BimmerWorld Racing Charges to Podium in MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race at Sebring

James and Devin with champagne on podium - BimmerWorld Racing Charges to Podium in MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race at Sebring

BimmerWorld Racing executed its game plan to near perfection today, and it almost paid off with a victory in the second round of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series at Sebring International Speedway.

James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Devin Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., drove their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 to a second-place finish in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 race, just 7.750 seconds out of first place.

Qualifying driver James Clay started from the seventh position in the two-hour race on the 3.47-mile, 17-turn circuit in Central Florida and made a dash to the front, quickly battling in the top three.

On the first of two cautions, Clay pitted for fuel and tires and handed the driving duties to Jones. Although it was a bit earlier than their planned pit stop, tire wear under the 80-plus degree Fahrenheit conditions required it. Jones kept the BMW M4 GT4 in the top three and soon elevated himself to the second place. When a second caution flag was thrown a few laps from the end of the 49-lap race, Devin dashed into second place and nearly grabbed the lead from eventual winner Jeff Westphal in an Audi R8. During his hard charge, Jones, the reigning IMSA ST class champion, set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:11.945 and a speed of 100.964 mph.

Clay and Jones are unofficially tied for first place in the GS class points standings after two rounds.

Friday’s race will be shown on NBCSN from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, March 28.

This race supported the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The next event will be the Mid-Ohio 120 held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on May 3-4.

Post-race quotes follow:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a great day—an almost perfect day. We had a good car over a long run. We knew we had a good car. Devin put it at the top of the charts in one of the practice sessions, which is not necessarily what we focus on, and we weren’t at the top of qualifying, but we knew we had a race car under us that was going to move forward, especially as the hot surface wore out the tires. I was proud of my stint, and I’m obviously super proud of Devin. What a teammate! What an awesome job. The guys executed fantastic pitstops, and it was a really good day.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
“This was an awesome race. James did such a good job in the beginning keeping the car up in the top three. He moved up really quickly from seventh and got us in a great spot. The driver change went really well. All the pitstops were good. We got shuffled back a little bit in the last caution just with differing strategies, but overall, I’m really happy. This is a good result for us. It’s nice to be on the podium at Sebring.”

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. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018. 2019 also marks BimmerWorld Racing’s return to the SRO TC America Championship in the Touring Car (TC) class with two BMW Motorsport M240i Racing cars.

BimmerWorld Plans to Begin 2019 Like It Ended 2018 – On the Top Step of the Podium in IMSA Competition

BimmerWorld-Plans-to-Begin-2019-Like-It-Ended-2018---On-the-Top-Step-of-the-Podium-in-IMSA-Competition

The only constant in life is change, but BimmerWorld Racing hopes to begin the 2019 season like it finished 2018 — on the top step of the podium in the top class in what is now the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series with the introduction of the new Michelin tire for 2019. The Dublin, Va.-based team will field two BMWs in the top Grand Sport (GS) class in the 2019 season opener after finishing third in the GS championship last year and winning the Street Tuner (ST) championship.

Team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. will co-drive with one of those ST champions, Devin Jones of Mooresville, Va., in BimmerWorld Racing’s No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 this season. With a full year of development work on this car behind it, BimmerWorld has high hopes for a great finish in the season opener, the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway this Friday afternoon, Jan. 25. It’s a companion event to the 57th annual Rolex 24, which begins the following day. Besides winning the pole and the race in the ST class last year at Daytona, BimmerWorld finished second in GS in the season opener in the GT4’s debut a year ago, and it won the season finale in GS at Road Atlanta last October.

A second BMW M4 GT4 in the BimmerWorld garage at Daytona will carry the No. 80 and have the names of two 20-year-olds, Aurora Straus and Kaz Grala, over its doors.

Straus, of Cold Spring, N.Y., finished second in the Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS SprintX-Am class last year in another BMW M4 GT4.

Stock car fans will remember Grala won the NASCAR Camping World Truck series race at Daytona in 2017 at the age of 18. Sports car fans may recall that this driver from Westborough, Mass. finished fourth in the GS class in a BMW M3 in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Daytona in 2014 shortly after he turned 15. He’ll be back at Daytona on Feb. 16 for the NASCAR Xfinity race; he finished fourth in that race last year.

Straus and Grala’s BMW will bring sponsors Richard Mille watches and Straus’s Girls With Drive program, which encourages girls interested in male-dominated careers. The duo’s participation with BimmerWorld was spearheaded by another driver that IMSA fans know well — veteran driver Nick Longhi.

Jones, who is only four years older than the drivers of the No. 80, has fond memories of Daytona’s 3.56-mile speedway road course. His victory in this race last year was his first one in this series, and a huge milestone for a kid who first came to the birthplace of stock car racing in 2004 to run a go-kart.

Clay, 45, is the veteran of the group taking his 10th Daytona start this week, and he’s already thinking about race strategy.

“Our team finished on the second step of the podium in our first race with the new platform last year, and fielding a strong and capable two-car effort will multiply our chances at this draft-critical track to stand on the top step,” he said.

The season opener is one of only two four-hour races on the 10-race schedule, as the typical format is a two-hour event.

Thursday will be busy, as there are practice sessions at 9 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 2:45 p.m., and 5 p.m. before the TCR class qualifies at 5:25 p.m. and the GS class’s starting lineup is determined in its qualifying session at 5:45 p.m. There will be a 20-minute warm-up the following day at 9:20 a.m. before the open-grid fan walk begins at 11:15 a.m. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 12:05 p.m., and the race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on imsa.tv, and there will be live timing and scoring on imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. All times are Eastern.

Pre-race quotes follow.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
In what key areas have you developed the BMW M4 GT4 last year and in the off-season that should make it even more competitive in 2019?
“I’m supposed to talk about how we worked all winter, explored all these areas, and did a ton of testing, but honestly, that’s not what we did this year. We had a very solid 2018 season in the new BMW M4 GT4, and we learned and progressed every weekend at the track, and at some notable points in the shop. I took my first real off-season in five or more years and didn’t strap in for two months. To some fair degree, that’s how good this BMW is — it doesn’t require the level of obsessive engineering work we’ve done for the last decade-plus on the previous platforms, and maybe it just feels easier because of what has become the standard workload. We ended last year with a list of things we knew we wanted to improve, and our team executes well, and that’s what we did. We’ll see, but I’m pretty confident that work will put us where we left off last year — at the front of the field.”

How big of a deal is the change to Michelin tires?
“There is always a lot of discussion on tires, but in a series where everyone is on the same tire, I really don’t feel like it’s that big of a deal. There are some nuances in our car’s response to the different tire, but everyone has that. Some guys have wider tires this season, and there will be different reactions to the carcass from different platform and suspension types that will both likely skew the performance slightly, but Daytona isn’t the track that will pronounce the differences.  The reduced tire allocations and reduced stint length due to lower fuel capacity probably have the biggest effects when you have a race-related tire discussion, so that’s where our focus will be.”

Your team won the ST championship last year, and now it has two cars in the GS class at Daytona. Is running two cars in the same class easier than running two cars in different classes, does it make it harder, or is it just different?
“Two cars in the same class certainly leads to a little more of a cohesive strategy and weekend. There are fewer spares in the trailer and more input to scratch those engineering itches on set-up. And certainly on the track a good, reliable partner goes a long way. It took a while last year for both cars to come up with a qualifying plan without a teammate in the field to produce a result there.” 

How did the Roar go?
“Our Roar test was great. The team is perennial and it was great to be back at the track working with my friends. Devin and I quickly settled into lock step and progressed the car every session. The team had the needed dry run to shake any cobwebs off.  And I stayed on the beach in Florida while it snowed at home, which felt like the first win of the year!”

How optimistic are you going into this race and into this season?
“As optimistic as ever! Of course, I’m pretty optimistic even when history has shown I shouldn’t be. But we have a solid, reliable car; fast drivers, and a great team that, with a pinch of luck, seem to be championship ingredients. It’s going to be a hard-fought year and the field is big and competitive, so nothing about this season will be easy. But I can’t wait to hit the track and get started!”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
The BMW M4 GT4 is very different than the BMW you drove last year in ST. What are the biggest things you have to get used to?
“The M4 GT4 is quite different from the 328i but the learning curve was pretty seamless. The M4 is such a solid platform and does everything really well; it’s a very confidence-inspiring car. The car is heavier, with more power and downforce compared to the ST car, but at the end of the day, it’s still a race car. As a driver, there are some things you change about your style to suit a certain car’s needs, and that’s a fun challenge for me when I jump into something new. I’m really excited about our chances with this team and car.”

How much confidence did winning the ST championship last year give you? In what ways are you a better driver now than you were at this point last year?
“The ST championship was a big deal for me and the whole BimmerWorld team. The car took years to develop and to reward the team with a championship in the class’s final season was special. As a driver, I feel more confident than ever before, especially since I’m back with the same guys that made last season so successful. I just want to keep doing my job the absolute best I can because I know the whole team is doing the same.”

What do you think is the biggest key to doing well in this race?
“The season opener is slated to be an awesome one, both for the fans and the drivers. Everyone in the GS field seems to have really stepped up their game for 2019, and I feel really fortunate to be part of it. I think the biggest key will be to just focus on what we can control with strategy, set-up, and execution throughout the weekend. If we focus on our race, I think we have a really strong chance.” 

It’s been 14 years since you first came to Daytona to run a go-kart. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 10-year-old self?
“A lot has changed since then; it’s really been an incredible journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve had a lot of people who helped me along the way to get to this point. If I had to say something to my younger self, it would be to keep believing in yourself and know that those great moments make all the hard times worth it.”

Aurora Straus, Cold Spring, N.Y., driver, No. 80 Richard Mille/Girls with Drive BMW M4 GT4:
You ran a BMW M4 GT4 last year, but in an entirely different series. What will it be like to run it at Daytona?
“While I’ve had the privilege of racing a BMW M4 GT4 before, this coming weekend will be my first time driving it at Daytona. I can’t wait! BMW has done an incredible job with its GT4 platform, and I suspect that it will be just as competitive as it was in my World Challenge season last year. The MICHELIN Pilot Challenge is also an incredibly competitive series, and I look forward to testing some new waters with the M4 and learning everything I can!”

What is the biggest thing you feel you’ll need to concentrate on at this event?
“The biggest thing is to block the rest of the world out and focus all of my energy on driving. With the help of Nick Longhi, I run all of my own marketing, sponsorship, team communications, financials, etc., and this coming weekend is huge for me. I’ll have a group of Girl Scouts and their chaperones at Daytona on race day, and I’ll have two film crews there all weekend. (I can’t say much more on that, but there are exciting things in the works!) Especially since Kaz and I didn’t test at the Roar, it’s going to be crucial for me to forget about everything else I have going on, and drive the M4 like it was meant to be driven.”

Are you doing any promotions with the Girl Scouts at Daytona? If so, would you please tell us a little about it?
“I’m elated to be running my Girl Scout program at Daytona. The full-day program is a part of Girls With Drive, a nonprofit I founded to help young girls get engaged in male-dominated fields, including but not limited to the automotive industry. The group at Daytona will be a bit smaller since Friday is a school day, but I’m looking forward to being able to spend more time with each individual girl. The girls will have a half-hour classroom session on the physics of my BMW race car and its Michelin tires. They’ll spend some time in the garage, where they’ll get to sit in the car, pop the hood, and ask some questions. They’ll also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the paddock and pit lane, where they’ll get driver autographs.”

How excited are you to be doing this race?
“Excited is an understatement! Daytona has a special place in my heart — my first time in a GT4 was at the race weekend last year, where I went out on track with no prior testing and drove the car from outside the top 20 to ninth place. I’m thrilled to be back with my BMW family, and I have no doubt Kaz and I will represent BMW and BimmerWorld the best we possibly can. We also have an exciting livery that we’ll be announcing soon — needless to say, the car will be very easy to see, especially at the front of the pack!”

Kaz Grala, Westborough, Mass., driver, No. 80 Richard Mille/Girls with Drive BMW M4 GT4:
This is your first time co-driving with Aurora, but you’re long-time friends. In what ways are your driving styles similar, and what do you think will be your main advantages as teammates?
“Though I’ve never co-driven with Aurora, I’ve known her for years and think that we’ll be a great combo for this weekend’s event. We’re both very analytical drivers, and I think we’ll be able to use the data to our advantage in between sessions. We’re also both young, determined drivers with something to prove, so I think that will allow us to get an edge on our competition.”

You’ve been in the Rolex 24 and other sports car races, yet you are concentrating on a stock car career. How will running a sports car at Daytona in January help your stock car effort here in February?
“I wish I could say that racing in IMSA at Daytona translates directly to racing a stock car there, but they are completely different animals. Not only are sports cars and stock cars completely different to drive on any given weekend, the restrictor plate-style racing of Daytona is something completely unique unto itself in NASCAR. If nothing else, I’m looking for this weekend to help me get warmed up and re-acclimated behind the wheel before the NASCAR season starts.”

How excited are you to be doing this race?
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a sports car, especially a BMW. It’s been a few years since I’ve raced in IMSA and even more since I’ve raced in this series. It truly is one of my favorite times of the year to be able to have a change of pace from what a normal NASCAR weekend feels like for me.”

You didn’t participate at the Roar. Have you tested the car anyplace else, or will Thursday at Daytona be your first time in it?
“This deal came about so recently that we didn’t get a chance to shake the car down at the Roar, unfortunately. Thursday at Daytona will actually be my first time ever sitting in the car, as I haven’t been able to test it elsewhere beforehand. I’m confident that everyone at BimmerWorld will help me settle in quickly and get up to pace in practice.”

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. It competes in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a winner and championship contender. It was also the Street Tuner champion of that series in 2018.

BimmerWorld Racing Returns to IMSA with Michelin Pilot Challenge Program for 2019

BimmerWorld-Racing-Returns-to-IMSA-with-Michelin-Pilot-Challenge-Program-for-2019

The fan-favorite BimmerWorld Racing team will return to IMSA competition in 2019 with a strong championship effort. The winner of the final race of the 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series at Road Atlanta in October, and third place in the year-end GS class championship, will compete in the newly named IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series. Team owner James Clay will return to the driver’s seat in the Grand Sport (GS) class, paired with Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C.

“A pillar of our expanded 2019 BimmerWorld Racing program will be the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series with our BMW M4 GT4 again vying for the championship,” said Clay of Blacksburg, Va. “I’m looking forward to running with Devin this year. He was awesome in our BimmerWorld ST car last year, and we have shared momentum moving into this year. We may run a second car in GS as well, but we’re still waiting for the right driver combination that can also contend for the championship.”

“We really had a great year with BimmerWorld in 2018,” Jones continued. “Nick (Galante) and I won four races, had nine podiums, and won the ST championship in its final year. That was a big deal to us and for my career. I enjoyed working with James and the whole BimmerWorld staff and wanted to come back for 2019 and drive the BMW M4 GT4 and try for another championship. I can’t wait to get back on track.”

OPTIMA Batteries will return as a primary sponsor, along with Veristor, and Red Line Oil, Performance Friction, Lifeline Fire and Safety Systems, and Johnstone Supply will continue as team and technical partners for the IMSA effort. Clay and Jones will compete with the car number 82 once again for 2019.

“We’re still finalizing details of our other initiatives for 2019, but we’re going to be quite busy in 2019,” explains Clay. “IMSA has been our home for almost a decade and this GS program is important to me, and I think the best racing in the country currently. But these BMW M4 GT4 cars can be raced anywhere in the world, and we’ve just picked up some new M240i Racing cars as well, and of course, the monster Pikes Peak car we’ve been building for over a year, as well as several customer programs. We’ve spent the winter recharging and preparing, and everyone here is fired up to get the season fired up at Daytona!”

The No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 will be on track at Daytona International Speedway during the Roar Before the 24 test days, January 4-6 and then for Round 1 of the Michelin Pilot Challenge series for the BMW Endurance Challenge 4-hour race on Friday, January 25.

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. It competes in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a BMW Motorsport M4 GT4, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender, as well as the 2018 ST class champion.

BimmerWorld Racing Claims Victory in GS Class plus Podium and Championship in ST Class

BimmerWorld-Racing-Claims-Victory-in-GS-Class-plus-Podium-and-Championship-in-ST-Class

BimmerWorld Racing saved the best for last.

After three previous podium finishes in the Grand Sport (GS) class this year, including two second-place finishes in which they came very close to the overall victory, BimmerWorld Racing co-drivers James Clay and Tyler Cooke were victorious in the season finale for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series on Friday at Road Atlanta. Not only did they win, but their OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 was a whopping 8.999 seconds ahead of the second-place McLaren after two hours of grueling competition in the Fox Factory 120.

The team’s entry in the Street Tuner (ST) class, the BimmerWorld Racing No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis), was in the spotlight too. Nick Galante grabbed the team’s ninth ST class pole, he and co-driver Devin Jones led most of the race, and they ended up on the podium in third place to seal the drivers’ and team championship for that division, which ended with the running of this race. The BimmerWorld pair was the one to beat all season, as Galante, of Greenfield, Mass. and Jones, of Mooresville, N.C. had nine podium finishes in the 10-race series that started with the first of their four victories at Daytona in January.

Two other ST cars led 11 laps total, but the BimmerWorld No. 81 truly dominated, as either Galante or Jones were in front for an incredible 60 laps. Galante was in the lead when he handed the car off to Jones during a pit stop on lap 28. Jones maintained the lead, but with just 6:19 minutes left in the race, the No. 81 was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, which allowed a MINI and a Porsche to sneak ahead. Still, Jones was just 0.686 behind the second-place car at the checkered.

In GS, team owner/driver Clay started sixth. The Blacksburg, Va.-based driver maintained fourth place for most of his stint, trying to conserve both his car and his tires. He turned the car over to Cooke, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., under yellow on lap 26. Cooke took the lead for the first time on lap 40 with about 50 minutes remaining, but he had to make a final pit stop about 10 minutes later for left-side tires and fuel. The Dublin, Va.-based team’s stop was timed to perfection, as Cooke got out of the pits faster than many of his rivals and before some of them even made their final stop. He was fourth after the stop but he regained the lead on lap 55 with 26:33 remaining and then left everyone behind him as he powered around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course.

With the hard-earned victory, Clay and Cook advanced one spot to tie for third in the GS drivers’ championship out of 93 drivers who earned points this season. BimmerWorld also finished third in the team standings in GS.

In the next-to-last race of the year in September in Salinas, Calif., the BimmerWorld cars bore the names of hundreds of supporters and people affected by Alzheimer’s disease in a tribute generously provided by donors to the “Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation.” That effort continued at Road Atlanta and was notably successful in raising both money and awareness for the fight to end that debilitating disease.

The FOX Factory 120 race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern time.

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“I’m super excited for our first win! We had a good car all weekend. We qualified sixth, which I believe matches our best qualifying. That typically means we’re going to have a solid race, and race to the front. I was pumped with my drive and thrilled with Tyler’s. I was waiting for the trouble to happen and it never did. What a great team behind us, and what a great finish to the season!

“It’s been really special to take the ST points championship in the final year of the class. That’s the class we entered when we sprouted our roots in IMSA, and to close it out with a championship after so many years of hard work is very special.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It was an awesome race! The team did a flawless job, and we’ve been there all year. Finally, finally, we get that win! It was quite special and a very emotional win. The last time we got a win, my dad was still alive, and I remember getting that phone call from him right after the race with him just screaming and excited. So it’s been tough for the memories, but I’m glad to get that win for him and for the team, James, and BMW Motorsport. BMW gave us a great car out of the box, and we proved that at Daytona. I’m looking forward to celebrating. I think James and I have a lot to celebrate!

“Hats off to the ST guys; they deserve that championship. I’m happy for them and happy for James and me for winning the last Continental Tire race of the year.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“Nick got another pole, which is just incredible how many poles we’ve gotten this year. That was a huge deal. The race started out great and he did a fantastic job maintaining it up front. We were in a great position, just like we’ve been in almost every race this year. He kept it up front and kept it clean.

“I got in the car and cautions fell at bad times like we’ve had in some of the previous races this season, and we struggled a bit. We were about 10 minutes short [for fuel] when I got in the car. I can save fuel, but I can’t quite save 10 minutes. We went from saving, to just go for it and hope some other guys run out, too. We had to go in and do a splash-and-go while leading, so it was definitely a little bit of a disappointment to not end the season with a win, because I know we were capable of doing it. The season as a whole has been incredible. This team has come together really well. It’s been a pleasure to drive with Nick and race this car. It’s been just an incredible season.

“I have to thank the ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s’ campaign. It’s been a big deal, and we had the names on the car again at Road Atlanta with even added more since the Laguna race. Obviously, I have to thank Veristor too. This is their home race, so a lot of their employees came out from Atlanta, and it’s just really great to have the support from two great companies.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a good opening stint. Right at the start, I was getting pressure from Max Faulkner in the Bodymotion car. He put on a great outside pass into Turn 1 and passed me for the lead, but I found a good opportunity a couple laps later on the restart after a caution. We got him going into Turn 10 and repassed him for the lead. We maintained the lead for most of the stint and then the track got rather slick out there, but the Continental tires held up well. It was just really tough spacing for the cautions, and we were just maybe a gallon short on gas and had to stop for a splash which really cost us the win here. But we wrapped up the ST drivers’ championship, which was our main goal. I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t get the manufacturers’ championship for BMW, but it was really close and a really fun weekend.

“I want to thank Phil Frengs from Legistics who created the ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation,’ the guys at Veristor, who have been with us all season, and everyone at BimmerWorld – James Clay, Tyler Cooke, the whole entire team, Trent Brown, Wayne Yawn, Jason Marks, Dave Simpkins. The entire team is amazing.”

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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Third Victory of 2018 in Their Street Tuner Class BMW 328i

BimmerWorld Racing Captures Third Victory of 2018 in Their Street Tuner Class BMW 328i

The only goal on the minds of BimmerWorld Racing drivers Devin Jones and Nick Galante was to add a third victory to their 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season total during the action-filled Road America 120 last Saturday at Road America. Not only did they win, but their victory allowed them to extend their points lead in the Street Tuner (ST) class championship with just three races remaining in the 10-race season.

BimmerWorld Racing also competes in the Grand Sport (GS) class, where team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. qualified the No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 in sixth place with a time of 2:30.311 and an average speed of 103.860 miles per hour. His longtime teammate, Tyler Cooke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., drove the second half of the race and took the checkered flag in ninth place in the GS class on lap 44 in the two-hour race in what ended up being a wild game of fuel conservation and pit strategy.

Galante won the pole in the ST class with the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) with a qualifying time of 2:31.968 at an average 95.393 mph, and he was the starting driver of that car. His co-driver, Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C., took the BMW to the finish and victory circle. Together they dominated the class, leading 47 laps to their closest rival’s 11.

There were two full-course yellows during the race, including one on lap 15 when a GS-class car went off track, flipped, and caught fire. The lengthy caution period enticed many cars to the pits and a number of different strategies developed regarding fuel mileage. Exactly when each car pitted for fuel, tires, and its driver change during the nearly 30-minute caution precipitated who would need to pit for fuel before race end.

Galante, in the No. 81 BMW 328i, had a good early battle but maintained the lead before pitting during the caution, and bounced down to fifth in the ST class after the pit stop and driver change to Jones. He was quickly back to second after some very competitive racing with the three MINIs. He finally passed the leading No. 73 MINI of Mat Pombo with just over 30 minutes remaining in the race. Jones took it to the checkered flag and won over Pombo by 6.724 seconds.

As cars pitted and shuffled the order, the No. 82 BMW M4 of Clay pitted immediately during the caution and was able to move up as high as second place but pitted once more to top off with fuel and change drivers, putting them in 18th place in class for the restart before Cooke started moving up the leaderboard. A number of the leaders had to pit for a splash of fuel or had unexpected off-track excursions, which played to BimmerWorld’s strategy with the late-caution stop and moved the No. 82 up as high as 6th. But even without the heavy fuel conservation pace and the extra fuel from the late stop, the top GS car ran all the way to the finish without fuel issues, leaving Cooke and Clay with a top-10 finish.

Jones and Galante extended their lead in the ST class championship. They now lead by 11 points with 225 to their nearest rivals’ 214. Clay and Cooke are fourth in the GS point standings, just eight points out of the lead, with 183 points to the leaders’ 191.

The Road America 120 race will air on FOX Sports 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, August 12.

The next race for BimmerWorld Racing is the Biscuitville Grand Prix for the IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge, a two-hour race, scheduled for August 18 at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. The BimmerWorld Racing team is eager to get to its home track and try to double up on the race victories.

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It’s great to win here at Road America. It’s my first win here ever. Nick did an excellent job in the beginning of the opening stint, holding off the Cayman, so that was awesome to see. Then, we had that long caution and we were able to come out second and stayed right there with the MINI. I knew as the run went on his tires would fade a little bit, so I just kept the pressure on him. He was stronger in some areas of the track but I was stronger in other places, so I was able to set him up and finally made it stick after a couple of times trying. From there, I played the traffic a little better with the GS cars and we got a little bit more of a gap. But then we knew we were going to be close on fuel. Even from the beginning of the stint, I really had to save a lot, so I couldn’t enjoy those last few laps. I had to really baby it around to save on fuel. I really want to thank Trent, Nick, and everyone who helps this program, and hopefully we finish this year the way we’ve been doing leading up to it because it’s been fun.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“I think this was definitely a pivotal point in the season; extending that lead just a little more like we needed to. The Pombo brothers have been really tough, and they’ve been really great. They’re making this season truly fun because they’re making us work really hard for it. It’s not just Devin and I working hard, it’s Trent Brown on the engineering side of it, and James Clay and the whole BimmerWorld team doing a phenomenal job. It’s nice to be out there contending for championships and winning races, but while we’re doing that, we’re doing it for a good cause. Raising awareness and collecting names for our ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s’ charity, which you can Google and find out more about, but it’s nice to be out there and what a great team in BimmerWorld.”

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a good race for us. We made a change after qualifying. We had this ‘a-ha moment,’ and I think we had our car back. We’ve been struggling the last couple of rounds, so it was a really great car today. It turned into a fuel race. Once we started catching the yellows, we made strategy calls that I’m comfortable with. We got fuel early. We were the latest out of the pit lane, and we ran out of fuel on the cool-down lap. I say we did pretty well, but we really had to back off the pace to stay out that long and some of the other cars didn’t. It’s frustrating because it all comes back to the BoP [Balance of Performance], and it’s a really frustrating way to race and, of course, it’s when you play a fuel game and you don’t win the fuel game. At least we finished the race [in the] top 10, and that’s good for points. I think we had a great car and a great race; the strategy was there. It was all good except for the finish.” 

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“I can’t complain. We really thought we had a shot to win this one. Wayne [the race engineer] made the perfect call, except the leader crossed the start/finish line five seconds before and we had to do one more lap than expected. For the last 20 minutes, I was in big-time fuel-saving mode, but I had some good battles there at the beginning. We were struggling a little bit, so it made me make some hairy passes to make the most out of it that I could. I think it was a good points day for us. I think the No. 46 took the points lead now though, so that’s a bummer. Going into VIR, I feel pretty good about it. I really want to get on the podium’s top step soon. I think the BMW deserves it. I’m looking forward to VIR.”

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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld’s Street Tuner BMW 328i Victorious at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

BimmerWorld Devon Jones and Nick Galante Win at Mosport

BimmerWorld Racing’s Devin Jones and Nick Galante catapulted to the top of the Street Tuner (ST) point standings of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series with their second victory of the season on Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Their No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) also leads the class’s VP Fuels Front Runner Award standings at the season’s halfway point.

James Clay, owner of the Dublin, Va.-based team, and his co-driver, Tyler Cooke, finished eighth in the Grand Sport (GS) class Saturday. They are second in that division’s point standings, just six points out of the lead, with their No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4.

Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., won the ST class pole Saturday with a time of 1:31.378, setting a new track record. He immediately broke away from the pack, building up as much as a 40-second lead during the first half of the two-hour race. Jones also set the class’s fastest race lap on lap seven with a time of 1:32.944.

But the victory was not certain for the BMW team until the very end of the race, as a full-course caution on lap 46 obliterated its huge lead. Galante was second until he took the lead for the final time just six laps from the end when the leading MINI stopped off course due to mechanical issues after contact. The race stayed green as the MINI was removed, and that sealed the victory for the BMW squad. Galante took the checkered flag with a 5.205-seconds margin of victory over the runner-up.

Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., qualified 13th in the GS category with a time of 1:25.228 on the flowing, 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course. He broke into the top 10 just 44 minutes into the race by passing Dillon Machavern in the point-leading Porsche and was still in that position when he pitted under green flag to hand the car over to Cooke about 10 minutes later. A limping ST car stopped at the exit of Turn 5 with about 51 minutes remaining, bringing out the only caution of the race, and regrouping the field. The pits roared to life as multiple GS drivers pitted under that yellow to top off with fuel, including Cooke. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. driver dropped to 12th as other GS cars gambled with fuel strategy but had raced back in the top 10 with 39 minutes remaining.

Cooke battled with Eric Foss for ninth place as the pair swapped that position several times. Cooke’s hard driving finally awarded him the spot with 24 minutes remaining in the race, about the same time that one of the entry’s main title contenders made an unscheduled pit stop for brake issues. In a multi-lap chess match, including a lapped car and fellow BMW driver Greg Liefooghe, Cooke snuck past Paul Holton to snare eighth place with 15 minutes remaining in the race, where he ultimately finished.

This race will air on FOX Sports 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, July 15. The season continues with Round 6 on July 20-21 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“First, I have to thank BimmerWorld and all the guys who got the cars turned over in time to race here at Mosport. It’s always a quick turn-around, so I have to thank those guys. We had speed all weekend and were really fast right off the trailer. It made my job pretty easy. I was able to just go out there and get a pretty big gap. We were hoping it would stay green, but a caution came out there at the end and still we were able to pull it off. It’s just a huge win and really good points day for us, and we’re really looking forward to Lime Rock.”

Nick Galante, Greenfield, Mass., driver, No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis):
“It was a perfect weekend. Devin did most of the hard work there with the pole position and new track record and the gap in the field that he managed. I think it was a 40-second gap when he handed me the car, which was awesome. I got in the car and thought I had a comfortable lead, but Mark Pombo came and started breathing down the back of my car. I had nothing for him in the first quarter of my stint, and then I started reeling him back in. I think he had some trouble after some contact, which is unfortunate, and I hope those guys recover and can fight us the rest of the season. The BimmerWorld team did an awesome job. We were sorting out some gremlins after the second practice session. We had a loose motor mount, and the guys spotted that perfectly. Trent Brown did an awesome job on the box in the pits with the fuel and the strategy. My wife and I are going to go home now and relax for a week before Lime Rock.”

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It was a fair day for us on the track. I feel very comfortable saying we gave it everything we had out there. I was happy with my stint. Tyler drove great again. The BMW stayed under us. It wasn’t a Mustang today, and it seemed like that’s what you needed. I’m super proud of my teammates in the No. 81 ST for their second win of the year. We’ll be back at Lime Rock and maybe things will be a little different there.”

Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4:
“It wasn’t a bad race for us. There was a lot of hard battling and some battling that was harder than it should have been. We really have nothing for the Mustangs right now. We don’t know what can happen for us [as far as Balance of Performance changes] going into Lime Rock, but hopefully we’re able to be more competitive. Wayne [the team’s engineer] made a great call changing the car overnight, and he gave us a rocket ship. We had a car that would have been in pretty good contention, but it definitely wasn’t a podium contender here. I’m looking forward to Lime Rock. I love Lime Rock. It’s one of my favorite tracks.”

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. It competes in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in both the Grand Sport (GS) class with a brand-new BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 and in the Street Tuner (ST) class with a turbocharged BMW 328i (F30 chassis), where the Virginia-based outfit has become a routine winner and championship contender.

BimmerWorld Racing Announces Driver Lineup of No. 81 BMW 328i for 2018

BimmerWorld Racing No. 81 - BimmerWorld Racing Announces Driver Lineup of No. 81 BMW 328i for 2018

BimmerWorld Racing’s team owner James Clay has announced his driver lineup for the No. 81 BMW 328i for the exciting 2018 IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (ICTSC) season. Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. and Nick Galante of Seaside, Calif. will pair for a run at the Street Tuner (ST) ICTSC championship in the F30 chassis BMW, commencing at the Roar Before the 24 on January 5-7, 2018.

“We’re pleased to welcome Devin Jones and Nick Galante to the BimmerWorld Racing team for 2018,” said Clay, of Blacksburg, Va. “Both drivers have a range of experience both in the Continental Tire series and outside of it, so we’re happy to welcome them to the team as we fight for the championship.”

The 2018 season starter will be the official IMSA Test Days at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the Dublin, Va.-based team will field the No. 81 turbocharged BMW 328i in the Street Tuner (ST) class.

Born and raised in Greenfield, Mass., Nick Galante found himself with a broken back after a snowboarding incident in 1998 and knew that if he ever got out of the hospital he would follow his life-long dream of racing cars. Soon after recovering, he began accomplishing his mission to race.

In 2007, Galante competed in and won the scholarship for the F3 Jim Russell Championship Series and in the following two years won the Masters F3 Championship titles. From 2011-2014, Galante began his professional driving debut in IMSA’s Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge and drove his first full season in 2015, finishing tenth overall in the top GS class.

He carried his momentum into 2016 and won the season championship in the ST class in the No. 17 Legistics RS1 Porsche Cayman with co-driver Spencer Pumpelly, followed by a third-place finish last season.

“Joining BimmerWorld has been something I’ve dreamed about since I first got my foot in the small door of racing,” said Galante. “Back in 2006, my first taste of motorsport competition was when I started autocrossing my E36 M3 with the Golden Gate Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America. I knew of the great products that BimmerWorld provided and even had some on my car that helped me win my first championship. I later moved into road course racing and learned of the BimmerWorld Racing Team. I’m very much looking forward to fighting for a championship with such a longstanding and prestigious team, and I feel it’s a good fit that has been in the works now for over 11 years from my standpoint. I’m excited to finally be back in a BMW with arguably one of the best teams and crew in the world thanks to the professional leadership of James Clay.

“Co-driving alongside Devin Jones just adds to the great fit of the team. I raced competitively against Devin for the past two years and know that he’ll be bringing a fast, smart asset to the team and the championship hunt. I believe our driving styles are sure to be a good fit to help us forge a path to the front.”

Galante brings his returning sponsors of Legistics (legistics.net) and the Racing to End Alzheimer’s organization (r2endalz.org.) The CEO of Legistics and founder of the Racing to End Alzheimer’s organization, Philip Frengs, has been a close friend of Galante for over a decade, with their relationship first forged on the golf course.

Growing up in California, Jones became a young karting star and was considered an “expert” by the age of 11. After his family moved to North Carolina, he began racing in the Legends cars by age 13 and then advanced to the PASS Super Late Model cars. By 2013, he made his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series before transitioning to sports cars the following year. He began competing in the IMSA Continental Tire Series part-time in 2015 before completing full seasons the past two years in a Porsche Cayman with positive results. Last year also marked Jones’ NASCAR Xfinity debut at Watkins Glen.

“Joining BimmerWorld for the 2018 season is an absolute honor,” said Devin Jones. “They are a top-notch race team and organization. I’m looking forward to continuing their long history of winning races. And with Nick as a co-driver our chances are excellent. Nick’s and my goals for the season are simple; we want to compete for wins and go after the championship in the final year for the ST class. I believe we have every tool to do so, and I can’t wait to get started at the Roar next week in Daytona.”

Sponsors for the No. 81 BMW from Jones include his long-time partner Veristor (veristor.com), a leading provider of transformative business technology solutions, and Forty8Fifty Labs (forty8fiftylabs.com), the DevOps and software development subsidiary of Veristor.

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

STAY UP TO DATE WITH BIMMERWORLD NEWS AT:  http://www.bimmerworldracing.com

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

Veristor

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