BimmerWorld’s BMWs Dominant at Sebring But Settle for Less

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live video streaming and live timing and scoring will be available on imsa.com and imsa.tv. The television broadcast will be on FOX Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, March 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All times are EDT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Kicks Off the Season Battling Up Front at Daytona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live video streaming and live timing and scoring will be available on imsa.com and imsa.tv. The television broadcast will be on FOX Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11:30 a.m. All times are EST.

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Announces 2017 Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld have built a reputation as one of the finest racing teams in the Continental Tire Series paddock, and with another top-5 finish in the Championship, the Virginia-based squad has maintained its presence among the sport’s elite programs.

The season finale last weekend at Road Atlanta didn’t deliver the win BimmerWorld sought, and with victory as the only goal team owner/driver James Clay and his team strive for, it was clear he wanted more than two of his four cars placing inside the top-10.

“Road Atlanta was a solid race for us, and the team was 100 percent there and performing,” he said. “It has been a bit of a frustrating season, and a couple of top-10 finishes are an acceptable end given the highs we’ve had elsewhere. The checkered flag was a sweet sight, as it signified the start of a better 2015 to me.”

Drivers Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke took eighth in the Street Tuner class at Road Atlanta in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90 chassis), followed by Clay and Jason Briedis in the No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis) in ninth. The Liefooghe/Cooke combo led the Championship during the middle portion of the season and fought hard to finish fifth after a wave of pint-sized cars were advantaged with Balance of Performance changes.

Other than another run to a Championship top-5, possibly the most impressive aspect of BimmerWorld’s year came with the development and progress of the turbocharged F30 BMW platform. Built for racing purposes by Clay’s team, the No. 84 F30 showed incredible pace and promise in the ST class, making the ninth-place at Road Atlanta another point of confirmation the brand-new car has a bright future in the series.

“This has been somewhat of a development year for the F30 after we were giving the rules needed to be on par with the ST field early this season,” Clay explained. “We have had some wrinkles to iron out, but we have a really good handle on the car now, and it has been a solid performer the last half of the season. We have work to do off-season, but without question, with the improvements we will implement, this platform is ready for prime time.”

Liefooghe has solidified his place as one of the fastest and most consistent drivers in the series. He’s not the kind of person to find happiness in consolation prizes, but says he can put 2014 behind him knowing he and his teammate got everything out of the No. 81 E90.

“The season finale was a hard fight especially with all the full course yellows that kept the field packed together,” he said of their run to eighth. “It was a nice change from the very long green stints we have been seeing over the last few races, which turned out to be more about fuel conservation rather than actual wrestling for positions on track. We worked hard on chassis set up and I think we nailed it. It would have been great to send off our E90 with a podium finish, but the rules did not allow us to do that. Time to focus on next year and on some big changes coming up.”

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

ROAD ATLANTA RESULTS:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 20th, finished 18th

Eric Zimmermann: Road Atlanta, being my home track, is a very comfortable place for me. Getting up to speed at the track came quickly thanks to that familiarity and the input of the other BimmerWorld drivers. I’d hoped to qualify a little bit higher, but I believe there were only two BMWs (both BimmerWorld teammates) in front of me, so I was generally pleased with where I was on the grid. The rain held off, the race went smoothly, and I was able to move forward numerous spots within the field during my stint. It was a bittersweet day for certain and it was tough pulling all of my gear out of the trailer knowing that the season had come to a close.

Tyler Cooke: The race in the No. 80 car didn’t go exactly how we wanted it to but it was no fault of anyone, just how the race played out. Eric did a great job moving forward into the top ten. We found something both with the 80 and 81 that made the cars fast and consistent. Yellows didn’t fall how we wanted them to but still got to show the potential of the car and looking forward to a new season.

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 14th, finished 8th

Tyler Cooke: The start of the race in the 81 was mayhem to say the least. Having some corners dry and having some very damp made for some great racing. BimmerWorld always has a great race car and that showed with the 81 moving up to seventh before handing it to Greg where Greg did a great job getting the car as high as 4th. Cautions weren’t our friend both in the 80 or 81, but we fought hard and walked away with an eighth place. The team did a great job keeping us up front.

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 30th, finished 22nd

Seth Thomas: Not the race Dan Rogers and I were looking for to end the season with in the BimmerWorld E90. Overall I think we worked hard to achieve success especially with a home field advantage but it didn’t work out that way.

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), started 19th, finished 9th

James Clay: The weather and temperature was all over the place this weekend. I had a solid car under me and used it to move forward during the race. We didn’t have the ultimate speed to win, but I was happy to see the forward progress.

Jason Briedis: With the variable conditions, it was quite a fun race. Our car was good in the damp conditions, allowing me to pick up quite a few positions in the first half of the race. In the end, ninth was a decent result. The current Balance of Performance restrictions are preventing us from getting much more. Hopefully next year the playing field will be a little better balanced.

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

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All totaled, BimmerWorld’s four-car fleet improved 34 positions last weekend during the 2.5-hour race Continental Tire Series race at Wisconsin’s Road America circuit. The 4.0-mile track rewarded the years of handling and braking optimization BimmerWorld has brought to its E90-based BMW 328is, and F30-based 328i, the brand-new turbocharged BMW BimmerWorld is developing this season, delivered once again in the Street Tuner class.

Placing three of its cars inside the top-7 demonstrated BimmerWorld’s expertise while competing against smaller cars in the ST category that used their modest stature to carve through the air on Road America’s long straights. Finishes of fourth, sixth and seventh also represented stellar execution by the team’s drivers, pit crew, and race strategists, and left team owner/driver James Clay mostly satisfied with the outcome.

“Road America is historically a good track for our BMW cars, and I think we had solid team results this weekend,” he said. “Three cars in the top-7 is an accomplishment – almost as much so as avoiding the big Lap 1 incident with all team cars. After some tough races with our E90 platform this year, it was nice to achieve some more positive results this weekend.”

BimmerWorld’s top performance went to the fourth-place No. 81 BMW 328i driven by Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke. The duo is locked in a close battle for the 2014 Street Tuner Championship, and currently holds third in the standings. With three races left to run, Clay says the team will continue to push the No. 81 as far as it can go as the season draws to a close.

“Road America was a good points race for the No. 81 which is focusing purely on the Championship at this point,” he added. “As we wind the season down, we lost the points lead so we have to be a little more aggressive to gain it back in the time left. We are lucky to have three other team cars committed to this result and it proved helpful for the No. 81 to have all three of those cars supporting at Road America. We will continue to provide the best car we can and hopefully we can get the consistency, speed, and luck to win this thing three races from now.”

For Liefooghe, the final races pose an interesting challenge as all three circuits favor the BimmerWorld BMW in some areas, but could provide an even greater advantage for the competition in other sections. Beyond circuit-based considerations, Liefooghe sees completing three clean races as another element that will influence the Championship outcome.

“As we saw in Road America, a lot can happen in three races,” he said. “A lot of podium contenders for that race got tangled up in the first lap, and that opened up an opportunity for us. If we consider that the tracks for the rest of the season will have the same flavor as Road America and base the results on pure speed, the outlook could be a little grim. Last year, we won at that track with a good strategy and competitive lap times, yet this year, we did not have the speed that other cars had. It is hard to argue against cars with an extra 3mph or more on the straights, especially when they have the same weight and bigger tires. Fortunately, BimmerWorld will keep engineering our E90s and try to get even more out of the chassis. We are still on track to win the Championship.”

Road America featured the latest top-10 for BimmerWorld’s in-house developed F30 chassis, and at its current rate of progress, running towards the front of the ST class is becoming an expectation during a year of discovery with the car.

“The F30 has been a solid car all season, and we are finding fewer surprises, which is allowing us to focus forward,” Clay explained. “We want our first win in the new chassis this year, and I think we have it in the car. We have had a few solid finishes in a row now, and I feel like that is our current expectation for the new chassis. The F30 is our team’s future and at this point it looks very bright.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: VIR, August 23

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

ROAD AMERICA RESULTS & QUOTEBOARD:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P24, Finished P17

Eric Zimmermann: The No. 80 drove great at Road America. It was my first time there, but was able to bring the car from 24th to 15th during my extended stint. Unfortunately, we had to make our driver change under green and fell a lap down.

Tyler Cooke: My closing stint in the No. 80 unfortunately didn’t go as we hoped. I left the pits a lap down due to some issues. The team did a great job and the car had great pace. I was able to run with all the cars in the top five and ten. I’m looking forward to VIR with the momentum from both cars.

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P14, finished P4

Tyler Cooke: My opening stint in the No. 81 went very well. I was able to drive the car from 14 to 5th which was great and gave the car to Greg in a strong position. Greg drove the car to 4th which was a great job!

Greg Liefooghe: I was lucky enough to have the No. 84 behind me throughout the stint to help me. Teamwork paid off.

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P20, Finished P7

Dan Rogers: Overall, we were pleased with the results of the race for the No. 82. We saw improvement in qualifying from our earlier practice times, avoided the mess in Turn 5 of the first lap, and turned a good car over to Seth for the finish.

Seth Thomas: Great race and result for Dan and I. The action throughout the race was intense. Every time I would get around one car I had to work hard to get another position. Overall the competition in the ST Class is some of the best sports car racing you can find.

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), Qualified P11, Finished P6

Jason Briedis: We were lucky to avoid the first lap accident as cars were wrecking in front and behind. After that I was just concentrating on maintaining track position and preserving the car so James would have something for the second half of the race.

James Clay: Jason did a fantastic job of both qualifying the car and moving it forward during his stint. The green flag stop was well executed, and we got a little help with a yellow to bunch the field. I was more committed to helping the No. 81 this race, but we didn’t have the car to win it anyway. Another solid one in the books for us though, and I am excited to get to VIR for our next round to spray some champagne!

BimmerWorld Leaves Indy With Fast Cars But Few Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: Road America, August 9

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

INDY RESULTS:

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld On A Hunt In Watkins Glen

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld Racing have persevered through a string of tough races where the opposition in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series Street Tuner division have held the upper hand, yet with this weekend’s race at the rolling, high-speed Watkins Glen circuit in upstate New York, the sports car veterans are looking to exploit the enhanced cornering and braking capabilities of their BMW 328is.

“Watkins has historically been one of those ‘BMW tracks’ for us,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “The long sweeping turns are well-suited for our heavier cars and the hard braking zones play to the strengths of our Performance Friction brake package. We received a small weight break before this event which is critical as it is less we have to lug up the hill leading into the fastest straight. I still think there is a little too much weight difference versus the lightest cars in the field, but I think we are bringing big guns to an almost fair fight this weekend, and I will happily take that.”

Despite the rules-based disadvantage BimmerWorld has encountered, a combination of excellent driving, phenomenal race strategy and pit stops, and amazing consistency has placed the E90-based No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i piloted by Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke first in the Championship standings. BimmerWorld also holds first in the ST Teams Championship.

Liefooghe and Cooke have been locked out of Victory Lane so far this year, making their point-leading accomplishment even more impressive, but with more than half of the Championship left to go, the team isn’t expecting an easy run to the season finale in October.

Watkins Glen presents another opportunity for BimmerWorld to log miles and learn more about the new turbocharged F30-based BMW 328i is has been developing on the racetrack this year. As the first pro-level F30 competing in North America, the tuning and aftermarket specialists at BimmerWorld are racing the F30 while building a crucial database of performance specs and parts that will benefit their customers.

“We have had some up and down finishes with the F30, but we are actively learning every step of the way and that’s just part of the process with a brand-new car,” said Clay, who shares the No. 84 F30 with co-driver Jason Briedis. “The last race at Kansas showed a new powerplant weakness which we have since addressed and I think Watkins Glen should be good for us.”

Corey Fergus, who kicked off a new driving partnership with Eric Zimmermann at Kansas in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, says he expects the popular 4-door sedan will offer up a stronger fight this weekend.

“Watkins Glen is one of my favorite tracks,” said Fergus. “It’s very technical and has some rhythm sections that are challenging. I was on pole there last year so I’m hoping we have a good chance at a quality finish. It’s a little bit of a horsepower track with the uphill straight leading into the bus-stop so you would expect that the cars with more top end and torque will do well there. But there are also some sections where the driver can make a difference. Those important sections to get right will be the bus-stop, the laces of the boot, the toe of the boot, and coming out of the boot.

“The BMW won’t be the fastest car in a straight line or run the fastest lap time, but hopefully we can stay consistent through the race when others experience fall off, capitalize on other people’s mistakes, and be there at the end to secure a good finish.”

UP NEXT: Practice for the Continental Tire 150 At The Glen begins on Thursday, June 26, with the race following on Saturday, June 28.

FOLLOW: Keep track of BimmerWorld’s progress by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

WATKINS GLEN ROSTER:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus, Eric Zimmermann

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Tyler Cooke, Greg Liefooghe

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Dan Rogers, Seth Thomas

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

BimmerWorld’s Frustrations Continue To Mount After Race In Kansas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

KANSAS QUOTEBOARD:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With the first third of the 2014 Continental Tire Series Championship in the books, BimmerWorld heads into the middle third of the season this weekend at the Kansas Speedway “roval” with its sights set on something old and something new.

Starting with the old, the Virginia-based BMW tuning and aftermarket experts have become perennial Championship contenders since joining the series in 2010, and with its driver pairing of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke currently sitting second in the standings with the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, the team will look to the 2.3-mile circuit as another opportunity to strengthen their title bid.

The No. 81 isn’t the only BMW from BimmerWorld’s four-car stable with a shot at a strong Championship finish as Seth Thomas in the No. 82 328i and Corey Fergus in the No. 80 are also within striking distance. For Fergus, Kansas will mark the first race with his new teammate Eric Zimmermann after contesting the first four rounds with series veteran Kevin Gleason.

“When Kevin Gleason had the opportunity to go GT racing in Europe, I wanted to facilitate the move by filling the open seat in the 80 car, but it is a little tough mid-season to find someone that is the right fit that isn’t already on a team,” said Clay. “We have a consistent history of putting top drivers in our BimmerWorld cars, and especially with Corey signed on for the year with Championship expectations, I needed a solid guy. Eric was my first call.”

Zimmermann, a product of BimmerWorld’s Driver Development program, has been groomed through the amateur-to-pro system developed by team owner/driver James Clay.

“BimmerWorld is different from many of our competitors in that we have a fairly expansive operation that includes developing and selling performance parts, building customer cars, and a coaching group to further develop driver talent – basically from the time you buy your BMW we can support your enthusiast goals through the pro ranks,” Clay explained. “I remember Eric from 2009 in the BMW Club Race School we sponsor—he was already eager to go racing! Through his progress, we have developed a relationship, and he has rapidly developed his program and abilities.

“Over the past couple of years, we typically talk a couple of times a week and I would like to think he has gotten a lot of good direction along the way to progress so quickly. But really, Eric is a driven guy and has worked hard for his gains, and he and Corey will make a solid team.”

For Zimmermann, jumping into the hotly-contested Continental Tire Series Street Tuner class will be far from easy, but he knows he’ll be surrounded with the best crew, engineers and teammate possible to ease the transition.

“First, I am flattered and excited to be joining such a successful racing team as that of BimmerWorld and to be sharing a car with someone as talented as Corey,” said Zimmermann. “Joining mid-season is unusual, but James and I have been talking about my potentially joining the BimmerWorld team for a while now and getting to start this year rather than in 2015 is a fortuitous opportunity. My initial goal is simple; I want to help Corey continue to succeed and to help him be in a place where he can place the car at or near the front.

“What I need to do in the first race or two is to go out, bring back a sound car and to do so in a position that is reasonably competitive. I know if I can do that, that Corey can perform his magic from there. As we work through the season, I hope to bring the car in closer to the front, which seems reasonable given the experience that I will be gaining from Corey and the balance of our team and from participating in the races and also because the latter part of the season has me on tracks with which I am very familiar.”

With Fergus moving to the role of closing driver in the No. 80, he’ll have two new adjustments to process at Kansas, yet with his track record as one of the bright young stars in the series, he’s expected to flourish as a mentor to Zimmermann and to charge to the finish line with skill and aggression.

“I’m not worried one bit about changing co-drivers in the middle of the season,” said Fergus. “Eric and I have a great team behind us and we both have similar goals. We’ve got eight races to try to get the 80 car back in the Championship and get some solid finishes. I’m looking forward to working together and seeing how far we can go.”

Clay is also enthused over the potential within the revised line-up in the No. 80.

“We run equally competitive cars and equipment on our team and Corey is a blossoming pro, and it is a really good opportunity for everyone involved,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing what these guys can do together.”

UP NEXT: Practice for the Grand Prix of Kansas begins on Friday, June 6, with the race following on Saturday, June 7.

FOLLOW:

Keep track of BimmerWorld’s progress by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

KANSAS ROSTER:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus, Eric Zimmermann

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Tyler Cooke, Greg Liefooghe

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): James Colborn, Seth Thomas

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

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

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With the comically small cars in the Continental Tire Series running away from the field once again in the Street Tuner class at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the BMW specialists at BimmerWorld turned to exceptionally smart strategy calls and supreme driving performances to secure impressive finishes last weekend in California.

As routine winners in the series, BimmerWorld was prepared for the “race within a race” among normal-sized Street Tuner entries in Monterey, and turned to class-leading pit stops and tactics to propel the Nos. 81 and 82 entries to fifth- and sixth-place finishes.

“We knew going into this weekend that we were again racing to fill the spots behind the light MX-5 cars who have won the last four of five races, but our team again prepared top cars, made a very aggressive pit strategy call, and we finished well due to an excellent performance all around,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “We don’t seem to have the performance balance in our favor this year, and we would like to win races instead of just collecting points, but I am proud to see that we can still gain solid finishes through hard work and preparation.”

BimmerWorld’s Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke battled for the top spot behind the trio of MX-5s that ran away in a 1-2-3 finish, settling for fifth in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i after two hours and thirty minutes of frenetic competition. The finish also added to their points tally after three rounds, with the two sitting second in the Championship standings.

“When we looked at the calendar at the start of the year, we knew that, with the number of MX5s in the field, there were some tracks where we’d have no chance at a win,” said Liefooghe. “We focused on scoring as many points as possible for the championship and I think we achieved that goal.

“Our engineer ran a very aggressive strategy, pitting us right at the time limit which gave us the track position when the pits cycled through. With the race seeing that many full course yellows, the emphasis at the end of the race was not on pace anymore but more on conserving our track position. We’re in a good position to fight for the Championship and now want to add some wins.”

The Monterey race marked the latest outing for BimmerWorld’s brand-new turbocharged BMW F30 chassis, which is being developed in competition this year by Clay and teammate Jason Briedis. Based on its pace in California, Clay sees better finishes on the immediate horizon.

“The F30 is finally right with our E90 cars in performance ability, and the little oddities are showing up less often,” he explained. “This weekend should have been a solid top-10 finish for us, but some issues in the pits and an over-eager GS car bumped us out. The big finish will come at any round now – we are in the hunt.”

MONTEREY QUOTE BOARD:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P11, Finished P12

Corey Fergus: “Overall, it was a solid weekend for BimmerWorld with three top 15’s. The crew did a fantastic job during our pit stops. We just missed the setup a bit and struggled with the handling of the car. As a result, we were constantly on defense which made it hard to hold position. It’s a little frustrating when you can’t be aggressive and fight for a good position, but a 12th is decent points for us in the Championship. I’m looking forward to the next race in Lime Rock.”

Kevin Gleason: “To be honest, my stint was not very much fun. We had caution after caution and were not able to get into a rhythm. Under the final caution of my stint we made the call to hit pit lane a lap before anyone else in the field. The decision was made last-second at pit entrance and we entered legally by just 9/10ths! The BimmerWorld guys had a perfect pit stop waiting for us as usual and our strategy was executed flawlessly by our engineer Dave Wagener.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P10, finished P5

Tyler Cooke: “Laguna Seca is one of my favorite tracks to race on, but unfortunately I didn’t have any eventful laps during my stint due to the numerous cautions. Throughout the green flag portions of my stint, the car was consistent and quick which proved to be true when Greg took over from me. Overall it was a great race finishing 5th and good to walk away with points leading into Lime Rock.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P20, Finished P6

Dan Rogers: “The race went well for the 82 car. During the first stint, we moved up in the pack, and kept the “non-MX5 leaders” in sight. We battled during the restarts to maintain position, against the more powerful ST cars, but the BMW’s handling and braking never let us down. Engineer Wayne Yawn called the 82 in for a driver change at the perfect time, giving us a full load of fuel, new tires, and Seth in the driver’s seat. It was a gutsy call, but worked out, to put us ahead of the pack, the majority of which pitted later. Fans always think of the driver performance determining the finishing position in the race, but we owe our finishing position to daring pit strategy and great pit work by the guys at BimmerWorld.”

Seth Thomas: “Races are won and lost in the pits. This race for us was won in the pits. Our engineer made a daring call pitting the 82 mere seconds after the 45 minute mark of the race had passed. The majority of the ST field didn’t take the gamble giving us the track position to help guarantee a top-10 result. The rest of my race stint was about putting down solid laps to stay within striking distance of the MX-5s.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), Qualified P27, Finished P25

James Clay: “Laguna was a solid race for Jason and I, but short of the result we wanted. The crew did a lot of work through the week to give us the solid racecar we had, and we just had some bad luck.”

BimmerWorld Endures Punishing Return To Sebring

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The BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists at BimmerWorld have plenty of great memories from past races at Sebring international Raceway. Unfortunately, the team left its return to the Floridian track after a four-year absence with little more than nostalgia to draw upon.

The second round of the Continental Tire Series championship was a frustrating affair for the Virginia-based team. Three of its four cars struggled during the 2.5-hour event at the legendary road course as a mixture of mechanical woes, an odd happening that caused BimmerWorld’s team owner to have a major crash, and overzealous officiating resulted in a race that will soon be forgotten by most of BimmerWorld’s drivers and crew members.

“This wasn’t a great weekend for us and it was just basic bad luck, the pace of the race, and some mechanical challenges that amazingly enough after seven years in that chassis we haven’t seen before,” said BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay. “We always like to learn and improve, and I am sure we will be sifting through the results to come back next year to Sebring stronger, but we really just had an atypically bad weekend and the team will have plenty of above average weekends to balance it out this season.”

Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke, drivers of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, produced the one meaningful result for the team, placing eighth after starting 18th. It marked the No. 81’s second finish inside the top-10, following the excellent second-place result the duo earned at the season-opening race at Daytona.

“The start of the race was very tight, leaving me to make smart passes coming through the field,” said Cooke. “Unlike most of the other cars, we didn’t have much of a top end, so Greg and I really drove the car hard and kept it in the top-10 throughout the race. Fortunately for us, we were able to finish in 8th place, which helps our chances in the championship. I can’t wait for the next race in California!”

SEBRING RACE DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus & Kevin Gleason

Kevin Gleason: “It was a frustrating event for the No. 80 car. We had some issues in practice including a motor that let go which limited our time on track. Even with the issues the BimmerWorld guys gave us a great car for the race and Dave Wagener made a great call on strategy that kept us out front. Unfortunately, on what ended up being the final restart, our motor let go a few turns in while in fourth place. We missed out on what would have been a great points scoring day but we will keep our heads down and push forward to Laguna.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Greg Liefooghe, Tyler Cooke

Greg Liefooghe: “We chose a very aggressive strategy to get the track position, and it worked as we were running in fourth with 45 minutes to go. At 35 minutes to go, I was fighting to keep the position, but got the call from the pit lane to start saving the car and fuel to make sure we would finish the race. Although it was not the result we were looking for, eighth place still brings championship points.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Dan Rogers, Seth Thomas

Dan Rogers: “The guys at BimmerWorld gave is a great car for qualifying, and we started 12th, which we were pleased with. The race was really tight for the first few corners, and we ended up getting shuffled back, after getting stuck on the wrong side of the track a couple of times. After things settled down, we started working our way forward, one car at a time. The penalty for Seth on the wave around was unfortunate, and put us in a huge hole. There is obviously a lesson for us in this, but IMSA should also be looking at procedures and penalties for reasonableness.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

James Clay: “My incident started laps before it actually happened. With all of the green-flag running early in the race, we lost a lap in the pits. Then we made an error in our double-yellow procedures due to what I feel was a bit of unclear direction in the driver’s meeting which caused us to come sit in pit lane to serve a penalty. I was running hard to get a result, the pit penalty caused me to sit as heat built within the wheel that ignited rubber pickup in the tires, and we suspect the resulting fire damaged the brake system, which I discovered in Turn 3 as I was pushing hard to catch back up again. This was an odd issue and every piece of our braking system which we inspected in pit lane was intact and functioning properly, but I suspect fluid just can’t stand that. It was a bit scary, but I am all well and not sore, thanks to the Racetech seat, and have full confidence in our brake partners who were in no way at fault for this result.”

WEB: Follow the team by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

BimmerWorld Looking To Reignite A Successful Past At Sebring

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The last time the BimmerWorld team participated in a professional motor racing event at the legendary Sebring circuit, the Virginia-based BMW experts left the Florida road course with the winner’s trophy in hand and a yearning to return.

The four-car Continental Tire Series team has finally been granted their wish, and will take part in the feature race ahead of the 12 Hours of Sebring. Coming off of an impressive season debut at Daytona where No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke finished second and the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of BWR newcomers Corey Fergus and Kevin Gleason claimed eighth, the team has used the six-week gap between events to improve their fortunes heading into Round 2.

“We have had a break in the racing action, but we have been hard at work at BimmerWorld since Daytona,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “We started the 2014 season with a big suspension upgrade when we moved to the MCS dampers and we have been fine-tuning our platform kinematics now that we have it all working in concert the way we want it to. The guys have been practicing pit work and we have been touching up all the little areas for improvement we uncovered in Round 1 so we are ready for the long season ahead.”

Clay and the rest of the team—especially those who raced with the team four years ago at Sebring—hope history repeats itself.

“We have our BMW racecars dialed in at Sebring, having won the last time we were there in 2009 in another series,” Clay added. “That track is challenging to set up for, and shakes the cars to death, which tests the build and prep level – both of which play to our team’s favor.”

Looking back, BimmerWorld has grown immeasurably since the 2009 Sebring event. A move to the Continental Tire Series was met with instant results, and the team has become a perennial championship favorite in the Street Tuner class.

“Since our last Sebring visit, our team’s foundation has grown tremendously and I am excited to get back to one of the tracks that started it all for us,” Clay continued. “Sebring was the site of some very memorable events in our formative years, which covers a wide range of adventures. It feels like we are coming back to our high school reunion ready to show what we have made of ourselves.”

SEBRING PRE-RACE DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Corey Fergus & Kevin Gleason

Corey Fergus: “Kevin and I had a good start to the season, earning valuable points towards the championship. Obviously we would have liked to have been on the podium, so that’s something we’re shooting for at Sebring. I’ve never raced at Sebring, but I’m excited for the opportunity and look forward to another solid finish.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Greg Liefooghe, Tyler Cooke

Greg Liefooghe: “Sebring is one of the new circuits on this year’s calendar, and I’m excited to go to such a historic venue. It will be the first time for me there. As a proof of the competitive nature of the ST field, there are several 12 Hours winners driving in our class which will make it a challenge, but with thousands of laps around the track on the simulator, I feel ready to tackle it. Car set up will be very important, and I feel it will play into our team’s advantage and help us get on the podium again.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90): Dan Rogers, Seth Thomas

Seth Thomas: “Sebring is a special track where everything seems to click. I got my first win at Sebring in 2009 after having some close battles the years before. Driving the track in our ST E90 will be the same as before because the track hasn’t changed. What has is the car, the weight, the tire and the suspension ever so slightly. The BimmerWorld E90 has received years of tuning since then and is more balanced, the shocks are tuned, and it’s better over the race distance than our previous sprint car. All Dan and I have to do is drive the car and have some luck on our side to come out with a quality finish.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30): Jason Briedis, James Clay

James Clay: “Save some pesky engine learning opportunities, the F30 performed well at Daytona and I am looking for the next round, regardless of location, to start putting out the finishes we know this chassis is capable of. Sebring has traditionally been a good track for our BMWs with some high-speed turns and critical braking zones, and we now have the new N20 engine on par with the field to come out of the slower corners so we should have a well-rounded platform to race this weekend.”

TV TUNE-IN: Live, Friday, March 14, IMSA.com. FOX Sports 1, Wednesday, March 19, 1 p.m. ET.

WEB: Follow the team at Sebring International Raceway this week by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

BimmerWorld’s 4-Car BMW Program Ready For New Season At Daytona

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A long off-season is ready to come to an end this Friday as the IMSA-sanctioned Continental Tire Series opens its championship at Daytona International Speedway, and Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing is ready to resume its pursuit of a title in the Street Tuner class.

The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts have re-tooled their program to expand from three cars to four, added new drivers and have continued their uncompromising development of BMW’s latest 3-Series chassis platform, the F30. All of that work, according to BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay, has been done with one goal in mind: winning.

“It has been a busy six months at BimmerWorld as we have been planning our 2014 season – our most aggressive to date,” he said. “We had strong runs last year, but we have been working hard over the winter and with a change in regulations we have been able to bring long-time damper technical partners MCS onboard, which I believe is a major advantage. Our driver lineup is across the board, without exception the strongest we have had – I expect big things from everyone this year.”

Making bold predictions about the season ahead isn’t BimmerWorld’s style, but Clay did share his thoughts on how the combined BMW E90-based 328is and their F30 counterparts might fare in the hands of his drivers and peerless technicians.

“Almost every team in the field comes into the first race of the season predicting podiums, wins, and Championships, and certainly I am as proud of our 2014 team as anyone,” he explained. “But I think it will be the dog days of mid-season this year that will tell the tale, and I think we have the most depth in the field. With a pinch of luck tossed in, we will endure the full season with a stack of hardware waiting at the end.”

The team has a knack for finding the podium at Daytona, and as much as Clay would like to see his BimmerWorld team fill the top three spots and earn the win, taking a season-long approach to the first race of the year could be the smartest approach of all.

“Daytona sets the tone for the season, but it is such a different track from most we race on,” added Clay. “Our goal this weekend is, as always, banking solid points as we start the year. Starting with a win is always nice, but our BMWs are a fantastic mix of solid performance across the board – power, handling, and braking. We may not have the most powerful car in the field to go into this one expecting the win, but our team will produce the opportunities for our cars to be right there, and if a win falls in our direction I won’t be surprised.”

DAYTONA PRE-EVENT DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)

Corey Fergus: “Daytona is a patience track because of all of the straightaways. Sometimes you have to be smart and not pass someone on a straight knowing that they’ll just pass you back on the next one. The draft is key here as well, but at the same time you have to stay away from the madness of having 70 cars on the same track. To secure a good result, our goal is to push hard enough to get to the front but to be conservative enough to stay out of trouble.”

Kevin Gleason: “My goals for Daytona are pretty straight forward. We want to run at the sharp end of the field and leave with a clean car and solid points. Starting the season off on the right foot is important and will allow us to build momentum throughout the long and grueling season.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)

Tyler Cooke: “My confidence level is very high entering the new season. Greg and I had a great season in 2013 making the No. 81 car a threat every race. Doing as well as we did in the pre-season test a couple weeks ago boosts my confidence even more. Daytona will definitely bring a fight like it does every year.”

Greg Liefooghe: “In Daytona, we want to set the tone for the rest of the season. Although the competition will be tougher than ever, our cars are the best they have been yet. We finished on the podium here three years in a row, and we will try to get one step higher this year. Of course we will take only reasonable risks to get that results, as scoring points for the Championship is still the number one goal.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)

Dan Rogers: “As we enter our third year of driving together, Seth and I are poised to improve on our last two seasons. We work together and strategize during the off season, with the goal of improving our approach to racing. While the goal is a championship at the conclusion of the season, our approach is to produce solid results, every race. That will start in Daytona.”

Seth Thomas: “Daytona is the one track where I want to get a win in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW. It has eluded me the last few years but we have always run in the top-5 during the races. The last few years the competition has been getting stiffer and stiffer making a win even at Daytona very hard to get. BimmerWorld has always given us a fast car, fast pit stops and great strategy to put us in the right spot. I don’t see this year being any different. We will be there fighting until the end.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30)

Jason Briedis: “Physically, as I’ve been getting ready for the new season, I have been karting and staying active with sports. As for the mental aspect, watching video and analyzing data always help me prepare for a race. I’m definitely excited to get the season started!”

James Clay: “The BimmerWorld team has put a lot into this new F30 over the winter and I think we have a solid BMW racecar under us this year, which to me means excellent handling, superior braking, and enough power to be in the hunt. I am looking forward to rejoining the Championship hunt behind the wheel of the new car, and I am looking forward to a solid result with my new co-driver!”

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

BimmerWorld Concludes Successful Pre-Season Test at Daytona International Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEST RESULTS AND DRIVER QUOTEBOARD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Reveals Four-Car Continental Tire Series Street Tuner Program

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Coming off a season where its drivers landed in Victory Lane and took both third and fifth in the Driver’s Championship, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld Racing have set the bar even higher for 2014.

The Virginia-based outfit has its program for the Continental Tire Series completed earlier than at any other time since joining the championship in 2010, all while expanding its roster by adding a fourth car to its Street Tuner stable.

With a runner-up finish in the Championship on their series debut and a third-place now in the record books, BimmerWorld has one spot on the season-long podium left to claim and to help with that endeavor, team owner/driver James Clay has been developing a new chassis that could be the difference maker.

“Pioneering the development on the new BMW F30 chassis is the next logical step for BimmerWorld,” he said. “Adopting new technology isn’t always the easiest endeavor, but the hard work pays off by staying ahead of both the competition on the track, as well as in the BimmerWorld sales office. We came a long way in three races at the end of the 2013 season with this new 328i car, and a winter of work will put us in a good spot when 2014 kicks off at Daytona.”

But BimmerWorld’s winter work isn’t confined to next-generation 328i F30s, as Clay explains.

“We have rock solid 328i E90s that have produced all of our wins and Championship top-3s, and we are always working hard and learning how to make them even better,” he continued. “And this is especially true this winter with the new damper rule allowing us to once again work with our team’s core technical partners for suspension.”

Consistency and stability have been hallmarks of BimmerWorld’s professional racing efforts for more than a decade, and the trend continues in 2014 as many familiar faces will return while a few new names have come onboard to form one of the strongest units in the paddock.

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), with drivers Corey Fergus and Kevin Gleason:“I have been looking at Corey Fergus as a driver since his impressive qualifying efforts in his initial run in the 2012 season,” said Clay. “We had the opportunity to work with Kevin Gleason at Indy this year and he is a hard worker and very technically capable. This pair of drivers is the perfect fit for our results-focused team.”

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), with drivers Tyler Cooke and Greg Liefooghe:“Greg and Tyler were our highest finishers in the 2013 Championship, and this car will launch into their second year right where they left off,” Clay noted. “Greg is a strong help in car setup for our team, and Tyler is developing into an outstanding professional driver.”

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90)/ BMW 328i (F30), with drivers Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas:“Seth Thomas is returning to his BimmerWorld home for his eleventh year,” Clay remarked. “Once again partnered with Dan Rogers who returns for his third season, this duo has had tremendous results to date. We have a new BimmerWorld F30 chassis in the shop ready for their transition into the new equipment, where they will further help with the development effort.”

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), with drivers Jason Briedis and James Clay:“I am thrilled to be back in a new F30 full-season after spending some time to develop the car last year,” said Clay of his upcoming driving duties. “Jason Briedis, a long-time friend and customer, will be sharing the driving and development duties with me. Jason is a GRAND-AM racer from several years ago and will be an excellent fit in our program in terms of both talent and personality.”

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

BimmerWorld Scores Two Podiums At Lime Rock, Secures Third in GRAND-AM ST Championship

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Dublin, VA

The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld needed something close to a vehicular miracle at last weekend’s GRAND-AM season finale in Connecticut.

With the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i duo of Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke holding third in the Continental Tire Series Street Tuner standings, and the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers holding fourth in the Championship, finishing 1-2 in the race at Lime Rock was only half of what would be needed to secure the team’s first ST title.

The significant points lead held by the first-place team meant they would need to finish well down the running order to give BimmerWorld’s No. 81 and 82 a chance to bridge the Championship gap, but if the leaders maintained a decent position inside the top-10, which is what took place, winning wouldn’t be enough to overcome the deficit.

Another strong run by BimmerWorld is what the record books will show at Lime Rock, and with Liefooghe and Cooke taking third in the Drivers’ Championship, BimmerWorld has demonstrated its consistency and strength in the series by placing its drivers second, third, fourth and fifth in the ST Championship since 2010.

Team owner/driver James Clay was obviously hoping for all of the planets to align in BimmerWorld’s favor, but with such a competitive series, he wasn’t surprised with the Championship outcome.

“The final race at Lime Rock was exactly what we expected and wanted it to be – almost,” he said. “The No. 81 nearly won the race after leading for a long period and gained significant Championship points in the process.  The No. 82 also ended up on the podium in the post-race ceremonies, which was a solid end to their season as well as the team’s.  And the new F30 marked its first top-10 finish which confirms the progression in our development of that car for a competitive 2014 season.”

Clay also spoke to the disappointment felt by Rogers and Thomas, who entered Lime Rock fourth in the Drivers’ standings.

“Unfortunately Seth and Dan in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BimmerWorld BMW 328i ran into problems on track, but with the limited space and minimal passing opportunities at Lime Rock, this was an unfortunate, but not altogether unexpected casualty,” he continued. “The push by the No. 81 at the end of the season to win the Championship fell slightly short, but a third-place season finish for them is still strong.

“We always want to win everything, execute to perfection, and have everything fall our way, but it’s called ‘racing,’ not ‘winning,’ and I am proud of everything BimmerWorld achieved at this race and throughout the year.”

With the No. 81 and No. 82 taking third and sixth in the Driver’s Championship, respectively, BimmerWorld also earned third and sixth in the Teams’ Championship. BimmerWorld’s three-car fleet of BMW 328is also played a significant role in delivering the Manufacturers’ Championship to the German brand for the second consecutive season.

For Liefooghe and Cooke, leading Lime Rock and finishing second in the No. 81 was bittersweet, but with a win to their credit at Elkhart Lake, it also cemented the duo as champions in the making.

“Going into the weekend we wanted to make sure we would do our best with the elements we can control and I think we were successful in that regard,” said Liefooghe. “The fact that we missed the win by a small margin was a bit frustrating, especially since it would have given us a second place in the Championship, but the main goal of the season was to be a championship contender going into the last race, and that goal was reached.

“The season was a success, and we have been fast all year long with a good amount of bad luck towards the middle of the season. The level of competition in ST keeps increasing with cars getting faster every race, so the fact that we made a strong comeback at the end of the season speaks volumes on the level of preparation and engineering at BimmerWorld. “

Cooke, who completed his first season with BimmerWorld and second in the ST championship, developed into a consistent threat alongside his veteran teammate.

“Greg and I built a strong track record this year: we were constantly in the top -5 and were usually in the mix with the leaders,” he said. “The season was a great effort from the whole team. BimmerWorld gave us a great car every race and I’m really looking forward to next year.”

With the No. 80 of Strelzoff and Bloum completing the Lime Rock podium, BimmerWorld’s newest driving combo captured their third top-3 of the season.

“We’ve had our ups and downs this year, especially with Connor breaking his leg and having to miss a couple of races, but getting another podium was a great way to round out our year,” said Strelzoff. “This team has a lot of fight in it and never gives up, and we try and do the same inside the car. Three podiums in our first year with BimmerWorld is something to be proud of.”

Ending the 2013 season with a 26th place run at Lime Rock isn’t what Rogers and Thomas had in mind, but the two dealt with the dissatisfaction with class.

“The race was an extremely disappointing and frustrating way to end what was otherwise a great season,” said Rogers. “No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BimmerWorld BMW 328i was in the hunt for the championship from the beginning of the season, and the last two races, particularly Lime Rock, were extremely frustrating.  We all do what we do in the car because we are driven to win.  When we don’t achieve that goal, it hurts.

“The relevant question is: what do you do with that disappointment?  The answer for us is we’ll be coming back with more focus and intent on winning the ST championship in 2014.”

Thomas echoed his teammate’s assessment of the season and their future together.

“Overall it was a good year for us,” he noted. “Dan and I became a faster duo in our second full season as teammates.  We had strong runs at some of the key races while maintaining a good position in the points the whole season.  Now we will be reflecting on the season to learn how to come back into 2014 as a strong contender for the title and make it happen.”

The late-season development run for BimmerWorld’s new BMW F30 chassis netted an impressive 10th-place finish at Lime Rock which has Clay feeling confident about the turbo 3-Series chassis.

“I knew in the race at Monterey that the F30 was on its way to being a competitive platform,” he said.  “We have been working closely with GRAND-AM to produce the appropriate power level, which to me is the final piece of the puzzle.  I am really happy with the performance of the new car, and F30s will certainly represent a growing part of our future at BimmerWorld Racing into 2014 and beyond.”

Clay’s teammate for the F30’s development, John Capestro-Dubets, is also looking forward to 2014 with the new chassis tuning capabilities he’s gained.

“It was an honor to drive the F30 with James this season and be a part of the development,” he said. “I do believe that the new skill set will be very beneficial for 2014. There are good things to come at BimmerWorld!”

BimmerWorld will have little time to rest with the start of the 2014 Championship right around the corner in January. Follow all of the team’s off-season developments at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com and tune into the Lime Rock race when it airs on October 6th at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

BimmerWorld Improves Championship Positions In Monterey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Closes The Championship Gap At Kansas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Leave it to Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake, one of the world’s greatest race tracks and also one that demands the best handling and braking capabilities of all the events on the 11-race Continental Tire Series calendar, for the BMW experts at BimmerWorld to have its breakout race of 2013.

With all three of the Virginia-based tuning and aftermarket shops’ BMW 328is rocketing to the finish line at the 4.0-mile circuit, BimmerWorld claimed a 1-3-8 finish for its three full-time entries and also gained invaluable knowledge about its brand-new BMW F30 which made its competition debut.

Looking at the big picture, the win by touring car veteran Gregory Liefooghe and his sophomore GRAND-AM teammate Tyler Cooke was just what the team and the duo in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i needed with the Championship winding down. And with the sister No. 80 of Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum taking third on the day, followed by a competitive run to eighth for Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW, team owner James Clay left the event feeling proud of the overall effort produced by his program.

“We closed up the gap created by some early-season bad luck this weekend,” he said. “All three cars performed exceptionally well and as we draw down to the end of the season, we are getting closer to the Championship leaders and focused on that goal for the final three rounds. Days like this are hard to come by in this series, and you have to celebrate them when they do happen.”

Clay also raced last weekend, unveiling the team’s BMW F30 with co-driver John Capestro-Dubets. Although the race was used as more of an extended test session than an attempt to compete for points, Clay says the lessons learned at Elkhart Lake will help BimmerWorld to accelerate the car’s development at a much faster rate.

“The debut of the new BimmerWorld F30 chassis car was incredibly smooth and rewarding – much more so than I had expected,” he confirmed. “We knew we didn’t have the power we ultimately need to race for wins, but this weekend was a solid test and next step in the development process. I was very pleased with the performance of the new car at this stage.”

His teammate was also extremely optimistic about what’s to come with BimmerWorld new Continental Tire Series challenger.

“The F30 was simply amazing,” said Capestro-Dubets. “We still lack the top-end speed due to some engine restrictions from the series, yet the car shows a signs of a bright future. We no longer have to wish we had a turbo or one of the smaller cars to be competitive at every track. The car is in my opinion is the best looking car in our class and extremely fun to drive. BimmerWorld and BMW really knocked it out of the park with this one, and fans and BimmerWorld customers have something really special coming to the paddock.”

Shifting from BimmerWorld’s future back to its present, Liefooghe and Cooke proved that the team’s 3-Series E90 platform still has the winning combination after starting from pole position, and with the help from BimmerWorld’s peerless pit crew and race strategists, standing on the top step of the podium was a just reward for all of the effort put in this season.

“This win was a result of teamwork and strategy,” said Liefooghe. “Tyler started off the weekend by taking the pole and he managed to pull away with two other competitors. Dave Wagener, our engineer, decided to pit off-sequence and extend Tyler’s stint which put him in the lead and allowed him to pull away from the field. When I got in the car, an ill-timed full course yellow moved us back in 16th.

“I was able to come through the pack and when I found myself in 5th, I had pulled away from the main pack behind me and the lead pack was too far to catch as I didn’t have a drafting partner to make up ground. At that point we decided to save fuel and see what happened. And that allowed us to pick the rest of our competitors as they were running out of fuel in the last 15 minutes.”

Liefooghe and Cooke were right inside the top-10 in points before the race, but the win vaulted the No. 81 entry to fifth in the standings.

The No. 80 of Strelzoff and Bloum earned a second-place finish earlier this year at Road Atlanta, and after a string of bad luck, including Bloum breaking his leg and sitting out two rounds, the teammates were back together at Elkhart and captured a well-deserved third-place result.

“Having Connor back was a great boost for the entire team, and he did an excellent job during his stint,” said Strelzoff. “His leg wasn’t a problem, and I was able to settle into a good rhythm when I was in the car. This really was a team result this weekend, and shows what we’re capable of when things go smooth. It was great to be on the podium again!”

Rounding out the BimmerWorld BMW 328i trio was the team’s top car in the Championship, with Rogers and Thomas pushing the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® car to the lead pack late in the race before pit stops to take on fuel moved the car back to eighth.

“The Elkhart Lake race is a classic ‘glass half empty/half full’ experience,” explained Rogers. “The strategy calls made by the team were spot on – given the history of the race and the series, another yellow was a good bet – it just didn’t happen.  While we would have loved a podium, and had the car for it, we still made good gains in the Championship points battle.  So we choose to look at the weekend as a net gain. Most importantly, the momentum is with the BimmerWorld team heading into Kansas.”

The BimmerWorld team, like the rest of the GRAND-AM entrants, move from Wisconsin to race at Kansas this weekend, giving crews very little time to prepare for battle on the 1.5-mile oval featuring an infield road course.

“The full-time crew guys and a few of our fly-ins headed to Kansas immediately after the race, where we have good friends and a warm invitation to turn the cars over in a shop facility,” Clay noted. “A stretch on the road like this is a test of the guys, and I feel an opportunity for our team to shine. We just had a fantastic race and we’re focused on having another one in Kansas.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team this week at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the Nos. 81 and 80 run to first and third at Elkhart Lake when the race airs Saturday, August 17 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Takes 5th, 8th At Barber Motorsports Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooke also had high praise for his teammate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Set To Race Its Production V8 M3 At The 25 Hours Of Thunderhill

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Fans of professional sports car racing have likely seen the BimmerWorld Racing team competing in a variety of series over the years, including GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series where the BMW experts won a pair of Street Tuner races this season. But this December 8th, the BimmerWorld race team, joined by long-term sponsor and technical partner Red Line Oil, will set their sights on an overall win at the grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill.

With its converted GRAND-AM Grand Sport V8 M3 serving as the foundation for its entry in the unlimited ES class, team owner James Clay and an impressive collection of pro and amateur racers will pilot a car that’s received countless performance upgrades since BimmerWorld threw out the Grand Sport rulebook in an effort to build the fastest production-based V8 M3 in the country.

As an integral part of BimmerWorld’s race program, Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation has provided a range of lubricants and additives that has been the lifeblood of BimmerWorld’s machines for years, and this monster M3 is no exception. A healthy diet of Red Line products has kept the V8 engine and driveline cool and protected during the warm summer events, but with temperatures near freezing expected overnight during the 25 Hour, Red Line VP/COO Cameron Evans believes the team, car and test ahead is the perfect challenge for what the renowned company is looking to prove in the marketplace.

“The 25 Hour has become the iconic race to follow for the enthusiasts that are into specific brands and aftermarket modifications,” he said. “With BMW as one of Red Line’s best served niche markets, developing and racing this Production M3 with BimmerWorld shows how serious we are about this next generation of tuning and racing cars.”

For Clay, sending team on a 3000-mile trip across the country to race at Thunderhill with Red Line at NASA’s premier amateur endurance event was an easy choice to make.

“The 25 Hour is a brutal test of endurance, but if all goes well the reward is on par with the effort invested,” he remarked. “When I was working with Red Line Oil to come up with a schedule for the Production V8 car program, we were both looking for events that showed the car’s speed, the durability of our products and that highlighted our effort in a variety of environments.”

“Like anything we do on the race team, the result is important, but the process is as well,” explained Clay. “A win is a tall order in this highly-competitive event, and while BimmerWorld enters every race with the intent to win, the knowledge gained about the car and its components at Thunderhill will also produce valuable results for our line of products. We don’t take the ‘Race Proven Performance’ stamp of approval lightly – it doesn’t mean the parts we build and sell were tested on my drive to work or in a few test sessions at the track. Thunderhill is the most extreme environment for equipment to survive, and our customers will ultimately be the winners from this race and development program.”

The BimmerWorld/Red Line Oil Production V8 in Detail

Away from the press and TV cameras, the Dublin, Virginia-based team stays true to their roots, often returning to compete along-side friends and customers in various club series. In addition to its wide array of BMWCCA, NASA and SCCA activities and customer support programs, the team has found the definitive event to express its passion for endurance racing and free-thinking automotive creativity at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill event in northern California.

Originally one of the first few V8 E92 M3 cars in the US, and having served in past lives as a street performance testbed featured in Roundel magazine and later as a GRAND-AM GS-class racecar, the development of the BimmerWorld/Red Line Oil Production V8 project has continued to progress at rapid pace. Now focused on pure speed, performance, and durability, demonstrated at a schedule including a variety of events, the team has been able to express its passion for endurance racing and free-thinking automotive creativity.

With 25 straight hours of navigating Thunderhill’s twisting 3-mile, 15-turn circuit posing the greatest test for the 80-plus cars that start the race, BimmerWorld will rely upon the extensive chassis and handling improvements to its Production V8 project car to stand out from the competition.

First, the team put the car on a diet, dropping 300 pounds from its GS days, installed 3-Way dampers from Motion Control Suspension, and fitted a bevy of BimmerWorld suspension components designed in the team’s World Challenge Touring Car days, including full spherical links with both suspension and steering geometry correction. On the aerodynamic front, keeping the Production V8 planted to the ground was aided with a BimmerWorld carbon package, including with a splitter and dive planes up front and a wing and lightweight trunk at the rear.

To complement the hearty acceleration provided by its BimmerWorld-tuned V8 engine (running a modest 400 rear wheel Hp for this event to aid fuel economy), Clay’s technicians installed a JB Racing 3-Disc Ultra-Light clutch and flywheel to improve throttle and shifting response, and a Drenth 6-Speed sequential transmission to put the M3’s power to the ground. A new Performance Friction rear brake package compliments the PFC front kit to improve braking performance and durability, and added grip from Hoosier racing slicks complete the uprated package.

The Drivers Weigh In

BimmerWorld will draw upon the experience of a familiar set of drivers next weekend, with Clay, Harold Petit and three of its 2012 GRAND-AM race winners, Gregory Liefooghe, Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas taking turns behind the wheel.

Petit, whose Johnstone Supply stores support BimmerWorld’s Street Tuner effort, is a veteran of the team’s Club Racing endeavors, and will tackle his first twice-around-the-clock (plus an hour) event in the Production V8.

“I really enjoy endurance racing and the way to win is to have the right team, right preparation, and right strategy with the right speed. BimmerWorld is that team, ”he said. “It is wonderful to be a part of the BimmerWorld team for an event like this and to join a group of folks in which I have made lasting friendships.”

For Alaska native Rogers, who won the biggest race of the year with Thomas at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Continental Tire Series round, racing at the 25 Hour has become an annual tradition.

“This will be my fourth attempt at a win at Thunderhill in a BMW, and from a preparation perspective, the one with the best chance for an overall win,” he said. “No one puts together a race or track car like BimmerWorld.”

Like Clay, Thomas and Liefooghe raced BimmerWorld’s GRAND-AM GS V8 M3s in 2011, and for Thomas, jumping into the faster, angrier version of the car for long periods at the 25 Hour is something he’s been looking forward to.

“I can’t wait to get back in the seat of the BimmerWorld’s V8 M3, now the ‘Production V8,’” he said. “I had a taste of the new car this past year at VIR during a BMWCCA Club Race and it was a lot more fun car to drive on the track then. Since that time the guys in the shop have added more go-fast parts and done more development to make it easier to drive and even quicker on the stopwatch.”

Liefooghe, who serves as a racing instructor at nearby Sonoma Raceway, is also a veteran of the 25 Hour and can’t wait to rocket around Thunderhill in BimmerWorld’s ultimate Production V8 M3.

“I have to say I’m looking forward to pretty much everything on this car,” said the winner of this year’s GRAND-AM ST race at Barber Motorsports Park. “Whether it’s the added downforce, the stickier tires, the more powerful motor or the sequential gearbox, the car is easier to drive, and faster. How can you go wrong with that?”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress all weekend at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and live timing and scoring from the event at www.NASA25Hour.com.

BimmerWorld Scores 8th Podium Of The Season At Monterey, Strengthens Championship Standings

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Coming off an historic win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, placing one car on the podium at Monterey, another in sixth and the final member of the BMW 328i trio in 11th might not sound like something to crow about, but the ninth round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series typified BimmerWorld’s remarkable season.

The BMW experts were fast, fought for the win in the Street Tuner class, saw two of its drivers spray champagne during podium celebrations and all of its entries grabbed a handful of points in all three championship categories.

With two wins from nine races, eight podium visits, all of its drivers inside the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship, all three of its cars in the top 10 in the teams’ standings and having played a significant role in moving BMW atop the Manufacturers’ Championship, BimmerWorld is closing out the 2012 season in machine-like form.

If winning every race isn’t possible, BimmerWorld’s formula of maximizing its total team performance each weekend when the victory is out of reach has clearly been paying off.

One year ago, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay had his team fielding a pair of BMWs in both the ST and the Grand Sport categories, but after shifting his program over to run three BimmerWorld-built 328i ST cars for 2012, the results—and his team’s status in the series—have continued to skyrocket.

“I am very happy with our team’s performance this year,” said Clay. “The move in 2012 to focus purely on the ST program has definitely paid dividends and been the foundation of our results.  Every team car has visited the podium multiple times this year, which to me really reinforces our objective that every car is a Championship contender.  And without question, every person in every position on the BimmerWorld team has delivered this year to make all this happen.”

BimmerWorld has seen the Nos. 80, 81 and 82 328is surge at different points during the season, but the one constant between its fleet of BMWs has been paying points into the Manufacturers’ Championship.

Although each of the BimmerWorld driver tandems hope to move up a few spots in the final Drivers’ Championship standings, cementing the title for BMW at the final race—held near the company’s New Jersey American base—is also a primary focus for Clay’s team.

“As the season closes, our biggest achievement will be bringing the Manufacturers’ Championship home to BMW – and at their track in Lime Rock,” he said. “Our consistency and the consistency the BMW marque provides has been instrumental in the team’s results this year, so this is a good reward for us all.  We are also all poised to move up a spot or two in the Driver and Team points, which will be a nice touch for the final race.  Certainly everyone will have to do their part, but I know our team’s abilities and I am excited to wrap it up in style.”

Looking at last weekend’s race, the performance of Liefooghe and Levine in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW in Monterey was nothing short of spectacular. On a track where pint-sized ST cars thrive, the teammates carved their way from 13th to third on a day where contact was the norm.

“The race was very intense,” said Liefooghe. “As usual David drove a great opening stint and gave me a car close to the front of the field and dent-free, which is an achievement in itself in the Continental Tire Series. We took a gamble on strategy, and I had to make the fuel and tires last for two hours. With 11 cautions, it played in our favor, but it also meant that we had three or four-lap sprint races to the next yellow. For reasons I don’t understand, the series chose to keep the ST leaders right behind the tail end of the GS field for the restarts, and with the GS back markers being slower than us and 60-plus cars racing to Turn 1, it made for some very interesting moments!”

Clay and Capestro-Dubets entered Monterey riding a streak of three consecutive podium finishes, but settled for sixth in the No. 80. It marked the fifth time the duo has placed inside the top 6 this season.

The highs experienced by the No. 81 drivers were tempered by what Thomas and Rogers experienced in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. With guests from both CRC BRAKLEEN® and BMW SF looking on, the Indy winners had designs on back-to-back victories, but overly-ambitious driving by the competition slowed their progress.

“I think we need to check and see if there is a target painted on the car somewhere,” said Rogers.  “I don’t know if there is a straight panel left after that weekend.  But we still got the CRC BRAKLEEN® car home just outside of the top 10, which is a result we will happily take given the conditions.”

With the penultimate round behind them, BimmerWorld’s has one chapter left to write before its amazing season draws to a close.

Follow the BimmerWorld team as they prepare for Lime Rock at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com and be sure to watch the Monterey race when it airs on SPEED September 16th at 1:30 p.m. ET.

BimmerWorld Closes 3-Race Run With Another Podium, Pair Of Top 10s At Watkins Glen

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Coming off its third GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race in a span of four weeks, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld closed the arduous string of events in impressive fashion at New York’s storied Watkins Glen circuit.

On the face of it, the numbers look good: another podium for team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80, an eighth-place finish for Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine in the No. 81 and a 15th-place result for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82, but it doesn’t tell the full story of BimmerWorld’s achievement.

Utilizing the renowned BMW E90 platform, BimmerWorld’s trio of 328is rank among the most heavily restricted cars in GRAND-AM’s Street Tuner class, yet despite the massive amount of weight the cars carry, and the air restrictors that limit the power from the BMW’s six-cylinder engines, Clay’s team has continued to deliver performances that should be unattainable.

With their BMWs sanctioned to rather extreme levels, BimmerWorld’s focus for 2012 has been to perfect every other area within the program in an effort to compensate for the performance the rules have taken away. Drawing from an exceptional amount of talent from its crew and drivers, the Watkins Glen race showcased BimmerWorld’s formula of using speed, consistency and flawless execution to overcome most of the advantages held by the competition.

“The BimmerWorld guys are rock-solid, and even if we aren’t as gifted as other models in the regulations currently, our whole team has managed to make a lot happen with willpower alone,” said Clay. “The majority of our crew is full-time in the shop which I think is a big plus for our team when we have the crazy workload of a three-race stretch like the one we just completed. But beyond the standard prep work, these guys have been putting in long days at the track also to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be when we hit the track. Combine that with a driving staff that has put their heads down to make results happen, and with each car visiting the podium this year, I feel like we are maximizing what we have been given.”

After a humbling start to the season, Clay and Capestro-Dubets turned their fortunes around during June’s three-race run, taking a fifth at Mid-Ohio, a third at Elkhart Lake and another third last weekend.

“John and I are really starting to click as teammates,” Clay continued. “We had our car dialed in and ready to race very early in the weekend, leaving us time to test some other setups and practice the elements that are critical in the race. I am very happy with the progress we have made during the year as a team, and John is driving like a superstar which is helping the results.”

With BimmerWorld’s total team coaching process at his disposal, Capestro-Dubets has made great strides during his sophomore season in ST, and credits the support he’s received for his continual development as a pro driver.

“So much has changed since 2011 for me,” he said. “Greg and I watch last year’s in-car footage before each race, and the difference is shocking to me. James has really taken his time with me to settle me down and then build my confidence by giving me tools to refine myself. In 2011, I was still trying to find my place and make somewhat of a name for myself. This year, I have the confidence and the guidance, and I think some good results are now showing all the hard work that goes into making it in this sport. I really have to thank everyone involved with this race program for taking their time with me and developing me into the driver I am so far.”

As the leader of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW, Liefooghe receives plenty of accolades for his driving and coaching talents, and paired with ST rookie Levine, the two have formed one of the most effective driving combos in the series. In addition to their win at Round 2 this year, the intra-team highlights continue to grow and shift towards Levine as he makes the transition from being the new kid on the block to a seriously talented competitor alongside Liefooghe.

Plenty can be said about Levine’s drive at Watkins Glen, but the most impressive stat centers on the 27 positions he and Liefooghe managed to earn on their way to an eighth-place finish.

“I feel that I have progressed a lot since the pre-season test at Daytona,” said Levine. “I’ve really learned a lot from working with Greg in a short amount of time. Now that I have been in the car for several races, I feel that I am comfortable in the car which allows me to push myself and the car to the limit. My progression owes many thanks to Greg for his coaching this season. I’m looking forward to closing out the season in a strong way.”

If the No. 80 was the lightning rod for bad luck early in the year, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i took its place recently. After dealing with mechanical gremlins and a rough-and-tumble race, Thomas and Rogers fought back to recover 14 spots to claim 15th in ST.

“Our weekend at WGI didn’t start out great—we had some issues that left us off track during the test day,” said Thomas. “But our crew kept fighting. Dan did an amazing job during the day to improve his lap times by five seconds between his first session at Watkins Glen in a BMW to when he qualified the car. During the race he continued to move forward and handed the car over to me after the BimmerWorld boys executed a perfect pit stop. Overall it was a great team effort from everyone involved. It’s how you recover from adversity that matters, and everyone should be proud of themselves after last weekend.”

In a sea of other manufacturers in the Street Tuner class, there’s one metric that stands out quite heavily this year—the Manufacturers’ Championship. As a privateer program, and despite heavy factory involvement in the class, BimmerWorld’s tenacity and consistency has BMW sitting atop the championship after seven rounds, which serves as a point of pride for Clay and his team.

“The Manufacturers’ Championship is the place we can hang our hat this year,” he said. “In six of the seven races this season, BimmerWorld has put the points on the board to move BMW to the front of this race. In a year where we have to leverage our luck significantly to provide race finishes, BimmerWorld’s approach of running three equal cars pays off and gives us a better chance of putting a BMW at the top on any given race weekend.”

Now that the team has a little bit of time to breathe before the series makes its debut at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway later in the month, Clay is also starting to plan ahead for next season.

“This is the time of year where we start to look at team developments and driver lineups for the upcoming season, and our goal is to finish as the top BMW program in ST and to take the next step with our cars in the off season. The rules tend to be cyclical, and we’d expect the 328is to have things evened out a bit for 2013, which should make our quest for a championship even stronger. But for now, we are focused on wrapping up a strong 2012 showing.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the Watkins Glen race when it airs July 14th at 1 p.m. ET on SPEED

BimmerWorld Scores Pair Of Top 10s At Mid-Ohio GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Event

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Despite earning a win at Round 2 of the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series championship through a perfectly-timed piece of race strategy, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld have gone into every race this year with an understanding they’d face an uphill battle, and last weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio was no different.

With the Street Turner rules currently balanced in favor of smaller economy cars and their turbocharged cousins, teams like BimmerWorld have been left to fight for “best in class” honors with normal-sized sedans like the BMW 328i, making the team’s pair of top 10 finishes at Mid-Ohio even more remarkable.

Leading BimmerWorld at the checkered flag was the No. 80 BMW 328i of team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets, who scored an impressive fifth-place result on the twisting 2.2-mile road course.

“I think it was clear this weekend that we didn’t have the power that we needed to really challenge for a win, but the BimmerWorld team always puts together a solid car and a lot of the time, that will get us farther than we expect,” said Clay. “The No. 80 had a solid race and we were never able to challenge for a position and take it, but we were able to be there when opportunity gave us a spot, and that was the key to moving to the front for us. Not the most exciting way to make it happen, but I am happy and content that we maximized the result.”

With a string of bad luck limiting the No. 80’s results this year, earning fifth at Mid-Ohio was a great momentum boost for the team and, in particular, second-year GRAND-AM driver Capestro-Dubets, who fought hard to the finish as the closer in the blue and yellow BMW.

“The opportunity to work with the experienced drivers and engineers on the team has helped me to mature,” said ‘JCD,’ as he’s known by the team. “I have no words for the emotion I had after this race. To cross the finish line, pull into the pits and see the looks and the other competitor’s faces, then walk up to see James and feel the relief of success for the No. 80 after a rough start to the season was just incredible. I’m very grateful for this experience and beyond fueled for the next round.”

Round 2 winners Gregory Liefooghe and teammate David Levine steered the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW home in eighth, their third top 10 of the season. Liefooghe was quick to hail the performance and progression of his teammate so far in 2012.

“For David and me, it has just been a matter of learning how to communicate with each other,” said the respected racer and driver coach. “My job is to make sure he gets what he needs to find those last few tenths on the track. We have jelled very well and now we only work on small details. One of the big changes from last season for David was that he now has a team and a teammate behind him, and we are all here to make him faster and he adapted quickly to that environment. He manages to bring the car back in good shape and in a good position after his stint and it allows me to go for a good finish.”

BimmerWorld would have preferred to have all three of its cars in the top 10, but circumstances intervened throughout the weekend for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers. For reasons that defy explanation, a year’s worth of bad luck struck the No. 82 at Mid-Ohio, forcing the car’s resilient technicians to perform miracle after miracle to overcome a variety of unexpected mechanical woes.

Coming off a second-place finish at the previous round, soldiering home to take 26th at Mid-Ohio might not seem like something to celebrate, but Thomas gave full credit to everyone who took part in getting the No. 82 to the finish line.

“The BimmerWorld Crew fought all weekend to get the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW on track,” he said. “It seems every time one problem was solved, another reared its head, including during the race. Most teams would have packed up and gone home during practice, but not our guys. I am proud of every crew member as they fought harder than Dan or I did on the racetrack.

“They stayed up late and worked right up until the last minute to give us a race car we felt would lead us to the front of the field. Unfortunately some race contact from another car prevented them from seeing success in the No. 82 BMW. Regardless, this race was only possible because of them.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the Mid-Ohio race when it’s airs June 17th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Returns To GRAND-AM Victory Lane At Barber Motorsports Park

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Drivers tend to get all of the credit when they win a race, but as the BMW experts at BimmerWorld reminded its rivals on Saturday, it also takes teamwork, strategy, and an incredible amount of talent amongst the pit crew to earn a trip to victory lane.

BimmerWorld’s three-car fleet of BMW 328is not only survived the crash-filled Continental Tire Series race at the sprawling Barber Motorsports Park facility in Leeds, Alabama, but left with the Street Tuner class win, a pair of top 5 finishes, and the lead in the drivers’ and the teams’ points standings.

At the end of the 2.5-hour event, Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine, drivers of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, were celebrating their first series win, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers secured a solid fifth-place finish while playing the role of tail gunners and the team’s pit crew was credited by team owner/driver James Clay for their peerless efforts.

“Daytona was a solid start to our 2012 season and we knew we had a great program – the win and strong showing at Barber confirms that,” he said. “We have done a lot of development work over the winter to shore up any sagging performance areas of the car and really left no stone unturned for improvement for this season.  The guys in the shop have been hard at work perfecting the car we put on the track and I think it is starting to really show.”

Clay also recognized the unique position his team was placed in when a few competitors ahead of the No. 81 fell afoul of the rulebook during a caution period, but knowing those rules paid off for BimmerWorld at Barber.

“This win was made easier for us to some degree by a couple of cars that got caught out with the on-track procedures, and having been on the other side of that in 2010, I know that was a bad deal,” he explained.  “But even without the pure speed to win on this tighter track, the full team executed on this performance, from crew to drivers, to race engineers and we were there to take the opportunity that was given.”

For Liefooghe, one of the most respected veterans in the paddock, his breakthrough win was both emotional and long overdue.

“I have to say this win feels like an accomplishment,” he remarked.  “There is indeed a lot more involved than it shows in our win today. It was a team effort, where the strategy called by our engineer, Dave Wagener, was an integral part of the result.  We managed to stay out of trouble and not make mistakes, and it shows that we have a rock solid program.  This win rewards all the efforts made during the off-season and the hard work that has been put in during the whole race. Although the season is just starting, this result puts us in a great spot for the championship and I think it reinforces the fact that David and I are working well together.”

Liefooghe also had a special message for the man who helped get him to where he is today.

“It is my first win in the CTSCC and it is a big stepping-stone,” he continued. “I would like to dedicate it to my father who supported me and pushed me to follow my passion throughout all these years. Dad, this one is for you!”

With so many cautions happening during his opening stint, Levine didn’t get the opportunity to do much wheel-to-wheel racing, but says the chance to spray champagne as a GRAND-AM race winner was everything he thought it would be.

“I cannot describe the feeling of being a winner in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series in only my third start.  The start of the race was quite frustrating as I only got about seven feet of green flag racing before the GS-class crashes started.  Putting the frustration aside, spraying champagne as a winner has been a highlight in my life and I hope I can keep doing that for the rest of the season. This win is also the first win in a while for our crew chief, David Wagener, so I made it a point to spray him first.  This weekend was truly incredible! Thanks again to the crew and everyone involved.”

The road to fifth was just as exciting for Thomas and Rogers, and when presented with the opportunity to try a high-risk pass for the lead, Thomas says supporting the sister No. 81’s charge to the checkered flag took precedence.

“As a racer, when you see an opening that you think you can squeeze your car into on the last couple of laps you want to take it, but after seeing the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW in front of me, I had to think about the team and the season’s results.  I thought about the points situation of Greg and David during the caution, and the only way I would go for the spot is if Greg made a mistake.  He didn’t, and my job was to protect him as much as possible to give BimmerWorld and BMW a shot at winning the championship at the end of the year.”

Rogers also supported the “team first” move by Thomas.

“Seth and I have known all along that the No. 82 will be a regular visitor to the podium; it’s just a matter of when,” he said. “It was going that direction at Daytona until Seth got hit, and on the last lap restart at Barber, we were P2, behind Greg, before we were then shuffled back a bit. A fifth-place finish is great, but it’s just a step to the podium for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. Congratulations to David and Greg for a second great finish. Bring on Miami!”

The third BimmerWorld entry, the No. 80 BMW 328i piloted by Clay and John Capestro-Dubets, wasn’t as fortunate in the race, encountering contact which dropped the duo well down the finishing order.

“Our run in the No. 80 car was geared up to be a good one, but there were a lot of cars on track and unfortunately, John was one of many that suffered from the close quarters,” said Clay.  “As a driver you are always learning and improving and even bad races teach lessons.  I have a lot of faith in our driving team and as the season progresses, we will continue to tweak and improve.”

Clay also recognized the many layers of support that enabled BimmerWorld to return to its winning ways.

“We had some great support this weekend from the folks at CRC BRAKLEEN® and NAPA, and I was happy with our result with our sponsors watching,” he said. “I am also really proud of all the guys on the team who picked up extra responsibility as our crew chief Jason Marks was at home with his wife preparing to have their first baby.  They did a great job and produced a strong result.”

With eight races left on the calendar, Clay admitted that he and the team will enjoy their results at Barber in the short-term, but won’t let the victory or their place in the championship distract BimmerWorld from its season-long goals.

“It is great to be leading the Championship at this or any point, but all it means is we have had a couple of good races,” he said.  “There is a long season ahead of us and certainly we will put our heads down and continue to produce results.  I’ll start getting excited a lot closer to the checker flag at Lime Rock in September.”

Next up for BimmerWorld is Round 3 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on April 27-28. Follow the team’s progress as they prepare for the event at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the No. 81’s win April 8th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

#81 BimmerWorld 328i

livery81.2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

BimmerWorld Unveils 3-Car GRAND-AM Street Tuner Lineup

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Dublin, VA

After recently announcing its expansion to a three-car GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner program for 2012, Dublin, VA-based BimmerWorld has finalized the three pairs of drivers who will pilot the team’s trio of BMW 328is.

Stability, continuity, and growth have been hallmarks of BimmerWorld’s professional racing endeavors for more than a decade, and the trend continues this season as four of the team’s drivers from 2011 have returned, along with two promising talents that have recently joined the team.

Employing the proven strategy of partnering winning veterans with up-and-coming drivers, team owner/driver James Clay will pilot the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i with John Capestro-Dubets, the breakout young star of the 2011 ST championship, as his co-driver.

The No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i will again be piloted by drivers provided by Exclusive Management, Inc. This year, the car lineup will feature sports car expert Gregory Liefooghe, who will mentor ST rookie David A. Levine.

Seth Thomas, BimmerWorld’s most tenured driver, will spearhead the CRC BRAKLEEN®-sponsored No. 82 328i with Dan Rogers as his teammate.

After reaching a statistical points tie and nearly winning the ST championship on the team’s GRAND-AM debut in 2010, Clay says BimmerWorld structured its driving combinations with the specific goal of earning the ST title this year.

“I am very happy with this season’s driver pairings,” he said. “As always, it is important to me and us as a team for every car to be a championship contender. And this year more than ever before, we are purely focused on capturing the championship that got away from us in 2010, and I feel our driver lineup strongly supports this goal.”

Tasked with scoring points, earning victories and teaching their new co-drivers, Thomas and Liefooghe have similar goals during the 10-race Continental Tire Series championship.

“My focus for 2012 is to bring the driver and team championships to BimmerWorld, and to win a manufacturer’s title for BMW,” said Thomas. “With Dan having raced at only a handful of the tracks we’ll visit this season, I hope my knowledge of these tracks helps him get the most out of our car every weekend.”

Beyond sharing driving and chassis setup tips, Liefooghe looks forward to helping Levine adapt to the rigors of endurance racing.

“For my part, I will work hard with David as he transitions to a new style of racing,” he said. “David comes to BimmerWorld with great talent, but most of his experience is in shorter sprint races. My job as a teammate will be to teach him all the facets of endurance racing.”

For Levine and Rogers, the decision to join BimmerWorld was made with the specific goals of learning from the best, joining one of the most respected teams in the paddock, and spending a lot of time in Victory Lane.

“I chose BimmerWorld because of the team’s professionalism and its commitment to winning the championship, the quality of the car and knowledge of the mechanics and pit crew, and the opportunity to race with and learn from Greg,” said Levine. “Everyone on the team is friendly, which also made selecting BimmerWorld an easy choice.”

“When the opportunity came up to drive with BimmerWorld in GRAND-AM, I jumped at it,” said Rogers. “With the complete package they have to offer, I believe we have a great shot at winning the title.”

Capestro-Dubets took the first steps towards becoming a professional racing driver last year with BimmerWorld in the ST class, earning kudos throughout the season as a driver with the potential to make it to the top. With his services in high demand, the young hot shoe chose to stay with BimmerWorld for his sophomore season and continue his education in GRAND-AM.

“My rookie year was all a learning experience and it was a very productive year,” he said. “In 2011, I learned the fundamentals needed to succeed in GRAND-AM, and now it’s time to show what I’ve learned. I feel I’ve become a very strong and consistent driver. My next goal is to bring home a championship for the BimmerWorld team, my sponsors and myself.”

In addition to their line up of stellar drivers, BimmerWorld will rely upon thousands of hours that have been invested over the past few months by the men behind the scenes to make sure the team’s fleet of 328is are faster than ever.

With the first race of the season just weeks away, Clay is confident his team has all of the ingredients necessary to achieve their goals.

“BimmerWorld’s technicians and engineers never stop thinking, working, and tuning on the cars,” he said. “This offseason has been purely focused on the 2012 ST package and the focus has yielded what I hope and think will be a formidable result. Racing is like any job – filled with a lot of work. We have had long work lists and the guys have executed well on them. We are entering this season ready to go.”

Follow BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as the team prepares for the season-opening race on Jan. 27th at Daytona International Raceway.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

BimmerWorld Earns Monterey ST Podium with No. 81 Brakleen BMW 328i, Top 10 in GS

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Timing is a crucial element to success in motor racing, and for Dublin, Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing, the No. 81 BMW 328i driven by Gregory Liefooghe and John Capestro-Dubets delivered a brilliant performance for the team and sponsor Brakleen when it mattered most.

Sporting a new livery featuring Brakleen’s brake parts cleaner bottles on both sides of the car, touring car ace Liefooghe and star rookie Capestro-Dubets waged a spirited battle against smaller, lighter cars at Round 8 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event in Monterey, California.

Starting sixth, Capestro-Dubets opened the 2.5-hour race with speed and precision, rising to the second spot during his stint. With his own private cheering section providing inspiration, the young Californian put on an amazing show for his fans.

“This was a very important race for me due to the fact it was my home track and majority of my family was there to watch for the first time,” he said. “I grew up a few miles from the track and went to many races here, and it has always been a dream of mine to race in front of fans at this track. The whole weekend was very special to me, from beginning to end.”

After finishing on the podium in his series debut at Daytona, making the podium at his home track was the realization of a long-held dream.

“If I had to pick a highlight of my stint it would be when I found myself in second behind the Kia trying to get around for the lead before the caution came out,” Capestro-Dubets continued. “The overall highlight of the race, in my eyes, would be when Greg came around Turn 11 for the last time to give BimmerWorld and Brakleen a well deserved podium finish.

“This result means so much, and in addition to the team and my teammate, I have to credit Michael Duncalfe and Exclusive Management, Inc. He brought us together with BimmerWorld and has been instrumental in keeping me sharp and focused on achieving finishes like we got at Monterey.”

With Liefooghe taking over the reins of the No. 81 to steer the Brakleen car home to the finish, maintaining a steady, controlled aggression was necessary.

“My stint was all about saving the equipment,” he said. “We went with a very aggressive strategy and I got in the car with just under two hours to go. I knew I had to save tires and fuel if I wanted to make it to the end so I could be fast when it counted. The last 10 laps were very, very long with the Mazdas having tremendous pace. They were pushing incredibly hard at the end of the race. The track favored them as they were a lot easier on tires since they are 500 pounds lighter than us. It was a good hard fight and I encourage everybody to watch the broadcast on Sunday!”

BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay and Seth Thomas earned a top 10 for their efforts in the team’s No. 79 Johnstone Supply BMW M3 V8, but after the race, the sensational drive by the No. 81 was the major talking point.

“After much too long of a drought, I was very happy to have a car on the podium again this weekend,” Clay said. “It is fitting that with the debut of the CRC/Brakleen wrap on the 81 car that CRC shared our success with their car. The boys drove a great race and the crew has been investing an abundance of effort in the program all year. It is great to see a result for the effort!”

The Monterey race offered yet another example of the rapid growth of the Liefooghe/Capestro-Dubets driving team, and the integrated working style BimmerWorld’s technicians and engineers have developed with the No. 81’s drivers.

“The working relationship with John has always been good,” Liefooghe explained. “It’s become easier and easier to work together as we became good friends over the year and everything seems automatic now. There is a lot of trust between us and it makes for a lot of fun during the weekend. I have to give a big thank you to our crew and especially our crew chief Ryan Kuhn. They have been living and breathing our No. 81 and our racing luck has kept them very busy so far. It’s great to bring back some results for him to thank the guys for all of their hard work. Obviously, our engineer Dave Wagener always has a big role in our speed. We have a great communication and he’s able to translate our feedback into great setups. Overall, this is a very cohesive program.”

The sister No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i driven by Bill Heumann and David White had a race weekend that didn’t go according to plan, but that didn’t diminish the effort or resolve shown by the BimmerWorld crew, as White shares.

“The No. 80 sustained damage in a practice session and our amazing crew had already begun repairing the car before that session had even ended. The extent of the damage kept us from making qualifying, but our team went above and beyond what would cause most teams to throw in the towel. They kept fighting and when they were done, the car looked brand new again for the final practice session and we were able to start the race. With the pace that the car had in the final practice, we were confident that we could make a run from the back to give the team the finish that they deserved. Unfortunately a mechanical issue during the race forced us to retire the car early, but that doesn’t take away from how proud I am of our crew.”

In Grand Sport, Clay and Thomas earned their first top 10 of the season–the fourth top 10 amongst the two BimmerWorld GS entries in 2011–placing 10th, while the No. 78 Bizrate.com M3 V8 driven by Bob Michaelian and Ken Wilden had an uncharacteristic weekend, finishing 16th.

As the team adds more positive results during its first year of competition with the BMW M3 V8, Clay is pleased with how much BimmerWorld’s M3 engineering database continues to grow.

“We are still learning about the M3s and while it was nice to be in the top 10 again, it was also nice to learn more about the car,” he said. “I felt like we had the pace to really do well at Road America and we didn’t quite have the same car at Laguna, but as we build our playbook for a strong 2012, I feel like we’re gaining a lot of invaluable information that will reward us in due time.”

Watch the excitement from Monterey this Sunday, July 17th, at 1 p.m. ET on SPEED, and follow BimmerWorld’s progress at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as they prepare for the penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park on July 22-23.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

BimmerWorld’s Capestro-DuBets and Liefooghe Score Top-3 at Daytona Season Opener

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Breaking into the professional ranks of any sport is a pressure-packed endeavor, and for a young driver like BimmerWorld Racing’s John Capestro-DuBets, the need to deliver a strong performance in his first pro race was critical.

Thankfully, the 21-year-old Californian not only performed well in his professional debut at the GRAND-AM 200, he completed a dream weekend by standing on the famed podium at the historic Daytona International Raceway. After earning a third-place finish in the grueling 2.5-hour Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener with his teammate, veteran driver Gregory Liefooghe, the pilots of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW E90 celebrated a top-3 result to open their account on the 2011 season.

Starting seventh, Capestro-DuBets, known as ‘JCD’ to his teammates, looked poised within the 77-car field during his turn at the wheel. Handing off the car to Liefooghe, the duo raced their way to third to start the year in spectacular fashion.

“This is a dream come true,” said JCD. “Just driving through the tunnel and seeing Daytona from the inside for the first time was surreal. Sitting here now–I just raced on this legendary track and finished third…I just can’t put it into words. The BimmerWorld team did an incredible job; the car was so fast and our pit stops–they were my first in competition–were so smooth. Greg drove an amazing stint when he took over and I was just thrilled to share in this with him and the team.”

Liefooghe, like JCD, made his debut with the BimmerWorld team at Daytona. Based on the first race, the 29-year-old says he’s highly encouraged with what the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW program can achieve.

“I’m very pleased with how our Daytona 200 race went,” he said, “and it gives us a very good starting point in the championship. John should be very proud of the job he did, and everyone on the BimmerWorld team worked so hard to make this possible. This podium just makes us more eager to get to the next round and go racing immediately.”

James Clay, owner of the BimmerWorld team, says he’s glad to see the ST drivers working together so closely.

“I think we have four amazing drivers, and on most weekends, I’d expect them to be running together in the lead pack. They contribute a lot to our team and we have every confidence both cars will be in the championship hunt all year long. You have to be happy with what Greg and JCD achieved–it’s our second podium at Daytona in two years–and Bill and David could have been right there with them. All of the potential to succeed is within our grasp.”

2010 GRAND-AM MESCO Rookie of the Year winner Bill Heumann, and two-time 2010 Street Tuner pole winner David White had a more challenging start to the new season in their No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW E90.

An impressive run from their 22nd starting spot to 12th aside, the duo expected more from the first race of the season but a penalty dropped the No. 80 to the back of the field, ending their chance of running in tandem with the sister No. 80 BMW.

“I made a mistake and sped on pit lane,” Heumann said with a tone that revealed his frustration. “You never want to make mistakes, but I did and I’ll come away knowing that I have to be perfect behind the wheel if David and I want to win together in the series. We won’t dwell on it; we know what our car and team can do, so we’ll come back for the next race even stronger.”

White, who took over for Heumann to complete the race in the BimmerWorld E90, says they will treat the next round, held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, FL, like it’s the first race of the year.

“We took 12th, which helps in the championship, but our mindset is to go the next race and show everybody what we’re capable of. The good thing is the E90 is really fast, its Performance Friction brakes give us an advantage under braking and Bill and I are fired up to go after wins and the title. Sometimes you have races that don’t go your way, and this was one of them. Like Bill said, you learn from it and move on. We’ll be ready to go at Homestead and we know the BimmerWorld crew will prepare the best cars in the paddock for us.”

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

Gregory Liefooghe

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2014-2016: Successfully campaigned a Porsche Cayman with Next Level European in the IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge, earning multiple podium finishes through three seasons and a win in 2015. Helped develop co-driver Ari Balogh’s race craft during the 2016 season.

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

2012: Lead driver of the BimmerWorld 81 car in GRAND-AM, winner of Barber Motorsports Park. Three podium finishes, fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, and scored points to claim the Manufacturers’ Championship for BMW.

2011: GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with BimmerWorld, seven races in ST and three in GS, with two podiums and four top-10s. Ran three races in SCCA World Challenge, resulting in two podiums in GTS and one top-5 in TC.

2010: GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge placing the car 8th in the championship. Two podiums and one top-5 in three Canadian Touring Car starts. One win in one Mustang Challenge start.

2009: Won the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in E1. Third in the Jim Russell Championship Race Series with two wins and five podiums. One podium and two top-5 finishes in the Skip Barber Western Series.

Personal: Completed his BBA at CEFAM in Lyon, France, and his MBA at Pace University in New York City. Maintains a strong fitness base by adhering to a rigorous cardio and strength training program, including hours spent on his road bike in the hills of the Wine Country.