BimmerWorld Ready To Close Out 2009 SPEED TC Season In Style At Monterey After opening the season with a win and going 1-2-3 at the last round, the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team wants to end the year in style at Laguna Seca. Laguna Seca 2.2-miles...
BimmerWorld Ready To Close Out 2009 SPEED TC Season In Style At Monterey After opening the season with a win and going 1-2-3 at the last round, the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team wants to end the year in style at Laguna Seca.
2.2-miles of both flat and hilly sections, coupled with loose sand, and achieving the perfect chassis setup is an art of its own.
After placing 1-2-3 in their most recent SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race at Road Atlanta, it would be incredibly hard for Dublin, Virginia's BimmerWorld to do much better this weekend at Laguna Seca.
The BimmerWorld/GearWrench team has high hopes for the SPEED TC finale in Monterey, California, but as team owner/driver James Clay says, managing expectations will be a challenge.
"Certainly Road Atlanta was a magical weekend for us. I have been asked by a lot of people if we will be repeating at Laguna but this series just isn't that simple. We didn't clean house at Road Atlanta because our cars are somehow dominant. The engineer in me would say that statistically we were due to at some point have things go in our favor in the areas that allowed us to win this race - like the 'Perfect Storm' - it doesn't happen often but when it does..."
BimmerWorld/GearWrench's 1-2-3 was led home by Seth Thomas, now a 3-time winner in 2009. Winning on the Georgia-native's home track made the result even more special, and he says he's ready to carry that momentum into Laguna Seca.
"It is still a dream come true for me but the reality is setting in as I am starting to get ready for Monterey. I definitely feel confident coming into Laguna and BimmerWorld has a good shot at doing well there. Getting the win at Atlanta has been great, but in typical BimmerWorld style, we're pressing on to try and grab another win."
Behind Thomas and Clay, Nick Esayian piloted his Debt Cures BMW E90 to 3rd place at Road Atlanta after leading the first half of the race. If Thomas received a flood of congratulations for taking the home win, Esayian wasn't lacking in well-wishers after his stirring performance.
"I got quite a few emails and calls. It was a good feeling as this team has really worked hard since I've been here and Road Atlanta was a reflection of that. The best note I received was from Seth's father, Bobby. It read, 'I was proud of Seth getting the win at his home track but if you would have won I would have been just as proud.' Normal people don't say things like that and I had to take a second to let it sink in, but these are the kind of people that are associated with this team and frankly, the whole series."
Through the hard work, led by crew chief Jason Marks, three solid years of development on the BMW E90 chassis has paid off for the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team in 2009. So far, they have won on the fast, flat circuit in Sebring, and on the rolling tracks at Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. With the 2.2-mile Laguna Seca facility a blend of both flat and hilly sections, Clay says achieving the perfect chassis setup is an art of its own. Throw in the problems caused by the sand that invariably covers the track, and everyone will be fighting for traction.
"Beyond the up and down nature of the track, the toughest challenge at Laguna is lack of grip, due to both the normal track surface and the sand that gets pulled on the track in the course of a race. This means it is more like a rain race which has been tough for us this year, but we have been hard at work on this type of setup and I hope we see the results to reward our team's hard work."
While the BimmerWorld crew has been busy preparing the trio of E90s for Laguna Seca, the team's drivers have also been getting ready for the event. Esayian's progress behind the wheel of BimmerWorld's #34 E90 has been the story of the year, and the World Challenge veteran has kept the pressure on himself between rounds to pick up right where he left off in Georgia.
"I've continued to focus on my fitness training and have spent time in the gym and I also started my flag football season. It's just for fun but it keeps the juices flowing and dropping back to throw a pass with a whole bunch of people chasing you is good exercise for keeping your edge in terms of the decision making we all do on the race track. In addition I've spent some quality time with my kids. That's the best!"
Having traversed the country from Virginia to California for this weekend's race, southern California resident Esayian now has the opportunity to enjoy support at his 'home' race. He says that if he had his way, the 2009 would keep going.
"I've got a nice group coming to the race. It's rough because we only have one race out West and it's a hike from San Diego but Laguna Seca is a beautiful track and I love the area. As usual we'll have a few folks from the Special Operation Warrior Foundation joining us and that is always a treat. The last race of the year is always a bag of mixed emotions. It's the end of a solid season, reflection on where one can improve, and appreciation that getting to drive these cars, against these guys, in this series is a privilege and you have to enjoy every race."
Monterey represents the last opportunity for Esayian and Clay to find victory circle in 2009. While Clay won at Elkhart Lake in 2008 and Esayian's fresh off his career best of 3rd, the two would like nothing more than to join Thomas in the win column this season.
For Thomas, currently tied with Jason Saini with 3 wins in 2009, Laguna Seca is a chance to go down in the record books as the winningest driver of '09. "Winning at Laguna and ending the season with 4 wins would be the best way to get 2010 started! With the season we have had so far I think there is a good chance that we can come away with it, but so can James and Nick. The big part that is going to hurt our chances is the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. weight my car is now carrying. I know the BimmerWorld crew will give me the best car, and our chances as a team are rock solid."