BimmerWorld Racing Finishes Second and Fifth At Its Home Track, VIR

BimmerWorld Racing Finishes Second and Fifth At Its Home Track, VIR

The BimmerWorld Racing team recorded its best results so far this year in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series when it won the pole and placed second and fifth with its two turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis) Street Tuner cars Saturday at its home track, VIRginia International Raceway.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. finished second in the Biscuitville Grand Prix with their OPTIMA Batteries No. 84, with a gap of just 1.352 seconds after two hours of competition.

Clay won the pole on Friday with a time of 2:03.584 and an average speed of 95.255 miles per hour. The car that eventually won qualified second and got the jump on the initial start, but Clay powered back into the lead before the first lap was completed and then led every lap of his stint. He stretched that lead to over three seconds at times before turning the car over to Cooke under a full-course caution with 56 minutes remaining in the race.

Cooke started his stint as the class leader after a strong pit stop, but the car that eventually won got the upper hand on a restart on lap 32 with 48 minutes to go. Cooke set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap 43 with a 2:05.026. He stayed in second place through his entire stint, and the strong finish moved the pair up to fourth in the point standings.

The No. 84 led the most laps for the second race in a row, topping the charts for 30 circuits to the winner’s 21.

Clay was also able to come through for the governor of Virginia who had a friendly bet with the governor of North Carolina over whose state’s driver would finish higher. Clay was second, while the N.C. governor’s choice finished 12th.

The Dublin, Va.-based team’s Powerflex BMW No. 81 also recorded its best finish of the season when Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif. and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco came in fifth. Balogh qualified seventh and then had a spectacular save after an off-course excursion at the start. He was in 13th place when he pitted for Liefooghe to take over, but Liefooghe was back in seventh by lap 33 when the second yellow came out after speedy pit work, some attrition, and good restarts. He moved into sixth on lap 42 with 16 minutes remaining by passing Andrew Carbonell, and fifth on lap 49 with just 2:50 to go by passing James Vance. Liefooghe set the entry’s fastest race lap on lap 44 with a 2:05.285.

The race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern.

Only two more events remain in the 2017 season: Sept. 22-24 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif., and Oct. 4-7 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. For more information, see imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“This is our home track, so we know the track and had the car set up well for it. Things have leveled out a little bit, so we have a good car in the field, and that’s super important. We were certainly hoping for a win at Road America, but the weather interfered. We were obviously hoping for the win today, and we just didn’t have the speed for the Nissan at the restart. We got jumped and couldn’t catch back up and couldn’t get around them — they drove a great race. I’m super proud of our team. Two cars in the top five; it was a pretty solid weekend. We have two more before the end of the year, so let’s see if we can win one of those.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had an awesome car throughout the whole weekend, and the track took a big change in my stint, so the car fell off a little different than we wanted it. It got really loose, and the track was ripping up with bits of the track surface digging into the tires. There was a lot of stuff going on, but it was a really fun battle with Owen [Trinkler]. He just had more straight line [speed] than me. I was trying my best through the corners, but he would just get down the straightaway a little better. Second place, home track — I’m pumped for that. It helped us in the points and helped us going into Laguna. We’re pretty good at Laguna, so here’s hoping for the best there.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
“I think it was a good race. It was definitely a battle from start to finish. You know, it’s funny, here the cars are all equal in terms of pace, but they all make their speed very differently, so it makes the race seem very interesting but very challenging at the same time. It was definitely a battle to come up through the pack. Ari was running really well. Unfortunately, there was something that happened at the end of the back straight, and we lost a bunch of positions there, but he ran a really good stint. The guys did great on the pit stop, and we gained a few positions there and then we moved up to P5, so it was a good day.”

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

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

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Podium Finish at the Lime Rock Park 120 Race

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Podium Finish at the Lime Rock Park 120 Race

BimmerWorld Racing owner James Clay and co-driver Tyler Cooke recorded their best finish of the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series so far this year when they placed third in the Street Tuner (ST class) Saturday at Lime Rock Park with their BimmerWorld Racing No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis).

Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe also had an excellent result in the two-hour contest, as they placed sixth in a similar car fielded by the Dublin, Va.-based team, the No. 81 Powerflex BMW, to duplicate their best result of the season to date.

Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., qualified fourth, just 0.360 of a second off the pole-winning time for the 1.53-mile, seven-turn road course about 100 miles from New York City. He set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap four and remained in fourth place throughout his stint until he led four laps around the halfway mark when the top three cars pitted under green. He pitted shortly thereafter for fuel, fresh Continental tires, and to turn the car over to teammate Cooke, of Matthews, N.C.

Cooke was back in fourth place only seven laps later. He advanced to third on lap 102 with about 14:20 remaining when the drivers who had been second and third tangled in front of him. The one who had been third got the worse end of that tussle and ended up in a tire barrier, and a little later Cooke brought his BMW home for the final podium position.

Balogh, of Menlo Park, Calif., qualified 16th but he’d advanced to ninth before most of his rivals began their pit stops, and he was fourth when he pitted under green to turn his BMW over to Liefooghe, of San Francisco. The latter was ninth at the halfway point before rising to sixth at the finish despite a track that was getting more slippery by the minute.

The race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The next event is Aug. 3-6 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. More information is available at imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I think we probably got what we could have gotten today, and maybe a little bit more. We definitely didn’t have the pace of the MX-5s on the track, but we had a good pace. We had two consistent cars. We were more consistent than I thought we’d be. The car didn’t fall off, and that was one of our biggest concerns. We were able to gap everybody behind us and keep the car in a good position to turn it over to Tyler. Tyler had a heck of a drive, and we’re pretty happy.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Not bad. Finishing third at Lime Rock is like a win for pretty much any car in the field. It was a great race. The track really fell off at the end, but we were running a consistent pace. We held it in fourth and then moved into third.

“The guys did an amazing job. We had a short time period to get this car ready, but they nailed it. Hats off to BimmerWorld, all the sponsors, and BMW North America.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
“The car was good. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying but in the race, we were really good. I think we can be happy with the results. The car ran really well. We found some speed this weekend. I’m pretty happy. Ari drove the first stint very well, and the car was really good.

“I think Road America is going to be a good track for us. We’re a little bit more of a power car than a handling car, so we might have a little bit of an advantage there so we’re looking forward to that.”

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 IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Makes History With BMW F30 Pole And Podium At Sebring IMSA Race

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Three seasons of intense development with BMW’s turbocharged F30 (328i) platform by Virginia-based BMW tuning and aftermarket experts BimmerWorld paid off with a thrilling drive to third place in Sebring last weekend.

The accomplishment by BimmerWorld team owner/driver James Clay and his teammate Tyler Cooke, who earned pole position at the legendary Florida road course, marked the first pole and podium for the four-cylinder turbo BMW F30 in worldwide pro racing competition. Those firsts were only made possible by BimmerWorld’s incredible staff of technicians who overcame adversity on two occasions to help make history.

A broken fuel injector triggered a fire during testing on Tuesday with Clay behind the wheel of the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i, which necessitated a significant amount of repair work before Cooke was able to earn the F30’s maiden pole position.

“I was pulling into pit lane after doing an installation lap and as I lifted off the gas, a lick of flame came out from the hood and I deployed our Lifeline fire system as I pulled it into our pit box to get things under control, and our crew made sure we ended the fire. While I was fine and safe, the car was damaged,” Clay said. “It took a lot of hours to get back to the place where Tyler could go out and show the BimmerWorld F30’s capabilities.”

More drama would emerge after qualifying when it was determined the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW would require an engine change. Per the rules in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series, the change meant BimmerWorld would surrender its first-place starting position. Cooke faced the incredible challenge of starting last in a field of 36 cars—26 belonging to the Street Tuner class where the 328is compete.

Rewarding the BimmerWorld crew’s tireless efforts was a clear motivation for Cooke who charged from the back of the field to a high of second place in ST before handing the car over to Clay, who fought among the leaders and secured an amazing third to thrust the OPTIMA Batteries BMW onto the podium.

“BimmerWorld has been committed to developing the F30 from the beginning and it was fantastic to have that work rewarded with Tyler’s pole and finishing the race on the podium,” Clay added. “I’m even more proud of our team and everything they did to make this possible. And there’s more to come. We know winning is on the horizon.”

The Sebring event ranks among Cooke’s finest overall performances as a young professional racecar driver on the rise.

“The fire put us behind, but I can’t say enough how proud I am of the team for putting in a lot of hours and a late night to get the car rebuilt,” said Cooke. “Qualifying came on Thursday and it was great to see the team so happy after receiving the pole. It was very unfortunate to have the engine changed, but James and I knew we had a pace to get through the field.

“On the start I looked for any and every gap to make passes, but without putting the car in danger. James got in and had an excellent stint to bring the car home third. The best part about the weekend was the history we made. This platform has never sat on the pole nor gotten a podium in the world and I’m happy James and I could do it. I’m proud of the team for all the hard hours over the years to get us there.”

The sister No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW driven by impressive rookie Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley was also gripped by misfortune in the days leading up to the race. For Kaufman, a rookie in the series, the pre-race problems were mitigated by a strong qualifying performance and a combined effort in the race that saw the car finish 13th.

“I did surprisingly well in qualifying, but it was a very hot race,” Kaufman said. “The heat took some power out of the turbocharged engine and I worked the rear tires too hard early in the race.  Once they got hot there was no way to get the tire temps back down, and it became a fight to keep the car on track.  Congrats to the 84 car; those guys did an excellent job managing their car, and they got a great result because of it.  The BimmerWorld team did an amazing job despite problems thrown at them.  This team continues to impress me.”

Added Tilley: “It was a tough week for us in the 81, and Jerry’s effort in qualifying was fantastic giving the challenging circumstances. I was able to drive the car from 23rd to 13th, the crew did a great job of turning our weekend around, and we were able to get some solid points in the bag. Onwards and upwards!”

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

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Dublin, VA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Rookies Race To Second Place At Road Atlanta

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld have always prided themselves in providing clients with machinery that’s fast and capable of winning, and at Road Atlanta last weekend, the team’s newest driver combo took hold of that opportunity and went to the front of the field.

Competing at Round 4 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series held in Braselton, Ga., rookies Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum put their prodigious talent on display and capitalized on the speed and performance of the BimmerWorld-built 328i chassis to lead portions of the 2.5-hour endurance race on their way to finishing second.

It was a marked turnaround for the duo after misfortune limited their most recent results in the Street Tuner class.

“I am proud of the rookie drivers in the No. 80 who are honing their craft as the season progresses,” said BimmerWorld team owner James Clay. “They were also the top-finishing BimmerWorld car at COTA, and this is the result of our team fielding three equal cars, which is important to me and the drivers that we sign who want a fair shot at race wins. And certainly Greg and Connor’s finish brings some levity to otherwise somewhat frustrating event for the team.”

The sister Nos. 81 and 82 BimmerWorld BMWs had the pace to join the No. 80 in the lead pack, but poor driving by two different competitors left the cars in need of immediate repair.

“We had three great cars this weekend as we returned for the first time in years to what we consider one of our two home tracks,” Clay continued. “Both the No. 81 and 82 were robbed of the strong finish they were headed for, and instead collected some silly contact damage. Certainly when this many cars are on track, some damage is expected, but it is really unfortunate when it is so obviously avoidable.”

For Strelzoff, putting the recent frustrations behind and getting down to good, hard racing with his teammate was a joy.

“Amazing; a dream come true,” he said. “Connor drove amazingly well. I was getting more and more nervous as the time ticked down to the checkered flag. Every race weekend the two of us have made improvements and steps forward towards better results. After two heartbreaking results, we are very glad to have many breaks go our way. The result just motivates Connor and me to work even harder.”

Behind the No. 80, Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke were coming off a fifth-place result at the most recent race, and expected to finish in an even stronger position at Road Atlanta, but contact soured their run, dropping the No. 81 to 13th.

“We knew we had the fastest car on track and could have been right there with the No. 80,” said Cooke. “The race didn’t go how we wanted it to but we still came out with some points and that’s better than nothing. We won’t let this hold us back, and we will be sure to go even harder at Mid-Ohio.”

The frustration felt by the No. 81 drivers paled in comparison to what Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas experienced in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. The series veterans, racing at Thomas’ home track, had a specific plan to avoid situations where other drivers could errantly hit the No. 82, but they still couldn’t escape the competition cleanly.

With the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i crew members forced to replace front and rear suspension on the car, a 22nd-place finish was all the team could salvage.

“Mixed emotions describe our weekend very well,” said Rogers. “Seth and I are really happy for Connor and Greg for getting their first podium. The BimmerWorld crew did a great job with all three cars under extraordinary circumstances. All three cars had the pace, track position, and strategy to finish at the top of the field. Unfortunately, two of the three BWR cars got taken out of contention by extremely poor choices by other drivers. The No. 82 was handed a deep hole to dig out of to remain in the championship hunt.

“Having said that, we are still in the hunt. We’re 11 points out of third, and 15 points out of first. Road Atlanta shows how one race can shake up the standings. The development BimmerWorld has done with the BMW E90 chassis is solid, the strategy calls are spot-on, and the crew is the best in the Continental Tire Series paddock. These three things give us a car that can win, even if it isn’t the fastest car on course. The CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW will be there at the end of the season – you can count on that.”

Watch the Road Atlanta race on April 27th at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED, and be sure to follow BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooke also had high praise for his teammate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Scores Historic 1-2 Victory At Inaugural Indianapolis Motor Speedway GRAND-AM Race

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld, the Dublin, Virginia based team, win the first-ever GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race held on the hallowed grounds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team finished first and second in the Street Tuner class while extending the German car maker’s hold on the prized manufacturers’ championship.

The win came during a tricky afternoon of competition when heavy rain interrupted the race and a combination of inch-perfect driving and smart race strategy calls were required to reach Victory Lane.

Thankfully, for the veteran road racing team, every mechanical component required to reach the top step of the podium was delivered throughout the race by a flawless team.

In addition to the dream 1-2 finish for the team’s self-built, production-based BMW 328i racecars, the BimmerWorld team added a few other accomplishments to their debut on the 2.5-mile, 13-turn Indianapolis road course.

The victory for Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW marked BimmerWorld’s second win of the season. First, was the win claimed by Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine at Barber Motorsports Park in the No. 81 entry. This also brings Thomas’ GRAND-AM ST win tally to three since the 2010 season.

For his teammate, Alaska native Dan Rogers, the win was even sweeter. The world’s most famous race track served as host to his first professional victory. It also ranks as the first ST win for CRC BRAKLEEN®, the primary sponsor of the No. 82.

Put it all together, and BimmerWorld delivered an amazing performance on a giant stage.  James Clay, team owner and co-driver of the second-place No. 80 credits the 1-2 result to his trusted team of technicians.

“We had really good cars when we tested here two weeks ago, but we didn’t feel like we had winning cars, necessarily,” he remarked. “Between the test and the race, my team probably put in 1000 man hours to try and improve every little area on the car and it paid off. Winning at Indianapolis is just something that you can’t put into words.”

For Thomas, who ranks as one of the best touring car racers in the country, winning at IMS with the BimmerWorld team ranks as the highlight of his career.

“It’s one of those deals where you try not to be superstitious and kiss the brick before the race, and it’s not a ‘me’ that did this but a ‘we’ that won this,” he said. “Having the No. 80 there behind helping me the whole way to the checkered flag was crucial for us. To be the first GRAND-AM ST team to win at Indianapolis in a sports car…it’s amazing.

“And as a boy growing up in Georgia, I guess people figured I should be here driving a stock car, but to win in a BimmerWorld BMW is just so gratifying.”

Thomas’ teammate, Rogers, was just as ecstatic after watching the No. 82 cross the finish line.

“It’s pretty incredible,” said Rogers. “How many people can say they won their first professional race at Indianapolis? Not very many, I’m sure. The guys did a great job on the car; it was transformed since the last few races and our engineer and crew called an amazing race strategy. I figured we had a shot at winning this year, but you never think it’s going to come at a place like Indy.”

Following home the No. 82, John Capestro-Dubets (“JCD”) closed out the race after taking over from Clay and earned the third consecutive podium for the No. 80.

“We had a fantastic car, qualified well, which was a rewarding deal for everyone, and it was again a testament to our team,” said Clay. “In my stint, there was a lot of shuffling, I handed the car over to JCD who worked it up to the front. We pitted early, put JCD in, and used a fuel smart fuel strategy and a lot of talent to bring the car home for our third podium in three races. There’s a lot to be proud of.”

The third BimmerWorld entry of Liefooghe and Levine ran strong and had plenty of pace, but a mid-race issue left the No. 81 out of a possible 1-2-3 finish.

BimmerWorld’s fine day at Indy also had a major impact on the points standings. The Nos. 80, 81 and 82 are now in the top 10 in the teams’ standings, with the surging No. 80 in fifth with two rounds to go.

Clay and JCD also moved to sixth in the hunt for the drivers’ championship. BimmerWorld’s constant representation for BMW has the brand leading the standings ahead of eight other manufacturers.

“We have two more races in the championship, and I want to lock down the manufacturers’ championship for BMW,” said Clay. “BMW is a fantastic road car, a fantastic racecar, we’ve supported the brand for 13 years in our racing and I wouldn’t choose any other marque to go into battle with. To get BMW’s first win at Indianapolis is an honor, and as we’ve scored their main points in seven of eight rounds so far, we want to deliver that title for BMW when the season is done.”

On a day when there was much for BimmerWorld to celebrate, first-time winner Rogers put the race into perspective for himself and the entire team.

“I think it’s going to take a while to hit everyone,” he said. “It’s such a big accomplishment…it’s hard to fathom. To think of all the guys who’ve kissed that yard of bricks, all the winners at Indy over the years. And I just got to do it myself…amazing.”

Follow BimmerWorld as the team prepare for the penultimate round in Monterey in September, and watch the race at Indianapolis when it airs on August 5th at 12 p.m. ET.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld Leaves Elkhart Lake With GRAND-AM Podium, Hunting For More At Watkins Glen

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The BMW experts at BimmerWorld are always prepared for fight in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series, and last weekend’s race at the picturesque Wisconsin road course proved that the Dublin, Virginia-based team can never be counted out.

With the odds stacked against them on the high-speed 4.0-mile road course, due mostly to the engine air restrictors its inline-6s are required to use and the excessive ballast the normal-sized BMW 328is are forced to carry, the James Clay-owned team entered the weekend expecting to see its smaller, lighter rivals in the Street Tuner class motor away on Elkhart’s numerous long straights.

BimmerWorld’s fears were realized when even the least developed entrants were able to pull out significant gaps on the three-car 328i effort, but with a decided advantage under braking and through the corners, at least one of BimmerWorld BMW’s managed to pull off a solid finish, despite setting a best lap that was nearly one-second slower than the fastest ST car in the race.

Realizing that a win was beyond the scope of reality, Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets (JCD) used an exceptional amount of guile and inch-perfect driving to secure a third-place finish in the No. 80 BimmerWorld entry, the best result for the duo so far this season.

“I was happily surprised with the No. 80’s results at Elkhart Lake,” said Clay. “This is one of my favorite tracks and I love the speed and commitment required in some of the high-speed sections, but it was clear going into this event that we didn’t have the power to lead a pack of cars and we had better keep our nose in the draft.  I was able to stay in a multi-car draft in my stint, and JCD took advantage of the big hole that a two-wide battle in front of him created late in the race, which rewarded our current ‘right place at the right time’ passing approach.”

For second-year GRAND-AM driver JCD, maturing into the pressure-packed role of being the closer has resulted in the No. 80’s two best finishes—a fifth at Mid-Ohio and a third at Elkhart—in consecutive events.

“Mid-Ohio and Elkhart Lake were just a start to the momentum James and I plan to end the season with,” said the young Californian. “Over the last few races my confidence has improved in the closing role and the team’s confidence in me to get the job done has followed.  With their continued support and the great car the team provides, I have everything I need to continue at this level and also to improve and become more polished under pressure. I’m really looking forward to doing it again in our next race at Watkins Glen.”

Well behind the No. 80, the No. 81 of Barber Motorsports Park race winners Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine soldiered home to finish a disappointing 14th after being hit by a competitor and losing any chance of staying in the draft being utilized by the lead pack.

The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i driven by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers encountered a virtually identical scenario, and after being hit and losing the draft, the teammates fought back to eventually place a distant 17th at the checkered flag.

Using the Elkhart event to assess its current state of competitiveness, three years into its GRAND-AM ST program BimmerWorld has adapted to the changes the series has mandated to the best of its ability. With the BMW 328i chassis and engine slowed a bit more each year, Clay has witnessed BimmerWorld go from vying for the championship in 2010 to being on the outside looking in at most rounds in 2012.

BimmerWorld’s lone win this season came as a result of the ‘right place at the right time’ dynamic Clay mentioned, rather than watching his cars march to the front of the field on pure speed, driver skill, or team execution, and despite honing his team into one of the most efficient and forward-thinking operations on pit lane, the chance to challenge for wins from round to round will only come when the rules are balanced to include the 328i.

“We have solid cars that are consistent and this season shows that we are a constant threat for a podium from all three BimmerWorld entries,” Clay explained. “But we also rely on a bit of luck and gifts from our competitors more than I would want. We are executing impeccably and we should have three cars in the top 10 almost every weekend.

“But as this race showed, if we slip out of the draft of the leaders and fall back into the portion of the field that has straight-line speed–and then slows down significantly in the corners, we just don’t have the acceleration that others have to battle for position, or to lead a pack of cars without a draft to catch back up. There’s not much else we can do at this point.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen, Liefooghe, who has quickly asserted himself as one of the elite drivers in the Continental Tire Series, expects the team’s Performance Friction brake package to continue to play a significant role in BimmerWorld’s results, and also points to the handling refinements the team has developed as a key to quickly navigating the 3.4-mile, 11-turn track.

“Even though the rules package is not in our favor, our BimmerWorld BMWs still have advantages in some places compared to the rest of the field,” he said. “One of the places where we shine is top end speed, but the problem is we are the slowest to get to that speed because of our extra ballast and lack of torque. Fortunately, our handling is great.

“Watkins has a lot sweeping corners where we should be able to maintain more rolling speed than other cars and therefore make up for our lack of torque. Despite being the heaviest car in the field, we have a braking advantage due to our PFC brakes at corners like the Bus Stop, so I’m optimistic things will be somewhat better than they were last weekend. We will always fight for the best position possible, even if it’s a big task.”

Follow the team’s progress this weekend atwww.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to tune in and watch the No. 80 earn third at Elkhart Lake when the race is broadcast July 8th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

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 Returns To GRAND-AM Victory Lane At Barber Motorsports Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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