BimmerWorld drivers James Clay and Devin Jones capped off the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season this past weekend, securing third place in the Drivers and Teams Championship, the highest-finishing BMW team in the overall standings. While this weekend’s FOX Factory 120 did not go to plan, Jones recorded the race’s fastest lap and enough points for another solid Championship run.
Road Atlanta has been especially good for BMW teams in recent years. The combination of fast corners and challenging braking zones plays to the strengths of the BMW M4 GT4. While unable to match the top speeds of the supercar-based cars in the class, the sedan-based M4 GT4 showed exceptional balance everywhere else. In proven BMW fashion, the M4 had the right package to keep the speed of the McLarens, Audi R8, and Aston Martin in check. The BimmerWorld M4 GT4 recorded the race’s fastest lap at 1:26:770. Were it not for bad racing luck, the team might have realized their fifth top-five finish of the season.
That bad luck came about on lap 26 during an overtaking maneuver on the back straight between the BimmerWorld M4 and the Winward Racing Mercedes. James Clay in the M4 feinted a pass to the right, the Mercedes defended, and Clay took to the left to complete his pass. However, the Mercedes moved left as well with an illegal block, and the two cars made contact. Both cars were assessed a drive-through penalty, and that dragged the BimmerWorld car far out of the top ten.
Clay’s teammate Devin Jones fought back and advanced five positions in the closing stages of the race to finish on the lead lap and record a twelfth-place result as the top-finishing BMW.
The FOX Factory 120 race at Road Atlanta will be broadcast on NBCSN on Friday, October 18 from 7-9 p.m.
BimmerWorld is not putting its racing arsenal away just yet—the Pirelli World Challenge season has one more round for the Copart/BimmerWorld BMW M240i Racing car this coming weekend in Las Vegas.
Post-race quotes follow
James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4GT4:
“We had a decent qualifying spot and had a little more pace with the car. That allowed me to work my way through the field, which I was methodically doing. We had a great team strategy; I stayed in the car at the first yellow in a fast pit stop and we were on the leading edge of our chosen sequence. The second yellow was due to an unfortunate exchange with another competitor and our car. I fainted right on the No. 33 Mercedes coming down the back straight. As soon as he moved right to defend, I jived left, then he did his second move, which was blocking. Unfortunately, I was already committed at that point, so he took himself out on my front bumper. Unfortunately, they (Race Control) gave a drive-through for both cars.
“Devin had to serve that penalty, otherwise I think we would have been standing on the podium. I’m not very happy that our race ended that way, thanks to another competitor. I’m sure they’re less happy about it based on the damage to their car. We still ended up third in the GS championship this year, so it’s been a great year.”
Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“This weekend we had a little more speed in the car than we’ve had in the past few races, which was really encouraging. I was really looking forward to today. This is a really big race—the last race of the season, so we have a lot of people who come out to watch. James did a great job in the opening stint and kept it near the Top 5. Unfortunately, that issue with the 33 caused us to get a drive-through. We didn’t necessarily agree with that, but we had the penalty which kind of ruined my stint in the car, or at least I wasn’t able to make up any ground because of it. We did end up third in the championship, which was our main goal coming into this weekend. We know the car had a lot of speed in it, which is encouraging going into next season.
“I just want to thank everyone on this team as they’ve been really great all year, and the same for all of our supporters. I’m really happy to reward them with third place in the championship, so it’s a big deal overall for us.”
BimmerWorld Racing team plans have not yet been announced for 2020. Stay tuned in the coming months.
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ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018. 2019 also marks BimmerWorld Racing’s return to the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars.