BimmerWorld Collects Top Five Finish After Second Pole of Season at Laguna Seca

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The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge weekend started right for the BimmerWorld Racing team when team owner/driver James Clay qualified the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i on the pole for the two hour and thirty minute race, Round 3 of the 2016 Continental Tire Challenge series. This was the second pole for the Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists’ team with their relatively new F30 chassis. Teammate Tyler Cooke collected a pole at Sebring International Raceway in March.

Clay and Cooke drove a strong and lively race, where they stayed in the Top 5 the entire race other than when they pitted for a driver change, tires, and fuel. Even with Clay having a touch of the flu, he drove smart and delivered a fast car to Cooke. Despite a spirited on-track battle, Cooke brought home the No. 84 F30 in fourth place in class.

The results of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Jerry Kauffman and Kyle Tilley with 20th place in the ST class did not show the strength of the car at the start of yesterday’s race, and contact with another car during the race provided challenges that caused Tilley to have to preserve the car to finish and get needed points towards the 2016 championship.

James Clay, Team Owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
”We’re really happy about the race. The car was good. I ran a good stint despite struggling with a little flu, so I was really happy about it given the situation. We’re always hurting a little bit on a pit stop because we have a long fuel fill, based on the fuel usage of the car, but the guys did an awesome job and were flawless. Tyler drove an awesome race. We would have liked to have been on the podium, but it’s not so bad being in fourth.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a really good race. James got the car in the Top 3, which worked out in our favor. The team did a great job, and I got in for a green flag pit stop with driver change, tires, fuel all going smoothly. We had a really great race going between me, Jerry Mosing and Eric Foss. If you could watch the in-car camera footage of Eric or me, it was really sideways. I have a lot of respect for Eric and have looked up to him for years. It was really cool to get to race against him. We had a very good battle going on into the esses. I moved in front of him, we touched and I went sideways, and it was a good ol’ hard-racing battle to the end, which fans love to see. I wasn’t happy after the hit, but it’s racing at the end of the day.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I don’t know whether we broke something or bent something in the rear but we had contact with a car that was a lap down on us. After that there was this crazy knocking noise every time the car was loaded, would transfer, and then become unloaded. So it became a case of damage preservation to get to the finish and score what points we could. It was a frustrating day, but at least our sister car had a good result. So onwards and upwards, we’ll go out again next race and see what we can do, but definitely it was a frustrating race, for sure.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“My race stint went really well. We had a really good start. The track temperatures were up so we had a little less grip. I tried to save the tires as long as I could because I knew they would come into play later in the stint. Rather than gaining places, which is what I did early at Daytona and Sebring, I held off and then pulled all my places at the end of the stint so Kyle could get in the car and do some work. Unfortunately, he had some contact and we didn’t finish as well as we would have otherwise but, the strategy was there. It was strong and the team gave us a good car. It performed much better today than it did all weekend so I’m really happy with it.”

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

STAY UP TO DATE WITH BIMMERWORLD NEWS AT: http://www.bimmerworldracing.com
ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise, 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 Ready for Return to Laguna Seca

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The BimmerWorld Racing team is ready to return to the 2.24-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit this weekend for Round Three of the IMSA Continental Tire Series’ Continental Challenge race with their turbocharged BMW 328i racecars.

The BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists at BimmerWorld celebrated their first podium finish with the new F30 chassis at Round Two at Sebring International Raceway in March when the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries entry of James Clay and Tyler Cooke grabbed both the pole and third-place finish in a hard fought battle.

The Dublin, Virginia-based team also fields the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328 of Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley, which has not yet had the success from the speed shown on track. They plan to come to the Monterey Peninsula with a car displaying even further advancement in the development of the F30 platform for the 2-hour and 30-minute race.

James Clay, Team Owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
How well suited do you feel the BMW 328i (F30) is for the Laguna Seca circuit?
“We have had fast laps of the race at Laguna previously in the F30, but as usual it will come down to consistency for us.  The cooler forecasted currently weather helps us as we battle the brutal heat that 4-cylinder turbo produces and should leave us solid through the full race.”

Coming off of the first ever podium for the 4-cylinder turbo BMW F30 at Sebring, does that add pressure going into Round 3 of the season at Laguna?
“I think everyone is very excited after the Sebring podium and pole – this new platform is coming of age!  There is certainly always pressure to perform in the pro arena, but I think more than anything, we are eager to get out on track and add to the hardware collection we started last race.”

Your BimmerWorld crew really showed their mettle at Sebring when you had to do an engine change before the race. Now that there has been a long break since March, what has the crew been working on to prep for Laguna and beyond?
“It seems like even after good events, the shop and crew work tirelessly.  The fire at Sebring was a major setback that the guys handled to perfection, allowing us a solid result.  Since that race we have been working on improvements instead of repairs, which is always more fruitful.  Heat and reliability continue to be our focus on the powertrain, and we have more data, and have done more engine testing and development to put the best package on track for the rest of the year.  We have learned so much about these BMW turbo motors with the intensity of our current program, and I am eager to apply them to pending consumer parts in the BimmerWorld lineup.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
You earned your first professional pole at Sebring but had to start from the back after an engine change, yet finished on the podium in a hard-fought battle. Do you feel that experience has prepared you for anything this year?
“This reinforced how to deal with the positives and negatives of racing. There’s no such thing as a perfect weekend. Your mindset is most important in succeeding throughout each weekend.”

You’ve been racing the BMW F30s for a couple of year now. What impresses you about it most?
“The handling of the car is incredible, and the Performance Friction braking package is the best in the field. I believe the reliability of the car is better and once the kinks in the motor are straightened out, I think it will be an overall better package.”

How have you seen the BimmerWorld crew advance this car in IMSA Continental Tire competition?
“Each time we get onto the track, the car improves. Last year the No. 81 was brand new and we started the year not taking the green flag at Daytona and ended the season leading at Road Atlanta. The team takes big strides developing a complex driveline and different chassis settings to keep the car fast and consistent. ”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
How well suited you think the BMW 328i (F30) is for the Laguna Seca circuit? And what’s your favorite part of the track and why?
“For MRLS, I’d just like the race to be uneventful and mistake free. I think, should that happen, we will be there or there about. Theoretically the track should suit the BMW. I’ve only ever been the Laguna in a prototype, so adapting to a sedan around there will be my first port of call. I know everyone always talks about the corkscrew, but for me it’s Turn 9, the left hander that follows it! It takes lots of commitment and is a place you can really make time.”

You are a driver coach and your teammate is a rookie in the Continental Tire Series; do you spend much time serving as a coach and mentor as well as co-driver?
“Jerry and I talk on a daily basis and work together driving other cars outside of the IMSA paddock. We go over data relentlessly during a race weekend and are always looking for areas to improve, not just ourselves, but our set up on the No. 81.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
As a rookie, this will be your first time racing at Laguna Seca. What have you heard about it and what are you looking forward to the most?
“I have been to Laguna Seca, but I have yet to race there.  This doesn’t concern me because I’m a huge fan of watching in-car video from races, especially where you can pass or get passed almost anywhere.  The close racing of ST is going to make the track even more exciting.  I can’t wait to see what it is like in that type of environment.”

You had a good qualifying run at Sebring. How do you prepare for qualifying when these are new tracks to you?
“It isn’t possible for me to get to each track before race week with the #81 BimmerWorld ST car, but I try to go visit the track and drive something for one or two days. That helps a lot because I’m then able to use practice sessions to learn more specifically how to be fast in the 81. After practice the drivers and engineers get together and we discuss what is the fastest way. That is one of the big advantages to being with a first class team like BimmerWorld.”

How have you and Kyle gelled as teammates and co-drivers so far this season?
“Kyle and I get along extremely well. We have similar driving styles, and we can speak the same language, although he does it with a British accent. We actually met last year at an endurance club race driving for another team. After that we stayed in touch and he helped teach me how to tune the setup on my car. It is great driving with someone with his experience, and it’s a bonus that we are the same height. It makes driver changes a little easier.”

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 Scores Top-6 Finish with Turbocharged BMW at Laguna Seca

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By all accounts, the BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld had a wildly successful trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team’s turbocharged BMW 328i platform was fast in the hands of the drivers who pilot the Nos. 81 and 84 entries, and with local driver Andrie Hartanto combining with teammate Tyler Cooke to place sixth in the Street Tuner class with the 81, it almost felt like a win for the veteran program.

Based on the vast performance inequity between normal-size cars like BimmerWorld’s BMWs and the miniscule cars that have dominated the ST class at the event for five years running, it was hardly a surprise to see the smallest, lightest machines in the field capture the top four positions in the race.

Resigned to a best-in-normal-class outcome, team owner/driver James Clay was realistic in his expectations where finishing sixth was akin to earning second, albeit without the extra Championship points.

“Our BimmerWorld BMWs were strong this weekend – as strong as it gets behind the midget front-runners that typically dominate Laguna,” he said. “We are there racing for the best of the rest of the field, and the 81’s run to sixth was second step on the podium in our eyes. And if not for a piece of bad luck, the 84 would have been right there as well.”

Even with the bad luck that left Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis in 23rd at the end of the race in the No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i, Clay was pleased with the performance from Hartanto and the impressive effort by Cooke.

“I was super happy to see the 81 running so strong,” he remarked. “I know Andrie wasn’t thrilled with his qualifying effort which was diminished with a crack in a charge pipe, but as we expected, he quickly picked his way to the front at his home track. Tyler moved forward in his stint and hung in there for a solid result — it was great for them to lock down a good finish.”

For Hartanto, who is in the midst of a solid rookie season in the Continental Tire Series, Monterey was nothing but a positive event.

“Finishing strong at my home event is very important, especially with friends and family in attendance,” he said. “Having a strong teammate in Tyler certainly helps the cause. I’m really happy we were able to show that we have the pace and looking forward to the next race in Watkins Glen.”

QUOTEBOARD: Monterey Race

No. 81 BMW 328i: Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto

Cooke: The race went very well with the 81 car. Andrie did a great job bringing the car to fourth and both Jason and Andrie showed great team work by working together bringing the cars into the pits in the top-5. My stint was very good, too; I could run close to the same pace as the leaders but couldn’t get close enough to them. All things considered, this was a great race for us and the team moving into Watkins.

Hartanto: My disappointment with qualifying was dampened by learning that a boost leak impacted our result. It was so exciting to be able to fight our way up the field. When our engineer radioed that we were leading the race, it was memorable. The couple of laps in the lead were awesome. Yes, it may have boiled down to the pit stop timing of the eventual winners, but I’ll never forget hearing our engineer over the radio saying that we had the lead.

No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i: James Clay and Jason Briedis

Briedis: We had a solid qualifying starting sixth. I was able slip into fourth when the Honda and the Porsche got together heading into Turn 6. From there we ran in 4th most of the race. James was on track for a strong finish until the mechanical issue. Our car is getting better and better each race and we hope to contend for some wins soon.

Clay: I have historically done well at Laguna, and Jason and I had a fast car last year. The track really came to us perfectly and we were on our way to another strong result until bad luck stepped in in the form of metal fatigue and left us both wishing it wasn’t seven weeks until Watkins.

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

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

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

BimmerWorld‘s Turbocharged BMWs Are Ready for California

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BimmerWorld’s visit to the famed Laguna Seca road course in 2014 revealed the potential of its newest challenger, the turbocharged BMW 328i chassis built on the German brand’s F30 platform. Team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis were incredibly fast in their brand-new F30, and despite competing while still in the early stages of its development process, the BimmerWorld team left the Californian circuit with a clear picture of what the F30 had to offer.

One year later, and with the luxury of a six-week pause since the last race held in Sebring, Florida, BimmerWorld is headed back to the picturesque track located in Monterey with two F30s and a goal of capturing their first victory with the chassis in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series. Among the major improvements made since Sebring by the BMW tuning and aftermarket experts, additional cooling gains have been incorporated into both cars.

“We have put a lot of work and development into the F30 platform in the schedule gap we enjoyed after Sebring to battle the heat that diminished our results at that race, and has previously been a major factor in our engine life,” said Clay, who will race the OPTIMA Batteries-sponsored No. 84 with Briedis. “C&R Racing put together a new charge air cooler package, we have added more extensive underhood heat shielding, and we have done additional work on our ECU package and calibration to manage boost and temperatures. With a hot week forecasted, this preparation will be critical in achieving a result in California.”

BimmerWorld’s F30s are one of the heavier cars in the field, which is far from optimal at a rolling circuit like Laguna Seca. Despite the rules-mandated heft, Clay is confident his BMWs will have something to show against the other entries in the Street Tuner class.

“I am very happy with the BMW F30 chassis package we put on track in Laguna – last year we were the fastest car, but as always, the weight wears the tires and may not make us the strongest at the end,” he said. “Nevertheless, I like our chances at this track.”

The trip to Monterey is particularly special for BimmerWorld driver Andrie Hartanto, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and shares the No. 81 F30 with Tyler Cooke.

“I’m eager to race at Laguna Seca–this will be my home race and I have fond memories having just won the SCCA Runoffs there last October,” he noted. “I’m confident that this will be one of my stronger tracks as I have plenty of laps here. If the amount of friends and supporters attending is any gauge on how well we perform, I’m pretty optimistic we’re in for a good weekend.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Takes 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 Ready for Action at California’s Legendary Laguna Seca Road Course

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Faced with a mid-March race at Sebring International Raceway that didn’t go according to plan, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld have taken the better part of six weeks to make sure this weekend’s Continental Tire Series race in Northern California follows their desired script.

Sebring’s bumpy, punishing circuit highlighted areas for the Dublin, Virginia-based team to improve with its damper package, among other items, which led to a thorough analysis of BimmerWorld’s performance data and track testing leading up to Saturday’s race at Laguna Seca.

“It has been a long time since we have run Sebring, and never in such production cars,” said BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay. “That track is brutal on equipment and we were fighting some new and surprising issues all week. Our BMWs are robust and extremely reliable, and with this year’s Sebring data we will be able to improve some weak areas to make the package even better.”

The lighter, smaller 2-door cars within the Street Tuner class have recently dominated the Monterey event, which creates an issue for normal-sized 4-door sedans, but based on what he’s seen from their gains, Clay expects to see a stronger challenge posed by BimmerWorld’s four-car BMW effort.

“We took the opportunity given by some time off to continue developing our MCS-based suspension package, both in the shop and at the track,” he added. “The new damper rules for 2014 give us the opportunity to excel due to our team’s technical capability and a strong partnership with the damper industry leaders at Motion Control Suspension, and we keep making big strides forward in our cars’ handling ability.”

In addition to BimmerWorld’s highly developed BMW E90 platform, the team has also undertaken the major task of turning BMW’s turbocharged F30 chassis into a serious competitor in the Continental Tire Series’ Street Tuner class.

With advances being made every day by BimmerWorld’s team of engineers and technicians, Clay expects the F30 to unleash more of its potential this weekend.

“The BimmerWorld staff has worked hard to develop the 4-cylinder turbo driveline and we are now producing the needed power to be on par with the field, and we continue to learn some of the nuances of this new powerplant,” he explained. “Our attention has been more focused on braking and suspension recently, which is very similar to the E90 cars, but also with some mild but important differences. The package continues to show gain and promise, and every race is an opportunity to take another step forward.”

MONTEREY LINEUP

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

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

Follow the team as it competes at the third round of the Continental Tire Series held in Monterey by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

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 Heads To California For The Continental Tire Series Championship Chase

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The Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld are drawing near to the close of their fourth season in GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series, and once again find themselves in the thick of a Championship battle in the Street Tuner class.

With three BMW 328is forming the core of BimmerWorld’s effort, wins and consistency from two of those entries has the team tied for fourth in the standings with the No. 81 car driven by Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke and the No. 82 No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers.

Moving the Nos. 81 and 82 further up in the standings during this weekend’s penultimate round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the primary goal for the program, and adding to that challenge is the rules-based disparity between BimmerWorld’s normal-sized four-door BMW sedans and the smaller, lighter ST cars that have been advantaged throughout most of the season.

Despite having to work harder for quality results, BimmerWorld’s mechanics, engineers and drivers have put the team on the Championship trail once again, which has made team owner/driver James Clay especially proud.

“2013 has shaped up to be another strong year for BimmerWorld Racing with another shot at the Championship,” he said.  “I am not sure the BMW cars we race are always the best with the rules balance, but BMW builds a solid, consistent, and reliable car, and that is the DNA required to be in this Championship position on a consistent basis.

“We add all of our years of BMW performance knowledge to transform the cars into the fastest chassis BimmerWorld can make, and do our best at every race to put ourselves in a position to earn points and victories. With two races left in the season, Monterey will be crucial for us to maximize our performance in the pits, with our strategy and on the track.”

BimmerWorld came close to winning the ST Championship on its first try in 2010, earning a statistical tie for first place, and after splitting its program to run in the Grand Sport class as well as ST in 2011,they’ve been in the title hunt since focusing entirely on ST since 2012. Turning the team into a regular Championship contender with new and different drivers in the cockpit has also been one of BimmerWorld’s greatest success stories, which Clay reflected upon ahead of Monterey.

“We run a tight ship here and we have a staff of superstars not only behind the wheel, but behind computers, behind wrenches, and in every other facet of our organization,” he noted. “I am proud of the team we have assembled and their support and, combined with our approach of running equal equipment so every driver has the same chance, we have had success with an assortment of driver combinations. I’d like to think that we’ve built a reputation as a team that puts its clients first and gives them every opportunity to pursue wins and Championships.”

The trip to California’s central coast is clearly important for the team, and questions regarding which approach should be taken—an aggressive one to try and capture points with hard driving, or one where pit strategy plays a significant role in advancing the cars—has led the BimmerWorld team in a fairly conclusive and simplified direction.

“Laguna is a decent track for our BMWs, but not outstanding,” Clay admitted, referring to the excess weight the BMWs are made to carry around the twisty track.  “I don’t think we have a lot of tricks up our sleeve or that the Championship gap will be made up with creativity.  Our BimmerWorld team approach will likely be more of the same – prepare solid cars, execute well, and be in the right place at the right time.”

Follow the action from Monterey this weekend by visitingwww.BimmerWorldRacing.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.

One Month After Their Historic Win At Indy, BimmerWorld Is Ready For More In Monterey

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With more than a month since BimmerWorld made history by winning the first-ever GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Street Tuner race held at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the BMW experts are back in business this weekend for a race on another famed circuit.

Making the trek from their base in Dublin, Virginia, BimmerWorld’s three-car BMW 328i team will unload its cars at Monterey Peninsula and take on the 11-turn, 2.2-mile Laguna Seca road course.

Team owner, James Clay, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld 328i with co-driver, John Capestro-Dubets, says he’s reveled in the glorious result from Indy, but there’s been little in the way of idle time for everyone involved with the program.

“Indy was an amazing weekend,” he remarked. “Our team made some great strategy calls, the drivers kept up the hard work they have been putting in all season, and we had an awesome result. Finishing 1-2 is likely to be the high-point of this season, but just like when I am driving the car, I am keeping my eyes forward and looking toward the remaining two events and on to the full 2013 season.

“I have filled the time with several races and track events and I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from friends and customers, but no one here has stopped work to pat ourselves on the back. I think this is what makes BimmerWorld great, and continues our growth and success in the performance BMW parts business, as well as on the race team.”

Clay and “JCD” followed their sister No. 82 BimmerWorld 328i across the finish line at Indy to fill two of the three spots on the podium, in addition to claiming the duo’s third consecutive visit to the podium. It also marked their fourth straight top 5 result, which makes continuing the late-season charge a priority this weekend for the No. 80.

“JCD and I have had several strong finishes in a row and really started working perfectly together in the car,” said Clay. “Laguna was good for the BimmerWorld ST cars last year. I think we have addressed a suspension deficiency we had last year and I really hope to have an awesome car for this year’s race. We have grown accustomed this year to getting it done with teamwork and braking and handling performance, and I feel those components are really working at this point in the season. I think a win is within our grasp, but as always, it will take a little luck along with our best effort.”

For Dan Rogers, half of the winning Indy combination with teammate Seth Thomas, getting his first professional win in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i has made him hungry for more.

“The reality of a BimmerWorld 1-2 at Indy is a fond memory, for sure,” he said. “We celebrated, but then started looking at data from past races at Laguna, and trying to anticipate what the upcoming race was going to be like. If the temperatures are cool there, the BimmerWorld 328i is always a solid platform to race from and should be good at Laguna. We’re going after win number two this weekend, that’s for sure.”

Gregory Liefooghe and co-driver David Levine nearly made it a BimmerWorld 1-2-3 at Indy, but fortunes did not favor the road racing ace and his rookie teammate. As a professional driving instructor and Bay Area resident, Liefooghe will be relying on his local knowledge to make up for Indy by taking the No. 81 BimmerWorld 328i to the front of the field.

“I think the key to our rebound after missing out on a deserving finish at Indy will be our car,” he said. “BimmerWorld worked hard and brought some very fast cars at Indy. Even though we didn’t finish, we were running in third and looking for a podium finish when we had an issue.

“And with Laguna being in my backyard, track knowledge will be on my side. And it’s nice not flying to get to a race! We want to keep the positive momentum going all weekend and to the season finale later this month.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team this weekend at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com