BimmerWorld Scores Hard-Fought Sixth-Place Finish at Daytona

BimmerWorld Scores Hard-Fought Sixth-Place Finish at Daytona

25.01.2020: Scrappy efforts often yield impressive results. That was the case for the BimmerWorld Racing team during the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, with its No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 scoring a very solid sixth-place result in a st

Scrappy efforts often yield impressive results. That was the case for the BimmerWorld Racing team during the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, with its No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 scoring a very solid sixth-place result in a stout 33-car Grand Sport (GS) field. It was the highest-finishing BMW in the event.




The No. 82 machine, driven by team owner James Clay of Blacksburg, Va., and Devin Jones from Mooresville, N.C., bounced around the top-20 of the scoring pylon throughout the season-opener for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series before Jones finally brought it under the checkered flag in sixth place. A massive crash on the backstretch in the final minutes forced the race to end under yellow.
 


Clay believes that both the M4's brakes and the drafting zones created by the high-speed, high banks of the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course in Daytona Beach aid in the F82-based M4 GT4's strength at the facility.



"I think we're very good under braking, and I thank BMW Performance Friction for that, but beyond that when this car is in a pack at Daytona, it seems to find top speed that we don't always have," he said. "Honestly, we had a car that would just pass people on the straights. If we could hang on and get up to their bumper, we could go by. That worked pretty well for us today."
 


Clay began the race from the 16th starting spot behind the wheel of the No. 82 car, ultimately moving into the top-10 by the one-hour mark. He continued his steady progress forward and was running in the sixth position when the first full-course caution period of the race occurred with two hours and 50 minutes remaining.



However, on the ensuing restart, Clay saw trouble brewing as cars made contact in Turn One and decided to focus on the big picture, not risking a damaged car and the loss of valuable points. The move dropped him to the 18th position, but Clay soon marched forward again and was running inside the top-10 when the race's second full-course yellow came out and he handed the controls to Jones.
 


"We had a great car this weekend and we were going for it-not to the front, because I don't think we had that kind of car, but we were good," Clay said.



Jones restarted in the 12th spot with one hour and 43 minutes left and steadily went to work, overtaking several cars within the first few minutes of his stint. He inherited the lead at one point during a pit-stop cycle and held steady in the bottom half of the top-10, before advancing to sixth in the race's closing minutes.



"For the start of the stint, I was able to gain a few positions. The car was pretty good right out of the gate so that was encouraging," Jones said. "Our car is not as good in the infield, but through the 'bus stop,' it's really good. So, we were able to kind of set people up and get big runs coming out of the bus stop,' which works well here to pass cars. Our car is pretty good through the high-speed sections of the track. We struggle a little bit in the infield trying to put the power down compared to some of the other cars, but we were pretty competitive."

 

 
Meanwhile, the second BimmerWorld entry this season, the No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer's M4 GT4 driven by Nick Galante and Dillon Machavern, ultimately came home 19th. It showed great speed for much of the event though, at one point running ahead of the No. 82 in the final two hours.



Galante, who hails from Greenfield, Mass., and is returning to the team for the first time since 2018, started the race 14th and hovered around the top-10 for the majority of his two hours behind the wheel. He was forced to be patient and change his driving style throughout that time, a result of the large field and the tire attrition prevalent during the course of the race.
 


"This field was larger than usual, and it was tougher with all the pressure from all the cars behind to pace yourself and not be so aggressive trying not to get passed," he said. "So, it was easy to forget the patience part of it while in a dogfight front and rear. It was tough to focus, but halfway through my stint, I was able to stay off the curbs after seeing all the tires being popped. Then I found some patience. It was really tough. In the first hour, I wasn't able to because there was a dogfight everywhere."



Machavern of Charlotte, Vt., took over for the second half of the race, immediately showing good pace and working his way well inside the top-10 in his first race with the BimmerWorld team.
 


"The car was really good underneath me with fresh tires and I was able to start picking up spots right away," he said. "So, really hats off to the guys for making it an easy car to drive. Everything was right how it should be."
 


However, a pit-stop miscue led to the team falling down the standings and being forced to claw back inside the top-20.



"From there it was just kind of taking everything we could get but there wasn't much racing going on after that," he said. "It was kind of just being safe, getting through the laps and holding on to what we had."
 


For James Clay, a solid effort overall, two fast cars, and passionate drivers serve as the ideal building blocks for the nine remaining rounds this season.
 


"It is the first weekend and we have little things that we still have to fine tune, but I'm just thrilled to be back in the car with Devin," he said. "He drove an awesome race, as I would expect him to always do. Having Nick back on the team is just great for everybody, and Dillon is fantastic in the car. So, I'm just really looking forward to what the team does for the rest of the year."



Television coverage of the BMW Endurance Challenge will air on NBCSN from 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, February 6.
 


Next up for BimmerWorld in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series is the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday, March 19. Live coverage will be provided by TrackPass at 3:50 p.m., with the race airing on Thursday, March 26, from 3-5 p.m. on NBCSN.   
 


Final Results:

No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries/Veristor BMW M4 GT4 - 6th place
No. 80 Racing to End Alzheimer's BMW M4 GT4 - 19th place

 


The BMW M4 GT4



GT4 is a global racing class for mid-sized sports and GT cars. The unified set of rules allows manufacturers to offer a single racing car for multiple series around the world. BimmerWorld is one of the premier customers for BMW GT4 racing in North America, having competed continuously with the M4 in multiple series since the car was introduced.


The race car is based on the F82 M4 street car, using the same S55 twin-turbo inline-6, 7-speed DCT transmission, and suspension layout. Only minor changes are made to make the M4 into a highly competitive race car. The M4 competes with more purpose-built sports cars like the McLaren 570S, Audi R8, and AMG Mercedes GT, along with other GT cars like the Ford Mustang.




BimmerWorld Racing



BimmerWorld is the preeminent BMW racing/performance specialist in North America, racing professionally in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (BMW M4 GT4), World Challenge GT4 America (BMW M4 GT4), and World Challenge TC America series (BMW M240i Racing). The team also made its third entry in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2019 with a V8-powered BMW E36 M3. BimmerWorld also builds cars and supports racers in various BMW CCA, AER, NASA, and SCCA club series.



Off the track, the business is the last, and only, independently-owned major BMW parts specialist in North America. The catalog at www.bimmerworld.com has everything from accessories and OEM replacement parts to highly specialized racing parts with a knowledgeable staff, competitive pricing, and quick service.





- Barbara Burns, photos BMW

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/bimmerworld-hard-fought-sixth-place-finish-daytona---203057.html

25.01.2020 / MaP

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