BimmerWorld Endures Up And Down Weekend At Homestead-Miami GRAND-AM Event


Leading into Saturday’s race at the Homestead-Miami circuit in Florida, the three-car BimmerWorld BMW 328i GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series team had every reason to feel bullish about its chances to earn back-to-back victories.

Coming off a savvy win at the previous round at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, the Dublin, Va.-based BMW experts picked up right where they left off, placing the No. 80 BMW of team owner James Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets fourth in Street Tuner qualifying, and the No. 81 of Barber winners Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine 10th on the grid.

The No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i of Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers wasn’t quite as fortunate, but despite starting 30th in class, the veteran racers had designs on moving to the front once the green flag waved.

With reliability serving as one of the hallmarks of the BMW brand—and the BMWs raced by BimmerWorld—the team was dealt a double dose of misfortune as the Nos. 80 and 81 retired within the first eight laps with undisclosed drivetrain issues.

Surviving the tricky track conditions as the race transitioned from wet to dry played into the hands of Thomas and Rogers as the pair appeared to be in the hunt for a podium finish, but on a day where odd things took place with two team cars, the third member of the BimmerWorld fleet couldn’t escape a similar fate, ending its run on Lap 40 of the 82-lap event.

“Overall, the race was really decent for the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW,” explains Thomas. “Dan did a great job in his stint showing off his Northwestern wet weather driving style. He moved up several spots while the track was wet, despite having never driven at Homestead in the rain. When we switched drivers, the track was drying out and it was a toss-up about going to slick tires or staying with the wets. Slicks were the way to go as the track didn’t take long to develop a dry line. At this point the car really started to shine.

“I mixed it up with an aggressive bunch of cars as I saw them switching spots lap after lap, going three-wide into turns, with several cars still on wet tires and using their straightline speed to keep us behind them. I decided to hang back, put the car in cruise mode as we had over an hour left and picked up the spots I could without risking damage to the car. This worked out great as I got all the spots I was hoping for and working on getting a few more when our race ended.”

Although the final results from Homestead-Miami don’t show BimmerWorld in its characteristic position at the front of the field, Thomas, one of the team’s leaders, came away feeling positive about how the No. 82 car and the organization as a whole performed.

“Homestead did end with unexpected results for all three BimmerWorld entries, but that’s why this is ‘racing’ and not called ‘winning. We can’t win them all, even though our cars showed great potential this weekend. BimmerWorld is a team that knows how to fight past a bad weekend, and always make the cars faster and better then next time out. With the race at New Jersey coming right up next, we’ll keep our eyes fixed on delivering the results there. This team doesn’t give in, and now we’re all thinking about how to get all three cars on the steps of the podium.”

James Clay, team owner and driver of the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i, confirmed Thomas’s post-race analysis.

“The cars rolled out of the transporter dialed in. We made some little tweaks but this is the best they have been yet. The guys on the team have worked a lot on pit stops and generally functioning as a team unit and everything they did this weekend was organized, effective and very fast. I was proud of everyone this weekend and, while we are in a sport where the finishing order is the only way the world measures the result, I couldn’t have been happier for everything else short of that this weekend. We had a gut-punch of bad luck but the team’s foundation is more firm than ever and we will be right back to the front at the next round.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress as it prepares for Round 4 in New Jersey by visiting, and watch the Homestead race when it airs on May 12th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Ready To Carry Winning Momentum Into Round 3 At Homestead


Finding success in any sport involves plenty of talent, planning and preparation, but having the help of something a bit more intangible also helps.

Riding the wave of momentum from its recent GRAND-AM Street Tuner-class win at the rolling Barber Motorsports Park facility, the Dublin, Va.-based BMW experts at BimmerWorld will look to carry that positive motion through this weekend’s race on the Homestead-Miami “roval.”

Using portions of the 1.5-mile oval track and its infield road course to comprise the 2.3-mile, 11-turn circuit, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay says he and the team will stick to its proven game plan to maintain its current position atop the ST drivers, teams and manufacturers championships.

“Everyone did a solid job at Barber and certainly we had a little luck that fell our way to help us out, but hard work put us in a position to be able to turn good luck into an even better result,” he remarked. “We will keep doing our thing, but it is good this early on in the season to have confirmation for all the effort everyone is putting in. Based on how some cars are performing based on the rules, I don’t think the BMW is the most gifted car in the field right now, but it’s up to us to come up with a response and overcome those disadvantages as much as possible.”

Clay and co-driver John Capestro-Dubets will look to bounce back in the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i after a tough race at Barber, but its first-time winners, Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine, have stayed focused after their breakthrough victory in the No. 81 BimmerWorld entry.

“The last few weeks have been very busy with all the different clubs and race series starting their seasons,” said Liefooghe, who serves as a driving instructor during the week. “I have had about two days off total since last race and have been at different race tracks the rest of the time. It’s been quite awesome to see how many people are exposed to the Continental Tire Series, and I have had a ton of positive feedback on our last result at Barber. Although it was nice to take it all in, now is not the time for David and I to keep pushing as the season is really just starting to pick up its pace.”

Going for a second-straight win, as Liefooghe shares, will involve equal parts aggression and restraint on a track that’s known to wear down tires at an accelerated rate.

“The key to going fast and keeping the tires under you has a lot to do with smoothness and self-discipline,” he continued. “You can’t push too hard, overdrive the entry of the corner, or slide coming out. And you have to stay out of the ABS to keep the tire from overheating. Although it looks quite easy on paper, Homestead makes it a real challenge, as it is mostly slow hairpins which tend to make you push harder than you should. The other main challenge is to balance the moments when you have to be aggressive and make up positions, and the moments when you have to save your tires for those last few laps. It’s a track that rewards being smart on every lap.”

BimmerWorld’s Seth Thomas, who shares the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with Dan Rogers, has a simple message about Homestead.

“Staying out of trouble is going be tough especially at a track like Homestead with 39 cars entered in ST. It has low grip and lots of slow turns that tend to favor the smaller cars in the class, so charging into every corner isn’t the right frame of mind to be in. Everyone did a great job keeping the cars clean at Barber, yielding our best results of the season so far. Patience will pay off for us this weekend.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at Homestead this weekend by visiting, and be sure to watch the race when it’s airs on May 12th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Ready to Resume the Fight at Homestead-Miami Raceway


For a team that doubled in size, made its debut with a two-car effort in the Grand Sport (GS) category and fielded two new drivers in the Street tuner (ST) class at Daytona, the BMW experts at BimmerWorld Racing came away pleased from the first race of the 2011 championship. But they are also hungry for better results.

ST veteran Greg Liefooghe, partnered with series rookie and rising star John Capestro-DuBets (JCD), stormed to a podium finish on their debut for the team in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW E90 328i. Ken Wilden and Bob Michaelian took sixth in GS, serving notice that BimmerWorld’s new BMW E92 M3 cars would soon be challenging for podiums. And the newly expanded BimmerWorld team performed flawless pit stops throughout the 2.5-hour Daytona 200 race.

While Daytona left the team with many positives to embrace, it was the list of improvements that meant the most to BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay and the spirited workforce at the team’s Dublin, Va.-based shop.

With a month between Daytona and the second race of the season held at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, BimmerWorld’s engineers and technicians have been working at a furious pace to find the small refinements that will translate into improved results for all four cars when they race on March 5th.

“For fans that have followed our team over the years it should be no surprise that this month is incredibly busy here as we go through a long list of items on both the ST and GS-class cars to implement the improvements we uncovered at Daytona,” said Clay. “The ST cars were as expected – good out of the box — and we started right where we left off last year with that program, but building the GS cars has given us some new insights into how to improve the ST package. On the GS front, I was certainly happy with our showing on the first race weekend with the new cars, but our goal is to be winning races regularly, and we will be hard at work until we get there.”

In addition to the list of refinements for its BMW 328i and M3 race cars, BimmerWorld has also been busy making operational adjustments to get the most from the four-car team.

“Four cars and all the logistics was certainly a big chunk to bite off,” Clay continued, “but the BimmerWorld crew dug in and carried the team with their determined work ethic. You can’t create the stresses involved in a race weekend during testing and we’ve uncovered some areas for improvement and we will keep looking for areas to solidify until we are executing to perfection.”

Liefooghe, known for his circuit knowledge and chassis setup feedback, was instrumental in helping JCD to achieve the best result for a rookie in the ST class at Daytona. With the team headed for Round 2 of the 10-race championship, Liefooghe has the same expectations for a quality result, and cites the close-knit nature of the team as an influence on the early success of the No. 81.

“The first race was the first test of how well we function as a team and I think it was very successful. John and I are working together really well, and the communication we have with our ST race engineer, Dave Wagener, is really good too. He seems to understand what we want out the car, and he is always pushing hard to improve the setup. Back in Daytona, the car felt great throughout the whole race, and it already feels natural to drive it. As far as the rest of the team, they surround you with their motivation, and they take racing very personally. It would be hard not to feel integrated with that kind of atmosphere. It’s great to be around passionate people like that, and when you’re out on the track you feel like you’re fighting for them too.”

Liefooghe and JCD will compete at Homestead with their teammates Bill Heumann and David White, who pilot the sister No. 80 CRC Industries BimmerWorld BMW E90. The No. 80 was on course to finish alongside the No. 81 at Daytona until a driving infraction slowed their efforts. Round 2 will see BimmerWorld’s ST cars with two very different goals, as the No. 81 seeks to strengthen its place in the championship while the No. 80 looks to overcome the points deficit suffered at Daytona.

The same scenario can be found with BimmerWorld’s GS entries, as the No. 78 BMW E92 M3 of Wilden and Michaelian look to improve upon their 6th-place finish at Daytona, and the No. 79 Johnstone Supply BMW E92 M3 of Clay and Seth Thomas will battle to recover the points lost from a penalty incurred during the Daytona 200.

Wilden, the 2009 GS class champion, says Homestead-Miami’s unique ‘roval’ layout–one that features a blend of the circuit’s oval track and the road course built within the infield–will demand a lot from his BimmerWorld M3.

“You have to be a little more precise with the car’s chassis setup so you don’t scrub too much speed on the oval, which isn’t much of an issue at a track like Daytona. You also need the car to be fast and reactive on the Homestead-Miami infield, and in the tight corners as well. Being able to put the power down out of those corners, and then being able to brake late and deep–something our Performance Friction brakes did to perfection at Daytona–is also crucial. The track might not look like it’s too technical, but you have to get everything right with the car to produce a fast lap.”

From a driving standpoint, Liefooghe says navigating Homestead-Miami’s 2.3-mile, 11-turn circuit takes experience and skill every step of the way.

“Homestead is the hardest ‘easy’ track in the US. There are no real technical corners, but the low grip level of the track and the fact that every corner leads onto a long straightaway means that you have to be inch-perfect everywhere. Other than that, the key to a good lap time will be to make sure you come out fast and clean out of Turn 8, the last corner before getting on the banking. As far as racing goes, aside from Turn 4, all the other corners are suitable for passing, but it just depends where you are in the pack and where you want to come out before the banking. The traffic will also play a big role in the outcome of the race, as it is a very short track for almost 70 cars. It will be intense for all of us at BimmerWorld, but that’s why we do this. It should be a good race for our team.”

Practice gets under way on March 4th, and be sure to follow BimmerWorld’s progress at Homestead-Miami by visiting Tune in to watch the race on SPEED on March 19th at 2 p.m. ET.


Courtesy: BimmerWorld Media Services
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