BimmerWorld Scores Second-Place GRAND-AM ST Finish At New Jersey Motorsports Park

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It’s a familiar theme that never gets easier to deal with. Take away the contact at least one of BimmerWorld’s three GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Street Tuner entries received, and the full team could have filled the top 10.

Fortunately, the Dublin, Virginia-based BMW experts had the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers made it through the New Jersey Motorsports Park round unscathed, netting a season-best second-place result for the duo.

The No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i driven by team owner James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets wasn’t quite as fortunate, and the sister No. 81 of Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine was also forced into the pits for cooling system repairs.

“I was pretty upset about the contact with my car two turns into the race that killed our chances for the strong result I feel we were headed towards this weekend,” said Clay as he gave an account of his team’s day.

“And even more disappointed when I saw the No. 81 in for repairs while we were trying to get the No. 80 back out.  At that point, the hope for the team rested on the No. 82 and I am very happy that they were able to produce a good result this weekend.”

After receiving a contentious stop-and-go penalty after stepping out of line on a restart to avoid a number of stalled competitors, Rogers marched forward in the field, picking up more than a dozen positions from the No. 82’s 24th-place qualifying position before handing over to Thomas.

“I don’t like to make mistakes on-track, and that made getting the penalty tough,” said Rogers. “On the restart, there were a number of cars off track on the left side of the front straight, so I went right to avoid the pending mess, with the throttle pinned to get out of the impact areas. Fortunately, as Seth later pointed out, the stop and go penalty didn’t impact our strategy or results.”

Once the No. 80 was repaired by BimmerWorld’s ace team of technicians, Rogers worked with Clay acting as a tail-gunner and used the BMW’s handling prowess and its class-leading Performance Friction brakes to reach the top 10.

“When I was in the car, the race was a lot of fun,” Rogers continued. “I didn’t qualify well, but my race pace was faster than a number of cars in front of me, so I was able to produce results. When James came back on track, he ended up behind me, and it was comforting having a team car in my mirrors. I was able to move right outside the top 10 when I turned the car over. The crew gave us the same great car they always do, and we got the podium finish that Seth and I have been planning on all year–it was a blast!”

Along with Clay and Liefooghe, as one of BimmerWorld’s veteran, race-winning pros, Thomas has worked diligently with Rogers to share his knowledge and expertise to help him extract the most from the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i, and the results are clearly paying off.

“Dan is an easy person to be a teammate with as he fights to be the best opening driver in the CTSCC paddock,” he said. “Every time I talk to him between races it seems he is at a racetrack somewhere driving some form of BMW race car or at a function for one of his kids. This is an accomplishment since there aren’t any racetracks near his home in Alaska! Every weekend Dan gets faster and more comfortable racing the E90 chassis, which makes my job on track easy. He’s the type of teammate we all hope to have.”

Looking at where the team stands after four rounds of the 10 Round championship, Clay is feeling confident about his team, cars and drivers as the pace of the championship is about to increase.

“After our first weekend on a real road course, I am happy with the cars and the efforts of our winter work are showing,” he said. “While I feel some teams put effort into what they should be gifted to make their cars fast, we put our heads down, do work, and this winter we came up with the speed we needed on our own.  I still don’t think our cars are the fastest in the field by any stretch, but our team is strong and we are consistent, and if we can run some green flag races, I think we usually have a chance for a good finish.”

As one of BimmerWorld’s most tenured drivers, Thomas also offered his appraisal of where the team’s three-car 2012 program ranks among a decade of professional teams fielded by the team.

“The team James has assembled this year is very similar to the team we had in our championship fight in 2010, but stronger,” he explained. “I can see the crew guys are gelling together well. They work hard every weekend to give us a great car to race. The engineers are constantly doing what they can to make our cars easier drive for a long fast stint. All the drivers get along great together and work to help improve each other throughout the weekend. Our sponsors are some of our biggest supporters helping to give us the tools and components to put our cars up front every weekend.

“Overall, this team is the best BimmerWorld team I have raced with. We are a championship team helping to put BMW at the top of the points every weekend, have scored the most points for BMW so far in ST this season, and our drivers are always in the hunt to win and lead the championship. There’s still a lot of racing to do this year, but we’re seeing the benefits of what James and all of our mechanics and engineers have put together within this program.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the New Jersey Motorsports Park race on 5/26 at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Focused On Championship Pursuit In New Jersey

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With the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series Championship gaining momentum,Dublin,Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing is ready to hit the track atNew JerseyMotorsportsParkjust two weeks after the most recent round in Homestead-Miami.

The three-car BMW 328i team had a remarkable weekend at Homestead-Miami, placing two cars inside the top 10 in qualifying, but a number of freak occurrences led to the team retiring from the race early in the event.

Utilizing the team’s depth of knowledge with the BMW E90 platform, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay is confident his staff of BMW technicians has resolved the issues leading into the race at NJMP.

“Homesteadwas turning out to be a great weekend right up until the race,” he said.  “We had some rare mechanical issues and certainly we don’t intend to repeat.  Luckily, we have a lot of years with these E90 cars and many more working and developing cars on a pro level, so even in a tight turnaround, our standard plan of attack can be applied swiftly and produce results and solutions.  We do have answers and a multi-pronged approach to the issues from last race and we are now fully focused on getting back in front on the championship hunt.”

Known for its sweltering heat when it was held mid-summer, the NJMP round has been moved up to avoid the stifling temperatures and humidity that made life miserable for everyone and everything.

“With very high temperatures in the last few years, New Jersey has been brutal on cars, tires, crew and drivers,” said BimmerWorld’s Gregory Liefooghe, winner of Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park with co-driver David Levine in the No. 81 BimmerWorld entry.

“This year, since the race will be taking place in May instead of July, the weather is expected to be mild, and we’ll see how it affects the track and handling.New Jerseyhas tight hairpins, which don’t suit our car since we are lacking torque compared to the turbo cars, and no hard braking zones where our cars usually shine. But it also has high-speed corners where we’ll be making up time.  It will most likely be an ‘accordion race’ once again, and being upfront from the start will pay a premium.”

John Capestro-Dubets, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW with James Clay, believes the team’s fleet of 328is could hold an advantage when it comes to consistency.

“The BimmerWorld BMWs tend to be very stable and predictable cars throughout the race,” he said. “TheNew Jerseytrack might not be tailor-made for our cars, but we don’t tend to go through the peaks and valleys some of our competitors do, so over the course of a 2.5-hour race, I think our average speed could be a benefit.”

On Mother’s Day weekend to honor survivor Paula Capestro, JCD’s mom, the No. 80 will also carry a unique change to its livery at NJMP, with BimmerWorld’s traditional yellow stripes replaced with pink as part of an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer and the benefits of early detection.

After recording one of the most impressive performances during his stint at Homestead-Miami, Dan Rogers, who shares the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with Seth Thomas, is poised to pick up where he left off. But just don’t tell him he did a good job last time out…

“I still wasn’t satisfied with my performance,” Rogers said with a smile, “but I’m not sure we ever are!”

Rogers’ ascension in the Continental Tire Series has been a point of pride for everyone in the team, and with a number of veteran drivers to rely upon, his forward progress is expected to continue at NJMP.

“What improvements I am seeing is largely due to the time and effort Seth and the team is putting into coaching and mentoring me in my driving. They have been a great resource to help me improve my driving in general, and to work on specific aspects of tracks that I haven’t raced on before, like both Miami and NJMP. This week should be another test of coming up to speed quickly on a new track for me, but I think we’ve done the preparation. Now it’s time to execute!”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at Round 4 at New JerseyMotorsportsParkthis weekend at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the race when it’s broadcast on 5/26 at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld’s Emerging GRAND-AM GS Program Scores Another Top 10 in New Jersey

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With the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship winding down, Dublin, Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing continues to make progress with its expanded four-car operation.

Driven by two additional goals this season–to develop brand-new Grand Sport-class BMW M3 V8s during the 10-round GRAND-AM championship and to shape those M3 V8s into contenders–BimmerWorld met its objectives once again at New Jersey Motorsports Park, site of Round 9.

BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay and co-driver Seth Thomas demonstrated the growth of the team’s GS program once again, climbing from a starting spot of 15th to run as high as second during the 2.5-hour race.

In the sister No. 78 BimmerWorld BMW M3 V8, Gregory Liefooghe stepped up from the team’s No. 81 Street Tuner-class BMW 328i for the second time in 2011 and put on drive with new teammate Chris Ronson that was nothing short of amazing.

Temperatures over 100 degrees during the race made conditions miserable for the drivers and crew, caused tires to overheat and created general mayhem, yet Clay and Thomas traded positions inside the top 10 before ending the day in seventh, their best finish of the season and the top result for BimmerWorld on the day.

Coming off of a 10th at the previous round in Monterey, Clay says he’s feeling positive about the direction the GS program is headed.

“Certainly I am very happy with the momentum we have, and seeing the program progress so that we have the equipment to be consistently in the hunt is important. I knew going into our 2011 GS program that it would be a development year, and it would certainly be frustrating at times as we have become accustomed to being at the front in every series we race in, but the affirmation and results for the effort at this point of the game are rewarding. Greg and Chris did an awesome job in New Jersey in the No. 78 running up front, and Seth and I pulled out another top 10 finish for the team. We are getting geared up for a strong 2012.”

Amidst the many responsibilities Clay carries–from running his four-car team to developing BimmerWorld’s expanding base of corporate sponsors, serving as one-half of the No. 79’s driving team also falls on his shoulders. As he shares, being able to don his helmet and get down to business behind the wheel is also a rewarding part of the job.

“First and foremost, the BimmerWorld team did an exceptional job at New Jersey, so that made me proud,” he said. “The temperatures and conditions were brutal and as a driver, I had to leave my team owner hat at home to perform at the level required on-track. But the crew had a more demanding job than the drivers in the car this weekend – the workload was relentless. They distinguished themselves once again on pit lane with more incredible pit stops. The knowledge that they are 100 percent on it and driven to succeed gave me the ability to do my job behind the wheel and enjoy the results of our collective effort.”

Race strategy also played a crucial role during an event where managing heat exhaustion, caution periods and avoiding contact weighed into the team’s plans. The regular practice of changing drivers at the one-third mark of the race was replaced with splitting the time in the car equally to keep from wearing out the finishing driver. The team also made bold moves to pit toward the end of a yellow flag, which helped the GS cars to gain positions as the race played out.

Beyond the race itself, and as part of an expanded relationship with CRC Industries to promote its Brakleen brand, BimmerWorld hosted its partners from CRC during the weekend, providing first-rate hospitality and giving their ardent supporters plenty to root for during the race.

“CRC/Brakleen was there en masse from their Pennsylvania headquarters to support the team this weekend,” Clay continued. “The company brought out over 150 employees, family members and guests and it was very rewarding to race around the track seeing so may Brakleen banners and knowing we were carrying the flag for them.”

The guests from CRC also witnessed a stirring performance from BimmerWorld’s second GS entry. Showing his versatility in the GRAND-AM ranks, Liefooghe got up to speed immediately in the No. 78 BimmerWorld BMW M3 V8, motoring his way from 17th to third before handing off to Ronson. After jostling for positions and dealing with yellow flags, Ronson impressed on his way to finish 12th on his pro racing debut.

Running deep inside the top 10 and working closely with Ronson were highlights of the event, according to Liefooghe.

“BimmerWorld always gives me a great race car. In this case, with the extreme temperatures, we only had one lap to qualify after which the tires would drop off by at least a full second. I missed the opportunity on that lap, but the car stayed very consistent, so even though I started mid-pack, I knew I had a lot more performance available. During the race, our car was great in the long runs. After fighting my way up from 17th, it felt great to challenge for the top spots just like we usually do in the ST cars, and Chris should also be proud of the job he did in his first GRAND-AM race.”

While BimmerWorld’s GS cars enjoyed good runs at New Jersey, its ST cars found mixed fortunes in the race.

2010 Rookie of the Year Bill Heumann and his teammate, two-time ST pole winner David White who finished on the podium at the 2010 NJMP event, pushed themselves in the heat in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i to finish 14th in class. “Given the extreme heat we made the decision to split the driving more evenly and didn’t take advantage of an early driver change” explained White. “That turned out to be the wrong call with all the caution laps and we could never make back the track position lost in the pits.”

In the No. 81 car, John Capestro-Dubets was thrust into a similar position as Liefooghe, leading the charge for the second time this season when his regular teammate stepped up to BimmerWorld’s GS team.

Partnered with Jason Briedis, who was making his return to the series, the two mounted a solid run but saw their race slowed by suspension damage after being hit by a competitor.

BimmerWorld’s crew leapt into action to repair the car, but with extensive damage to overcome, the No. 81 went down three laps and fell from contention. Despite losing the possibility of earning a strong finish, Capestro-Dubets returned to the track determined to reward his team’s efforts, recovering to finish 23rd in class.

Giving up, as he explains, was never an option.

“Unfortunately, our results were limited by a racing incident but I always give a 100 percent whenever I get in the car. I believe that even with the circumstances we were dealt, I was able to show that determination is part of what’s required as a professional. You can’t quit or relax, no matter how much of a challenge you have. New Jersey was tough on everyone, but it gave me another chance to show how I’ve grown as a driver, thanks to my coach, Gregory Liefooghe, and to BimmerWorld for giving me the tools to deliver in a great car.

“When I got in my BMW we were three laps down with a tweaked alignment and yet I was able to run a fast pace the entire time. If I take anything from the weekend it is the ability to know that things don’t always go the way you plan, and that you just have to keep pushing hard no matter what happens.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as they prepare for the season finale at Mid-Ohio the weekend of September 16-17, and be sure to tune-in to watch the New Jersey race broadcast on SPEED this Saturday, July 30th at 3 p.m. ET.

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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 Ready for the Heat and Heavy Competition in New Jersey

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The BimmerWorld Racing transporter has been logging plenty of miles over the past two weeks as trips from its base in Dublin, Va., to the West Coast in Monterey, CA, back home to Dublin and now to the East Coast in Millville, NJ, will cap off a particularly busy period for the team.

Coming off a strong podium finish by Gregory Liefooghe and John Capestro-Dubets in BimmerWorld’s Street Tuner-class BMW 328i at Monterey, the four-car GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge outfit is ready for more action at Round 9 of the 10-round championship.

Held at the notoriously hot and humid New Jersey Motorsports Park facility, the calm, cool days in Monterey will be replaced with searing temperatures topping 100 degrees this weekend.

The team is hoping for history to repeat itself at NJMP, with BimmerWorld having earned finishes of second and fifth in the 2010 event with the team’s pair of BMW 328is.

With two Grand Sport-class BMW M3 V8s added to the stable for 2011, James Clay, BimmerWorld team owner and co-driver of the No. 79 Johnstone Supply M3 V8, says the expansion to four cars hasn’t been easy, but the momentum continues to build in the right direction as the season winds down.

“If this season has made one thing crystal clear, it is the fact that you can’t always get what you want in racing, or even what you work incredibly hard to earn,” he said. “We have a first-class group of people assembled here and they continue to plunge ahead to do the work to bring results – that is unchanging. In the last two rounds, I would love to see more of the rewards for the effort like we started to have at Monterey.”

The 2.25-mile, 14-turn track places a premium on many things–fitness, passing, and in particular, engine and brake cooling. A big part of the team’s success at NJMP last year was due to the choice of radiators and brake packages, and the same companies have been integral in getting the new M3 V8s ready for the escalating temperatures they will face.

“New Jersey was by far the hottest race for us last year and we expect the same this year,” Clay explained. “We are partnered with C&R Racing and their radiators and coolers keep the driveline as cool as possible and functioning properly in these demanding conditions. We maximize brake cooling for every event on the Performance Friction components on the cars, but regardless of temperature, they handle what we throw at them.”

With cockpit temperatures expected to be anywhere between 100 and 140 degrees for the GRAND-AM competitors this weekend, BimmerWorld’s drivers shift their training regimen into high gear to prepare for racing in sauna-like conditions for up to two hours at a time.

As Liefooghe explains, the time committed to ramping up one’s physical fitness ahead of the NJMP race is significant, but to succeed, it’s absolutely mandatory.

“It takes a lot of work away from the track,” he said. “I think everybody looks at the New Jersey race as the one race of the year where you have to be in your best shape of the season. Not only does the track have very few straightaways to rest but it’s also very hot and humid, so you are always working hard inside the car with little time to breathe and relax. My usual training consists of 250 miles of biking per week and karting year round. And it’s especially important for me to get acclimated to the heat because I live in San Francisco, where we rarely see anything above 60 degrees!”

In addition to its short straights, the relatively narrow NJMP circuit is known for its limited passing opportunities. Picking and choosing where to pass, as Clay’s teammate Seth Thomas shares, can make the difference between gaining and losing a lot of positions.

“Traffic management is going to be key to this event,” he said. “Since New Jersey is a short track with tight turns and very short sections between the corners, you’ll see a lot of similarity in speeds between the GS and ST cars. The ST cars are lighter and more nimble for the tight and twisty turns, while there is only one big straight where the GS cars can stretch their legs. It’s the kind of track where you pay for any mistakes you make. At some tracks you can stick your nose in and if you don’t get by, there’s no real harm. But at this track, moves like those make you a sitting target into the next corner, so you really have to select your passing zones ahead of time. You have to be patient and you can’t abuse your tires, so with the heat thrown in, New Jersey is a pretty tough puzzle to solve.”

Follow the team’s progress this weekend at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com as practice gets under way for the 2.5-hour B+ Foundation Heroes 200 race on Saturday.

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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