Continental Tire race. Clay drove for the first 67 of 106 laps before Cooke came in fresh and continued the gallant charge for their first podium of the season.

Driver Quotes:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“My stint was awesome! I knew I had some traffic to work through and I’m just happy we got through Turn One together safely, and then it was just a matter of picking it off. I knew we had a car with pace. The key today was avoiding incidents and somehow we did. There were some really close calls. I worked my way up to lead at one point. A win in ST and the debut of the GT4 car with a P2 finish feels great. We knew we had an awesome car under us, despite a bad qualifying, and sure enough, we did. What a fantastic machine and teamwork from the guys, and what a fantastic weekend overall!”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“Gosh, it was quite a race. The BMW guys never gave up on us. They really put a lot of effort in and it showed today. We were running on a liter and it was a good battle at the end with the Mustang, and the Mercedes was there. Hat’s off to the BMW 2-4 finish (second and fourth place). It’s setting the tone for the year and I’m really proud to be in the BMW, and I’m proud to have them joining us. The BimmerWorld guys work their tails off and I’m just happy we can take home a piece of hardware for them and they can enjoy it. Now I’m looking forward to Sebring.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Devin drove the first three hours and 58 minutes, I think. I’m kidding, of course, but I only felt like I was in the car for a minute. Devin did a great job of putting the BMW on pole and setting the car up. The BimmerWorld team did most of the hard work getting this car where it needed to be. Hats off to the team and the strategy. Unbelievable job on the strategy by Trent, our engineer. He nailed it perfectly, and Devin drove a great first stint and got the pole, which is awesome. My job was easy, he did all the hard work.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was definitely a great start to the year. It can’t get much better than a pole and a win at Daytona; it’s huge. It’s been a massive day for us and the whole BimmerWorld team with a second place for their GS car, too. I just have to thank Veristor and everyone that supports this car. It’s really a dream to win here, and I’m just going to absorb it all.

“I grew up watching races here and always being a fan. My dad and I came here in 2004 to race a go-kart, and to see where we’ve come since then is amazing. To win at Daytona is really a dream and it’s all because of these BimmerWorld guys. It’s going to be a great season and what a way to start it.”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Team Ready for Multi-Class Attack at Daytona

BimmerWorld No. 82 M4 GT4 Ready for Daytona

BimmerWorld Racing is acclaimed for the development work it has done with its BMWs in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) series. The Dublin, Va.-based team will continue that work in two classes of the series this year beginning with the season opener, a 4-hour race on Friday, Jan. 26 at Daytona International Speedway called the BMW Endurance Challenge, which supports that weekend’s Rolex 24.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Tyler Cooke of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. will move up to the Grand Sport (GS) class this year and develop their brand-new, factory-supported No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4.

Meanwhile, two drivers new to the team but not the series — former Street Tuner (ST) champion Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. — will switch from Porsche Caymans to the BMW BimmerWorld has developed into a championship contender in the ST class — the turbocharged 328i (F30 chassis). The new co-drivers’ car, No. 81, will showcase season sponsors Veristor and Legistics on its new livery to be unveiled at the Round-2 race taking place at Sebring in March.

The flavor of the series has changed for 2018. In the recent past, there were two classes, GS and ST, with the ST cars outnumbering the GS entries. This season, TCR will be introduced as a third class in the series, and the GS class has grown overnight to become by far the largest. The pre-entry list shows 31 GS entries, five ST cars, and seven TCR cars.

BimmerWorld Racing is especially enthusiastic after a successful pre-season test Jan. 5-7 at Daytona called the Roar Before the 24, where the development work continued in earnest on the No. 82 while the drivers of the No. 81 got acclimated to the intricacies of their BMW 328i and its turbocharged engine.

That work will continue during three practice sessions leading up to the season opener on Daytona’s 3.45-mile road course. Practice 1 is from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Practice 2 is from 3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST later that afternoon. Practice 3 is from 11:40 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 25. A combined ST and TCR qualifying session follows 10 minutes later, while the GS class qualifies from 12:25 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. EST that day. There will be a 45-minute open grid fan walk on pit late at noon on Friday, Jan. 26 before the BMW Endurance Challenge gets the green flag at 1 p.m. and the checkered at 5 p.m. EST.

The race will air live on IMSA.TV from 12:50 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST on Friday, Jan. 26 prior to the start of the Rolex 24 the following day. Live timing and scoring will be displayed at IMSA.com. Highlights of the 4-hour race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 10.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
Please tell us a little about your new GS program.
“This is an exciting program for us. We’re working directly with BMW Motorsport to tailor the GT4 car to the Continental Tire Challenge series specifications. As both a competing driver and as a business owner specializing in BMW aftermarket products, this is an important direction. The factory car is a new program for us. So far, we’re happy with the testing we’ve done, and it shows great promise for a competitive season ahead.”

How did things go at the Roar?
“We had a test plan for the BMW GT4 that we worked through during the Roar test weekend. We were very strict in our designated strategy and what we saw through the weekend was progression during every session, which was exactly what we wanted as we continue to learn this new car. We made very solid progress during the test, and the last session was our best.

“I think we’re still a little bit challenged on top speed on the banking at Daytona, which we can’t do much about as a team with this type of platform. But I think we have a solid race car that did everything we asked of it. If we can get the BoP [Balance of Performance] where it needs to be, then I think we’re going to be in the fight all year. We have a fantastic tool for the job. Our team has embraced the car and is working well with it. Tyler and I are both dialed in with the car and picked up right where we left off in the ST car. We’re really looking forward to the season in the new car.

“As far as the ST program goes, we ended 2017 with a really strong BMW for the ST class, and that 328i has been a long-term development project that finally came into its own last year. We finished the season strong, and it looks like we’re going to start the season strong this year. Nick and Devin are fantastic additions to the team. We’ve enjoyed being around them, and both got in the car and were immediately quick during the test. They acclimated to both the car and the team quickly, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic year with those two.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
What are your expectations for 2018?
“My expectation is very high for this year after the outings we’ve had in this new GT4 car — the test in November, the BOP [Balance of Performance] test for BMW in December, and the Roar test earlier in January.

“We believe this car shows a lot of potential. I’m glad to be back paired with James and working together again. The M4 is going to be a great fit for us, and we’re especially excited because the BimmerWorld crew will be working in conjunction with BMW Motorsport to develop the GT4 car during the season.

“Our goal is to win the championship, and after being so close and finishing second in the championship last year, we’re even more hungry for it. We’re go-getters and have the capability to run at the front of the pack consistently. With our determination and the strength of the BimmerWorld crew to consistently prepare and campaign a great car, I have no doubts about this being achievable.”

How did things go at the Roar?
“The weekend started out good and ended great! We started out running a 2-minute lap time to a 1:59, and we ended the test by running a 1:57, so now we’re with the field. We enjoyed the help of BMW, and the BimmerWorld guys worked hard during the Roar test weekend and since to implement what we learned. We left the Roar test knowing we have a pretty fast car even when we were on old tires, so we’re hopeful for the race.

“I’m really looking forward to being back at Daytona for the race, and it’s really cool seeing what this GS field is like now. It’s a big field that’s grown a lot. A few years ago there were six cars in the field, and now there are over 30. It’s great to see how IMSA is making the series better and welcoming manufacturers like BMW with this car. It’s awesome for a fan to drive their M4 to the track and see the outside of our M4 race car, and then look at the inside and it looks like a GT3 car. I’m looking forward to the race and to the whole season.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You’ve had great success in this series with Porsches. What will it be like to drive a BMW in the series this year?
“Joining BimmerWorld has been something I’ve dreamed about since I first got my foot in the small door of racing. To be on this team is really sweet, and it should be a pretty good fit.

“Back in 2006, my first taste of motorsport competition was when I started autocrossing my E36 M3 with the Golden Gate chapter of the BMW Car Club of America. I knew of the great products that BimmerWorld provided and even had some on my car that helped me win my first championship. I later moved into road course racing and learned of the BimmerWorld Racing team. I’m very much looking forward to fighting for a championship with such a long-standing and prestigious team, and I feel it’s a good fit that has been in the works now for over 11 years, from my standpoint. I’m excited to finally be back in a BMW with arguably one of the best teams and crews in the world, thanks to the professional leadership of James Clay.

“Co-driving with Devin Jones just adds to the great fit of the team. I raced against Devin for the past two years, and I know that he’ll be bringing a fast, smart asset to the team and the championship hunt. I believe our driving styles are sure to be a good fit to help us forge a path to the front.”

What did you accomplish at the Roar?
“What a great weekend! We had a good program set in place. We started off just getting to know the car and making the changes we had to make from the cars that Devin and I were driving last year. The BMW 328i is way different than the Porsche Cayman, but it was easier to adapt to than I expected. I was worried about the turbo and how differently I was going to have to drive it, but it felt good. Both Devin and I picked it up quickly.

“Switching over from the normally-aspirated car that I’ve been in for the past two years to the F30 328i turbocharged in-line four has been a big change. So far, it’s been fun trying to figure out the characteristics of the car, how the turbo delivers the power, and how we can get the car to move quickly. It’s been a great education and I’m looking forward to learning more.

“I think we’ve got a good season ahead of us. We’re already off to a better start than I expected.”

What are your expectations for the season?
“A lot of great drivers from past series, and maybe some new drivers looking to get their start, will make for a competitive field. I’m looking forward to trying to get into a closing role and to fight for the championship. I’m also looking forward to getting as many pole positions and victories as we can get and contending for the championship.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You’re also transitioning from a Porsche to a BMW this year. What do you think of your chances?
“Joining BimmerWorld for the 2018 season is an absolute honor. They are a top-notch race team and organization. And with Nick as a co-driver, our chances are excellent. Nick’s and my goals for the season are simple — we want to compete for wins and go after the championship in the final year of the ST class. I believe we have every tool to do so, and I can’t wait to get started at Daytona.”

How did things go at the Roar?
“It was a really good weekend. Nick and I learned a lot about the car, and we were able to do some setup adjustments and experiment a little. The weather changed during the course of the test and got a little warmer, which was good because it will probably be a little bit warmer for the race. All the BimmerWorld guys really set up a great car, and I’m really looking forward to the race.”

What are your expectations for the season opener?
“It will be great to be back racing at Daytona. This will be my fourth time coming here for the Continental Tire season opener before the Rolex 24 at Daytona. There’s a lot of excitement around the new classes. It’s my first time here with the BimmerWorld guys, and the guys have been really helpful and are really up to speed with the car, so the development of it is spot-on. It was fast off the trailer at the Roar. Nick and I had to get adjusted to it, but we didn’t have to make too many changes. We had to get used to that turbocharged engine; there’s a little bit of a learning curve with that, like when to get on the throttle and different positions. It’s a little bit different than the Cayman I’m used to driving, but so far, so good!”

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

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

ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Heads Out of the Roar Before the 24 Test Days With a Strong Outlook on the 2018 Season

Bimmerworld Heads Out of the Roar Before the 24 Test Days With a Strong Outlook on the 2018 Season

The BimmerWorld Racing team had a successful few days at the Roar Before the 24 test days at Daytona International Speedway. The team’s outlook for 2018 is strong after testing both their new BMW M4 GT4 and their BMW 328i (F30) in preparation for the IMSA Continental Tire Challenge season-opening four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge race on Friday, January 26.

“The BMW 328i has been a long-term development project for BimmerWorld that finally came into its own by the end of 2017,” said BimmerWorld Team Owner James Clay. “Nick (Galante) and Devin (Jones) have been a fantastic addition to the team, and it looks like we’re going to start the season strong this year. They both got in the No. 81 and were immediately quick and acclimated to the car and the team, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic year with those two.

“With the BMW GT4, we had a designated plan and saw progression every session we were on track, and we continue to learn this new car. There are still some things to figure out to make it faster in a straight line — this is Daytona after all — but we’re at least satisfied with the pre-season balance. Our team has embraced the car and is working well with it. Tyler (Cooke) and I are both dialed in with the No. 82 and picked up right where we left off in the ST car, so we’re really looking forward to the season in the new GS car.”

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Announces Driver Lineup of No. 81 BMW 328i for 2018

BimmerWorld Racing No. 81 - BimmerWorld Racing Announces Driver Lineup of No. 81 BMW 328i for 2018

BimmerWorld Racing’s team owner James Clay has announced his driver lineup for the No. 81 BMW 328i for the exciting 2018 IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (ICTSC) season. Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. and Nick Galante of Seaside, Calif. will pair for a run at the Street Tuner (ST) ICTSC championship in the F30 chassis BMW, commencing at the Roar Before the 24 on January 5-7, 2018.

“We’re pleased to welcome Devin Jones and Nick Galante to the BimmerWorld Racing team for 2018,” said Clay, of Blacksburg, Va. “Both drivers have a range of experience both in the Continental Tire series and outside of it, so we’re happy to welcome them to the team as we fight for the championship.”

The 2018 season starter will be the official IMSA Test Days at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the Dublin, Va.-based team will field the No. 81 turbocharged BMW 328i in the Street Tuner (ST) class.

Born and raised in Greenfield, Mass., Nick Galante found himself with a broken back after a snowboarding incident in 1998 and knew that if he ever got out of the hospital he would follow his life-long dream of racing cars. Soon after recovering, he began accomplishing his mission to race.

In 2007, Galante competed in and won the scholarship for the F3 Jim Russell Championship Series and in the following two years won the Masters F3 Championship titles. From 2011-2014, Galante began his professional driving debut in IMSA’s Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge and drove his first full season in 2015, finishing tenth overall in the top GS class.

He carried his momentum into 2016 and won the season championship in the ST class in the No. 17 Legistics RS1 Porsche Cayman with co-driver Spencer Pumpelly, followed by a third-place finish last season.

“Joining BimmerWorld has been something I’ve dreamed about since I first got my foot in the small door of racing,” said Galante. “Back in 2006, my first taste of motorsport competition was when I started autocrossing my E36 M3 with the Golden Gate Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America. I knew of the great products that BimmerWorld provided and even had some on my car that helped me win my first championship. I later moved into road course racing and learned of the BimmerWorld Racing Team. I’m very much looking forward to fighting for a championship with such a longstanding and prestigious team, and I feel it’s a good fit that has been in the works now for over 11 years from my standpoint. I’m excited to finally be back in a BMW with arguably one of the best teams and crew in the world thanks to the professional leadership of James Clay.

“Co-driving alongside Devin Jones just adds to the great fit of the team. I raced competitively against Devin for the past two years and know that he’ll be bringing a fast, smart asset to the team and the championship hunt. I believe our driving styles are sure to be a good fit to help us forge a path to the front.”

Galante brings his returning sponsors of Legistics (legistics.net) and the Racing to End Alzheimer’s organization (r2endalz.org.) The CEO of Legistics and founder of the Racing to End Alzheimer’s organization, Philip Frengs, has been a close friend of Galante for over a decade, with their relationship first forged on the golf course.

Growing up in California, Jones became a young karting star and was considered an “expert” by the age of 11. After his family moved to North Carolina, he began racing in the Legends cars by age 13 and then advanced to the PASS Super Late Model cars. By 2013, he made his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series before transitioning to sports cars the following year. He began competing in the IMSA Continental Tire Series part-time in 2015 before completing full seasons the past two years in a Porsche Cayman with positive results. Last year also marked Jones’ NASCAR Xfinity debut at Watkins Glen.

“Joining BimmerWorld for the 2018 season is an absolute honor,” said Devin Jones. “They are a top-notch race team and organization. I’m looking forward to continuing their long history of winning races. And with Nick as a co-driver our chances are excellent. Nick’s and my goals for the season are simple; we want to compete for wins and go after the championship in the final year for the ST class. I believe we have every tool to do so, and I can’t wait to get started at the Roar next week in Daytona.”

Sponsors for the No. 81 BMW from Jones include his long-time partner Veristor (veristor.com), a leading provider of transformative business technology solutions, and Forty8Fifty Labs (forty8fiftylabs.com), the DevOps and software development subsidiary of Veristor.

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

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

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