BimmerWorld Survives Rollercoaster Opener at Sebring Leading BMW SPEED Touring Car team shows incredible pace; remains upbeat despite challenging race. BimmerWorld BMW E90 team mates James Clay, Seth Thomas, and Nick Esayian will look back at...
BimmerWorld Survives Rollercoaster Opener at Sebring
Leading BMW SPEED Touring Car team shows incredible pace; remains upbeat despite challenging race.
BimmerWorld BMW E90 team mates James Clay, Seth Thomas, and Nick Esayian will look back at the 2008 Sebring opener with mixed feelings. "The good news is we have definitely had worse Sebring races! The bad news is this one certainly didn't live up to the expectations we had or the pace we set early in the week," said team owner/driver Clay. "I was in the top 5 in every practice, Seth put his car on the pole (temporarily) in qualifying, and Nick started from 4th -- all indicators of a strong weekend and that the testing on the new tire and additional development we did over the winter is paying off. Unfortunately, the luck wasn't to last." Clay's hard work would result in a 10th place finish, and two awards--the B&M Holeshot and the Hardcharger trophies. While the extra awards were appreciated, "We wanted the big hardware--the one from winning the race," Clay said.
Despite BimmerWorld's unrealized potential in the season opener, Clay knows his tight-knit team has put in the work to earn strong results for the rest of the season. "I think we have a great team this year and showed excellent speed at Sebring. We will have the minor issues worked out for the next race at VIR -- my home track! We have already done plenty of testing there and have plans for more before the event and I won't be satisfied with anything less than a podium finish (or three)."
In a weekend that would see Seth Thomas plant his blue E90 on pole position, only to be moved to the back of the grid after a broken exhaust pipe mount led to a rules infringement, the Georgia native joined Clay in his renewed optimism for the team's potential in 2008.
"Our Sebring week started off on a good note; the cars rolled off the trailer ready to go fast and we backed it up every on track session of the week. The highlight was obviously when I got the pole during qualifying. Unfortunately a new rule and a broken part caused us some issues in the tech shed so to the back of the pack for me at the start of the race!"
Never one to refuse a challenge, Thomas reveled in the opportunity to try and pass seventeen cars on his march to the front of the field. "This made Sebring one memorable race! The start was awesome having to work the car through traffic, and the next few laps proved entertaining as well when I was ran off the track once and spun by a green car exiting turn 1. After this the car settled in and kept going fast. The BimmerWorld crew did an amazing job of keeping the E90s in top shape and fast. We all suffered the setbacks after qualifying but they kept on doing what it took to get us back up to the front. Everyone should be looking to see the E90s running at the front of the field for the rest of the season." When he was finished, Thomas would pass ten cars and earn a 6th place finish.
A familiar face in the series but a newcomer to the team, Nick Esayian gave World Challenge fans a glimpse of what's to come from the #34 Debt Cures BMW E90. Despite starting in 4th place, Esayian's wired to appreciate solid race results and his 15th place finish at Sebring isn't one he'll cherish.
"The reality is that we all showed great speed throughout the weekend. "I think we showed that BimmerWorld is going to be a force this season, but we are going to collectively need to focus to show what we can do. This weekend was a rough start for all three of us. We had some mechanical gremlins, challenges in the tech shed, a few driver errors, and some competitors that didn't realize two cars can't occupy the same space at the same time... Luck is an opportunity captured or missed... This weekend we missed."