BimmerWorld's E90 Racecars are Homeward Bound for Round Four at VIR
After three rounds of impressive results for the rookie Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team, BimmerWorld looks forward to racing at home at Virginia International Raceway.
Just as stick-and-ball sports teams look to their own stadiums and arenas for home field advantages, racing teams are no different. As Dublin, Va.-based BimmerWorld visits their home track at Virginia International Raceway this weekend for Round 4 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the team hopes to enjoy a similar advantage.
With too many laps to count around the picturesque track, the team would like nothing more than to visit Victory Circle during Saturday's race. Based just three hours away, the BMW specialists at BimmerWorld have used the challenging VIR circuit as a regular proving ground to develop and improve their range of BMW street and racing cars.
But this weekend will have little to do with R&D - BimmerWorld's two-car BMW E90 program will hit the track with nothing less than a win as its goal. James Clay, owner/driver of the #80 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW, says that while racing on one's home track is no guarantee of success, his team is drawing from all their past experience to start the weekend off quickly.
"We have only been to VIR once in our previous E90 Touring Cars, but as we have seen so far this year, there is a surprising amount of knowledge transfer to the new Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge-spec cars. More importantly, our experience allows us to cut the track up in segments and apply setup knowledge based on those traits. For example, we know that VIR is made up of hopping some curbs like the Barber esses and kink and hard braking into low-speed turns like Homestead - and we know what worked there and we should be able to hit the setup out of the box."
Clay's teammate, series rookie David White, is coming off of his first career ST-class pole position. White is intimately familiar with the VIR circuit, but like Clay, knows that nothing will come easy when it comes time to go racing.
"My track knowledge of VIR will help, but it will not affect my approach to our race this weekend. I am feeling confident about racing at my home track, for sure, but I know better than to think this race will be any easier than the other races on our schedule. The series is full of competitive teams and drivers and the entire BimmerWorld/GearWrench organization will have to work just as hard as they always do in order to be successful at VIR."
Bill Heumann, driver of the #81 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW alongside Seth Thomas, is proving that with equal measures of talent, determination, and a solid work ethic, a new driver to the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series can have an immediate impact on the track. As Heumann explains, the time required to prepare for a race weekend far outweighs the time spent inside the race car.
"I am a very big believer in practice but in this sport, good practice can be hard to come by. The very best practice is when we are able to drive the BimmerWorld Racing E90 itself, which usually doesn't happen until the race weekend itself! So what is left is a variety of substitute training techniques that, while they aren't as good as actual seat time in our cars, I feel help me quite a bit.
"I make sure to keep myself in shape physically by running and weight training several times a week. A race weekend is surprisingly more demanding physically than what I expected. It takes a fair amount of mental and physical stamina to peak by race time on the long weekends."
In addition to his fitness regimen, Heumann also keeps himself sharp with on-track activity in both the real and virtual worlds.
"I do a fair amount of karting. Up until this month it has been indoors, but now that the weather is nice I spend a lot of time at an outdoor karting club that has a very demanding 0.7 mile course. And for the actual circuits we race on in the series, most of the tracks we drive are available in iRacing.com, so I'll practice on the simulator to get familiar with tracks I don't know. It's almost a full-time job outside of the car to properly compete in a professional racing series, and it all pays off with the kind of results the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team keeps delivering."
Seth Thomas, known as one of the fastest drivers in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series, says that of all the tracks they've race at this year, VIR compliments the handling, braking and power characteristics of the BMW E90 better than anywhere else on the 2010 calendar.
"VIR has some fast sweeping turns where the longer wheelbase of our BMW E90s really should excel. A good example is Turn 10, South Bend. This turn is at the top of the Uphill Esses where the BimmerWorld/GearWrench E90 will be accelerating full throttle up to the brake zone. South Bend then turns left where we slightly tap the brakes and go over a blind downhill turn. The speed through there is where our cars should really distinguish themselves. Then there is the back stretch where our six-cylinder engines can really stretch their legs and then brake and stop repeatedly at the last second thanks to our PFC brakes.
"The next section after the back stretch is another one where our cars really like with the combination of lefts and rights from roller coaster down to Hog Pen. When I think about it, our cars should be really great at almost the whole track as this track really has a rhythm our BMWs really love. I can't wait to put on a show for our fans, our families, and all of the BMW enthusiasts that come out to support us wherever we go. This should be a great race."
The green flag drops on Round 4 at VIR Saturday, April 24 at 3:30PM. Follow the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team this weekend at VIR or on www.BimmerworldRacing.com.
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