WINTER Testing - David White

VIR Shakedown - BimmerWorld arranged for a pre Daytona shakedown at VIR last Monday. It was roughly 15 degrees when we got to the track and it didn’t seem to warm up much from there. The cold temps delayed our start but we finally got underway and made some real progress. After the initial shakedown laps, we spent some time getting familiar with the cars and started making some suspension tweaks. A few things I immediately noticed about the new cars is that they have a little less grip than I am used to from racing BMWCCA prepared class cars (the spec tires are a little harder and the cars have no real aero grip) and they are very sensitive to driver input. I'll definitely be working on being smooth and patient with my inputs.

The cars are absolutely gorgeous and the build quality is second to none. This is a testament to BimmerWorld’s race car building experience and their intimate knowledge of the E90 chassis. We were all very happy with the cars and the progress that was made at VIR.

Hopefully Daytona will be warmer…

Daytona Test Days – So it was a little warmer in Daytona but not much. Apparently Florida is seeing unusually cold temperatures…greeeaaaat! If you haven’t already picked up on it, I’m not a big fan of cold weather…at all.

Friday – We stopped by the Grand-Am offices on the way to breakfast so everyone could pick up their credentials for the season (apparently I was the only one that had his credentials mailed to him). After breakfast, we headed over to the track. If you’ve never been to Daytona International Speedway (DIS), it’s MASSIVE! I’m pretty sure you could fit a few other speedways in the infield. Overall, the facility is very impressive. After separating and handing out all the crew and driver gear (the whole team is decked out in new Alpinestars gear – very nice stuff), we headed over to the driver’s meeting. The driver’s meeting was pretty brief and to the point (surprisingly nobody asked what the yellow flag meant).

James and I had visited DIS late last year to learn the track so we basically hit the ground running in the first session. The cars were fast right off the trailer and I spent most of my seat time the first day getting more comfortable with the car and driving in a new series. We worked on tweaking the car’s setup a bit along with figuring out what kind of fuel mileage we can expect. I felt like it was a very productive and successful first day in CTSCC!

Saturday – We left our hotel Saturday morning to find out it’s sleeting/snowing/raining…in Daytona Beach, Florida. Really? When we got to the track we heard that there was some ice on the track and the track officials were trying to thaw it out. A perfect way to start the day. The early morning Rolex series session was cancelled and we decided to skip our first session (at 11am) because the track was still wet, cold, and it was still raining/sleeting. Apparently this was a popular decision since very few cars went out in that session. The track was dry for our afternoon session and we picked up where we left off from the previous day, working on setup and any driver/line issues that needed to be addressed.

Sunday – After thawing out some Saturday night, we arrived to much nicer conditions (albeit still cold) on Sunday morning. The Sunday sessions were spent mostly on pit stops and driver changes since this is a very important part of endurance racing. We practiced several pit stops and I was very impressed with how well everything went. The BimmerWorld crew is on top of their game! I did discover during one pit stop that I have to unbuckle (not just loosen) my harnesses before I can get out of the car…who knew?

Overall I felt like the Daytona test went great. We have great cars, an amazing crew, and a solid driver lineup. I’m very optimistic about BimmerWorld’s first season in CTSCC and can’t wait to get back to Daytona for our race at the end of this month. Hopefully it will be warmer…

Photos courtesy of Curtis Creager of Creager Images

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