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VIR: BimmerWorld preview

BimmerWorld: Down Time What do racing drivers do to keep busy with six weeks between races? Keeping busy is easy--slowing down is the hard part as BimmerWorld's SPEED Touring Car trio tells us. "The past six weeks have been insanely hectic...

BimmerWorld: Down Time

What do racing drivers do to keep busy with six weeks between races? Keeping busy is easy--slowing down is the hard part as BimmerWorld's SPEED Touring Car trio tells us.

"The past six weeks have been insanely hectic from all directions -- the fun just never ends here!" BimmerWorld owner and driver James Clay offered. While some World Challenge Touring Car teams have looked to the extended break between the first and second rounds as an opportunity to charge their batteries and prepare for the remainder of the season, Clay and his BimmerWorld BME E90 team mates Seth Thomas and Nick Esayian have been working flat out since the checkered flag flew at Sebring last month.

In addition to owning the BimmerWorld Racing team, Clay also owns and runs the parent company, his BimmerWorld BMW aftermarket, sales, and development business that serve owners and enthusiasts of the famed German brand. With two businesses on his shoulders and his weekends packed with other track activities, this weekend's SPEED TC round at his home track, Virginia International Raceway (VIR) could be a rare opportunity to slow down and focus solely on racing.

"The release of the new BMW 135i kept me busy on the development side and the guys a little busy in the shop. We just turned out what is as far as I know the most tuned 135i in North America to compete in One Lap of America coming up in May against some fairly high horsepower and highly-tuned competition -- we will see what this newest BMW pocket-rocket can do!

"We have also been working on some new parts and tweaks for our BMW E90 Touring Cars post-Sebring. We're pretty dialed in to the new tires thanks to some winter testing which was nice after seeing some of the other marques struggle a little. But development never stops -- or if it does, you are in trouble! We just wrapped up some testing at VIR in preparation for this week's race so expectations are high."

While the cars have been cared for and improved, Clay's been pushing himself to keep many balls in the air. Rest, something he's been without since Sebring, will have to wait for another weekend. "Personally, I have been in planes, trains, and automobiles more than I have been in my office chair recently and for the foreseeable future, which is keeping me on my toes. I have been doing a lot of driver coaching, racing with some friends, and media work for Grassroots Motorsports on the new BMW family of fast cars (135/335/M3) and SPEEDtv.com with the release of the new BMW X6. I have One Lap coming up next month as well as three SPEED TC races in the next five weeks. Wild times!"

For Sebring star Seth Thomas, the race at VIR this weekend can't come fast enough. It might serve as a break for the hectic pace he's been keeping. "What hasn't happened since the last race?!? I have worked, spent time with the wife and dogs, been to Sebring to do driver coaching with a few clients, tested their cars, ran a club race, participated in some wild bachelor party debauchery and found some time to devote to building a house! I've tried to keep my skills in tact by spending some time in some fast cars at a couple of different tracks. We'll find out how well this will come into play this weekend."

In Nick Esayian's world, a blend of reality and hilarity is completely normal. "I've been working, spending time with family, and... Last week Sunday I took my wife to the Bon Jovi concert in Las Vegas... We had a great time but on the way home had a "disagreement." I tossed my suitcase into the back of the car and pop went my back! A week of excruciating back spasms followed. It was horrible... I've been able to stand up for only two days... Physical Therapy, a Janis Joplin mixture of drugs, acupuncture (which I still don't believe in even though it worked), laying the spa for hours, and sleeping restlessly on the floor. This of course all arose from my wife disagreeing when I stated I was going back to the mullet after the Bon Jovi show. Two rules when I married her... No Trans-Am's and no mullet." We can only hope Nick has had time to grow a mullet worthy of Billy Ray Cyrus' Achy-Breaky Heart.

Predictions for the race this weekend at VIR ring with optimism and the desire for a quick recovery from a Sebring race that failed to deliver the results Clay, Esayian, and Thomas know the cars are capable of.

"My prediction for the weekend is nothing short of seeing all three cars crossing the finish line where they are supposed to be," Thomas offered. "It is up to us as drivers to sort out the finishing order. I know that James has a lot of laps at VIR compared to Nick and I but Nick is the underdog of us three. And we all know how this year has been a year for the underdogs to pull off the upset in the world of sports this year. So I think VIR is going to be nothing short of a great race for our BMW E90's and BimmerWorld. I think that it will be safe to say we will be fast, we will show the home crowd why the BMW's are the best car on track, and why we are the best team in World Challenge. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Esayian's focus on the upcoming race is in line with that of Thomas. "No question our expectations are high for VIR. After falling short of our potential at Sebring we know there are two reasons we have to show big. First and foremost, points. We need to stake the Roundel Flag in the ground here and get into the game. We can make the lost ground up but we can't afford a stumble. Second, this is home for the team and as in any other sport momentum is critical. We need to give our guys a shot in the arm here at home as we hit the stride of the season. I don't see any reason we can't walk away from this in a commanding position if we minimize mistakes and go out and have some fun at VIR."

Virginia-native James Clay has the added benefit of racing in front of those that are most important to him. "For VIR, we have lots of family, friends, and customers coming out -- basically the whole extended BimmerWorld family. It will be great to be back to our home track for the first time in many years. Seth looks forward to his home race at Road Atlanta every year, and I'm really thankful to have the opportunity to race at my home track this weekend. Like Seth and Nick, I'll be giving it my all, as will our entire crew."

-credit: ww.bimmerworld.com

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers James Clay , Nick Esayian , Seth Thomas
Teams BimmerWorld Racing