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 Prepped For Sebring Race With Updated Turbo BMWs

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The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld have a new opportunity to show the pace and progress of their turbocharged 328i models this weekend at the historic Sebring Raceway circuit.

Coming off the season-opening IMSA Continental Tire Series event at Daytona International Speedway where the sister Nos. 81 and 84 BimmerWorld BMWs demonstrated front-running speed, team owner/driver James Clay and his staff of technicians have found more gains with the F30 platform for Round 2 in central Florida.

“The No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW was awesome at Daytona, and it felt great to come out of the box with such a great machine and continue that pace moving deeper into the season,” Clay said. “Last year, hot ambient temps made Sebring a challenge for our turbo engine, and conditions are looking similar for this year’s race. The BimmerWorld team did a lot of work focused on cooling over the off-season, and hopefully the additional work since Daytona is the icing on the cake to give us a strong run.”

Teamed with Tyler Cooke in the No. 84, Clay expects the OPTIMA Batteries F30 to be fast throughout the 3.7-mile road course, and to show the BimmerWorld-built BMW’s natural capabilities in vital areas around the 17-turn facility.

“Tyler and I are both strong at the tracks we visit this season, which really opens up some options on running the car,” Clay continued. “Sebring is good to a BMW, and BimmerWorld has won there multiple times. We showed tremendous braking potential at Daytona with our Performance Friction brake package, and that will be even more important at Sebring where a couple of key braking zones are the best places to make hard-fought passes. It’s a track that suits us, and I just can’t wait to get racing!”

Clay and BimmerWorld veteran Cooke will share the track with team newcomers Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley in the sister No. 81 BMW F30. The duo impressed on their debut at Daytona, although their race was somewhat short-lived after a clash between Kaufman and another car ended their day. And with Kaufman’s unexpected marriage proposal made moments before the race (his girlfriend accepted), could he have more fireworks in store for Sebring?

“The biggest lesson learned from Daytona is knowing when to go for a pass and when not to,” Kaufman said. “Jumping up from 12th to fourth as quickly as I did probably gave me too much confidence in my ability to pass going into fast corners. Sometimes there is room to go two wide, and sometimes there isn’t.

“Sebring is another unique track. It isn’t very forgiving, so it will be even more important to get the pass done early. I don’t necessarily have another proposal in mind, but if we win Sebring, don’t be surprised if you see me driving to Disney World!”

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 Leaves Sebring With Another Top-10 Performance

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BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists BimmerWorld experienced two distinct outcomes during their visit to the legendary Sebring circuit in Central Florida for Round 2 of IMSA’s Continental Tire Series.

Fast in the relatively short qualifying session, the high ambient temperature was less kind when it came time to go racing with the team’s turbocharged BMW 328i platform built on F30 architecture. Team owner/driver James Clay and Jason Briedis placed the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries-sponsored F30 seventh on the grid, and despite running as high as third, sweltering conditions meant the tandem had to settle for ninth at the checkered flag.

The No. 81 BimmerWorld F30 driven by team veteran Tyler Cooke and newcomer Andrie Hartanto lined up 13th and was running strong until being spun by a rival. With time lost as Hartanto sat stationary, the duo was left with an unrepresentative finish of 20th.

“Sebring was a tough race for our turbo cars,” said Clay. “We have been battling high inlet temps since last season, which resulted in some engine failures last year. Looking at the weather forecast going into this race, we knew we were going to have issues if we pushed the power, so we played it safe. It is a real testament to the strength of our BimmerWorld team to take a car that was mid-pack at best over the course of the 2.5-hour race and finish inside the top-10. It was a challenging weekend, but I am proud of the result.”

With BimmerWorld’s on-track efforts paying back to its clients in the form of improved BMW performance parts and services, Clay says even a tough and hot weekend like Sebring will help the company optimize its offerings for F30 owners.

“Turbo cars are tough and very temperature dependent,” he explained. “Both cars executed well in qualifying and gave us our best time of the weekend in the couple of laps we could run before heat soak took over. We are going to take a big swing at cooling these F30 cars off before the next round – that is the solution, and then we can race with pace, consistency, and durability.”

QUOTEBOARD: Sebring Race

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

Cooke: The race didn’t go how we wanted it to; Andrie did a great job running in the top-10 until getting taken out and we learned a lot during the race to help us in the races to come.

Hartanto: It was an uphill battle for me, but I’ve learned that we have an amazing team. In spite of the intense heat which forced us to sacrifice power in order to go the distance, the BimmerWorld crew still delivered a car capable of a top-10 finish. I also discovered that the night before my first CTSC race is not the ideal time to showcase my marginal basketball skills; especially not with a group of highly competitive drivers and definitely not when you end up with a bruised bum, a torn-up elbow and a trip to the ER for some stitches! I realized that our race pace is very strong as we made up a lot of ground after starting from 13th on the grid. I also experienced how quickly those places can be lost when you get hit and spun around. Tyler did a great job closing out the race and ensuring that we obtained some valuable data. It was a great first race and I’m really looking forward to my home race at Monterey!

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

Briedis: Considering we were 22nd and 23rd in average fast lap analysis during the race, gutting out a ninth-place finish shows the determination and depth of our team. The heat didn’t help our cause, but we learned a lot and hope to remedy some things before our next race in Monterey.

Clay: Jason did an awesome job with qualifying and in his opening laps before heat soak set in. I was proud of my drive even though we didn’t have the power or pace to do much. Wayne’s pit call was perfect and team execution was spot on. I am super excited to take this strength of team into a weekend with more normal temperatures where we can produce the deserved result!

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.