The BimmerWorld Racing team fulfilled an important goal this past weekend at the legendary WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race with a pole and win for their special entry to support the fight again Alzheimer’s.
The No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4 of team owner/driver James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Tyler Cooke, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., started tenth and finished just one position lower, in 11th place. The unpredictable race saw two competitors run out of fuel on the final lap of the 70-lap race.
Clay had advanced to fifth in the competitive GS class before pitting on Lap 36 with 54 minutes remaining in the competition. The rules stipulate that each driver must drive for a minimum of 45-minutes, so pit stop timing is always critical in IMSA competition. Cooke entered in 16th position and had to go straight to battle.
James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., team owner and driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4: ?
“It was a challenging weekend for us. We had an issue that we resolved on test day, but it doesn’t really matter because Laguna is always challenging because of the surface and total lack of grip. We had a very frustrating day yesterday in practice. We threw a lot at the car and we were not able to get it to work. We thought on it overnight and put a whole new set up on the car and made it happen and today was a much better day, but it still wasn’t a great day. I think that we got what we could get out of the car. If you drove a BMW, this just wasn’t your day in GS.
“For the ST guys, it was an awesome race to watch, and I was glad to be on the stand for the last half of the race to watch it unfold. Devin and Nick just killed it with another pole and another win. These guys are really running like a championship team and have almost locked down the championship, and I’m so proud of them.”
Tyler Cooke, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver, No. 82 OPTIMA Batteries BMW M4 GT4: ?
“The frustrating part about this weekend was the end of the race. We set the car up to be good at the end of the race. We can’t help that we can’t make it on fuel like the rest of the guys. The other GS BMW team pitted at the same time as some of the cars that finished in the top ten, and he had to come in about five laps before the end for more fuel. We just don’t have the needed fuel capacity in the BMW to run the strategy that the winner did, and you can’t save 5 laps of fuel. The teams are doing a great job. It’s a bittersweet thing because we definitely needed the points here if we were to stand a chance for the title. Going into Road Atlanta, hopefully we can end with a win and go off with a high note.”