BimmerWorld Racing Celebrates Double Podium Finishes at Mid-Ohio

BimmerWorld Racing Podium at Mid-Ohio 2018

BimmerWorld Racing of Dublin, Va. finished third in both the Grand Sport (GS) and the Street Tuner (ST) classes on Saturday as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Series staged a race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for the first time since June 2013.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were in the hunt throughout the race with their GS entry, the new No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4. Clay qualified seventh with a time of 1:28.397 and was second by lap 12. Their first pit stop for fuel under a full-course caution on lap 16 dropped the BimmerWorld M4 back to seventh, but Clay was able to advance into fourth place by lap 20. Due to pit stops, he was in second place again when he made his second pit stop on lap 38, handing the car over to Cooke with fresh tires and more fuel.

There were an unusual number of penalties in this race, and unfortunately, the No. 82 M4 received a drive-through penalty for excessive wheel rotation (wheel spin) during the second pit stop. Even after serving it, Cooke ran a strong fifth and advanced to fourth on lap 48 with about 41 minutes remaining. He slipped to fifth on lap 50 but regained fourth with 36 minutes left. He was the fastest of any driver in the top five on lap 54 and passed Hugh Plumb for third on lap 58 with 27:57 left in the race. Cooke set the car’s fastest lap of the 77-lap race on lap 65 with a 1:28.663 and finished third even though he had to conserve fuel at the end.

The team’s ST entry had an equally impressive run. Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass., set a new ST track qualifying record with the BimmerWorld No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) with a time of 1:34.309 to earn the class pole. He led the first 15 laps before pitting for fuel on lap 17 under the same early caution that Clay used to make his first pit stop. Galante dropped to fifth in class after the stop but battled back to third by lap 30. He set the car’s fastest lap of the race with a 1:35.631 on lap 34, two laps before he charged into the lead again on lap 36. Galante led for five laps before pitting again to allow his co-driver, Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., to take over.

Despite never having seen Mid-Ohio before, Jones started his stint in fourth place and was able to advance to third when the second-place MINI of Derek Jones (no relation) pulled off into the infield with mechanical difficulties with about a half-hour remaining. Devin Jones was then able to keep his BMW in the final podium position until the end for another strong finish for BimmerWorld.

The race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, May 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The next event is June 28-July 1 at Watkins Glen, N.Y. More info is available on imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“We had the best car we’ve had in this GT4. The setup was just perfect and we knew it in qualifying. Unfortunately red flags kept us from putting more qualifying laps down. We knew we had pace out there and a little help from the other competitors who got together, and we were able to stay clean. I had a great drive, one of the most fun in recent memory. Our early stop for fuel was a great call by the guys, and I handed the car off to Tyler with a short pit stop coming. Then we had a little bit of bad luck obviously with the ding in the pit stop, but Tyler drove great, and now we’re here on the podium. We’ve had good pace for the last three rounds, and I think we’re really starting to figure this car out, so I feel really good about what we have going on. We needed to do well here; it’s a strong BMW track so the points are hugely valuable with less BMW-friendly tracks coming up. I love driving with Tyler. He’s an excellent co-driver, and I think we have a great team, so I’m absolutely looking forward to the next one.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“The team gave us an awesome car. James gave us a hell of a stint to the front and ended up getting second, which gave us a really good boost. The fuel call was perfect on (Race Engineer) Wayne’s part, and it really put us ahead. Our pit stop allowed us to jump the leader, but unfortunately, a little miscommunication in the pits resulted in us having to do a drive-through, which is kind of heartbreaking because we knew we had a car to go win it. But it was an amazing job by the team and by the guys on pit row. Without a team, you can’t win, so hats off to them and hats off to everyone in the pits. I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen in about two months.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We ran well. We had a good opening stint, and we had good pace for the opening drivers. The car setup was great. We had a good strategy, but some of the cars on track didn’t follow the correct yellow flag procedures and instead of starting with our ST pack on the restart, we were in the middle of a jumbled field and weren’t able to build the gap we wanted, and that’s ultimately what kind of got us. If we had a couple yellows, we could have battled for the lead since we had the same pace as the two cars in front of us, but we just couldn’t gain on them. I think we have the car that can win; it just didn’t go the way it’s supposed to, and we can’t control the other cars that aren’t following the procedures in the rules. Sometimes it’s a crapshoot and unpredictable, but we have some of the top guys working for us at BimmerWorld.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“First off, Nick had a great first stint and great qualifying run. He had a lot of speed all weekend, which was awesome. Our car was great all weekend, too; just a few little minor adjustments were all we had to make. Nick opened up a pretty good gap, which we gave away to come in and get fuel. That kind of shuffled us back during the first stint. He was able to make up some ground, but we came in for the driver change under green in third, and we weren’t able to make up the deficit. The MINI guys got on me a little bit when we had cold tires, but once we got some heat in the tires, we were able to keep pace with them. By then, the gap was already opened up. I want to thank Veristor, Legistics and everybody who supports us.”

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Drivers Optimistic About Their Chances at Mid-Ohio

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BimmerWorld Racing sits third in the Grand Sport (GS) point standings and second in Street Tuner (ST) as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series prepares to compete at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this Saturday, May 5, for the first time since 2013.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., say it’s too early to think about points, but they’re both optimistic about their chances with their new No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 at the very technical track in Lexington, Ohio.

Nick Galante of Greenfield, Mass. has run at Mid-Ohio in the past, but his co-driver, Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., will be making his first start there. They’re confident BimmerWorld’s past accomplishments at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course will help them come up with a good set-up for the team’s ST entry, the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis).

In quizzing the BimmerWorld drivers as they prepare for this race, we learned some of them sing in the cockpit at times, and Clay might have to explain the meaning of the word “buckeye” to his teammates before the first of two practice sessions on Friday. A third practice session will occur on Saturday morning before ST qualifying at 11:10 a.m. and GS qualifying at 11:30 a.m. Fans can enjoy the open-grid fan walk before the two-hour race gets the green flag at 2:20 p.m.

The race will be covered live on imsa.tv, with live timing and scoring at imsa.com. The race will also air on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, May 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
When was the last time you raced at Mid-Ohio, and how did it go?

“I raced at Mid-Ohio at least once a year since around 2004 in a variety of BMW machines, and I have a fair amount of history at the track. It’s a solid track for me personally, and I’m looking forward to returning this year for another go at it!”

How do you think your new BMW M4 GT4 will like Mid-Ohio?
“It was always a fairly good place for our BMW cars because it requires a bit of everything — power, braking, and tidy handling. I think we’re progressing on our M4 GT4 work with some recent testing, and I think we’ve improved the soft spots in the last couple of rounds, which weren’t even all that soft.  I like the M4 package and I am hopeful for a solid result.”

Does being third in the point standings give you added confidence, or is it too early to be counting points?
“It’s way too early to be looking at the points; if nothing else, that’s just bad luck! I do think we have a great car and team, and Tyler and I click along extremely well together as a driving duo. I’m confident in any track we will hit this year, but I’m certainly aware that there are a lot of other good cars and teams out there. It will be a battle every weekend, but one we hope to win.”

Please tell us a little about the third-place finish you got recently at the Nürburgring and about your plans to run in the 24-hour race there later this month.
“The Nürburgring is a special place. Honestly, it was a trip I likely wouldn’t have made on my own, but OPTIMA Batteries has such a passion for the automotive and enthusiast culture and encouraged us to take it on as part of its new European DIN fitment battery launch and testing program last year. We have one year under our belts, and we’re continuing to learn and progress to the point Tyler and I stood on the podium for our first time in Germany at the six-hour Qualifikationsrennen event leading up to the 24-hour race. It’s a really difficult track and a fierce BMW M235i racing field, and I’m really proud of that one.”

Mid-Ohio is known as a technical road course. Do you think it’s the most technical one you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“Mid-Ohio is technical due to some blind turns and linked sections, and less reward is placed on just letting it all hang out. But we’re just coming off of Sebring, which is technical and difficult due to track surface challenges and similarly linked turns. Every track is challenging in some way.  I don’t think we’ll be baffled by anything in the layout this weekend.”

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“Most importantly, a buckeye is a chocolate-covered peanut butter piece found in Graeter’s Buckeye Blitz, which is frustratingly only found in Ohio. So yeah, we’ll be having some of that!”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
Have you raced at Mid-Ohio since that event in 2013?

“I’ve participated in some BMW events at Mid-Ohio with a couple guys I coach. It’s a great track to make laps and a tough track to race. The race will be close and intense.” 

How do you think your new BMW M4 GT4 will like Mid-Ohio?
“I think we’ll do well. We found some things when we tested that should help us on tracks like Mid-Ohio.” 

Where does Mid-Ohio stand on your list of favorite tracks, and why?
“It’s in the top 10 because you never know what you’ll get. When it’s wet, it’s one of the slickest tracks on the circuit. It’s a great track to learn at and race at.” 

Does being third in points give you added confidence going into Mid-Ohio, or is it too early to be counting points?
“It’s too early to be confident. A lot can happen in a year, or even a race. James and I witnessed that at Road Atlanta last year. You always keep points in mind and how you can keep gaining.”

Please tell us a little about the third-place finish you got recently at the Nürburgring and about your plans to run in the 24-hour race there later this month.
“It was a dream come true. It’s such a tough track and tough race. The class we’re in is one of the toughest in the field and accomplishing that with James was a great feeling. We all feel really good about the 24, and we think we can improve compared to last year.” 

Mid-Ohio is known as a technical road course. Do you think it’s the most technical one you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“They all have their uniqueness. This track has a lot of blind uphill corners, but Lime Rock has a lot of elevation changes, and we run the most laps there. It’s hard to say because each track has its challenges.”

Ohio is the only state to have an official rock song. It’s “Hang on Sloopy,” which could be very appropriate for a race car driver at times. Do you ever sing during a race, and if so, what?
“I’ll sometimes sing some AC/DC or one of the latest hit songs to come out. But only under a long caution, because it keeps your mind busy so you’re not sleeping at the restart.” 

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“I think it’s a type of plant.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
When was the last time you raced at Mid-Ohio? What were you in, and how did it go?

“The last time I was at Mid-Ohio was in 2013. It was one of my first races in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series. I was in a GS Mustang Boss 302R. We ended up finishing mid pack, but I learned a lot. I fell in love with this fun track the first time out. It has some really challenging corners mixed with some really fun places!”

How do you think your BMW 328i (F30 chassis) will fare there?
“The F30 should fit very well at Mid-Ohio. I’ve been trying to estimate how she’ll behave there. I’m excited to find out, and I’m sure we’ll be near the front.” 

Where does Mid-Ohio stand on your list of favorite tracks, and why?
“Mid-Ohio is tied for second on my list with Road America, with Watkins Glen being first. All three of these great tracks have a similar natural-topography flow to them. I love it.” 

We’re entering race three of a 10-race series and you and Devin are second in ST. Does this give you added confidence going into Mid-Ohio, or is it too early to be counting points?
“We’re all looking good at this point in the early season. I know we’re putting everything we have into staying up front, and I’m looking forward to challenging for the championship.”

Mid-Ohio is known as a technical road course. Do you think Mid-Ohio is the most technical road course you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“Mosport is up there with Mid-Ohio in the importance of technique and theory. They’re really fun on the brain.”

Ohio is the only state to have an official rock song. It’s “Hang on Sloopy,” which could be very appropriate for a race car driver at times. Do you ever sing during a race, and if so, what?
“I do sometimes sing in the car during some challenging moments. If I do sing at Mid-Ohio, it’s definitely going to be ‘My City Was Gone’ by The Pretenders.”

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“I’m not completely sure, but it may be a flower or tree. Are they edible? Could one have a bowl of buckeyes?”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
When was the last time you raced at Mid-Ohio?

“I’ve actually never been to Mid-Ohio, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge of learning a new track. I’ve seen a lot of racing at this track and it seems like one that will fit my driving style well.”

How do you think your BMW 328i (F30 chassis) will fare there?
“Our car should be strong at Mid-Ohio. The BimmerWorld guys have some past experience at this track with the current package, so this should be an advantage for us, and we’re hoping for a great result.”

We’re entering race three of a 10-race series and you and Nick are second in ST. Does this give you added confidence going into Mid-Ohio, or is it too early to be counting points?
“We had the car to beat at Sebring until we ran into issues in the pits and a motor issue during my stint; this hurt us a bit in points. We’re still sitting second in the standings, but for now, we’re just focusing on winning races and getting results.”

Do you think Mid-Ohio is the most technical road course you’ll face this year, or are there others right up there as far as the technical driving it will require?
“From what I’ve seen in video and on iRacing, it seems very technical. That suits me well, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this track compares to others of the same nature.”

Ohio is the only state to have an official rock song. It’s “Hang on Sloopy,” which could be very appropriate for a race car driver at times.
“That song might be a little before my time! Ha-ha!”

Without looking it up, what is a buckeye? If you don’t know, guess!
“I thought about this for a while, and honestly had no clue. I gave in and looked it up, and my guesses would’ve been nowhere close to what a buckeye actually is!”

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

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

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

Mixed Fortunes For BimmerWorld At Mid-Ohio GRAND-AM Event

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The BimmerWorld Racing team had designs on filling the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series podium at Mid-Ohio with its trio of BMW 328is last weekend after the team’s exhibition of speed at the last round in Atlanta.  But a rare occurrence played out in the Street Tuner class which saw the Nos. 80, 81 and 82 entries all finish outside the top 10.

Efforts by the team to use the talents of its drivers, effective race strategy from its engineers and rapid pit stops from its crew weren’t enough to overcome a frustrating day of on-track activity.

Altogether, the Mid-Ohio event will be one team owner/driver James Clay and his team of BMW experts will look to put it behind them with shifting their focus to getting ready to race at Watkins Glen on June 28.

“A race like this isn’t typical for our team and it doesn’t sit well with anyone,” said Clay. “Certainly we will look at what went wrong, but we are executing well this year and I feel it was mostly just a mix of bad luck, lack of a few redeeming opportunities, and on a track that wasn’t great for our cars. I am definitely looking forward to the next race and opportunity.”

Seth Thomas, who led the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i home to a 12th-place finish with co-driver Dan Rogers, persevered on a day where winning was out of reach.

“Mid-Ohio proved to be our biggest nemesis so far this season,” he said. “It was a track where we have always had great success but this year it was tough for us.  Our overall speed was a little off compared to our competition but we played the right strategy to put us in contention.  I made a mistake that cost us and moved us from the top 10 to outside the top 20, but fought back to 12th.  We’ll take the points and move on to our next race at Watkins Glen where I know we will be running towards the front again.”

Tyler Cooke, who shares the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i with Gregory Liefooghe, gained more experience during the race that will help him as his career continues to flourish.

“One of the things Mid-Ohio reinforces is that you can lose a lot in a race, more than just the ability to win, and it can affect your standing in the championship. Everybody is trying to win the championship, and you really have to look at earning every extra position, every extra point to help. Looking at the ‘big picture’ is really important.”

A similar note came from Greg Strelzoff, who partners with Connor Bloum in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i.

“There are a lot of lessons to come from Mid-Ohio; I had more in-race contact at this one race than all others combined and I have to continue to be used to this and not let it alter the way I drive,” he said. “I am learning when it is appropriate to hold or give ground, and at the same time not compromising results in the process. Overall, it was not an easy race for me and I am very glad that we don’t have a long break until the next round.”

Follow the team’s progress throughout the weekend atwww.BimmerworldRacing.com, and catch the Mid-Ohio race when it airs at 4 p.m. ET June 23rd on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Ready For GRAND-AM Action At Mid-Ohio

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The checkered flag flew over the last GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series event nearly two months ago at Road Atlanta in Georgia, and with that extended hiatus about to draw to a close, BimmerWorld and the rest of the competitors in the Street Tuner class will reconvene this weekend for Round 5 of the Championship at the legendary Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

The long pause between events afforded the BMW experts plenty of time to analyze and improve its trio of BMW 328i sedans—cars that have already been relentlessly optimized by the tuning and aftermarket specialists—as part of BimmerWorld’s quest to win races and the GRAND-AM title.

“We savor breaks in the schedule like the one we are currently wrapping up,” said BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay. “Race teams win with constant improvement and development, and a break in running from track to track gives us the opportunity to take what we learn during those events and make the car and team better.”

As tempting as it would have been to work shorter hours during the break at the team’s base in Dublin, Virginia, Clay says his crew of veteran technicians and engineers maintained an ambitious pace which should help the program to resume its racing activities at Mid-Ohio without missing a beat.

“No one on the team, drivers or crew, sits idle during a break like this,” he explained. “Certainly when we hit the races in quick repetition, every action and role almost goes in autopilot.  But we are an established group with long-term working relationships, so even after the break it feels like getting settled back into the familiar routine.”

In a similar vein, BimmerWorld’s three driving duos have also been away from the racetrack—at least in professional competition—and like their crew members, have also been staying active to make sure there’s no rust to shake off when practice begins.

“All of our drivers are already doing the work in between the races by spending time on the simulator and making sure they are in top physical shape to endure the heat in the cars and length of the races,” said Gregory Liefooghe, who shares the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i with Tyler Cooke.

“And having time on a driving simulator helps to get in a rhythm quickly,” he continued. “It also helps when we talk about all the details that make a difference, whether it’s taking the right line, braking technique, transition speeds or where to slow down in order to get a better lap time in our heavier BMWs.”

BimmerWorld continues to work on the 328i chassis to maximize its performance advantages, most notably in the areas of braking and handling. And with a number of smaller, lighter cars in the same class, certain tracks favor specific manufacturers, giving BimmerWorld’s BMWs a chance to show off in some—but not all–sections at Mid-Ohio.

“I think Mid-Ohio should race well for us this year,” said Dan Rogers, who pilots the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i along with Seth Thomas. “As always, the BimmerWorld BMW’s are rock solid cars from qualifying until the final lap of the race, but this weekend will be tough and there’s no telling how exactly it will play out.

“The quality of our cars will play a major factor, though, and the incredible race strategy and pit stops by our team will also be a huge asset. I can’t wait to get back in the car and go racing again.”

Follow the team’s progress throughout the weekend atwww.BimmerworldRacing.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Hoping To Repeat History At Mid-Ohio

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Teams inevitably circle a few highly anticipated dates on the racing calendar each year, and with this weekend’s GRAND-AM event at the 2.2-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio road course serving as one of BimmerWorld’s favorites, the Dublin, Virginia-based BMW experts hope to repeat their past successes.

As the first North American team to win a professional road race with the BMW E90 platform at Mid-Ohioback in 2007, the team followed with another win at the track in 2010 with Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann at the helm of one of BimmerWorld’s E90s. Now the team is hungry to add a third win this weekend.

Expanded to three Street Tuner-class cars in the Continental Tire Series for 2012, team owner/driver James Clay expects his fleet of constantly evolving E90s to make the most of the technical Mid-Ohio layout once practice gets under way.

“We have put a lot of work in during the winter in the whole E90 platform, and even after five years of running it, we were able to make improvements,” he said. “I think we are tapped out on power right now and not the best in the field, and acceleration out of turns is not as good as the lighter models and turbo cars, but hopefully the continuous twisting of the Mid-Ohio layout will allow our cars to shine. I have said all season that we are good on a long run – if we can get that this weekend, I will be happy.”

Partnered with John Capestro-Dubets in the No. 80 BimmerWorld entry, Clay and his co-driver have been fast all year, but have yet to bank the finishes they’ve deserved. A solid run at Mid-Ohio could be just the change of fortune they’ve been seeking.

“We haven’t gotten the results we have wanted so far this year in the No. 80 and luck hasn’t been much on our side at several key points,” Clay explained. “Certainly we are looking for podiums and wins and we always work as a team effort with our other BimmerWorld cars that have fared better to date than we have. We have a long three-race stretch ahead of us and we are going to put our heads down and do the best we can. The team is very well prepared for the potential brutality of back-to-back weekends, so I feel good about the support behind us all to maximize our results.”

Leading the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW entry, race-winners Gregory Liefooghe and teammate David Levine have high expectations for Mid-Ohio, and for Liefooghe, who serves as a driving instructor during the week, the track is one of the highlights of the year to try and tame.

“Mid-Ohio is definitely one of my favorite tracks to drive and race,” he said. “It’s technical and has some good passing zones that make for great racing. If the temperatures are mild, Mid-Ohio is typically not too hard on tires, but if it gets hot, the track tends to build up a lot of marbles and becomes a one-line track. Maximizing the pace around there is all about getting in a good rhythm and not overdriving certain of the corners. Our setup and handling work will pay a premium and I expect us to be fighting for the top step at the end of the race.”

Dan Rogers, who shares the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with Seth Thomas, has been flourishing in his first season with BimmerWorld, and expects the upward trend to continue at Mid-Ohio.

“Seth and I have been working a lot away from the track to get me up to speed on the tracks I haven’t run yet, as well as bringing my general driving technique up to speed to be able to complete with the front end of the starting drivers in the ST field,” he said. “As we go deeper into the season, we are hoping to see the results of this work at every venue we go to.

“The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® car has been good all season. We don’t necessarily expect to be the fastest car on the track, but should show the typical well balanced car that will last throughout the stint, and remain strong while the other cars fade.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as it prepares for Round 5 in Mid-Ohio by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the race when it’s airs on June 17th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Caps 2011 Season With Strong Run At Mid-Ohio

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After 10 grueling rounds of GRAND-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition, Dublin, Virginia’s BimmerWorld capped the 2011 season with strong runs in both the Street Tuner and Grand Sport divisions at the Mid-Ohio finale.

With contact in the race limiting the final results for BimmerWorld’s two-car GS program, the team might not have had the finishing positions they deserved, but after a year filled with furious development and improvements for its new BMW M3 V8 race cars, and continual updates to its year-old BMW 328is, team owner/driver James Clay walked away from Mid-Ohio feeling proud of BimmerWorld’s performance.

“I was happy with Mid-Ohio as a team owner. We put in some work testing before the event and we made progress with the ST cars. That is one of the tracks that likely doesn’t suit the heaviest car in the field and we had a very respectable showing. The GS cars again were able to race at the front although we still need to avoid the contact that has plagued the final results this year. I think our goal is to get it out of the way so we can have a clean 2012!”

Recording highly competitive lap times in the race, the Bizrate.com-sponsored No. 78 BimmerWorld BMW M3 V8 of Bob Michaelian and Seth Thomas put on a show until contact with a competitor dropped the car from contention.

The same was true for the Johnstone Supply/CRC Industries-sponsored No. 79 BimmerWorld BMW M3 V8 of James Clay and Gregory Liefooghe. With 70 cars racing for 2.5 hours on the tight, twisting 2.2-mile road course, contact became a reality for many teams, and despite making every effort to avoid the mistakes of others, BimmerWorld’s GS entries were not immune to its effects.

In ST, Bill Heumann and David White saved the best for last, delivering a season-best sixth-place finish. Heumann, the 2010 MESCO Rookie of the Year and a winner of two races, and White, a two-time pole winner in 2010, extracted the most from their ballast-laden BMW 328i.

BimmerWorld also introduced Jayson Cunie and David Levine to the ST series at Mid-Ohio in the No. 81 BMW 328i. A blend of deft driving and fast pit stops helped the pair to finish 13th on their maiden outing, and as Cunie shares, stepping into an established and professional program helped ease their transition to GRAND-AM.

“Driving the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW was a fantastic experience. Having never been in an ST car before, I was unsure what to expect. With a car this good and a team this professional, it was very easy to get comfortable quickly, and honestly, being a part of a team of this caliber gave me the confidence to concentrate on just trying to get up to speed. The team made everything very easy to understand. The team meetings and driver debriefings gave me all the information and answers that were necessary, and the way the weekend was organized never left me wondering what the next step was or what was expected of me. It was a fantastic weekend.”

Taking on the daunting challenge of doubling the size of its team, the amount of cars it campaigned and entering the top class in the Continental Series, BimmerWorld went into 2011 with high, but realistic expectations. Using the championship-winning BMW brand as its foundation, BimmerWorld entered the series in 2010 with two cars in ST, but thanks to the car’s inherent capabilities–and the extra speed added by aftermarket specialists like BimmerWorld–the 328is faced an uphill climb in 2011 as the series added ‘success ballast’ to slow the BMWs.

With the ballast having its intended effect, the 2011 season became the playground for much smaller and lighter cars, but throughout the season, BimmerWorld’s drivers and engineers continued to make improvements to the chassis. After watching the performance advantage being tipped too far in favor of the smaller ST cars, all of BimmerWorld’s relentless work on its ST cars is staged to again provide results heading into 2012.

In GS, BimmerWorld recorded one of the most outstanding debut seasons in recent history. Loaded with veteran teams using cars that have years of setup information to draw from, BimmerWorld entered the class at Daytona with its self-built cars and zero data to draw from and finished sixth with the No. 78 M3 V8.

By mid-season, its thundering M3 V8s were running deep inside the top 5 and giving the establishment absolute fits. For a season that was supposed to be dedicated to simply learning about the class and car, BimmerWorld wasted little time in putting what it learned to good use. As the end of 2011 approached, BimmerWorld proved its GS cars could run with the best and, in another ‘first’ for the team, it successfully introduced multiple new drivers to the series and the GS class.

With an off-season that will be filled with even more R&D and improvements, in addition to plenty of track testing, Clay says his team of perfectionists won’t get much rest between now and the 2012 season opener at Daytona in January.

“2011 reminded us how demanding a development program is, but also reinforced my belief in the strength of our team and people,” Clay explained. “We have some months to regroup, to dig in to the long worklists that have been created to take the cars to the front, and to perfect all of our processes and operations as a team. Racing is never easy, especially at this level, but our team is full of people who won’t settle for anything less than outright success, and I look forward to 2012 when we will get another shot at delivering our best.”

Watch the Mid-Ohio race on Sunday, September 25th at 1 p.m. ET on SPEED, and be sure to follow BimmerWorld’s off-season efforts as they prepare for 2012 at www.BimmerworldRacing.com.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

BimmerWorld Looking To Close 2011 Season on a High At Mid-Ohio

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With nine races down and one to go in the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld are ready to close one chapter and open a new one.

The 2011 season hasn’t been easy–especially after moving from a two-car team in 2010 to a four-car effort this season, but with a year of knowledge and information added to the books, the team has its sights set on this weekend’s finale at Mid-Ohio and its prospects for next season.

“We took our successful BMW 328i Street Tuner program and added two new Grand Sport BMW M3 V8s to the roster, almost doubled our staff and have adapted the rest of our organization to become a bigger, stronger and more cohesive program,” said BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay.

“There’s no question that we’ve had our ups and downs this year, but at the end of the day, we’ve learned an incredible amount, our GS M3 V8s have become regular contenders inside the top 5 and we’ve earned podiums with our ST 328is. What’s critical to me is that our team has become a greater threat at every round. As we head into the off-season and quickly to 2012, we are still rapidly gaining momentum and that is important to me.”

With almost two months between the last round at New Jersey and the season-ending race at Mid-Ohio, BimmerWorld continued its familiar practice of tearing the four-car BMW fleet down to pieces to optimize every possible area.
After the ST and GS cars received their latest batch of improvements, the team went testing to extract more performance from its BMWs. As Clay shares, BimmerWorld’s testing efforts had short- and long-term implications.

“It is always our goal to win every race we enter; that’s why we are in this business. Making the best racing cars feeds back to our core BMW aftermarket business. With what we’ve found in our most recent test, our cars should be faster at Mid-Ohio and most importantly for next season. We’re at the stage now where Mid-Ohio isn’t so much about ending the season, but more about getting a head start on 2012.”

As GRAND-AM fans and Continental Series competitors have found since BimmerWorld joined the series in 2010, the Dublin, Virginia-based team excels at forming fast and capable partnerships behind the wheel. From team veterans to those who’ve driven for BimmerWorld for the first time, Clay takes pride in being able to offer competitive cars and a positive environment to his clients.

“We’ve had new drivers in our ST and GS cars this year, and we’ve also had some of our established drivers back which has made for some great driving combinations. Being able to pair proven veterans with rookie drivers or those who want to step into a more competitive situation is one of the unique aspects of our program, and that will continue next year. It’s too early to say how our exact lineup will look when the season kicks off at Daytona in January, but we’ll have the same winning drivers, coaches and engineers in place for those who come onboard.”

Clay’s work on filling the remaining seats available for 2012 will have to wait until this weekend’s race comes to a conclusion, as the entire organization is focused on mastering the tricky Mid-Ohio road course.

With BimmerWorld’s record of scoring multiple professional wins at Mid-Ohio, Clay says he can’t wait to get going on the 2.2-mile, 13-turn circuit located in Lexington, Ohio.

“Mid-Ohio is like many of the BMW-friendly tracks that we race on. It demands the most from a car’s handling, braking and acceleration, which is tailor-made for our 328is and M3 V8s. We’re pulling out all the stops for Mid-Ohio, but we’re also viewing the race as the first part of our preparation for next year.”

Like the tweaks made to its cars for Mid-Ohio, BimmerWorld has also made some adjustments to its driver lineup this weekend.

The No. 78 Bizrate.com BMW M3 V8 will be driven by Bob Michaelian and Seth Thomas, who moves over from the No. 79 CRC Industries M3 V8. James Clay will share the No. 79 with Gregory Liefooghe, who has already stepped out of the No. 81 328i twice this year to drive for BimmerWorld in the GS category.

In ST, Bill Heumann and David White will close out the year in the No. 80 328i, while newcomers Jayson Clunie and David Levine will take the controls of the No. 81.

“It should be a great way to close the chapter on the 2011 season,” Clay explained. “This isn’t a series where you can rest, and with some of the changes to the driver lineups, it’s reasonable to have high expectations. Everyone works together to get the most speed out of the cars and each other, and now it’s time to push each other for the best results possible at Mid-Ohio.”

Follow the team progress this weekend at www.BimmerRacingWorld.com, and tune-in to watch the race on SPEED at Noon ET, on September 25th.

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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