Round 3: IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge – Road America

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Just two quick weeks from racing at Sebring, the BimmerWorld Racing crew rolls into Road America for Round 3 of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge. Road America is by far one of the fastest tracks on the IMSA schedule – excluding the high banks of Daytona, of course. So naturally, horsepower is king, and right off the bat, the BimmerWorld M4 GT4s were chopped off at the knees with a new “Balance of Performance” decision which made them run at their lowest possible horsepower setting. The team knew right off the bat what kind of weekend they were in for after being delivered this news and knew they had to get to work making the cars handle their best since relying on any sort of horsepower had been taken off the table.

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The good news was that the weather was far more enjoyable than it was at Sebring, with nice cool air and lots of sunshine, but there wasn’t time to stand around and soak that in when speed needed to be found in the car. Qualifying placed the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries M4 of James Clay and Devin Jones in ninth while the No. 80 Racing 2 End Alzheimers M4 of Nick Galante and Dillon Machavern starting thirteenth.

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The race was full of non-stop battles for both the No. 82 and No. 80 cars. They were mid-pack, but that was where all the action was, and even with their new, decreased horsepower, they certainly made the most of it by driving 10/10ths during their entire stints. A spinning Mustang directly in front of James in the No. 82 caused a small amount of damage to the front end early on, but racing was extremely tight and clean otherwise. In fact, the OPTIMA Batteries No. 82 received more face time on the IMSA.tv livestream than the leaders of the race for countless laps due to the crazy battles they were mixed up in. 

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Excellent pit stops and flawless driver changes by the team made the most of their time off-track, and a final push at the end resulted in a tenth-place finish for the No. 82 and twelfth for the No. 80. All things considered, it was a disappointing finish to a hopeful weekend, but it’s time to reset and get ready for the next event, which is BimmerWorld’s favorite event of the season: Virginia International Raceway! Our home track.

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Round 4 of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge will be held in BimmerWorld’s backyard and their home away from home – Heaven on Earth, the one and only, Virginia International Raceway August 22, 2020.

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Round 2: IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge – Sebring International Raceway

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The last time the BimmerWorld Racing team strapped into their pair of IMSA M4 GT4s was back in January for the season opener at Daytona. Since then, a lot has changed in the world, but the desire to go racing only got more intense as time passed. Finally, the date was set and the freshly wrapped BimmerWorld hauler was headed south for Round 2 of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge at Sebring International Raceway.

_SM_3664Florida in July means HEAT – and lots of it. That heat started causing some issues in the No. 80 Racing 2 End Alzheimer’s M4 during its first outing, and the very uncharacteristic overheating problem plagued the car throughout the entire day, causing its pace to be slightly off what it was capable of. Drivers Nick Galante and Dillion Machavern tried to make the most of their sessions while working on the car’s chassis, attempting to optimize the car they had under them. With a drastically shortened schedule, qualifying was the morning of the race. The BimmerWorld team worked feverishly to get the overheating under control, and that effort resulted in Nick Galante thankfully having a cool and happy M4 GT4 to drive during qualifying.

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The No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries M4 GT4 of James  Clay and Devin Jones had an equally frustrating time at Sebring. A fuel supply problem created an extremely unhappy BMW to drive. The No. 82 also had to deal with limited testing time due to the abridged schedule, and that meant very little time to test fixes. James qualified the No. 82 in the tenth spot, with his teammates in the No. 80 behind him in eleventh.

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The race was later in the day and would be determined more by weather than on-track racing. Just fifteen minutes after the green flag, the first round of bad weather hit and brought the entire field into the pits due to lightning strikes close to the racetrack. Even still, in those short fifteen minutes, both BimmerWorld Racing M4 GT4s gained 3-4 positions and were looking for more. After almost an hour and a half of downtime, the race finally restarted with everyone scrambling to pick their pit strategy. With the No. 82 still experiencing fuel issues, it appeared the No. 80 would be charging to the front.

_HP_4018Sadly, the No. 80 never got the chance to battle it out at the end of the race, as a second round of storms rolled in with more lightning and the race ending under full-course caution. Final finishing positions were P7 for the No. 80 and P10 for the No. 82 car.

_SM_3790Round 3 of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge takes BimmerWorld to Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI on Saturday, August 1, 2020.

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BimmerWorld Ready to Get Back on Track at VIR and Sebring

BimmerWorld-Ready-to-Get-Back-on-Track-at-VIR-and-Sebring

This month, BimmerWorld Racing will return to the track in a big way with a pair of events on two of North America’s premier road courses: VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) and Sebring International Raceway. The races are slated for SRO America and the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Series, respectively, and represent the first events for each since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the racing world to a halt in mid-March.

When we suddenly stopped racing, all of my focus went to crisis management with our BimmerWorld parts business,” said company and team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Virginia. “We are running a total of six pro cars in two teams this year on the racing side, which is no small undertaking. However, the parts side is an even larger business, with 30-plus people whom we are committed to keeping employed, and a customer base to which we are committed to providing parts and service. The business has certainly had its challenges, but we have an incredible team of people on all sides. That’s the core factor to overcoming and creating success, whether on the race team or our office team.”

First up is for the race team is the SRO America event at VIR on July 10-12. The 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course in Alton, Virginia, is just a short drive east from BimmerWorld’s Dublin base in the state and serves as a fitting facility for the team to make its return.

At VIR, BimmerWorld will continue to field a pair of BMW M240i Racing cars in the TC class of the TC America championship. Clay will pilot the No. 36 PÖRQ Snacks BMW M240iR entry (a car he won in during the 2020 opening round at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas), while the No. 94 TAC Energy car will be driven by Chandler Hull of Dallas. Meanwhile, the No. 82 Red Line Synthetic Oil BMW M4 GT4 will return in the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Series. It will be piloted by Bill Auberlen, hailing from Lake Havasu, Arizona, and James Walker Jr. of The Woodlands, Texas. Each class will compete in one race on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, making up Rounds 3-5 of the SRO America season.

“The M4 GT4 is really great at that track,” Clay said. “We don’t complain about the Balance of Performance, but I am aware that we are BoP racing and there are some strong cars this year. We ran the fastest times at this race last year, so I hope for good things. The M240i Racing in TC is slightly different in that the field is 80-percent comprised of the same car. Versus the couple of other manufacturers though, the M240iR has a great cooling package and at VIR in July we will need every bit of it. We have rubbed on and tested our cars a bit there, and I think we are totally dialed in with the best cars in the field.”

The two BimmerWorld SRO BMW M240i Racing cars at CoTA

The two BimmerWorld SRO BMW M240i Racing cars at CoTA

The following week at Sebring, two BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 race cars will hit the track with IMSA for the first time since the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Series’ opening round at Daytona in late January. The two-hour race is slated for Friday, July 17, with BimmerWorld resuming competition in the GS class.

The team has found plenty of success at the famed 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course in Florida, with Clay and teammate Devin Jones of Mooresville, North Carolina, taking a second-place finish during the most recent Sebring event in the spring of 2019. They will return to pilot the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor entry for the balance of the season. The duo will be joined by Nick Galante, originally from Greenfield, Massachusetts, and Dillon Machavern of Charlotte, Vermont, who will get back behind the wheel of the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4 at Sebring.

The team feels its F82-based sedans are well-suited all around for the track’s notoriously bumpy and abrasive track surface.

“Unlike some of the true sportscars and exotics in the field, BMW has always raced their performance sedans,” Clay said. “The M4 is an incredible road car, and while our GT4 version is a bit lighter and pretty racy, it’s made to be a solid car that gets pounded on for a lot of miles. I think the robust platform is something that serves us well, especially at a track like Sebring that can be brutal on cars and components.”

Pit stop of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 at Daytona

Pit stop of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 at Daytona

Although schedules have been greatly adjusted due to the pandemic, BimmerWorld will race the balance of each series with all teams, drivers, and sponsor lineups planned for 2020 intact.

“I love our team,” Clay said. “We are back at 100 percent, or maybe even 110 percent from where we left off. We’ve made it through a lot of lingering development and worklist items, and our full driver lineup remains ready and focused on winning races and championships. Our staff is still complete, plus a few additions to help in the tighter schedules. We’re ready to rock.”

The SRO America races can be seen live throughout the weekend of July 10-12 on YouTube at youtube.com/GTWorld, while the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge event goes green at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 17, with live coverage provided by TrackPass.

BimmerWorld Racing
BimmerWorld is the preeminent BMW racing/performance specialist in North America, racing professionally in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge (BMW M4 GT4), World Challenge GT4 America (BMW M4 GT4), and World Challenge TC America series (BMW M240i Racing). The team also made its second entry in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2019 with an M4 GT4. This year, it is scheduled to do so in a V8-powered BMW E36 M3. BimmerWorld also builds cars and supports racers in various BMW CCA, AER, NASA, and SCCA club series. Off the track, the business is the last, and only, independently-owned major BMW parts specialist in North America. The catalog at www.bimmerworld.com has everything from accessories and OEM replacement parts to highly specialized racing parts with knowledgeable staff, competitive pricing, and quick service.

The No. 82 Redline SRO BMW M4 GT4 on track at COTA

The No. 82 Redline SRO BMW M4 GT4 on track at COTA

TEAM VIR ADVANCE QUOTES:

No. 82 Red Line Synthetic Oil BMW M4 GT4
BILL AUBERLEN:
How did you spend your time during the unexpected break from racing?
“During my time off at first, I was hard at training, but thy gyms were closed so I did all my training outside in the hot, 100-degree temperature of Arizona. I did long runs and hikes of over 10 miles in duration. It was a new way of training, but super fun. Then as we got closer to the actual races, we were lucky to get the opportunity to get back in the race car and get back after it and make sure I was up to the task. At the same time, we were able to make some gains in the car so that was great.”

JAMES WALKER JR.:
As an automotive engineer, you have extensive knowledge of these cars. How are you able to apply that knowledge to get the most out of the BMW M4 GT4 at a technical track like VIR?
“Thinking like an engineer behind the wheel can sometimes get in the way of flow and rhythm, but I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t from time to time envision little friction circles in my head as I am sorting out a new track or evaluating a setup change. At the end of the day we all have a job to do, and mine is simply to effectively use all that the car has to offer.”

No. 94 TAC Energy BMW M240i
CHANDLER HULL:
What are you most looking forward to in getting back to the track after the extended hiatus?
“Luckily, I was able to get into a race car a few times during our hiatus so I wasn’t completely deprived. However, actual racing is a completely different experience than testing, so I am very much looking forward to battling it out with the other guys.”

TEAM SEBRING ADVANCE QUOTES:

No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4
DEVIN JONES:
How did you keep yourself occupied during quarantine what do you see as the biggest challenge to overcome after not racing for six months?
“I’ve spent a lot of time on iRacing like a lot of drivers. I’ve also been spending time with family and my girlfriend, just trying to keep busy and stay safe. It’s going to be great to get back on track and go racing again. I’ve missed everything about racing that I’ve taken for granted in the past. I think the biggest challenge will be jumping back in and getting up to speed quickly while dialing the car in. However, I have all the confidence in the world in our team.”

No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4
NICK GALANTE:
You have won at Sebring in the past, what do you feel is the key to achieving a good result at the facility?
“Keeping your nose clean in traffic is a big key to winning here. The cars move around here more than other places, due to the bumps, sometimes unexpectedly, so running close with someone runs a lot of risk.”

DILLON MACHAVERN:
How does racing at Sebring differ from all the other tracks you visit?
“Sebring is a very unique track because in almost every corner you encounter a different surface which creates very different track conditions corner to corner. Not only is the surface changing constantly, but there are some sections, especially Turns 1 and 17, that are extremely bumpy. That makes line choice even more important than most of the tracks we visit.”

Three days of racing action in the SRO America series this weekend

Three days of racing action in the SRO America series this weekend

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BimmerWorld Scores Hard-Fought Sixth-Place Finish at Daytona

BimmerWorld-Scores-Hard-Fought-Sixth-Place-Finish-at-Daytona

Scrappy efforts often yield impressive results. That was the case for the BimmerWorld Racing team during the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, with its No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 scoring a very solid sixth-place result in a stout 33-car Grand Sport (GS) field. It was the highest-finishing BMW in the event.

The No. 82 machine, driven by team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., and Devin Jones from Mooresville, N.C., bounced around the top-20 of the scoring pylon throughout the season-opener for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series before Jones finally brought it under the checkered flag in sixth place. A massive crash on the backstretch in the final minutes forced the race to end under yellow.

Clay believes that both the M4’s brakes and the drafting zones created by the high-speed, high banks of the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course in Daytona Beach aid in the F82-based M4 GT4’s strength at the facility.

“I think we’re very good under braking, and I thank BMW and Performance Friction for that, but beyond that when this car is in a pack at Daytona, it seems to find the top speed that we don’t always have,” he said. “Honestly, we had a car that would just pass people on the straights. If we could hang on and get up to their bumper, we could go by. That worked pretty well for us today.”

Clay began the race from the 16th starting spot behind the wheel of the No. 82 car, ultimately moving into the top 10 by the one-hour mark. He continued his steady progress forward and was running in the sixth position when the first full-course caution period of the race occurred with two hours and 50 minutes remaining. However, on the ensuing restart, Clay saw trouble brewing as cars made contact in Turn One and decided to focus on the big picture, not risking a damaged car and the loss of valuable points. The move dropped him to the 18th position, but Clay soon marched forward again and was running inside the top-10 when the race’s second full-course yellow came out and he handed the controls to Jones.

“We had a great car this weekend and we were going for it-not to the front, because I don’t think we had that kind of car, but we were good,” Clay said.

Jones restarted in the 12th spot with one hour and 43 minutes left and steadily went to work, overtaking several cars within the first few minutes of his stint. He inherited the lead at one point during a pit-stop cycle and held steady in the bottom half of the top-10, before advancing to sixth in the race’s closing minutes.

“For the start of the stint, I was able to gain a few positions. The car was pretty good right out of the gate so that was encouraging,” Jones said. “Our car is not as good in the infield, but through the ‘bus stop,’ it’s really good. So, we were able to kind of set people up and get big runs coming out of the bus stop,’ which works well here to pass cars. Our car is pretty good through the high-speed sections of the track. We struggle a little bit in the infield trying to put the power down compared to some of the other cars, but we were pretty competitive.”

No.80 BMW pits

Meanwhile, the second BimmerWorld entry this season, the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s M4 GT4 driven by Nick Galante and Dillon Machavern, ultimately came home 19th. It showed great speed for much of the event though, at one point running ahead of the No. 82 in the final two hours.

Galante, who hails from Greenfield, Mass., and is returning to the team for the first time since 2018, started the race 14th and hovered around the top-10 for the majority of his two hours behind the wheel. He was forced to be patient and change his driving style throughout that time, a result of the large field and the tire attrition prevalent during the course of the race.

“This field was larger than usual, and it was tougher with all the pressure from all the cars behind to pace yourself and not be so aggressive trying not to get passed,” he said. “So, it was easy to forget the patience part of it while in a dogfight front and rear. It was tough to focus, but halfway through my stint, I was able to stay off the curbs after seeing all the tires being popped. Then I found some patience. It was really tough. In the first hour, I wasn’t able to because there was a dogfight everywhere.”

Machavern of Charlotte, Vt., took over for the second half of the race, immediately showing good pace and working his way well inside the top-10 in his first race with the BimmerWorld team.

“The car was really good underneath me with fresh tires and I was able to start picking up spots right away,” he said. “So, really hats off to the guys for making it an easy car to drive. Everything was right how it should be.”

However, a pit stop miscue led to the team falling down the standings and being forced to claw back inside the top 20.

“From there it was just kind of taking everything we could get but there wasn’t much racing going on after that,” he said. “It was kind of just being safe, getting through the laps and holding on to what we had.”

For James Clay, a solid effort overall, two fast cars, and passionate drivers serve as the ideal building blocks for the nine remaining rounds this season.

“It is the first weekend and we have little things that we still have to fine-tune, but I’m just thrilled to be back in the car with Devin,” he said. “He drove an awesome race, as I would expect him to always do. Having Nick back on the team is just great for everybody, and Dillon is fantastic in the car. So, I’m just really looking forward to what the team does for the rest of the year.”

Television coverage of the BMW Endurance Challenge will air on NBCSN from 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, February 6.

Next up for BimmerWorld in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series is the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday, March 19. Live coverage will be provided by TrackPass at 3:50 p.m., with the race airing on Thursday, March 26, from 3-5 p.m. on NBCSN.

Final Results:
No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 – 6th place
No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4 – 19th place

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

BimmerWorld Racing
BimmerWorld is the preeminent BMW racing/performance specialist in North America, racing professionally in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (BMW M4 GT4), World Challenge GT4 America (BMW M4 GT4), and World Challenge TC America series (BMW M240i Racing). The team also made its third entry in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2019 with a V8-powered BMW E36 M3. BimmerWorld also builds cars and supports racers in various BMW CCA, AER, NASA, and SCCA club series. Off the track, the business is the last, and only, independently-owned major BMW parts specialist in North America. The catalog at www.bimmerworld.com has everything from accessories and OEM replacement parts to highly specialized racing parts with a knowledgeable staff, competitive pricing, and quick service.

DAYTONA POST-RACE QUOTES:

 

James Clay, driver of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4.

James Clay, driver of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4.

No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4
JAMES CLAY:
What was your stint like from your perspective?
“I wasn’t super thrilled with qualifying but had a good stint. This car always races better in a pack at Daytona. As long as I could stay with a pack, I could make my way through. Once I got to the front of a pack, I’d lose a draft and have to ride around. I had a really good car under me today. As the rubber came down on the track the car got faster. We lost a couple of spots on a pit stop and on the second restart or so, it was getting a little wild and woolly, so I pulled the chute in Turn One because I saw cars banging against each other. It’s a four-hour race and I think that was an hour and a half in. Our approach to this thing, and why we’re there in the championship every year, is we don’t take dumb chances. So, I gave up a lot of spots but gained some of those back and then Devin continued to gain more back. We had a great car this weekend and we were going for it, not to the front, because I don’t think we had that kind of car, but we were good.”

Were there any areas of the track in which you felt the M4 GT4 was particularly good?
“I think we’re very good under braking, and I thank BMW and Performance Friction for that, but beyond that, when this car is in a pack at Daytona, it seems to find the top speed that we don’t always have. Honestly, we had a car that would just pass people on the straights, if we could hang on and get up their bumper, we could go by. That worked pretty well for us today.”

How did the race outcome compare to expectations for the team as a whole?
“We had the top two BMWs and it’s not necessarily a competition between us and other BMW teams more than it is with any other team out there, but we work hard and I’m proud of what we’ve done and I appreciate that. We had an error in the pits. I have a few green team members and we had an error that hurt us pretty bad on one of the No. 80 stops or else they would have been right there with the No. 82. I’m a little disappointed with that, but overall, I’m thrilled with the execution. On a weekend that we maybe didn’t have the car to go win the race, I’m really happy we got what we did, and I think that approach of having two clean cars at the end of the weekend is what wins championships. That’s where we’re headed again this year.”

What can you take away from this event to build upon heading into the rest of the 2020 IMSA season?
“It is the first weekend and we have little things that we still have to fine-tune, but I’m just thrilled to be back in the car with Devin. He drove an awesome race, as I would expect him to always do. Having Nick back on the team is just great for everybody and Dillon is fantastic in the car. So, I’m just really looking forward to what the team does for the rest of the year.”

 

Devin Jones, driver of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4.

Devin Jones, driver of the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4.

DEVIN JONES:
How did you feel the race went overall?
“Overall it was a pretty good race, and we executed things pretty well. We had a little problem the first run; the tire pressure was a little bit off to start, which kind of hurt our first run. But once we got that fixed the car was pretty fast. We were able to kind of pick off people a little bit. We were hoping to go green again towards the end there to maybe gain a few more spots, but we’ll take sixth and move on. Not a bad start to the year.”

You passed several cars early in your stint, were you looking to be aggressive out of the box?
“For the start of the stint, I was able to gain a few positions. The car was pretty good right out of the gate, so that was encouraging. Our car isn’t as good in the infield, but through the ‘bus stop,’ it’s really good. So, we were able to kind of set people up and get big runs coming out of the ‘bus stop,’ which works well here to pass cars. Our car is pretty good through the high-speed sections of the track. We struggle a little bit in the infield trying to put the power down compared to some of the other cars, but we were pretty competitive. We didn’t have that last little bit to kind of get up there and contend with some of the guys that were really fast. Some of the Mercedes were really fast this weekend-we couldn’t quite hold pace with them. But we were quite equal with everyone else throughout the field, so that’s encouraging, and hopefully we can keep building off what we had here. It’s a long way to Sebring, but it’s good to start the year off not in a hole at least.

 

Nick Galante, driver of the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer's BMW M4 GT4.

Nick Galante, driver of the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4.

No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4
NICK GALANTE:
What stood out from your stint behind the wheel?
“I started 14th and had a good opening stint, passed some cars, got in my groove and was moving forward. As the tires started to warm up, I fell back a couple spots from not adjusting with the tires, but then I kind of found my groove again. Everyone was popping tires, so I got ahead of that and stayed off the curbs. It was tough to make a good lap time and still stay off the curbs, but I saw how many people were popping tires, so I thought it was important. On the restart, I had a little contact with one of the cars going into Turn One. Two cars were fighting, and they bumped into me as I was going by.

“We had a good pit stop with the driver change halfway through at the two-hour mark, but then on the second pit stop the tires weren’t ready and we had kind of a longer pit stop than anticipated, and that sent us way back, almost a lap down, and we clawed our way back to 19th. So not the worst day I’ve ever had racing, but we learned a lot and we’ll continue on.”

Did the large field that took the green flag (more than 50 cars between GS and TCR) play a role in the way you approached the start of the race and how did you deal with patience?
“This field was larger than usual, and it was tougher with all the pressure from all the cars behind to pace yourself and not be so aggressive trying not to get passed. So, it was easy to forget the patience part of it while in a dogfight front and rear. It was tough to focus. But halfway through my stint, I was able to stay off the curbs after seeing all the tires being popped. Then I found some patience. It was really tough. In the first hour, I wasn’t able to because there was a dogfight everywhere.”

 

Dillon Machavern, driver of the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer's BMW M4 GT4.

Dillon Machavern, driver of the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s BMW M4 GT4.

DILLON MACHAVERN:
What are your thoughts on your portion of the race?
“The No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s M4 was actually really fast. Nick did a good job keeping it clean for me and moving it up a couple spots. I got in the car in a good position and was starting to make some decent headway during the first stint, and Devin and I were moving up together, which was really nice to have somebody out there that I could work with and that I could trust. Unfortunately, we had a little bit of a mishap on our second pit stop which put us a lap down. So, from there it was just kind of taking everything we could get but there wasn’t much racing going on after that, so it was kind of just being safe, getting through the laps, and holding on to what we had.”

You had a lot of pace from the green flag of your stint. How did you settle in with the new team?
“So even though we didn’t have a ton of dry practice, this morning’s practice was really valuable just to get settled back into the car, and then once I was in for my first stint, I felt really comfortable. The car was really good underneath me with fresh tires, and I was able to start picking up spots right away. So really, hats off to the guys for making it an easy car to drive. Everything was right how it should be. My job was easy.”

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BimmerWorld Prepares for 2020 IMSA Season with Successful Daytona Test

BimmerWorld-Prepares-for-2020-IMSA-Season-with-Successful-Daytona-Test

The beginning of a new year means it’s time to head to the beach and hit the track.

With the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway just three weeks away, the two-car BimmerWorld Racing team visited the World Center of Racing for a weekend of testing in preparation for the 2020 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series. During the “Roar Before the 24” on January 3-5, both BMW M4 GT4 race cars from the Dublin, Va.-based operation participated in six test sessions on the 3.56-mile, 11-turn road course.

Both the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s-liveried machine and No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor-sponsored car are set to compete in the Grand Sport (GS) class during the 10-race schedule in 2020.The veteran BMW team will feature Nick Galante from Greenfield, Mass. and Dillon Machavern of Charlotte, Vt. behind the wheel of the No. 80, while the No. 82 car will be driven by Blacksburg, Va.’s James Clay and Devin Jones from Mooresville, N.C.

Machavern is the only new driver for the team this year; however, he has partnered with Galante in the past.

For team owner Clay, working on chemistry is one of the highlights of the yearly Daytona test.

“I’m mostly thrilled to be functioning as a full team unit,” he said. “That’s always my focus as the team owner, to put together a group of people who work well together, and with personalities that blend. It wasn’t really going out on a limb this year with having Nick (Galante) back and adding Dillon Machavern. We’re solidly working as a unit, and I think that’s going to be the biggest dividend we see all year.”

On-track at Daytona, the cars in the GS class saw a dry surface throughout each of the six sessions, but both warm and cool conditions.

Jones turned in BimmerWorld’s quickest lap of 1:54.322 at 112.099 mph during the sixth and final practice session on Sunday afternoon. It was good enough for third in the session and put him 12th among 61 drivers to turn laps in the GS class during the three days of testing. It also placed the No. 82 car 10th out of 27 GS machines on hand.

“Being with the same team again now for the third year is helpful, so you go into the weekend knowing everybody and knowing how we work towards goals and just the whole team plan is familiar, so that’s helpful,” Jones said. “We’re looking forward to that this year.”

Machavern, who turned in the best lap in the No. 80 car with a time of 1:55.164 at 111.279 mph in session four, also believes the format of the Roar helps BimmerWorld massage a little extra on its cars.

“Since there are so many long sessions, we’re able to do some experimenting with different ideas which helps build a baseline set up to fine-tune for the rest of the season,” he said.

Throughout the practice sessions, the team worked on assessing how the car will handle on Daytona’s high banks and corners, or in a pack in the draft. It also collaborated to share data between the two cars—a major benefit of a multi-car team.

Galante believes that not only does the annual test session aid with learning each individual’s driving styles and tendencies but that it can also offer useful data throughout the year, whether it be straight-line speed or how the kink in turn four at Daytona can provide data for turns at Road America and Lime Rock.

“This track, even though it seems like a wide-open, flat-out track, in reality, has a good variety of corners even though there are only a few,” he said.

Overall, the No. 80 car made 132 laps, with the No. 82 turning in 92 circuits.

The sedan-based M4 GT4 is based on the production F82 chassis, with 2020 marking the third year for BimmerWorld utilizing the platform. It shares the same S55 twin-turbo inline-6 cylinder engine, 7-speed DCT transmission, and suspension layout as the street car. Daytona and the GS class as a whole provide ample opportunity to showcase its benefits.

In assessing the GS class, Clay believes that some teams have cars with great straight-line speed, others get out of the corner efficiently, and still others brake well. However, as is the case with BMW cars in general, the M4 GT4 is strong all around.

“I think this car will always be there,” Clay said. “It’s a good overall package, and I think it’s maybe not the strongest at any one specific thing, but it’s very good at everything, which is what ultimately should pay off in races and definitely in championships.”

Clay, who is also the proprietor of BimmerWorld, largest independent BMW parts and tuning specialist in North America, utilizes lessons learned in racing to apply to customer cars as well.

“That’s why we race—to interface with technology and integrate it with the street car and the line of performance parts we sell,” he said.

The three days in Daytona found BimmerWorld competitive in a stout field featuring everything from muscle to factory supercars. The test ultimately armed the BMW specialists with significant amounts of data at the ready for when the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge commences and the real racing begins.

The season opener is slated to take the green flag at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 24. Live coverage can be seen via TrackPass. Television coverage of the race will appear on NBCSN from 1 – 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 6.

The BMW M4 GT4

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

BimmerWorld Racing

BimmerWorld is the preeminent BMW racing/performance specialist in North America, racing professionally in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (BMW M4 GT4), World Challenge GT4 America (BMW M4 GT4), and World Challenge TC America series (BMW M240i Racing). The team also made its third entry in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2019 with a V8-powered BMW E36 M3. BimmerWorld also builds cars and supports racers in various BMW CCA, AER, NASA, and SCCA club series. Off the track, the business is the last, and only, independently-owned major BMW parts specialist in North America. The catalog at www.bimmerworld.com has everything from accessories and OEM replacement parts to highly specialized racing parts with a knowledgeable staff, competitive pricing, and quick service.

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

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

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

#80 BimmerWorld M4 GT4

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

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

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

Wheels: 18-inch Motorsport race wheels

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

Drivers: Nick Galante, Dillon Machavern

IMSA 2020 Announcement

IMSA-2020-Announcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-2020 race season quotes follow:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dillon Machavern

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2019: Machavern finished the 2019 season with the GTD victory at the Petit LeMans in a BMW M6 GT3 and was runner-up in the TransAm championship

Previously: Machavern has won races in just about every form of GT motorsport and earned the 2017 IMSA GS Championship and multiple SCCA club championships dating back to 2012.

Personal: Having started his path into racing at the age of 17, Machavern has already had numerous accomplishments in his early 20s. Starting in SCCA racing in 2012 and making his move into professional racing in 2014 with the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Lamborghini Super-Trofeo, he’s been on a constant upward trajectory which finally landed him on the BimmerWorld Racing team in 2020.