SCC: Birmingham: BimmerWorld preview

BimmerWorld is looking forward to resuming the fight at the track located just outside Birmingham. What does the fastest-rising new GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team do with nearly a month between its last race...

BimmerWorld is looking forward to resuming the fight at the track located just outside Birmingham.

What does the fastest-rising new GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team do with nearly a month between its last race at Homestead-Miami and this weekend's race at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama?

Work hard to improve their car and team, and then work some more.

Finding success in a top-tier series like the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge requires an incredible amount of time and commitment, and when a team like BimmerWorld starts off the season strongly, it actually gets harder to move up the last few positions needed to win a race.

With the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team placed second in the teams' championship after two rounds, team owner/driver James Clay reaffirmed just what's required to win.

"It might seem like the closer you get to Victory Circle, the easier things get, but it's actually the opposite. You have to scratch and claw even harder now because we're looking for fractions of a second to catch our competitors. It's the 'needle in a haystack theory.' Finding those tiny bits of time in a well-proven car like the BMW E90 is hard enough, and when you add in that our rivals are also improving their cars between each round, it's a cycle that never ends. The only way to get there is through hard work."

After a month of tireless effort by the Jason Marks-led BimmerWorld crew, everyone on the team is looking forward to resuming the fight at the track located just outside Birmingham. Rounds one and two were held on 'Rovals', tracks that use portions of an oval and the oval's infield road course, but at Barber Motorsports Park the team expects their cars to excel on the first natural terrain road course on the 2010 GRAND-AM calendar.

Compared to the Rovals that favor brute horsepower, Barber should suit the BimmerWorld-built E90s as cornering and stopping have always been the car's strong suits. Power is also key, but with so many turns on a relatively short track, all three attributes are equally as important to produce fast and consistent lap times.

As team owner/driver James Clay shares, transitioning their cars from Roval to road course configuration and shifting his team's mindset over to tackle a track like Barber has been a welcome change.

"While I have been on Rovals since the beginning of my driving career, this was our first year on one in a professional series. Daytona and Homestead were definitely fun and challenging, but we are looking forward to getting back to our bread and butter - the road course. Every track is different so we have a slightly different setup for a place like Barber with lots of sweeping turns and no long high-speed straight like our first two events. We have gotten a few new bits from Performance Friction for our braking system, and just when we are hitting the point in the season where our brakes will be even more critical. As far as driver preparation, all four of us have been hard at work in various racecars and in karts more than ever before. Winning a championship our first year is a possibility and the whole team is doing its part to be prepared to make it happen."

Clay's co-driver, David White, has been doing his part to prepare for Barber. A rookie to the series, White has found BimmerWorld's thorough approach to event preparation as the key to everyone's success.

"I first worked with James back in 2006 at a Chin Motorsports event and have been learning from him ever since. I would get data laps from him as often as possible so I could figure out where I needed to be faster. This year is really no different as all of the drivers analyze data after each session in an effort to maximize our performance. The work ethic of the BimmerWorld crew combined with the testing we have done has translated in to strong finishes at both of our races this season. Knowing how hard the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team works, I expect that trend to continue all season."

Seth Thomas has found that the more he and his teammates work as a unit to share their respective skills and abilities, the better the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team becomes.

"All four of us bring a lot to the program, regardless of who has the most driving experience. In some teams, it's 'every man for himself,' but that's not how we approach this business. Teamwork doesn't just happen during the race; it's a part of everything we do. David and Bill might be new to the series, but they are 'equal share' drivers, are asked to perform just like veterans, and James and I work hard to share our experience to make that a reality. That's unique, and if you look at our results, our method of coaching each other and learning from each other is paying off."

For Bill Heumann, building on the second- and fourth-place finishes from Daytona and Homestead in the #81 BMW is where he has his sights set. Based on how the E90s usually perform on tracks like a Barber Motorsports Park, Heumann has high hopes for Saturday's race.

"I think our BimmerWorld/GearWrench E90s should be awesome at Barber! Barber is a very technical track that requires a good mix of handling and power, which is exactly what we have. Our cars are very well balanced around the turns after the BimmerWorld guys dug into their years of experience with the chassis and applied it to the cars for this series.

"Additionally, BMWs start out with great brakes but when you add the Performance Friction pads and our the new tricky rotors they made for us, they become unbeatable. We know we can start off racing hard and keep going for 2.5 hours. The brakes and tires will be there until the end, and provided nothing silly happens, I expect we'll be in the middle of a fight for the lead."

-source: bimmerworld

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers James Clay , Seth Thomas , David White , Bill Heumann