SCC: Birmingham: BimmerWorld Racing race report

BimmerWorld Banks More Points at Barber BimmerWorld Banks More Points at Barber Top GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team takes 5th and 6th after starting from pole and leading during the caution-filled race in Birmingham, AL *...

BimmerWorld Banks More Points at Barber

BimmerWorld Banks More Points at Barber
Top GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team takes 5th and 6th after starting from pole and leading during the caution-filled race in Birmingham, AL

* Team earns its first ST-class pole position in just its third race in the series with rookie David White behind the wheel

* White and co-driver James Clay take fifth at the finish, followed closely by the sister BMW E90 of Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann in sixth

* Thomas and Heumann leave Barber second in drivers points, White and Clay moved up to 11th and BimmerWorld/GearWrench maintains second in team points

Dublin, VA -- Consistency and progress have been the two most notable aspects of BimmerWorld's maiden effort in the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season -- a point they proved yet again last weekend at Round Three at Barber Motorsports Park.

After scoring their first ST-class pole, leading a significant number of laps, and banking more valuable points in the championship, the Dublin, VA-based BMW experts have been slowly rewriting what can be expected from a new entrant in the series.

At a track with more ups and downs than any other on the GRAND-AM calendar, Barber's 2.3-mile, 17-turn layout allowed the BimmerWorld-built BMW E90s to post fast individual laps, as evidenced by David White's first career pole position in the #80 BimmerWorld/GearWrench E90. But over the span of the 2 hour and 30 minute race, the lighter cars in the class enjoyed an advantage on a track that has been likened to a rollercoaster ride.

"We knew going in to Barber that it was going to be a tough one for us - 2800 pounds of BMW E90 is up to 500 more pounds to haul around than our competitors, and this tight, twisty track made it hard on us," said James Clay, BimmerWorld owner and co-driver of the #80. "We made a change to the setup of the #80 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW late in the game to qualify and I was kind of surprised how fast it was. David was awesome, and put the car on pole on his first flying lap, which says a lot about his abilities."

For White, his first pole position in just his third professional race, and leading the first 12 laps of the Barber race is something he'll never forget.

"The whole BimmerWorld/GearWrench team did an outstanding job at Barber. Earning the pole and leading the ST field to the green flag for the first time was an amazing experience and one I hope to repeat throughout the season. Barber is a very tight, technical track and our BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW's are the heaviest cars in the ST class which made holding off lighter cars difficult and making our fifth and sixth place finish that much more impressive."

White's ascension in the ST class has been one of the best storylines of the 2010 season, and he credits the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team for his rapid progress.

"Most rookies would come in to a series like GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and expect to spend the year toiling around at the back of the field while they learn the ropes, but that's the exact opposite of what BimmerWorld has provided me. James and Seth were instrumental in Bill and I finding the speed we needed to earn the best starting positions and at Barber, and to run our best stints so far this season. We have accelerated our learning curve so much, and the end result is that I've already accomplished more in my first three races than some people do in the first three years."

White's command of the lead in ST would change hands as the race evolved, but as Clay shares, the lessons learned on both the #80 and #81 throughout the race will be useful on any future visits to the track.

"Unfortunately, while fast in qualifying, we didn't have enough time with some last minute changes in our car to tweak it for a race setup and the car went away more than we expected. Our sister car, however, got stronger as the race wore on, and Bill and Seth marched forward through the field. With certain handling aspects of both cars combined for our next race at Barber, I think the entire BimmerWorld/GearWrench team will be a handful for the rest of the field to deal with."

BimmerWorld's other rookie, Bill Heumann, put in another experience defying performance. Like White, Heumann drove like a veteran, combining fast laps and smart moves in traffic to show how formidable of a pilot he's become.

"I'm feeling great coming out of Round Three. The team did a fantastic job all around. I qualified with my personal best of the season in 13th and then put down my best race of the season so far with the car and handed it over in 8th when I got out. Everyone is working so hard to do as well as possible at every job that there is a healthy pressure for continuous improvement. This is really a nod to the team principle, James Clay, who sets the same tone for the race team as he does for the business side of BimmerWorld. Everything must be right, and must continue to improve, and that's just what happens."

With the weight concession in mind, Heumann relied on an old friend -- his BMW's brakes -- to make numerous passes in the race.

"The cars were great throughout the race with the Performance Friction brakes and rotors remaining perfect from start to finish. Our setup and handling was spot on with the ability to get to throttle earlier than our competitors in most places. When we get to our next race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR, BimmerWorld's home track) I expect the big demand on handling to balance out the weight advantage the other cars have. Bring on VIR!"

Now with two weeks to prepare for VIR, Seth Thomas sees a prime opportunity for the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team to keep their momentum going.

"With VIR being the next race, I feel like we are on a good roll. Bill had his best performance yet and went almost 2 seconds faster in qualifying than he had when he last qualified the car. I don't think he placed a wheel wrong the whole time while being pressured by some of the best drivers out there, and that speaks to how quickly he's coming into his own in this series. Bill and David are driving like they are champions, and when you add all of this together, BimmerWorld is now in the running for the ST championship.

Thomas highlighted one major aspect of the BimmerWorld/GearWrench program, as did all the other drivers, that has kept both cars in contention for a top finish at every race so far: Pit stops.

"Jason Marks and the BimmerWorld/GearWrench crew have out-gunned some of the best in the paddock. They performed flawless pit stops once again, getting us back on track in record time and with zero mistakes. Their mechanical work to prepare the cars has also been faultless. We've never had an issue, and our engineering staff has given us fast cars at every event. The drivers get the credit most of the time, but our crew deserves it as much, if not more than we do. They'll get another chance to show it at VIR."

-source: bimmerworld racing

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