Road Atlanta: BimmerWorld Racing preview

BimmerWorld and GearWrench Team Up For Special Edition BMW Livery at Road AtlantaA month of hard work beneath the skin of BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay's BMW E90 is highlighted by a custom paint scheme for fans of the privateer team. Seth ...

Road Atlanta: BimmerWorld Racing preview

BimmerWorld and GearWrench Team Up For Special Edition BMW Livery at Road AtlantaA month of hard work beneath the skin of BimmerWorld owner/driver James Clay's BMW E90 is highlighted by a custom paint scheme for fans of the privateer team.

Seth Thomas and Nick Esayian The familiar powder blue and yellow on Clay's #36 has been replaced with a GearWrench-themed design.

Now in their second year of partnership, the BimmerWorld/GearWrench SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car team is commemorating this week's race at Road Atlanta with a special edition BMW E90 racecar for team owner/driver James Clay.

The familiar powder blue and yellow paint on Clay's #36 entry has been replaced with a fully GearWrench-themed design. "We've had this in the works for quite a while," said Clay. "GearWrench has been a great partner for the last couple of years and their sponsorship of our team is one that benefits everyone. We are working with GearWrench on an expanded program for the future, starting in Atlanta. They are bringing a lot of their corporate customers to watch some of the best sportscar racing in North America and I am proud to carry the GearWrench banner on my car."

"Seth and Nick will still be flying BimmerWorld's traditional colors," Clay continued, "and my E90 will be dressed in black and yellow, and featuring the GearWrench line of hand tools that our team relies on to keep our cars performing at this level. This is the first time in six years I have been surrounded by anything other BimmerWorld blue and yellow and I have already been asked by more than a few spectators where my car is! But just like flying the BimmerWorld colors, I am supporting a brand and product line that is a leader in their industry and I personally believe in."

Clay and his BimmerWorld/GearWrench teammates hope to return to their winning ways at the Braselton, GA circuit. With two wins so far for the team in 2009, Road Atlanta represents a great opportunity to battle the factory-sponsored Acuras and Mazdas for top honors. After nearly a month of tireless work by crew chief Jason Marks and BimmerWorld's dedicated team of technicians, Clay knows their efforts will pay dividends on the track and for their customers.

"Our BMWs are always under constant development. That is one of the great things about our organization. We are continuously working to improve our cars and since the people actually doing that work are also a part of BimmerWorld's daily operations in sales, product development, engineering, etc., all the knowledge and results that come from BimmerWorld Racing transfers directly to our customers."

As the World Challenge series continuously balances the performances of the various cars in the field, teams like BimmerWorld are constantly searching for small increments of speed to counter those changes. The time leading up to Road Atlanta was no different, and Clay shed some light on how his operation continues to make improvements on E90s that are already well honed.

"Even without changes in the specs of the car, we are constantly making changes to suit specific tracks, weather conditions, and our current theories or direction in engineering. As a self-trained engineer, the craft of racecar engineering fascinates me -- there are so many different elements involved. It involves standard engineering disciplines, some physics, and some pure art; all are combined to make a car fast. And because it is somewhat of an art form, there is no calculated, correct answer to solve every problem we face. We are always implementing new theories and ideas to make our BMWs faster. It's a fantastic challenge that pushes our team to never settle for what we think is good enough."

While Clay, Marks and the rest of BimmerWorld's crew have been busy preparing for Road Atlanta from their Dublin, Va., shop, drivers Nick Esayian and Seth Thomas have been hard at work preparing themselves for the penultimate round of the championship.

"I've been karting to keep myself sharp," said Esayian, "and I also drove one of the ACS SPEED GT Mustangs. What a machine. I will be an ACS Viper for the GT race this weekend as well so I will be a busy boy..."

With a long pause between the last race at Elkhart Lake and this week's event, that much downtime could make it harder to get back into the swing of things, but Esayian says it's something many athletes have to deal with.

"The time off is good and bad. It allows for some family time and getting on top of all of life's activities but you can feel the rust for the first little bit when you get back to the track. It does take a little time to get back into 'the zone' -- not so much with qualifying but during the race. We are all receiving literally thousands of pieces of information each minute, and your mind needs to get up to speed. It's no different than the NFL guys needing to take a few snaps to get up to speed after a bye week. We'll give ourselves a short grace period, but then it's time to go flat out."

Georgia-native Seth Thomas, a two-time race winner in 2009, will also be tasked with getting up to speed quickly after enjoying a few weeks at home with his wife and new daughter, Adelyn.

"I'm becoming a pro at this," Thomas laughed, "Adelyn was born right before our race at Mosport, but I had to switch from 'daddy' mode into 'professional driver' mode right away and I've gotten used to doing it since then. But since this is my home track, and although we are going to be racing at after six weeks off, I don't feel like it will take long at all to get back into 'the zone.' I know the track and I know the car so coming out fast should be fairly easy. But the time off has been good as I got to do a lot of family stuff. It really helps to recharge your batteries and focus on the last two races. We took a 10-day vacation to Montana to relax, do some hiking, and wrestle a grizzly bear or two..."

This is also Seth's first time coming into Road Atlanta as a race winner, but he says he hasn't placed any added pressure on himself to win on home soil -- he's always trying to win.

"This year isn't any different than the rest, although the weather may play a bigger role in the race this year. It's looking like it is going to be wet all week. Having won a couple of races this year and being in a good position in the championship hunt is a different spot for me at my home race, but my goals though are still the same. I need to do my best on the track, put on a show for my hometown friends and family, and if I do all that well enough I will come home with a win. It sure would make this a great way to wind down the season. A 1-2-3 finish is what we're aiming for."


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