Both BimmerWorld BMWs Finish in the Top 10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

BWR No. 81 - Both BimmerWorld BMWs Finish in the Top 10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

BimmerWorld Racing came away with a sixth- and an eighth-place finish in the Street Tuner (ST) class Saturday in the four-hour IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, Calif.

Two Californians — Ari Balogh of Menlo Park and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco — finished sixth in the Dublin, Va.-based team’s Powerflex No. 81, a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis).

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C., finished eighth with the OPTIMA Batteries No. 84. Unofficially, Clay and Cooke are now tied for fourth place in the ST point standings with four other drivers heading into the season finale Oct. 4-7 during the Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

Clay qualified fifth in the field of 17 Street Tuner cars on Friday with a time of 1:39.614, just 0.856 off the pole for the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course. He vaulted into third on the first lap, set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap two with a 1:40.780, moved into second place by lap three and even led eight laps from laps 22 through 29.

Clay was second when he pitted about one hour and 11 minutes into the race, but a problem with the car’s hood pin caused the right side of its hood to come up as Cooke was beginning his stint. Cooke was forced to pit about 10 minutes later so the pit crew could make repairs, but an even bigger problem occurred when another driver made contact with him at the exit of Turn 5 around lap 49, causing Cooke to spin. That pushed Cooke back to 12th place and forced the team to play catch-up the rest of the way, eventually securing eighth place.

The No. 81 topped the charts in the second practice session on Friday afternoon with Liefooghe’s 1:39.865, and Balogh qualified 11th later on Friday with a 1:40.334. Balogh was scored in the top-10 during most of his stint in Saturday’s race and had just been passed by his teammate, Cooke, for seventh place when he pitted around lap 83 for Liefooghe to take over. Liefooghe was sixth with one hour remaining and was able to hang on to finish the race in that position. Liefooghe set his car’s fastest lap of the race on lap 107 with a 1:40.745.

Saturday’s race will be shown on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. More information can be found on the series’ Web site at imsa.com.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “We had to figure out a lot of different factors this weekend with it being a longer endurance race. I think we did a really good job taking those factors into account and had some fast cars going into the race that could last the full four hours.

“There was weird stuff going on, and it is what it is, but I want to figure out what happened. I honestly think we should have finished better than we did; we were running strong all weekend, and I think we should have finished up front.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis): “This was very frustrating for us. We went out and our hood came up not even five laps in, so we had to bring the car right in to fix it. The guys got us back out there, and we fought our way back up but just couldn’t keep it. I’m looking forward to Road Atlanta. We had a fast car here, and I think we will have a fast car there to finish the season.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.: “I was really looking forward to this race. Although it was an endurance race for us, it was short enough that we could go all out. We had a good car, so it was a lot of fun.

“Road Atlanta has a lot of grip, so I’m looking forward to it. Our car has been good all season, so it should be a fun race and we can hopefully bring some hardware home for the BimmerWorld team.”

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 Dominates Road America’s Rain-Shortened Race, Finishing Sixth

BimmerWorld Racing Dominates Road America’s Rain-Shortened Race, Finishing Sixth

BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay won the pole and then dominated Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at Road America in the Street Tuner (ST) class, but when the two-hour race was halted with 47:37 remaining due to lightning in the area, and never restarted, he and co-driver Tyler Cooke ended up finishing sixth. Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., led 23 of the race’s 28 laps.

Clay turned his No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis) over to Cooke, of Matthews, N.C., under a full-course caution flag for an accident with 56:16 to go, and the entry dropped to sixth due to the pit stop. Cooke was poised to continue at the front, but the race never restarted, and the pit cycle was never completed by a small portion of the field. The weather worsened and the red flag was displayed before the officials eventually called the race completion early.

Clay had started Saturday’s events by capturing the pole with a time of 2:31.288. During the race, the 84 BMW and the 73 MINI of Derek Jones broke away from the field early, with Clay maintaining the lead for the duration of his stint. Unfortunately, in what seemed to be a dominant performance, several cars on track maintained track position having not completed their required pit stop and were declared winners of the shortened event.

BimmerWorld Racing’s No. 81 Powerflex BMW finished right where it started, 11th in ST. Its starting driver, Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif., ran in the top 10 throughout his stint, but he had to make an emergency pit stop for fuel on lap 24 when the pits were closed. The rules stipulate that he would have had to stop again to allow his co-driver, Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, to get behind the wheel, but the red flag precluded Liefooghe from getting in the car.

The race can be seen on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Aug. 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

The next event will be held at BimmerWorld’s home track, Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., Aug. 25-27.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a fantastic car during a trying weekend, and we were able to put together a really solid car for the race. It obviously ran really well. We knew the weather was going to be variable, and I was fine with that. We ran well in the wet and ran well in the dry, and the variable weather put us in odd situations where we were clearly in a position to be on that podium, if not the top step. The weather put us in a situation where nobody knows who should be up there. It almost feels like they threw something on the wall to see what sticks, and that’s what happens. I know it’s a difficult situation all around, and I know nobody is probably really thrilled with how it shook out. It was a disappointment for us.

“The car was great in the dry and great in qualifying this morning. We clearly had the speed. I was a little cautious because of wanting to keep the car on track and not cause damage because that would have been the only thing to cause problems today. I lost that lead for a lap, but I regained it when the other car went a little wide. I hit marks all race long. We had a car to do that at speed. It would be great to have seen it execute all the way through the duration of the race with whatever the weather brought us and without a red flag and oddball stuff.”

Tyler Cooke, Matthews, N.C., driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We got here on Thursday and practice got rained out because of lightning and all that, so we had no time on Thursday. On Friday morning it rained so much you could barely drive on the track on rain tires, so James did about a lap and I did an out and in lap and that’s all we had. Friday afternoon James had two laps and I had two laps, and we got the car pretty dialed in for wet-turning-dry conditions.

“This morning it was a dry track for the 20-minute session. James got two laps and I got two laps and he qualified on the pole. I don’t know what the official outcome of this race is going to be because all the cars that finished on the podium didn’t have their second drivers in yet. I don’t know what’s going on. We’re in the thick of the points hunt, so we really hope to see the results that jive with what we saw on track today.

“We were super confident going into the race. That’s the frustrating part. We had a car that could win. It’s a very confusing thing.”

Greg Liefooghe, San Francisco, driver, No. 81 Powerflex BMW 328i (F30 chassis), which he shares with Ari Balogh of Menlo Park, Calif.:
“We didn’t get to drive a whole lot this weekend. Weather was the real story this weekend. Thursday was pretty much canceled. Friday was more or less a shake down because we thought the race was going to be dry so we didn’t focus too much on anything and just went out there to make sure everything worked well. Then this morning we had the chance to feel out the car in the dry.

“I think one of the positives of the weekend was Ari doing a good job in qualifying. He was really close to the top guys’ lap times. Everybody was really stacked up within a half second of each other in a really competitive field. The car was really good, so it’s too bad I didn’t get to race.

“Regarding the rain, it was the same for everybody, so you just have to drive what you have. I’m not sure how the results will come out but probably how it ended. Even though some cars pitted for driver changes and some did not, nobody broke any rules, so it will likely just stick how it is and be a bit of luck of the draw of how cars pitted and when the race ended.”

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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 Takes Sixth Place and 14th at Lime Rock Park

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Hot temperatures and caution-free conditions were the themes of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race yesterday at Lime Rock Park. The short but fast “classic” layout on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn northeastern Connecticut circuit was a challenge for the two-hour and 30-minute 150-lap race, which saw Mazdas dominate the Street Touring (ST) class podium.

The No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i of starting driver James Clay and co-driver Tyler Cooke began the race from the fifth position on the grid and struggled a bit with the heat and tire preservation on the greasy track. However, they were able to manage their fuel economy to run in the Top 10 all of the race. As the race went on, the duo did their best to maintain position, manage the heat inside the cockpit and push the F30 chassis to the limit under trying conditions to finish in sixth place in class.

The No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Jerry Kaufman, who qualified the car in the 19th class position, and co-driver Kyle Tilley, advanced their BMW to 14th position at the checkered flag, despite a challenging race start. Feeling comfortable with the car setup, Kaufman clawed his way back up through the field after losing several positions early in his stint. Tilley had to manage a brake pedal issue, which proved particularly challenging in the first corner, despite having an otherwise good BMW race car with plenty of speed.

James Clay, Team owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):

“It was a good race, but we were struggling with the car a little bit in the second half. We’re the heaviest car without a special tire exception, and it’s just hard to keep the car together for that burst you need at the end. I think we were lucky to run up front today at the beginning, and we were gifted a couple of spots there at the end just because we were able to run up front. Plus, we were able to push our pit stop to a little bit later, so the fuel game played in our favor. Sixth place — I wasn’t feeling that was likely, especially since we saw what was going on with the track. It was a really hot, greasy track, but I’m pretty excited for sixth.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We started off with a pretty good car. The team’s done a really good job working their butts off, and I couldn’t be prouder with a Top 10. We just had nothing at the end for the top guys. The Miata MX5s lapped the entire field, so that’s unreal. That’s not even remotely close to anybody’s pace which just blows my mind. This [Lime Rock] is an okay track for us, so a Top 10 is perfect, but we’re happy to be heading into Road America next, which is a good track for us.

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Well, it was an interesting start. We started from the inside and hung to it, but then we got caught out on the outside for turn three and lost a bunch of spaces but crawled back from 25th to 15th. It was a lot of work trying to keep the right side tires good for the second driver. The car had good pace the whole time, and it never felt like the car went away. As the fuel burned off, the tires went with them, so the car didn’t ever develop any kind of push or oversteer; I’m really happy with the way we ended up getting the car setup. I wish the start went a little bit better because we could have been a lot higher. That really killed us for positions. Once you lose laps at the start, it’s really hard to claw them back. I think our goal for the Road America race is to really focus on getting a clean race start and not getting hung up anywhere where it could cost us.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“On the whole, it was a good race. We lost some track positions in the pit stop, and when Jerry was getting out he dropped the car into gear, so we were held in the pit box longer than we should have been. It just dropped us down a little further than we wanted. The first couple of laps out of the pits we had a brake pedal go to the floor every lap into Turn one. We had to do lots of pumping on the brakes into [Turn] one, so the brakes weren’t really where we wanted them to be. On the whole, our pace was good. Towards the end of the race, we were one of the fastest cars out there. We just need to nail it. The first five laps for Jerry and the first five laps out of the pits would have been a lot better if we didn’t have the brake pedal issue, but these things happen. It wasn’t a bad run by any means. It’s solid points but still not quite where we wanted to be.”

The television broadcast of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will be on FOX Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, July 31 at 12 PM EDT.

The next race, Round 7 for the Continental Tire Challenge, will be held at Road America as part of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase on Saturday, August 6.

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 Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

BimmerWorld Awarded Two Top Ten Finishes in Thrilling Watkins Glen Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race

BimmerWorld Awarded Two Top Ten Finishes in Thrilling Watkins Glen  Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race

Surviving a first-lap melee and hard charging drivers were key components to BimmerWorld Racing’s two Top Ten finishes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Watkins Glen International today.

Round 4 of the 2016 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge boasted a field of nine Grand Sport (GS) and 27 Street Tuner (ST) class entries on a gorgeous summer day in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. However, a storm of cars collided on the first lap and sent numerous cars to the pits for repairs.

Starting driver Tyler Cooke, who was competing with a broken wrist, in the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i avoided the early fracas but had a minor contact with a Porsche Cayman, yet still drove to the lead. After a restart, traffic clustered together and the challenge was on to keep the tires at optimum capability while battling for position. James Clay was able to bring the BMW home in sixth place, an impressive finish that saw Porsche Caymans dominate four of the top five position at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course.

Jerry Kauffman and Kyle Tilley, drivers of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, saw their best finish of the 2016 season when they crossed the finish line in 10th position in the two-hour and 30-minute race. A strong performing F30 car and heads up driving by both racers permitted the duo a strong performance in a challenging race for many competitors.

James Clay, Team Owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was not the way you want to start a race where you have back to backs [races}. That was crazy, but it worked out well enough for us. We kept our noses clean on the BMW front, and we made it through the mess. We backed up a little in doing so, but we found our way to the front and hung out there. Before the restart, we were cruising for a really good finish. When things got bunched back up we worked the tires pretty hard to maintain and gain the positions that we had, and it took them too long to warm back up. It got a little bit rushed there at the end, and we couldn’t fend off some of the other guys. Two top tens and a perfectly clean car, so I’ll take that! I feel so bad about the Porsche guys. One got caught up in the incident at the beginning and another one just in a lapped traffic deal. That’s racing, but that’s not the way you want to start out. One [car] is pretty banged up, but we’ll get it together and all be ready for the next race.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The first lap was quite interesting with the crash that happened right in front of me. I can’t really say what happened. It just looked like a whole bunch of cars trying to go into a two-wide zone. So, I was happy we were saved from that, but then we had contact going into Turn Ten. That was very unfortunate for both me and the No. 22, but that happens in racing. I’m happy I was able to race with a broken wrist. I’m happy I was able to get to the lead and hand over the car to James in the lead. James did a great job, and we can’t complain with a sixth place finish because that’s good for points, and we can’t wait to go to Canada next weekend and see what happens.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was Jerry’s and my highest place finish in the Continental Tire Series. The balance of the car went away from us slightly on a full fuel load, but it eventually came back to us at the end. We need to have a look at better ways around that, but overall it was a very successful race weekend and the car is still in one piece. Jerry did a great job and missed all the carnage at the start, and he drove back up and was running sixth or seventh when he handed the car over to me, which was a great job.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“The start of the race was interesting. I ended up starting on the right side of the track and one of the cars a few rows in front of me checked up and must have missed a shift or something. I couldn’t pass him before the start/finish so the whole column on the left side went past and, per the rules, you’re not allowed to pass anyone in front of you, so I dropped back a few spots. I saw the carnage happening in front going up the esses and managed to avoid that, and at the restart, from pretty far back, I managed to make it thru a lot of traffic. The car was really well hooked up. As the fuel load dropped the car kept getting faster and faster. It was actually a shame to come in when we did because the car kept getting faster. I know Kyle had kind of a rough start at the end because he had to go out on a full fuel load with fresh tires with no heat in them and all that extra weight, so he battled a car that I didn’t have to. It was kind of a shame we had to come in as early as we did, but we didn’t want to get caught out on a yellow and get put a lap down. It was still a good finish. It was pretty clear the {Porsche] Caymans had a performance advantage at this track. I’ll take a Top Ten any day.”

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, July 10.

The next event, Round 5, is next week, July 8-10, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport) in Bowmanville, Ontario.

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 Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

BimmerWorld Collects Top Five Finish After Second Pole of Season at Laguna Seca

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The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge weekend started right for the BimmerWorld Racing team when team owner/driver James Clay qualified the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i on the pole for the two hour and thirty minute race, Round 3 of the 2016 Continental Tire Challenge series. This was the second pole for the Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning specialists’ team with their relatively new F30 chassis. Teammate Tyler Cooke collected a pole at Sebring International Raceway in March.

Clay and Cooke drove a strong and lively race, where they stayed in the Top 5 the entire race other than when they pitted for a driver change, tires, and fuel. Even with Clay having a touch of the flu, he drove smart and delivered a fast car to Cooke. Despite a spirited on-track battle, Cooke brought home the No. 84 F30 in fourth place in class.

The results of the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i of Jerry Kauffman and Kyle Tilley with 20th place in the ST class did not show the strength of the car at the start of yesterday’s race, and contact with another car during the race provided challenges that caused Tilley to have to preserve the car to finish and get needed points towards the 2016 championship.

James Clay, Team Owner and driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
”We’re really happy about the race. The car was good. I ran a good stint despite struggling with a little flu, so I was really happy about it given the situation. We’re always hurting a little bit on a pit stop because we have a long fuel fill, based on the fuel usage of the car, but the guys did an awesome job and were flawless. Tyler drove an awesome race. We would have liked to have been on the podium, but it’s not so bad being in fourth.”

Tyler Cooke, driver, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“We had a really good race. James got the car in the Top 3, which worked out in our favor. The team did a great job, and I got in for a green flag pit stop with driver change, tires, fuel all going smoothly. We had a really great race going between me, Jerry Mosing and Eric Foss. If you could watch the in-car camera footage of Eric or me, it was really sideways. I have a lot of respect for Eric and have looked up to him for years. It was really cool to get to race against him. We had a very good battle going on into the esses. I moved in front of him, we touched and I went sideways, and it was a good ol’ hard-racing battle to the end, which fans love to see. I wasn’t happy after the hit, but it’s racing at the end of the day.”

Kyle Tilley, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I don’t know whether we broke something or bent something in the rear but we had contact with a car that was a lap down on us. After that there was this crazy knocking noise every time the car was loaded, would transfer, and then become unloaded. So it became a case of damage preservation to get to the finish and score what points we could. It was a frustrating day, but at least our sister car had a good result. So onwards and upwards, we’ll go out again next race and see what we can do, but definitely it was a frustrating race, for sure.”

Jerry Kaufman, driver, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“My race stint went really well. We had a really good start. The track temperatures were up so we had a little less grip. I tried to save the tires as long as I could because I knew they would come into play later in the stint. Rather than gaining places, which is what I did early at Daytona and Sebring, I held off and then pulled all my places at the end of the stint so Kyle could get in the car and do some work. Unfortunately, he had some contact and we didn’t finish as well as we would have otherwise but, the strategy was there. It was strong and the team gave us a good car. It performed much better today than it did all weekend so I’m really happy with it.”

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 Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

BimmerWorld Closes Promising 2015 Season with Top-7 at Road Atlanta

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Steady rain made IMSA’s Continental Tire Series season finale at Road Atlanta a highly unpredictable event. When it was over, the BMW tuning and aftermarket specialists at BimmerWorld were able to bring one of their turbocharged 328is home in seventh place with Tyler Cooke and Andrie Hartanto behind the wheel of the No. 81 BMW F30 chassis. The sister No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW F30 of team owner/driver James Clay and Jason Briedis weren’t as fortunate in the adverse conditions, but persevered to record a valuable finish in Street Tuner class.

“The weather was an unpredictable mix of fair and rain all week, and if we learned anything leading up to the race, it was that the forecasts were wild guesses,” Clay said. “We had solid cars that, as testing progressed, became very quick in the dry and predictable in wet conditions. For the race, we took our best guess and started on dry tires which didn’t pan out. Andrie was able to hang on in the No. 81 and move forward as the field shuffled but Jason in the No. 84 car lost ground on the start and was never able to regain in the tough conditions.”

2015 marked BimmerWorld’s first season of solely focusing on the BMW F30 platform, and as Clay explains, the lessons learned and partnerships that were formed will produce more speed and success when the new season gets under way in January.

“We continued to learn a lot this year as we focused on making the F30 drivetrain reliable,” he said. “We made more prudent decisions at times which made us less competitive at a brutally hot Sebring and CoTA, but we increased the lifespan of our powerplants significantly this year through a variety of initiatives internally, and from our new engine partners at Roush.

“We had a true development year this year, and the off-season will complete the process as we are able to resolve our long-term projects, and finally complete the heat management work which is the major piece of this engine.”

The seventh-place finish was a positive outcome for Cooke, who’s developed into a bright young team leader, and for Hartanto, who distinguished himself as one of the fastest and most consistent rookies in the series.

“Starting on slicks was challenging and it took everything I had to not slide off the track,” said Hartanto, who started the race in the No. 81 BMW F30. “Once the guys put us on the wet tires, the car really began to work well and allowed us to climb up through the field. Huge credit needs to be given to the team for putting together a car that was so awesome in the rain and also for their amazing work in the pits which enabled us to jump out in the lead.

“And it’s been a pleasure to drive for BimmerWorld and team up with Tyler. I thought we worked really well together and he was helpful in getting me up to speed. It was such a huge boost to run up front with the fastest drivers in my first season, especially with such tough competition. Being a part of a team that was so easy to fit into made that easier. Everyone on the team welcomed me with open arms and that really meant a lot. This team is one of the best in the business and I’m so proud to be part of BimmerWorld.”

For Cooke, who transitioned into the veteran role of the closing driver this year, Road Atlanta—and the season as a whole—was a positive experience.

“Andrie did a great job climbing his way to third place, and the team did a great pit stop which jumped us to the lead,” he said. “The race for the beginning of my stint wasn’t too bad but the rain got worse and worse and the visibility got worse. The team gave us a great car and walked away with a seventh and I am very happy with that. The team, and Andrie and I have made big strides throughout the year to help the car and ourselves.

“Andrie’s been a great teammate since the first day at Daytona. He has shown his skills all year with how fast he is and how hard he races to go to the front. Andrie has a lot of passion for it and was a really big part of the BimmerWorld family. It was a great year with a lot of learning and good outcomes. Thank you to Andrie, James, and the whole BimmerWorld crew for making 2015 a great season!”

Although Briedis and Clay wanted more from their Road Atlanta result in the No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW F30, the effort expended by their pit crew and engineers was undeniable.

“For us, the final round didn’t quite go as hoped; we ended up having to stay out on slick tires longer than we wanted to, and that pretty much determined our outcome,” Briedis said. “Our sister car had an excellent race, and it was awesome to see the crew help get it to the front with strong pit work. James has assembled an extremely talented group of people, and to see them perform week in and week out is a treat. Thanks again to the whole BimmerWorld team for an enjoyable season.”

With BimmerWorld’s turbocharged BMWs ready to visit Victory Lane in 2016, Clay is looking forward to welcoming a few new faces to the program to take part in the journey.

“The F30 has shown serious potential all season and has led races and topped the charts,” he said. “We have learned along the way, and the package continues to get better and more consistent. After our pending offseason to implement some work that has been in the pipeline for months, and testing at the Roush facility which can duplicate the brutally hot conditions we can face during the season in a test cell, we will have the final pieces of the puzzle and be ready to kill it in 2016!

“We have consistent staff on both sides of the wheel, but we will be looking for 1-2 drivers and a crew member or two at the top of their game. This BMW has been as always an awesome car to drive and develop, and we are ready to reap the results of a lot of hard work.”

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 Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

Top-5 for BimmerWorld’s BMW Turbo at Road America

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With a chance to show the full measure of BimmerWorld’s in-house-developed turbocharged BMW 328i platform on the renowned Road America circuit, the Virginia-based aftermarket and tuning specialists captured a compelling fourth-place finish with the No. 81 entry driven by Andrie Hartanto and Tyler Cooke.

Cooke, a young veteran, and Hartanto, a rookie in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series, have formed one of the most competitive duos in the Street Tuner class, and with their near-podium at Road America, they captured their best result of 2015.

By finishing fourth on the 4.0-mile Wisconsin road course, Cooke and Hartanto also earned their fourth top-10 result in the last five races. With Hartanto qualifying and driving the opening stint and Cooke taking the closing stint, team owner/driver James Clay says he’s genuinely impressed by the performances coming from the pair in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW.

“Tyler is finishing the 81 car stronger every race, and it is awesome to see Andrie qualifying and running at the front of the field,” Clay noted. “This is their first year together as teammates and in our new F30 BMW platform, but Tyler is on his third year with the team and I have known Andrie in the paddock for years, so their success is not a surprise to me. This is a solid season for them and I am proud to see it coming together.”

Despite his relative lack of age, Cooke has become a fast and reliable team leader with the No. 81 program, and with his promotion to the role of closing driver this year, he says the responsibility of pushing the turbo BMW to the finish line has become a pleasure.

“My comfort level is great; it was nice being able to battle it out with the front guys and really have to fight every lap,” he said. “The team gave us a great car for the race and it showed with Andrie and I both climbing through the field. Andrie had a great stint bringing the car in the pits in the top-5.”

Hartanto’s spirited drive to start the race had a minor complication, but as he recounts, it just meant he got to pass more cars.

“After moving from 14th to sixth in less than three laps, I spun and we lost all the positions we gained and then some,” he said. “Finding myself in last place forced me to dig deep and put in one my best drives to fight back to fourth. That said, I’m my own biggest critic, so the spin was a disappointment. If it weren’t for the ambitious move, I truly believe Tyler would have been fighting for the win and for that, I apologize. I am getting much more comfortable with the team, the car and the field of competitors and I expect our performance to reflect that.”

Clay and teammate Jason Briedis weren’t as fortunate as Cooke and Hartanto last weekend, but in typical BimmerWorld fashion, their No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BMW 328i contributed to the ongoing growth of the company’s knowledge base and product offerings for the F30 platform.

“We are still learning without question and we are still making strides forward, but I also know we will continue to do so for the rest of the season, and the car is in a very strong spot as we move into 2016 as well,” Clay explained. “We are now fighting at the front, topping session charts, and pulling down good finishes. I am looking for a win this year, which I know is a tall order in the coming three races with such tight competition, but it is also satisfying to realize that winning is now a realistic expectation for the new turbocharged BMW.”

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 Continental Tire Series with a pair of BMW 328is (F30) where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and Championship contender.

Two Top-10s for BimmerWorld at Lime Rock; Road America Race Up Next

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BimmerWorld’s season of rapid development with BMW’s new turbocharged 328i platform continued last weekend at Lime Rock Park where both entries in IMSA’s Continental Tire Series scored top-10 finishes.

The No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BimmerWorld BMW 328i piloted by team owner James Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis raced to sixth-place at the tiny 1.7-mile road course, and came close to matching their season-best run to fifth at Daytona. The sister No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i shared by Andrie Hartanto and Tyler Cooke followed the No. 84 home in ninth, which marked their third top-10 finish in the last four races.

“I’m happy any time both cars finish in the top-10, and I think we got what we could this weekend from the track, even if it wasn’t a win,” Clay said, before noting the continued domination by diminutive cars in the Street Tuner class. “When one of the small cars clears the field by over a half second yet again, we know we won’t be at the top, but our BMW F30s ran strong, and I am looking for big things over the next couple of rounds at longer, flowing tracks.”

The Virginia-based BMW aftermarket and tuning experts have led the charge with the brand’s F30 chassis in competition, and as with everything BimmerWorld races, the knowledge gained will benefit their customers in the form of race-proven components. A recent heat wave in Canada and Lime Rock has helped BimmerWorld to make advancements in heat rejection under the hood, and as Clay explains, the process will continue through the remaining rounds.

“Heat is our enemy in this little turbocharged engine with smaller turbos that really heat things up when running full speed for hours straight, but I think as development continues, the situation is improving,” he said. “We haven’t fully got the package we want yet, but we are making strides in that direction and luckily the Red Line Oil fluids we use are keeping things living well in what I would consider extreme heat. The Lime Rock race finished with higher ambient and track temps, and the engine package stayed with us.”

BimmerWorld transitions from Lime Rock to its next race at Road America in Wisconsin on the weekend of August 8-9. The sprawling road course is a favorite for most drivers, and holds special meaning for Clay, who won his first professional race at the circuit. The track is also near the corporate headquarters of OPTIMA Batteries, and with its high demands on handling, power, and braking, BimmerWorld’s BMW F30s are primed for a competitive run.

“Big tracks have always suited the BMW platform well, and Road America specifically where I won my first pro race back in 2008 in our then-new E90 platform,” he said. “It would really be fitting to have a repeat this year in our new F30 platform, and in OPTIMA Batteries’ back yard. OPTIMA has believed in us in a big way, and been a fantastic supporter of BMW racing as we have moved this new F30 platform to the front of the field, and I would love to see the first win on their home turf.”

After racing at Road America in BimmerWorld’s E90s, Cooke can’t wait to lap the 4.0-mile track with Hartanto in the No. 81 BMW F30.

“My favorite corner there is Canada corner; my dad always told me stories about hearing the race cars scream down the straight after the kink into Canada corner and I finally got to experience it myself and it was truly amazing,” he noted.

“The F30 will be strong through the fast corners and the E90 always had really good pace through there, and this year I feel the F30 is better balanced and can carry better speed then the E90. It will be strong everywhere, but it will really show in the fast turns.”

QUOTEBOARD: LIME ROCK

Andrie Hartanto, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i: “I didn’t qualify as well as I wanted. We had the speed, just couldn’t put it all together. We knew track position was important as this is one of the most difficult tracks to make passes, so I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t qualify better. However, a top-10 finish is an achievement. Next for us is a track that should suit our car well, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Tyler Cooke, No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i: “The BimmerWorld boys gave Andrie and me a great car that had great potential. Putting both F30s in the top-10 shows how hard the team’s been working and it’s a great finish for us.”

Jason Briedis, No. 84 OPTIMA Batteries BimmerWorld BMW 328i: “The race went well for us to bring it home sixth overall. We are making progress with heat management, and hope to keep getting stronger. The team is looking forward to Road America and hope to improve on our finishing position.”

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 Top-6 Finish with Turbocharged BMW at Laguna Seca

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By all accounts, the BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld had a wildly successful trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team’s turbocharged BMW 328i platform was fast in the hands of the drivers who pilot the Nos. 81 and 84 entries, and with local driver Andrie Hartanto combining with teammate Tyler Cooke to place sixth in the Street Tuner class with the 81, it almost felt like a win for the veteran program.

Based on the vast performance inequity between normal-size cars like BimmerWorld’s BMWs and the miniscule cars that have dominated the ST class at the event for five years running, it was hardly a surprise to see the smallest, lightest machines in the field capture the top four positions in the race.

Resigned to a best-in-normal-class outcome, team owner/driver James Clay was realistic in his expectations where finishing sixth was akin to earning second, albeit without the extra Championship points.

“Our BimmerWorld BMWs were strong this weekend – as strong as it gets behind the midget front-runners that typically dominate Laguna,” he said. “We are there racing for the best of the rest of the field, and the 81’s run to sixth was second step on the podium in our eyes. And if not for a piece of bad luck, the 84 would have been right there as well.”

Even with the bad luck that left Clay and co-driver Jason Briedis in 23rd at the end of the race in the No. 84 OPTIMA BMW 328i, Clay was pleased with the performance from Hartanto and the impressive effort by Cooke.

“I was super happy to see the 81 running so strong,” he remarked. “I know Andrie wasn’t thrilled with his qualifying effort which was diminished with a crack in a charge pipe, but as we expected, he quickly picked his way to the front at his home track. Tyler moved forward in his stint and hung in there for a solid result — it was great for them to lock down a good finish.”

For Hartanto, who is in the midst of a solid rookie season in the Continental Tire Series, Monterey was nothing but a positive event.

“Finishing strong at my home event is very important, especially with friends and family in attendance,” he said. “Having a strong teammate in Tyler certainly helps the cause. I’m really happy we were able to show that we have the pace and looking forward to the next race in Watkins Glen.”

QUOTEBOARD: Monterey Race

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

Cooke: The race went very well with the 81 car. Andrie did a great job bringing the car to fourth and both Jason and Andrie showed great team work by working together bringing the cars into the pits in the top-5. My stint was very good, too; I could run close to the same pace as the leaders but couldn’t get close enough to them. All things considered, this was a great race for us and the team moving into Watkins.

Hartanto: My disappointment with qualifying was dampened by learning that a boost leak impacted our result. It was so exciting to be able to fight our way up the field. When our engineer radioed that we were leading the race, it was memorable. The couple of laps in the lead were awesome. Yes, it may have boiled down to the pit stop timing of the eventual winners, but I’ll never forget hearing our engineer over the radio saying that we had the lead.

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

Briedis: We had a solid qualifying starting sixth. I was able slip into fourth when the Honda and the Porsche got together heading into Turn 6. From there we ran in 4th most of the race. James was on track for a strong finish until the mechanical issue. Our car is getting better and better each race and we hope to contend for some wins soon.

Clay: I have historically done well at Laguna, and Jason and I had a fast car last year. The track really came to us perfectly and we were on our way to another strong result until bad luck stepped in in the form of metal fatigue and left us both wishing it wasn’t seven weeks until Watkins.

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.

BimmerWorld Closes 2014 Season with Pair of Top-10s at Road Atlanta

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The BMW aftermarket and tuning experts at BimmerWorld have built a reputation as one of the finest racing teams in the Continental Tire Series paddock, and with another top-5 finish in the Championship, the Virginia-based squad has maintained its presence among the sport’s elite programs.

The season finale last weekend at Road Atlanta didn’t deliver the win BimmerWorld sought, and with victory as the only goal team owner/driver James Clay and his team strive for, it was clear he wanted more than two of his four cars placing inside the top-10.

“Road Atlanta was a solid race for us, and the team was 100 percent there and performing,” he said. “It has been a bit of a frustrating season, and a couple of top-10 finishes are an acceptable end given the highs we’ve had elsewhere. The checkered flag was a sweet sight, as it signified the start of a better 2015 to me.”

Drivers Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke took eighth in the Street Tuner class at Road Atlanta in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90 chassis), followed by Clay and Jason Briedis in the No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30 chassis) in ninth. The Liefooghe/Cooke combo led the Championship during the middle portion of the season and fought hard to finish fifth after a wave of pint-sized cars were advantaged with Balance of Performance changes.

Other than another run to a Championship top-5, possibly the most impressive aspect of BimmerWorld’s year came with the development and progress of the turbocharged F30 BMW platform. Built for racing purposes by Clay’s team, the No. 84 F30 showed incredible pace and promise in the ST class, making the ninth-place at Road Atlanta another point of confirmation the brand-new car has a bright future in the series.

“This has been somewhat of a development year for the F30 after we were giving the rules needed to be on par with the ST field early this season,” Clay explained. “We have had some wrinkles to iron out, but we have a really good handle on the car now, and it has been a solid performer the last half of the season. We have work to do off-season, but without question, with the improvements we will implement, this platform is ready for prime time.”

Liefooghe has solidified his place as one of the fastest and most consistent drivers in the series. He’s not the kind of person to find happiness in consolation prizes, but says he can put 2014 behind him knowing he and his teammate got everything out of the No. 81 E90.

“The season finale was a hard fight especially with all the full course yellows that kept the field packed together,” he said of their run to eighth. “It was a nice change from the very long green stints we have been seeing over the last few races, which turned out to be more about fuel conservation rather than actual wrestling for positions on track. We worked hard on chassis set up and I think we nailed it. It would have been great to send off our E90 with a podium finish, but the rules did not allow us to do that. Time to focus on next year and on some big changes coming up.”

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

ROAD ATLANTA RESULTS:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 20th, finished 18th

Eric Zimmermann: Road Atlanta, being my home track, is a very comfortable place for me. Getting up to speed at the track came quickly thanks to that familiarity and the input of the other BimmerWorld drivers. I’d hoped to qualify a little bit higher, but I believe there were only two BMWs (both BimmerWorld teammates) in front of me, so I was generally pleased with where I was on the grid. The rain held off, the race went smoothly, and I was able to move forward numerous spots within the field during my stint. It was a bittersweet day for certain and it was tough pulling all of my gear out of the trailer knowing that the season had come to a close.

Tyler Cooke: The race in the No. 80 car didn’t go exactly how we wanted it to but it was no fault of anyone, just how the race played out. Eric did a great job moving forward into the top ten. We found something both with the 80 and 81 that made the cars fast and consistent. Yellows didn’t fall how we wanted them to but still got to show the potential of the car and looking forward to a new season.

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 14th, finished 8th

Tyler Cooke: The start of the race in the 81 was mayhem to say the least. Having some corners dry and having some very damp made for some great racing. BimmerWorld always has a great race car and that showed with the 81 moving up to seventh before handing it to Greg where Greg did a great job getting the car as high as 4th. Cautions weren’t our friend both in the 80 or 81, but we fought hard and walked away with an eighth place. The team did a great job keeping us up front.

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), started 30th, finished 22nd

Seth Thomas: Not the race Dan Rogers and I were looking for to end the season with in the BimmerWorld E90. Overall I think we worked hard to achieve success especially with a home field advantage but it didn’t work out that way.

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), started 19th, finished 9th

James Clay: The weather and temperature was all over the place this weekend. I had a solid car under me and used it to move forward during the race. We didn’t have the ultimate speed to win, but I was happy to see the forward progress.

Jason Briedis: With the variable conditions, it was quite a fun race. Our car was good in the damp conditions, allowing me to pick up quite a few positions in the first half of the race. In the end, ninth was a decent result. The current Balance of Performance restrictions are preventing us from getting much more. Hopefully next year the playing field will be a little better balanced.

BimmerWorld’s BMWs Score Three Top-10 Finishes at Road America

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All totaled, BimmerWorld’s four-car fleet improved 34 positions last weekend during the 2.5-hour race Continental Tire Series race at Wisconsin’s Road America circuit. The 4.0-mile track rewarded the years of handling and braking optimization BimmerWorld has brought to its E90-based BMW 328is, and F30-based 328i, the brand-new turbocharged BMW BimmerWorld is developing this season, delivered once again in the Street Tuner class.

Placing three of its cars inside the top-7 demonstrated BimmerWorld’s expertise while competing against smaller cars in the ST category that used their modest stature to carve through the air on Road America’s long straights. Finishes of fourth, sixth and seventh also represented stellar execution by the team’s drivers, pit crew, and race strategists, and left team owner/driver James Clay mostly satisfied with the outcome.

“Road America is historically a good track for our BMW cars, and I think we had solid team results this weekend,” he said. “Three cars in the top-7 is an accomplishment – almost as much so as avoiding the big Lap 1 incident with all team cars. After some tough races with our E90 platform this year, it was nice to achieve some more positive results this weekend.”

BimmerWorld’s top performance went to the fourth-place No. 81 BMW 328i driven by Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke. The duo is locked in a close battle for the 2014 Street Tuner Championship, and currently holds third in the standings. With three races left to run, Clay says the team will continue to push the No. 81 as far as it can go as the season draws to a close.

“Road America was a good points race for the No. 81 which is focusing purely on the Championship at this point,” he added. “As we wind the season down, we lost the points lead so we have to be a little more aggressive to gain it back in the time left. We are lucky to have three other team cars committed to this result and it proved helpful for the No. 81 to have all three of those cars supporting at Road America. We will continue to provide the best car we can and hopefully we can get the consistency, speed, and luck to win this thing three races from now.”

For Liefooghe, the final races pose an interesting challenge as all three circuits favor the BimmerWorld BMW in some areas, but could provide an even greater advantage for the competition in other sections. Beyond circuit-based considerations, Liefooghe sees completing three clean races as another element that will influence the Championship outcome.

“As we saw in Road America, a lot can happen in three races,” he said. “A lot of podium contenders for that race got tangled up in the first lap, and that opened up an opportunity for us. If we consider that the tracks for the rest of the season will have the same flavor as Road America and base the results on pure speed, the outlook could be a little grim. Last year, we won at that track with a good strategy and competitive lap times, yet this year, we did not have the speed that other cars had. It is hard to argue against cars with an extra 3mph or more on the straights, especially when they have the same weight and bigger tires. Fortunately, BimmerWorld will keep engineering our E90s and try to get even more out of the chassis. We are still on track to win the Championship.”

Road America featured the latest top-10 for BimmerWorld’s in-house developed F30 chassis, and at its current rate of progress, running towards the front of the ST class is becoming an expectation during a year of discovery with the car.

“The F30 has been a solid car all season, and we are finding fewer surprises, which is allowing us to focus forward,” Clay explained. “We want our first win in the new chassis this year, and I think we have it in the car. We have had a few solid finishes in a row now, and I feel like that is our current expectation for the new chassis. The F30 is our team’s future and at this point it looks very bright.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: VIR, August 23

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

ROAD AMERICA RESULTS & QUOTEBOARD:

No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P24, Finished P17

Eric Zimmermann: The No. 80 drove great at Road America. It was my first time there, but was able to bring the car from 24th to 15th during my extended stint. Unfortunately, we had to make our driver change under green and fell a lap down.

Tyler Cooke: My closing stint in the No. 80 unfortunately didn’t go as we hoped. I left the pits a lap down due to some issues. The team did a great job and the car had great pace. I was able to run with all the cars in the top five and ten. I’m looking forward to VIR with the momentum from both cars.

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P14, finished P4

Tyler Cooke: My opening stint in the No. 81 went very well. I was able to drive the car from 14 to 5th which was great and gave the car to Greg in a strong position. Greg drove the car to 4th which was a great job!

Greg Liefooghe: I was lucky enough to have the No. 84 behind me throughout the stint to help me. Teamwork paid off.

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Qualified P20, Finished P7

Dan Rogers: Overall, we were pleased with the results of the race for the No. 82. We saw improvement in qualifying from our earlier practice times, avoided the mess in Turn 5 of the first lap, and turned a good car over to Seth for the finish.

Seth Thomas: Great race and result for Dan and I. The action throughout the race was intense. Every time I would get around one car I had to work hard to get another position. Overall the competition in the ST Class is some of the best sports car racing you can find.

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), Qualified P11, Finished P6

Jason Briedis: We were lucky to avoid the first lap accident as cars were wrecking in front and behind. After that I was just concentrating on maintaining track position and preserving the car so James would have something for the second half of the race.

James Clay: Jason did a fantastic job of both qualifying the car and moving it forward during his stint. The green flag stop was well executed, and we got a little help with a yellow to bunch the field. I was more committed to helping the No. 81 this race, but we didn’t have the car to win it anyway. Another solid one in the books for us though, and I am excited to get to VIR for our next round to spray some champagne!

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 Closes The Championship Gap At Kansas

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Coming off of a win in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series race at Elkhart Week on August 10, the BimmerWorld Racing team traveled to the Kansas “Roval” just days later with a repeat victory in mind.

Although a pair of top-6 finishes would stand as the best the team’s four-door BMW 328is could manage on the flat-out circuit, the results strengthen the BMW expert’s bid for a first Street Tuner championship as the No. 81 BimmerWorld entry driven by Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke claimed fifth, followed home by the sister No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers.

With the rules requiring BimmerWorld’s in-house built BMW 328 racecars to carry more weight than the rest of the other models being used in the ST category, a track like Kansas—one where drivers spend more time accelerating per lap than any other circuit—was always going to favor smaller, lighter two-door vehicles.

But with the inherent handling and braking capabilities offered by BimmerWorld’s aftermarket components, most of the acceleration limitations could be clawed back when turning or stopping was involved. Knowing the limitations they faced, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay would have liked for another Elkhart Lake finish, but accepted the Kansas result as the best outcome for what the current rules have to offer.

“We had a couple of very solid results in a row for the BimmerWorld team, and we made some big gains in the championship,” he said.  “With two races to go, we are about a half a race behind, in baseball terms.  I feel like we have excellent cars and the best team in the field, but we don’t necessarily have the strongest cars in field due to the current performance balance, so we will need a little luck to close this thing out on top.”

For Liefooghe and Cooke, cracking the top-5 was a major accomplishment that has tightened the run towards a Championship.

“The track was basically three long straights with three extremely tight hairpins linking them,” Liefooghe said. “We were great on brakes but with the weight we have to carry, we were not shining in the drag race out of the corners. The layout was not a good fit for our car, but we made the best out of it.

“As far as the championship, we will focus on what we can control: our preparation and our performance on track. We’ll see where we stand after that. Each race can see some huge points swings. Just two races ago, we were sitting eighth in the championship, and now we are third. I am confident we can move up even more.”

Although BimmerWorld lost out on having all three of its cars in the top-6 when the No. 80 driven by Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum retired at the halfway point, the sixth-place finish by Thomas and Rogers now has two of BimmerWorld cars sitting tied for third in the standings.

According to Thomas, the possibility of being in a tense situation–with drivers from both cars fighting over the same title—won’t materialize in BimmerWorld’s professional team environment.

“With two races left in the championship anything can happen,” he explained. “Having two BimmerWorld 328is fighting for the championship speaks volumes for the teamwork we have displayed all year long.  I don’t see this changing as we go to fight for the title.  We are behind other cars in the points so we need to put distance between us and them. Two cars working together is always faster on track and I believe the No. 81 and No. 82 drivers will work together to make this happen.

“It would be really nice to come into the season finale at Lime Rock with two BimmerWorld BMWs in the points lead so we can decide the championship as a team at BMW’s home track.”

Follow all of BimmerWorld’s activities as they prepare for the penultimate round at Monterey on September 8 by visiting www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and be sure to watch the Kansas race on August 25 at 3PM 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 Takes 5th, 8th At Barber Motorsports Park

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One year ago, BimmerWorld celebrated a win at Barber Motorsports Park after a perfect storm of opportunity, driving talent and strategy vaulted the No. 81 BMW 328i driven by Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine into Victory Lane.

Expecting that perfect storm to strike again during the 2013 race at Barber would have been too much to ask, but that didn’t stop Liefooghe and new teammate Tyler Cooke from doing all they could to overcome a deck that was stacked against the 4-door sedans in GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series Street Tuner (ST) division.

With Round 3 of the championship hosted at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park, a rolling 2.3-mile, 17-turn facility originally created for motorcycle racing, it was no surprise that the bike-sized cars in the ST class held the upper hand all weekend. As they ran away to a 1-2-3-4 finish, the No. 81 battled back to earn informal ‘Best In Class’ honors, taking fifth at the checkered flag.

Not far behind Liefooghe and Cooke, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers came home in eighth, giving the BimmerWorld team a mostly positive outcome for the event.

“I am very happy with our team’s execution and result at Barber, said team owner/driver James Clay. “Before the weekend started I had predicted we would be looking for a top 5 with luck, and we knew the MX-5s and 1 Series that is 125 pounds lighter than our cars held a clear advantage still.  Ignoring those top 4 cars, we fought it out with the rest of the cars in the series and had a really good result that we are proud of.”

With a winning tradition in the Continental Tire Series, BimmerWorld isn’t wired to accept fifth- and eighth-place finishes without some degree of dissatisfaction, but with the Nos. 81 and 82 adding valuable points to their respective runs towards the 2013 Championship, Clay says he and his group of BMW experts knew a victory at Barber was going to be out of reach with the current ST rules package.

“The series constantly works to balance all the models of car on the track, but the 2300-pound MX-5 and 2700-pound 1 Series are just plain light and nimble,” he explained.  “At 2825 pounds, we are the heaviest car in the field and while we work to balance the effects of physics, until those rules change, we will be looking to GRAND-AM to make some adjustments on their end to bring the competition a little closer together.”

For a talented driver like Liefooghe, whatever weight advantages the opposition currently holds is beyond his control, and as usual, he drove as hard as possible at Barber to take fifth with Cooke.

“Even though we were not able to repeat our win from last year, there are a lot of positives coming out of the race. With rain cancelling our qualifying session, we basically unloaded the car off the trailer and went racing. The result shows just how strong our base package has become over the years of development and it makes me very optimistic for the rest of the season.”

Now three races into their collaboration as teammates in the No. 81, Cooke says he and Liefooghe have become a strong package for BimmerWorld.

“Gregory and I have great chemistry and also get along great,” he remarked. “We both know how we like the car and what our driving styles are which makes working with the engineers very productive. He and I will talk about a session for hours and go over data to see what can be done to get better and it’s paying off with strong performances.”

Thomas and Rogers now sit third in points as a result of finishing a hard-fought eighth at Barber.

“Barber is a race where we usually finish well in the mix because of the great BimmerWorld team strategy and great balance of the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i,” said Thomas.  “We knew going into the race our nemesis was going to be the weight of the car, but we battled hard to work up to eighth and to maintain the position.  Throughout my whole stint in the car I was fighting with another car for position and trying to keep my tires in check for a fight to the end.  To come out in eighth with us still in great spot for a fight for the championship was our main goal and we achieved it.”

The third BimmerWorld entry for Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum in the No. 80BMW 328i was unable to join the Nos. 81 and 82 inside the top 10 after retiring before the halfway point in the race.

Next up for BimmerWorld is Round 4 at Road Atlanta on April 18-20, so follow the team’s progress as they prepare for the vent at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com

And be sure to catch the Barber race broadcast on April 13th at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Leaves Inaugural GRAND-AM Continental Tire Race at COTA with Two Top-10s

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Success is the hallmark that any professional racing team looks to maintain. The BimmerWorld GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series team is no different, which makes falling short of their lofty goals—even by just a little bit—hard to accept.

That, in a nutshell, was the sentiment held by the BMW experts after last weekend’s inaugural sports car race at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) road course in Austin, TX.

Coming off of a pair of top-4 finishes at the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, the team was eager to maintain that form around the 3.4-mile, 20-turn track during Round 2. Most of the field in the Street Tuner class would have been ecstatic to place their cars eighth and 10th at the checkered flag, but on a day where the smaller, lighter cars in the class held a distinct advantage, BimmerWorld owner James Clay wasn’t feeling quite as satisfied.

“An almost unfortunate result of success is high expectations, and while having two cars in the Top 10 at COTA is a solid result, our whole team wanted more than that,” he said. “With a month to go for the next race, certainly this fuels the fire and I think across the board everyone here is determined to achieve more this season and we will turn that determination into results.”

The biggest highlight of the race came with the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i piloted by series newcomers Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum. The teammates rebounded from a rough Round 1 to claim eighth after improving 19 spots from their original starting position.

“So often with rookie drivers and a new pairing, getting one under your belt is the most critical first goal,” said Clay.  “With some issues at Daytona, I was happy to see the No. 80 finish well at COTA.  As Greg and Connor continue to become more familiar with the series, the team, the equipment, and themselves, I expect their results will also continue to improve.”

For Strelzoff, the solid finish at COTA was a nice re-launch to the 2013 championship.

“That’s how we’d hoped the first race at Daytona would go, so coming away with an eighth at a tough place like this is something we can build on,” he said. “Connor and I are working well together and we get stronger each session, so there’s a lot to look forward to at the rest of the races.”

Bloum says he’ll take the lessons learned in Austin and apply them to the rest of the 11-race ST calendar.

“I enjoyed racing at COTA for the first time; the track is incredible, but we also had to deal with a lot of corners that suited our car and others that made life more difficult,” Bloum remarked. “It’s hard to expect every corner to feel perfect, so the race was a lot about making time where you could and being patient with the sections where we couldn’t.”

The No. 80 was chased home by the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i piloted by Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers. Like Strelzoff and Bloum, Thomas and Rogers also improved 19 positions during the race—a total of 38 spots between the sister cars—to claim 10th.

“COTA was a very interesting track to race on; it’s very wide with lots of room to stick your nose in for a pass or runoff room if you made a mistake,” said Thomas, who’s already looking forward to Round 3 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.  “Barber is going to be the total opposite but at both tracks we still have to battle the normal weight of the BMW 328i against the little ST cars over the elevation and turns.”

Coupled with a fourth-place finish at Daytona, the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® drivers also head to Barber in a prime championship position.

“Leaving COTA third in points gives us a clear goal for the narrow track at Barber and that is to make sure we finish,” continued Thomas. “The BimmerWorld crew will do the rest to make sure we have a solid result up front.”

The third BimmerWorld entry, driven by Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke, was forced to retire from the event. According to Liefooghe, who finished second at Daytona with Cooke, the rapid teammates will put COTA behind them and shift their attention to Round 3.

“That is exactly what we’ll do,” he said. “We’ll learn from it, move on to the next round and focus on bringing another solid result. It is a long season, and the best is yet to come.”

Follow the BimmerWorld team as they prepare for Barber at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com, and watch the COTA race when it airs on March 9th at 4 p.m. ET on SPEED.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BimmerWorld 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 Caps 2011 Season With Strong Run At Mid-Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
mediaservices@bimmerworld.com

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

BimmerWorld 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 Earns Top-6 Finish with Wilden and Michaelian on GRAND-AM GS Debut at Daytona

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The bar was set exceedingly high for the BimmerWorld Racing Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team after nearly winning the Street Tuner teams’ and drivers’ championship at its first attempt. Adding two new cars to the team for 2011–to run in the bigger, faster Grand Sport class–required unparalleled amounts of work and dedication in the off-season, as two new BMW M3 V8s were transformed into GS race cars in just a matter of months.

And with a highly competitive showing at the opening round of the 2011 GRAND-AM championship last weekend at Daytona International Speedway, BimmerWorld’s efforts in the Grand Sport (GS) category made for a seamless transition from one season to the next.

2009 GS driver champion Ken Wilden and his teammate Bob Michaelian drove their Bizrate.com-sponsored No. 78 BimmerWorld BMW E92 chassis to a remarkable sixth-place finish in their maiden race with the team. With the majority of the BMW E92 runners in GS armed with years of experience racing their GRAND-AM M3s, BimmerWorld’s quick progress with their new GS cars impressed Wilden.

“We have a lot to do and a lot to learn with the E92, but we aren’t miles off. What I like about this team is that right after the race, [team owner] James Clay called us right into the trailer and had us detail every little thing we as drivers thought could be improved. He didn’t want to celebrate; he wanted to create a plan to make us faster for the next race.”

Despite the team’s business-like approach, Wilden rejoiced in their race result.

“Taking sixth was a great way to start the year for Bob and me. Our goal is to be in the top-6 at every round, and if we can do that, we’ll have a shot at a championship.”

Michaelian, a driver who is accustomed to being at the sharp end of the field, came away from their sixth-place at the GRAND-AM 200 with similar impressions.

“Kenny and I both feel like there is a huge amount of potential with the car. The fact that this was the first race for BimmerWorld in the GS class, and both cars were already very competitive gives us a lot of confidence. We know that with more work, both cars will be vying for podium finishes. The BMW E92 platform has proven that it can win races and championships. We are definitely looking forward to the opportunity to work with James and Seth to further develop the program at BimmerWorld.”

Having raced and won for a well established GS team in 2010, Michaelian was quick to offer praise for the BimmerWorld team after his first race with the Dublin, Va.-based outfit.

“The overall takeaway was that we were super impressed with the operation that BimmerWorld has put together. We were able to work very closely with the crew to improve the Bizrate.com car over the weekend. The progress we were able to make over the test days and throughout the race weekend was really encouraging. The crew, strategy, and pit stops were all first rate. I don’t think we could have asked for anything more in our first weekend.”

The potential was also there for James Clay and Seth Thomas in the No. 79 Johnstone Supply sponsored BimmerWorld BMW E92. After posting impressive times throughout practice and again in qualifying, a penalty for body contact forced Clay to pit lane, and around a big track like the 3.56-mile Daytona circuit, losing the slightest amount of time will can ruin a race.

“We should have been right there with Ken and Bob, but we were penalized and had to accept it and move on,” said Clay. “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we did learn a lot with both cars and seeing the No. 78 do well will only make us work harder. The GS class is just as intense as ST has proven to be, and the top cars are well-sorted and highly developed. Getting our E92s to that state is our mission in 2011, and we’ll be pushing to get there as fast as possible. It will be an intense month of work until we go to the next race at Homestead.”

As a veteran member of the BimmerWorld team, Thomas says he was delighted to see the hard work that went into building two new E92s pay off at the season opener.

“I won’t lie and say we’re where we want to be. Winning is about the only thing we’ll consider as a good result, but with that being said, we have a good foundation to build from here. Ken and Bob drove their hearts out, and the BimmerWorld mechanics should be proud to get a top-6. It isn’t easy in GRAND-AM. But I’m really proud of the team and our teammates. Having two great drivers like Bob and Ken makes all the difference, and these new E92s are just awesome.

“The build quality is like nothing I’ve seen, and they still have that BimmerWorld DNA. They brake better than anyone out there, and we’re going to get the handling to that level too. Just give us some time. I’d say we exceeded expectations for our first GS race, and the cars were 100 percent reliable. Everyone huddled up after the race to brainstorm on our next steps to move up the finishing order, and all of our partners and sponsors are right behind us pushing like crazy to get us into Victory Circle. We’ll get there. I’m as confident of that as I’ve ever been.”

BimmerWorld races with unrivaled support from key business partners. Learn about them by visiting Bizrate.com, CRC Industries, Escort Inc., GearWrench and Johnstone Supply.

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