BimmerWorld: Watkins Glen SPEED TC -- When Good Turns to Bad in 45 Minutes BMW World Challenge Touring Car team on pace for three cars in the top-10 at Watkins Glen until disaster strikes, entire team out in one corner. The old racing adage ...
BimmerWorld: Watkins Glen SPEED TC -- When Good Turns to Bad in 45 Minutes
BMW World Challenge Touring Car team on pace for three cars in the top-10 at Watkins Glen until disaster strikes, entire team out in one corner.
The old racing adage about needing to 'win or be spectacular' was never more evident as a crash in the final corner found all three BimmerWorld BMW E90's involved and out of the race on the spot.
Recounting the events of the impact, BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay, at the center of the crash that involved teammates Nick Esayian and Seth Thomas, stated "I came into Turn 11 and just couldn't find any front end grip. I got the car pointed, but needed about 3" more track than I had. As soon as the car touched the tire wall, it got sucked in and started this chain of events. I am very glad that Daniels who was behind me, as well as my teammates and myself made it through the incident without any real injury."
Bumps and bruises are a normal part of top-tier touring car racing, but despite this, Clay's crash left him in awe of the BMW E90's BimmerWorld has built. "This wreck was violent and the scariest I have ever been in. It is a real testament to the safety we've engineered into these racing cars."
Despite the lost opportunities of a strong finish at Watkins Glen, the competitiveness of the cars has Clay remaining upbeat for the rest of the season. "The cars keep getting better. I know we have the power right now, but we still seem to be fighting a little bit of an uphill battle with the grip. I was running in 5th and also visited 3rd place briefly on the first restart before losing a place to slot in, and being shuffled. This seemed like it was going to be a good race before disaster struck, but there's no reason for us to let a bad weekend at Watkins set us back."
A team like BimmerWorld would rather gain media attention from its success, but Clay has seen the interest come pouring in over their crash footage. "Our crash made SPEED on Wind Tunnel AND SPEED Report--the first time for us on both shows. We'd rather be on TV for a race win, but I guess there's some solace if our crash videos are entertaining..."
Driver of the #34 Debt Cures BimmerWorld BMW, Nick Esayian, was counting his blessings after the pileup. "I've been doing this for sixteen years and have been in and seen a fair share of crashes. This one ranked up there with the worst of them. Clay, Jim Daniels, myself and Thomas were nose to tail through the last turn onto the main straight. Clay dropped a wheel and got sucked into the tire barrier. Daniels was so close both of them got expectorated back onto the track, spinning, pieces flying, etc. right as Seth I exited the turn. There was no place to go and only a fraction of a second to react.
"Clay and Daniels' initial crash into the wall was scary enough but there was not a path through, so Seth and I basically drove into the accident at almost 90 mph. I was completely sideways, managed to avoid Clay and then with some fairly evasive driving almost got by Daniels...but no dice. There would be no suspending the laws of physics today. I hammered Daniels who was up against the pit entrance. It was a big hit."
Like Clay, Esayian was in a thankful and reflective mood after the crash. "Honestly, the biggest positive was that the four of us walked away from that crash, and with only minor injuries. There was potential there for something very bad to happen. The Touring Car guys are a tight group. You look at your teammate and competitors with even more concern after something like this happens. On a positive note we're certainly on the right track, and with the break prior to Mid Ohio we should be ready to put on a good show the last four races." Seth Thomas was on his way to another impressive finish with the constantly developing BMW E90 chassis when the series intervened. "We keep improving the cars and becoming more accustomed to the new Toyo R888 tires. Watkins Glen had some hopes of good fortune for us in the continual development of the E90's. At one point I was running 3rd but got moved back after a stop and go penalty, and from my exhaust being closed in by some light contact during the first lap. It was shaping up to be another strong finish until we all got together."
With any good team, the ability to move forward and focus on the future is critical. For Thomas, the site of the next SPEED Touring Car round is what gives him hope for a better finish than Watkins Glen. "The positive for the weekend is that we had podium cars. Now I just want a repeat of our win last year at Mid Ohio!"