SRO GT4 America Sprint X & Intercontinental GT Challenge Indianapolis 8-Hour

Indy front straight, 2021











It’s hard to imagine a better, more iconic racing venue than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to finish off a long and arduous season of SRO GT4 America racing. Indy has proven to be very good to the BimmerWorld Racing team over the years, and thankfully that held to be true again this year.

BimmerWorld Redline Oil M4 GT4 ready to race at Indy

BimmerWorld cars in the pits before race start at Indy 2021

BimmerWorld Go Organic M4 in the rain at Indy 2021

At the beginning of the week, the practice sessions were in mixed weather which is typical for Indy this time of year. Rain would come and go and completely flood the track, washing away any chances of fast laps or finding any sort of pace. When it came time to qualify, that didn’t seem to matter much as all six of the BimmerWorld drivers did their part putting their M4s well up the starting grid for the Thursday and Friday races.

BimmerWorld GoOrganic M4 at speed at Indy 2021

BimmerWorld Racing to End Alzheimer's M4 at Indy 2021

Thursday’s race had a 5:00 p.m. start time with a cloudy but dry track. James Clay started in fifth position in the No. 36 OPTIMA Batteries / Racing to End Alzheimer’s M4, James Walker Jr. was in tenth in the No. 34 Red Line Oil car, and Chandler Hull rolled out in twelfth in the No.94 GO Organic machine. The second the green flag dropped, Clay was on the move and made his way up to second position within half a lap. Meanwhile, Walker Jr. and Hull were in non-stop battles in the top-10.  

07 pitman_MSM_IMSA_VIR_October2021__P_P5955

08 pitman_MSM_IMSA_VIR_October2021__HP_0023

Walker Jr. was the first to dive into the pits to let Bill Auberlen take over with 34 minutes to go. Hull followed soon after with Jon Miller hopping in while Clay was in a fierce three-way battle to keep his second-place spot in front of two Mercedes AMGs for a few more laps.

09 pitman_MSM_IMSA_VIR_October2021__P_P5998

10 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__P_P7169

After the new drivers got settled in, they all ended up in heated battles all the way to the end of the race, coming across the line in fourth in Silver class and fifth and sixth in Pro-Am.

11 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__P_P7343

12 10-13-2021 Wsippel SRO Indy-18

It was the pro drivers’ turn to take the green flag on Friday with Bill Auberlen in the No. 34 Red Line Oil M4 starting sixth, Jon Miller in the No. 94 in 11th position, and Nick Galante bringing the OPTIMA Batteries / Racing to End Alzheimer’s No.36 to the green in 18th.

Bill Auberlen checking out driving data

Friday’s race was even more frantic at the beginning as it had rained just before the start, and the weather was still looking questionable. With everyone choosing to start on slicks, there was still some dampness on track once they all got off the line. Thankfully, no more rain fell, and the track continued to dry up to allow racing that was just as intense as Thursday, with constant battles throughout the field no matter where the BimmerWorld Racing M4 GT4s were placed.  Unfortunately, Auberlen had some slight contact with a competitor while dicing for position that led to retiring the No. 34 before James Walker Jr. could hop in, but not before Auberlen could put down the fastest lap of the race. The No. 94 of Miller/Hull stayed up front the entire race and managed to just barely miss the podium with a fourth-place finishing position in Silver class. Clay and Galante fought to the end and wound up in a fourth-place finish in Pro-Am, but were bumped to third after the second-place finishing Aston Martin failed its post-race inspection.  That wrapped up the 2021 GT4 America Sprint X season. What an absolutely wild year of GT4 racing!

That may have been the end of the GT4 America Sprint X series, but just like last year, there was still more racing to do on this weekend.  Eight more hours, in fact.

14 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__HP_2827

After Friday’s race, the No. 34 Red Line Oil M4 got prepped and renumbered to wear No.36.  The BimmerWorld / Red Line Oil M4 GT4—No. 82 last season—took the win in the GT4 class last year in the Indy 8-Hour, and the same three drivers—Clay, Hull, and Auberlen—were back to defend their title. Accompanying the No. 36 this year was a second BimmerWorld Racing entry, the No. 82 Racing to End Alzheimer’s / OPTIMA Batteries M4 GT4 also being piloted by some familiar names—James Walker Jr. and Nick Galante along with Devin Jones for the first time back in competition since his accident last year. The team was so excited to have Devin back in the car and we knew we had two extremely strong cars and driver lineups for this 8-hour endurance race.

BimmerWorld cars and teams ready for Indy 8-hour 2021

BWR driver interviews at table

Qualifying for the Indy 8-Hour involves a combined lap time of all three drivers. Once everyone had their turn behind the wheel, it was the BimmerWorld No. 36 starting on second with the No. 82  close behind in fourth.

17 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021_CGP_5531

18 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__HP_3439

As expected, the event was roughly seven hours and 59 minutes of intense racing, crunching numbers, picking strategies, reacting to situations on track, and keeping the cars in one piece.  Oh, and all that while also going as fast as possible. The mix of the much faster GT3 cars along with our GT4 race made it a continuous heads-up affair with plenty of bob-and-weave action throughout our racing battles, trying our best not to get mixed up in any unneeded contact or drama that could end up being a very costly or race-ending mistake.

19 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__HP_4594

20 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__HP_0641

In the first half, there was some confusion from the wave-around that wasn’t done promptly by the pace car during a full-course yellow that resulted in our BWR cars going a lap down to the rest of the field. This had the team scrambling to make up time and adjust strategies on the fly to make sure we could get back into contention in the second half of the race. Thankfully, the timing-and-scoring issues were taken care of, minimal mistakes were made, and through clean driving and perfect pit stops, we clawed our way back to the lead lap with both cars running in the top-five for several hours.  

21 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__DSC4823

22 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__P_P8197

With the time clicking away and the final pit stops having taken place, it was down to Bill Auberlen to stay in the No. 36 car and take it home. The strategy had worked flawlessly and gave Auberlen a solid lead going into the last 45 minutes, but with the second- and third-place GT4 cars on the same lap, just a couple of turns behind.

23 pitman_MSM_SRO_Indy_October2021__HP_2569

After eight long hours, the checkers flew, and the BimmerWorld Racing team got to run out to the pit wall to cheer on their driver while taking first place in the GT4 class for the second year in a row. Just a few seconds later, the No. 82 came onto the straight away to capture fourth place after an equally clean race for all three drivers.

BimmerWorld winning the Indy 8-hour 2021

Hull, Clay, Auberlen on podium with first-place trophies at Indy 8-hour 2021

We can’t think of any better way to cap off the season than winning at this prestigious track with our absolutely amazing team, our incredible driver lineup, and a great series. It goes without saying that we’re already looking forward to the 2022 season.

BimmerWorld drivers kissing the bricks at Indy 2021

BimmerWorld team celebrating win behind M4 GT4 at Indy 2021



ABOUT: BimmerWorld is renowned as a leader in BMW aftermarket and tuning expertise, with operations spanning from stock, aftermarket, performance, and racing parts sales and development through racing from club to professional levels. BimmerWorld Racing competes primarily with the BMW Motorsport M4 GT4 in North America in both SRO and IMSA Championships, where the Virginia-based outfit has become a frequent winner and championship contender.

FINAL ROUND: SRO Championship – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Flags at Indy















After the previously successful set of races at COTA, James Clay was still leading the TC America Driver’s Championship points while the team rolled into Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a long week full of racing. These final two races would seal the fate for the overall season championship, so the pressure was on for James to finish close to the podium to be awarded enough points to clinch the championship.  

James Clay with helmet on

Right off the bat, things were looking great as James qualified his PÖRQ/OPTIMA Batteries No. 36 BMW M240iR on the pole for the first race of the weekend. Chandler Hull qualified his TAC Energy No. 94 M240iR close behind in P4— there was less than a second between the top eight cars!

BimmerWorld M240iRs racing at Indy

M240iR action at Indy

The numbers were being crunched in the pits before the race started to figure out where James needed to finish to clinch the championship, and that magic number was P4. If he could finish in P4 or better, the championship would be his, but James isn’t one to sit back and let everyone else have the fun. Throughout the race, James diced it up with the top four cars nonstop, running in second for most of the race. While dealing with lapped traffic going into T2, a rookie TCR driver made a fairly unpredictable move which forced contact with James, sending him spinning and dropping to the back of the field.  With less than half the race left, James fought hard to get back up through the field, but when the checkers flew, it was P8 for him and P10 for Chandler.

PORQ M240iR at Indy

TAC Energy M240iR at Indy

Obviously very disappointed with this outcome, James knew that the final race of the season would be the deciding factor for the entire championship. Finishing in P8 didn’t net him enough points to clinch it, so now it would all come down to Race 2. Starting near the middle of the pack, James knew it would be important to not only get close to the front for those crucial points, but he’d also have to stay out of trouble and keep the car in one piece all the way to the finish.  

M240iRs down the front straight at Indy

Dicing through the field right from the start, the BimmerWorld Racing team was pulling their hair out behind the pit wall watching every second of the race and reacting with gasps or yells each time they saw Clay driving hard to gain positions. Teammate Chandler Hull stuck right with him, and both drivers managed to navigate through the field of M240iRs cleanly, with James finishing P4 and Chandler in P7.  

BMW M240iR racing at Indy

TAC Energy M240iR ahead at Indy

PORQ M240iR leading the pack at Indy

The final finishing position in the last race of the season gave James enough points to be locked in as the 2020 SRO TC America Driver’s Champion! It came right down to the wire, but when things mattered most, he got the job done.

James Clay in his M240iR crossing the finish line at Indy

James Clay holding Driver's Champion sign at Indy

James Clay holding Driver's Champion sign in front of Indy building

Switching over to our Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 America Sprint X car, Bill Auberlen and James Walker, Jr. also had their final pair of races to end the season. Race 1 had James Walker, Jr. behind the wheel first starting in P12. Walker, Jr. managed to move the car up through the field a bit before handing it over to Bill who finished out the race strong in P6. 

The second race was almost the same, with the BimmerWorld M4 GT4 rolling off in P13 and the dynamic duo working the car up to P8, which was also enough to lock them into a podium finish for the overall season points in their very first year of driving the car together. It was a huge accomplishment and a testament to the consistency of these two drivers behind the wheel of this BMW.

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 in the pits at Indy

Red Line Oil M4 GT4 racing at Indy

Auberlen and Walker, Jr. on the podium at Indy

After the dust had settled and the awards were given out, everyone could breathe easy knowing they were done for the year, and the stress of bringing home a championship or a podium position was finally gone for the season…

But wait, there’s more!

That’s right, the boys at BimmerWorld thought the only way to cap off a brutal season with an insanely compressed schedule — sometimes with three back-to-back race weekends — would be to race even more. We aren’t talking about another Sprint race.  Oh, no… James, Chandler, and Bill were going to tackle the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge Indianapolis 8-Hour Endurance Race. That’s right, as soon as the BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 was done with its regular season, the BWR crew went to work preparing it for its next mission of tackling an 8-hour-long endurance race with competitors from all over the globe.

Clay, Auberlen, Walker, Jr. in front of the Red Line Oil M4 GT4 at Indy

Prepping the car with fresh PFC brake pads, topping off the OPTIMA Battery, checking the Red Line Oil fluids, along with the normal level of inspection that’s usually done back at the shop post-race over a couple of days was done in a matter of hours at the track. The very next day, the RLO M4 GT4 rolled onto the Brickyard once again to qualify for the 8-hour race.

OPTIMA Battery getting charged in BMW M4 GT4 at Indy

New PFC race pads being installed on the Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 at Indy

While Bill Auberlen was busy putting down fast laps, a wheel stud failed. This caused him to come in early, and not being able to fix the car while on pit lane meant no other drivers could get in the car to complete their qualifying sessions. In this series, your starting position is based on an average of the 3 driver’s qualifying times; therefore, we were forced to start at the back of the field since we couldn’t post a qualifying time. This failure — which was a BMW Motorsport part — was quickly remedied back in the garage with a full set of wheel studs that BimmerWorld regularly sells to their customers and installs on their own builds.

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 ready for racing at Indy endurance race

On to Sunday morning and Bill Auberlen was suited up and ready to take the green.  The weather was on everyone’s mind while the cloud cover started to look threatening, and the radar showed a line of heavy rain quickly approaching. The big decision to stick with slicks or change to rains was something every team was struggling with down to the very last moment. Everyone was watching what their competition was doing to see what call would give them the biggest advantage. Everyone stuck to slicks, and as the green flag waved to start eight hours of racing, the rain started falling.

Racing at Indy in the rain

Red Line Oil M4 GT4 racing in the rain at Indy

Taking the green on the very first lap, Auberlen didn’t waste any time rushing to the front, picking up four positions in Turn 1. As the rain got heavier, everyone started getting nervous about their tire choices, and when it eventually got to be too much to handle, the Red Line Oil M4 GT4 came to pit lane for a fresh set of rains. With his confidence restored, Bill continued to push to the front, quickly landing himself in P2 while still battling in extremely rainy conditions.

RLO M4 GT4 racing in the rain at Indy

Red Line Oil M4 GT4 leading at Indy

The second driver to get behind the wheel was James Clay who managed to push the BimmerWorld car to the lead during his stint on a now-drying track. Handing the car off to Chandler mid-race resulted in even more flawless pit stops from the BWR crew, allowing the car to remain in P1 for several hours.

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil BMW M4 GT4 chasing a Ferrari at Indy

BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 charging hard at IndyWhile we approached the final hours of the race, the BimmerWorld Red Line Oil M4 GT4 remained out front due to the perfect strategy of Dave Wagener and Wayne Yawn.  Decisions made on the fly at the perfect time always landed the BimmerWorld M4 GT4 back in P1 after pit cycles and driver changes. In endurance racing, the strategy behind pit wall is just as important as the talent behind the wheel. If those two don’t work perfectly in concert, you stand no chance of winning.

BimmerWorld crew in the pits at Indy

BimmerWorld crew working in the pits at Indy

In BimmerWorld’s case, everything did work perfectly together, and eight hours after taking the green flag in last place, the team was taking the checkered flag in first.

Bill Auberlen, James Clay, and James Walker, Jr. on the podium after winning the 8-hour endurance race at Indy

James, Bill, and Chandler got some well-deserved champagne on the top step of the podium, putting the best possible cap on an already extremely successful 2020 SRO season.  

Clay, Walker, Jr., and Auberlen celebrating after winning at Indy

BimmerWorld drivers kissing the bricks at Indy after winning the 8-hour endurance race

HUGE thanks to our technical sponsors:

OPTIMA Batteries – Red Line Oil – PFC Brakes – Diffsonline – Lifeline Fire Systems –  BMW Motorsport

This season would not have been possible without the amazing work from the entire BimmerWorld racing team.

Bill Auberlen – Driver – No. 82 Red Line Oil M4 GT4 – Sprint X Pro/Am

James Walker Jr. – Driver – No. 82 Red Line Oil M4 GT4 – SprintX Pro/AM

James Clay – Driver – No. 36 PORQ / OPTIMA Batteries – TC America

Chandler Hull – Driver – No. 94 TAC Energy M240iR – TC America

David Wagener – Team Manager/Engineer

Wayne Yawn – Engineer

Dave Simpkins – Crew Chief

Jordan Allen – Car Chief No. 82

Bryce Allen – Lead Tech No. 82

Tommy Gallant – Tire Engineer

Zach Lovingood – Lead Tech No. 36

Matt Berg – Car Chief No. 94

Theo Bialk – Car Chief No. 36

Rod Owens – Hauler Driver



BimmerWorld Leaves Indy With Fast Cars But Few Results


Motor racing can present team owners and drivers with numerous levels of frustration. Possibly the most dreaded outcome, as the BimmerWorld Continental Tire Series team can attest, comes from days where a team has race-winning speed yet comes away without the results to support that pace and potential.

Notorious for its frequent caution periods, the Continental Tire Series followed a familiar script during its first two visits to Indianapolis Motor Speedway where late-race yellows slowed the field and eliminated the need for a final splash of fuel to make it to the finish.

The 2014 event defied convention as the second half of the 2h30min race went caution free, ruining BimmerWorld’s plans to score its second win at the famed Speedway as its fastest entries were forced to surrender the lead and visit pit lane for a few drops of fuel.

It left the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW E90 328i of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke as the first car home in 12th, followed by the new No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW F30 328i piloted by team owner James Clay and Jason Briedis in 13th.

“As a whole, we just got caught out with pit strategy this race, which ended with an hour and twenty minutes of green running,” said a befuddled Clay. “Since when does that happen in our series? We needed a yellow and we didn’t get it, and we didn’t have the fuel we needed to give a different set of results, but everyone worked hard and we had all the makings for another win this weekend. I really hate it when we are at the tracks where we CAN win and fall short. This was just one of those weekends.”

BimmerWorld’s in-house development of the turbocharged F30 BMW platform continues to pay dividends as the No. 84 car visits each track for the first time. Indianapolis offered another chance for Clay and Briedis to gain valuable knowledge with the chassis, and despite the unrepresentative finishing position, BimmerWorld’s F30 was in the mix for most of the race.

“I am really happy with the progress of the new platform 328i that Jason and I drive, and with our work in the car,” Clay added. “Every weekend is getting better, and I am very aware that we are headed to the track where I got my first pro win next week. Certainly I expect big things for the F30 next race, for the rest of the season, and for a lot of seasons to come. It has been a difficult road to make this car a winner, but I think we are just about there!”

Liefooghe and Cooke are still in contention for the Street Tuner Championship, and according to the sports car veteran, the best outlook after Indy is to concentrate on the remaining races on the calendar.

“It didn’t make for a very good points day for us with two of the cars we are fighting against for the championship finishing on the podium,” said Liefooghe. “But we still have four races to go and I think we have made some progress chassis wise which allowed us to run upfront at Indy, so I’m looking forward to what we can do over the upcoming races.”

Liefooghe’s teenage teammate spend the event pulling double duty as the opening driver in the No. 81 and the closing driver in the No. 80 he shared with Street Tuner rookie Eric Zimmermann, and can’t wait for the next round at Road America to give it another go.

“My first weekend pulling double duty went very well,” said Cooke. “I got to learn how to drive in two completely different handling cars as well as giving the feedback. We were having a great race in both cars and I definitely think we can carry that momentum to Road America.”

UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: Road America, August 9

FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at


No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Eric Zimmermann & Tyler Cooke: Qualified P32, Finished P24

No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Tyler Cooke & Greg Liefooghe: Qualified P14, finished P12

No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Seth Thomas & Dan Rogers: Qualified P25, Finished P17

No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), James Clay & Jason Briedis: Qualified P10, Finished P13

BimmerWorld Scores A Third And Eighth On Its Return To Indianapolis Motor Speedway


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 Returns To Indianapolis Seeking To Defend Its 2012 Victory


The BimmerWorld Racing team left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year with an incredible 1-2 finish on GRAND-AM’s debut at the famed circuit, claiming the Street Tuner class victory with the BMW 328i platform it has developed since 2006.

On the series’ return to race on the Indy road course built within the iconic 2.5-mile oval facility, the Virginia-based BMW tuning and aftermarket specialists are gunning for a repeat of the stellar result that was earned in 2012.

But as BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay shares, while the team is confident going into the event, there are no guarantees of success in a competitive championship like the Continental Tire Series.

”Certainly you can’t expect the same results every year at the same tracks, but I do feel that there are trends of some tracks suiting some car models,” he said. ”Similarly, there are trends of models being stronger and less so as the series balances performance. I think the last round of adjustments continued to help the cars already making more power than development gains on the other areas that make a car fast.

”But luckily, there is also a trend of our team digging in and making our own luck and results with a well-developed and well-prepared car and I feel like there is certainly a good chance for a BimmerWorld repeat based on that fact alone.”

BimmerWorld’s 1-2 finish was the highlight of its season, and also put a spotlight on its supremely talented pit crew members and race strategists.

Beyond the excellent performance by its drivers at Indy, BimmerWorld’s staff on pit lane also contributed heavily to the win.

”Last year’s Indy race was a crazy combination of the speed that our team and cars brought, and making good calls on pit lane with solid team execution,” Clay explained. ”Strategy always plays a role in results, but last year$rsquo;s Indy is an example where it became pivotal. I think in a normal race we would still have had a similar result, and I am content we can achieve a good finish this year with our team effort with three strong cars, no matter how crazy the race starts to get.”

For Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas, the drivers who piloted the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i to victory at Indy, the upcoming race feels like a homecoming after creating such indelible memories in 2012.

”The Indy win was undoubtedly huge,” said Rogers. ”It is always the race people bring up when they start talking about racing with me, so, in that sense, it is something significant to be remembered. When I occasionally reminisce regarding the race, the memories and thoughts that come to mind are of HOW we won the race, not THAT we won the race. Indy 2012 was truly a team win.

”The crew was spot-on with the car, Wayne Yawn and the engineering staff made the perfect call, given the rain and poor weather, and Seth drove the wheels off the car in changing conditions. In that sense, it makes the victory even sweeter, since the win is shared among the team members.”

BimmerWorld’s Gregory Liefooghe is always a threat to win with teammate Tyler Cooke in the No. 81 BMW 328i, but was unable to finish the inaugural Continental Tire Series race at Indy. The respected touring car ace has been waiting for a second chance to race at the Brickyard, and sees a lot of strengths throughout the program to utilize in his bid for a win.

”Rovals tend to fit the strength of our BMW 328is, and I am optimistic about our chances of a good result at Indy,” he said. ”Last year, the No. 81 ran into some bad luck in the middle of the race, but we showed that we had the speed to join our teammates up on the podium by posting the fastest lap of the race. Tyler has done a great job so far this season, and I am confident he will be running upfront as he usually does, which makes my job easier for the end of the race. Still, the competition will be tough, but the potential for a good result is there.”

The team will have a new addition to the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i program as Greg Strelzoff welcomes Kevin Gleason to the cockpit for the event. Gleason, who is driving in place of Connor Bloum who injured his leg in an off-track accident, says he&rsdo;s looking forward to driving for one of the elite teams in the GRAND-AM paddock.

”Before I started racing, I watched BimmerWorld race and win,” he stated. ”To join them is an honor, and to be joining them at Indianapolis makes it all the more special. The team is always well prepared and professional which should make my introduction easy. I am looking forward to working with my co-driver Greg and the rest of the team to maximize our chances for a great result.”

Follow BimmerWorld’s progress at Indy, and be sure to tune-in for the race broadcast at 4 p.m. ET on August 3rd on SPEED.

BimmerWorld Scores Historic 1-2 Victory At Inaugural Indianapolis Motor Speedway GRAND-AM Race


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 Ready For Its Debut At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway


If racing on the high banks of the famous Daytona International Speedway wasn’t enough of a privilege for GRAND-AM teams and drivers, another milestone will be achieved this Friday when BimmerWorld and the rest of the Continental Tire Series entrants participate in their first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Established in 1909, IMS recently celebrated the centennial event for its hallmark event, the Indy 500, which began in 1911. With the addition of the Brickyard 400 in 1994, the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix in 2000, and MotoGP in 2008, sports car racing was the final piece of the puzzle for the Speedway to incorporate.

And now, as part of its “Super Weekend at the Brickyard,” the sound emanating from BimmerWorld’s trio of wailing BMW inline-6s will be added to Indy’s lore.

“We’re in heat of a championship battle and still have a lot of work to do to this season, but the track is an impressive place and when you walk around the infield as a participant, you get it,” said BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay about the historic track.

“Indy is a place that has defined racing in our country for decades and when you walk over that yard of bricks that extends right to Victory Lane, it leaves an impression.  We spent two days testing at Indy earlier this month and the track earns your respect, and it is clear, beyond geographical happenstance, why it has had such an impact on racing and I am proud to be there for this exciting event that will make road racing history.”

Despite everything BimmerWorld learned about the 13-turn, 2.5-mile road course during the aforementioned Indy test, plenty of challenges will remain as the team adapts to practicing, qualifying and racing on the rarely-used track layout within a matter of hours.

“During the course of the two-day test there, the infield, which is a much smoother aggregate than the diamond-cut banking, rubbered up nicely,” said Clay, who shares the No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW with rising star John Capestro-Dubets.

“The temperature at that point was over 100 and undoubtedly a factor and should be less of one on race weekend.  Still, we certainly don’t know the track as well as others we visit yearly or more, but with a one-day event for our cars, the BimmerWorld crew have been working tirelessly to perfect the equipment we are putting on track and give us the best chances to succeed.”

Compared to some of GRAND-AM’s more familiar circuit, the IMS road course features a much wider track and longer, more sweeping turns, which should hopefully keep contact to a minimum and allow for plenty of passes to be made by the BimmerWorld team.

“I feel once we get back to Indy and quickly get in the groove of the race, we will be fighting for a top spot,” said BimmerWorld veteran Seth Thomas, who will pilot the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i with teammate Dan Rogers.

“It won’t be easy and it will take a lot of effort from the BimmerWorld crew and engineers to call the right shots so we spend the least amount of time on pit lane. With the big front straight and tight turn 1, our great Performance Friction brakes are going to be a key for making passes into one of the prime passing zones on the track.”

For Gregory Liefooghe, getting ready to lead the charge on the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW with co-driver David Levine has involved plenty of physical training and exceptional amounts of pre-race preparation.

“The main components have been getting some simulator time to get the rhythm of the track to be able to be at 100 percent right from lap 1, and to get back to working on fitness after a brutal schedule that has seen us on the road for the last five weeks,” he said.

“At the test, we saw temperatures in the car approaching 140 degrees and even if it’s forecasted to be ‘only’ in the mid-90s instead of the mid-100’s, it will still be a hot race, making fitness an important part of going fast at the end.”

Liefooghe, who won Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park this season with Levine, says finding success at Indy will be an even greater challenge due to the compressed schedule.

“The big challenges for this particular event is that there is very little time in between sessions and that the track will change massively between the first practice session and the race,” he explained. “It will put a lot of pressure on the engineers to make the right decisions on set up for the race. Fortunately we learned a lot during the test days and we have a good handle on most of the moving parts.

“For the less experienced drivers, the fact that the sessions are so close gives very little time to digest the data analysis and there will be a balance between making improvements and overloading them with too much information. My teammate David was fast at the test and I think he will deliver another strong performance, and I know the entire BimmerWorld team will come prepared and ready to adapt to whatever we face.”

Joining the BimmerWorld team for the race weekend will be the winners of the CRC Industries sweepstakes which also included passes and VIP hospitality for the entire weekend for the lucky pair.  “Having CRC and their guests with us this weekend is going to be an awesome addition” stated Clay.  “CRC is a fantastic sponsor, a company with racing heritage who gets what we are doing here, and a company that invests to bring additional excitement to our sport – in addition to core products like Brakleen that teams throughout the paddock use.  We are excited to have them with us for this historic Indy event!”

Follow the BimmerWorld team this weekend, and tune into the broadcast when it airs August 5th at 12 p.m. ET on SPEED.