WEATHERTECH RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA, CA — When the BimmerWorld Racing team’s #81 BMW took to the track at the legendary WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this past weekend, it was immediately obvious that something special was going on.
In place of the names of the team’s corporate sponsors, the car was covered with the donor-sponsored names of individuals whose lives have been adversely affected by Alzheimer’s disease. This moving tribute was the culmination of a season-long campaign to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit Racing to End Alzheimer’s foundation. With generous matching funds from the organization’s founders, over $100,000 was raised in 2018, with 100% of the proceeds earmarked for critical Alzheimer’s research and care.
The penultimate race of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge had a lot riding on it. In addition to the high-visibility Racing to End Alzheimer’s tribute, the race was also a homecoming of sorts for driver Nick Galante – a return to the track where his racing career began. And with only two races left in the hard-fought season, every team on the track was feeling the pressure to turn in a peak performance.
The day started out auspiciously for the #81 Veristor/Legistics/ Racing to End Alzheimer’s team. Nick Galante qualified at the top of the ST class to start the two-hour race in the enviable pole position. With 36 cars battling for dominance on the iconic 2.238 mile, 11-turn course, Galante’s hold on the lead only lasted until turn 2, when he was forced off track to avoid a pair of TCR class cars that collided in his path. Reentering the race in 5th position, Galante kept a cool head and regained the lead before pitting on lap 27 for tires, fuel and a driver change.
Having pitted before the hallway point to take advantage of a caution, the team had to balance the need for speed with the threat of running out of fuel before the end of the race. With Devin Jones driving and Trent Brown managing strategy from the pit, the #81 was up to the challenge. Jones battled all comers, finessed his way back into the lead and held on all the way to the checkered flag for a deeply meaningful and memorable BimmerWorld team victory.
Devin Jones: “It was a really wild race. Nick did a great job in the opening stint, keeping our position. I started the stint about four minutes down on fuel, so it was nerve-racking right down to the end. I didn’t know if we were going to make it, but I’m just really happy it worked out, especially for ‘Racing to End Alzheimer’s” and all the names on the car. It’s just really special to win here and especially in Nick’s hometown. This is a big deal for us.”
Team Bimmerworld holds the lead in ST class points with only one race remaining in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The finale for the 2018 season will be the Fox Factory 120 at Road Atlanta on Friday, October 12.The WeatherTech Laguna Seca 120 race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, September 16 from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern time.