BimmerWorld Racing Returns to VIR with Two-Car Team and Support for Racing to End Alzheimer’s

August 20th, 2019


The BimmerWorld Racing team continues with a two-car effort this week at their home circuit, VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race, August 24.

The Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge two-hour race is the eighth of 10 rounds in the 2019 season. Team owner/driver James Clay of Blacksburg, Va. and Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. will co-drive the BimmerWorld Racing No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4. Ari Balogh, of Menlo Park., Ca. and Mike Skeen of Charlotte, N.C., will pilot the No. 80 BimmerWorld Racing/Airbnb BMW M4 GT4. Both cars will compete in the Grand Sports (GS) class at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course.

Clay and Jones continue their championship quest as they head to VIR in second place in the tight GS class standings with three races remaining.

The Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix weekend starts on Friday, August 23, at 9:40 a.m., with a one-hour practice, followed by Practice 2 at 3:25 p.m. and Practice 3 at 6:50 p.m. Qualifying for the GS class immediately follows TCR qualifying Friday evening at 7:35 p.m.

The open-grid fan walk begins at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday. The field will warm up its Michelin tires at 2:05 p.m. for formation laps, and the race is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. for two hours of wheel-to-wheel action and excitement.

The event will be streamed live on, and there will be live timing and scoring on The race will be broadcast on NBCSN on Friday, August 30 from 10:00 p.m. for two hours. All times are Eastern.


BimmerWorld Racing is once again partnering with Legistics to raise awareness for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s charity campaign. The No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 will serve as a national billboard for the penultimate race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Donors can get the name and hometown of a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s emblazoned on the BMW race car, and donations will be tripled for a limited time. Visit for more information.

Pre-race quotes follow:

James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
VIR is your home track and always a favorite for you. You’ve said the Uphill Esses are the most challenging and rewarding. What is your favorite memory at your favorite track?
“It’s really hard for me to narrow that down because this really is an amazing track and facility, and I enjoy it every time I’m here. But a win here this weekend in the middle of a tight championship battle would land pretty close to the top of the heap I think.”

There have been some pretty epic wet weather races at VIR. What’s your view on racing in the rain at VIR?

“It’s wild—I suppose it’s the time of year we race here, but this VIR weekend so often ends up being a mixed-weather challenge on race day. And in a year which has already had so many mixed conditions, it seems like the stage is set for VIR to do something really big. But I love driving here, rain or shine, and I think we’re ready for whatever the track throws at us. I may even prefer the challenge of a wet or mixed track.”

You are using your No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 as a national billboard to raise awareness again for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s cause. Tell us about that.

“This is a great cause and an organization we started working with last year. It was very well supported by our customers, and we wanted to keep going with it, and this year we’re adding in a donation batch from our team. OPTIMA and Veristor have generously donated their space on the car for us to add names for this year’s Laguna race honoring family members and friends of our donors.”

You have Mike Skeen joining Ari Balogh this weekend. Tell us about that pairing and how it came about.

“We’re happy to have Ari back with us for a couple of races this year, and given the VIR venue, longtime BMW driver and VIR resident expert Mike Skeen came to mind as a solid driver pairing. I’m looking forward to adding both to the team for this year’s race.”

The state slogan is Virginia is for Lovers. What do you love about Virginia?
“I travel across the country and the world for racing, and I think VIR really encompasses one of my favorite aspects of Virginia—a rolling road with lots of elevation, rolling through a classic and picturesque setting with lush green trees and grass.”

Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4:
You are using your No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 as a national billboard to raise awareness again for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s cause. Tell us about that.
“It’s very exciting to have Racing to End Alzheimer’s back on our BMW. It was an absolute honor to sport the names of individuals and families that were affected last season, and I’m looking forward to having more names on the car for upcoming events this year. If anyone wants to donate and have your donation tripled in value, you can go to to learn more!”

VIR is your home track and also a favorite for you. Share your favorite VIR racing story.
“VIR is my home track, and I have had lots of great memories here. My favorite would have to be in 2016 where it rained so hard the pits flooded and made for an absolutely crazy race. It’s something about this time of year at VIR; the weather is unpredictable.”

There has been some great racing this year in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series. What makes this such an outstanding racing series?
“The mix of manufacturers, drivers, and teams are what makes this series so much fun for everyone involved. People always come up to me and say our series is their favorite to watch and I think that says a lot about IMSA and the fans that support us.”

The state slogan is Virginia is for Lovers. What do you love about Virginia?
“I am a North Carolina boy at heart, but since Virginia is the neighboring state, I can’t say there is much to not love about Virginia either.”

Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., driver, No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4:
Welcome to the BimmerWorld Team. Tell us your thoughts about joining the team and co-driving with Ari Balogh this weekend.
“Ari has experience with the team as well as VIR and this car, so I’m sure we’ll all hit the ground running. We all know the series is very competitive, but I expect that we’ll be right in the thick of the fight, and hopefully we can bring home a solid finish.”

You and James Clay have known each other for a number of years and even both raced up Pikes Peak a couple of times. Tell us a little about your history together.
“I’m very excited to race with BimmerWorld at VIR. I’ve known James and followed his race team for many years having grown up in the BMW enthusiast community and in the same region. We’ve attended many of the same track events over the years and have even tried to work together in the past, but the pieces just fell into place this time.”

You were born in Virginia and now live in Charlotte so VIR must be your home track as well. Share your thoughts about how you like the VIR circuit, your history driving at the track, and your plans this weekend.
“VIR is my home track and I have many laps and race wins, including one just last year in GT3. There will be many friends coming to enjoy the event with us, and I hope we can put on a good show. I’ll also be racing in the IMSA Michelin Prototype Challenge race at the end of the day on Saturday, so it’ll be a busy weekend!



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.


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