Experiences of a Pro Rookie - Bill Heumann

Florida is not supposed to be this cold! Ok, it is North Florida in January but snow and ice on the track? Seriously? This is colder than Mid Ohio in October! I can’t wait to get back North where at least the buildings have heat.

My real awareness of making it to the pros was when I got to the hotel room I was sharing with Seth. The room was equipped with black lights for mood and plastic under sheets. To cap it off the HVAC unit wouldn’t blow hot air. To show that I am not the most inexperienced member of the team in all things, I called the front desk to find out that if you want heat you turn the rheostat all the way to cold as opposed to the highest temperature setting. Other, more experienced team members resorted to leaving the oven on and open if they were in an efficiency room or sleeping mostly clothed if they didn’t have an oven.

This was my first visit to Daytona and it is an unbelievable track and facility. I have driven some other famous tracks, but this one takes the prize for wow factor. It is so large and so impressive with so much history in evidence that it is simply in a category of its own. Furthermore, it is fast. Really fast. The track itself is easy to learn your way around but like most, not so easy to master.

I am really fortunate to have opportunity to race with BimmerWorld and to be paired with Seth Thomas. The team is so unbelievably serious and professional…at least at the track. Outside of work they are somewhat less professional, but certainly more… “entertaining.”

The Continental Tire Challenge Sport Car Series (CTC) is run by Grand Am. They run a very efficient and friendly organization. The guys in the paddock from the other teams that I met were very helpful and kind to the rookie (who is old enough to be their father if not grandfather in some cases).

My goals for this test and tune weekend were to figure out the car, the track and a little bit about what the heck I am doing. I had some success on all counts but not as much as I had hoped for.

My first event as a BimmerWorld driver in the Continental Tire Challenge Series started in a pretty normal fashion for my style of doing things in racing…by crashing our newly built BMW E90 328 into the inside wall of T1 at Daytona. I came on the brakes too hard while still on the banking…or maybe it was the wall’s fault?

Before this, Seth had set the fast lap of Session 1 in our car so the car is good and is capable of running where we need to run. The build quality is superb. My IP racecar was built by BW and I have been able to see several of the cars they have built over the years. While those were all great cars, these CTC cars are clearly the best. They are simply, works of art. Well ok, #81 is a little less artistic now!

We are back at Daytona the end of this month for the first race of the season. In the mean time, I am off to Sebring for a day of coaching from Seth then a run in the PBOC 6 hour enduro.

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