The BMW Endurance Challenge
Daytona International Speedway
Friday, January 24, 2020
The season opener of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Daytona International Speedway marked the debut of an exciting new Racing to End Alzheimer’s dream team. Driver Nick Galante and BimmerWorld Racing, winners of the 2018 championship, have joined forces with driver Dillon Machavern, the 2017 CTSC GS champion. The combined experience and exceptional chemistry of this powerhouse team promise to electrify the 2020 racing season.
Patience and pacing
Spirits – and tensions – were high on race day as more than 50 teams lined up for what would be a punishing 4-hour endurance test on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile Daytona track. Under sunny skies after a week of dicey weather, the #80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s M4 GT4 BMW started the race in 14th position. Right out of the gate, driver Nick Galante found himself engaged in dogfights front and rear. With such a crowded field, the pressure was coming from all directions.
For the first hour, Galante drove reactively, responding aggressively to challengers on the densely packed track. Halfway through his two-hour stint, the veteran driver changed tactics. Having seen cars popping tires left and right, Galante forced himself to focus on the pacing and patience he knew he needed to stay off the curbs and avoid a similar fate for the #80 BMW.
A miscue midway
Pulling into the pits, Galante turned the wheel of the mercifully intact racecar over to Dillon Machavern for the second half of the race. With fresh tires and a full tank of gas, Machavern quickly worked his way well inside the top 10. Unfortunately, a pit stop miscue resulted in a significant drop in the standings for the #80, which ultimately crossed the finish line in 19th place.
While not the result the r2endalz team had in mind at the start of the day, there was still plenty of reason for optimism looking ahead to the many matchups still to come. “It’s looking to be a great season of hard racing,” Galante said. “The car is fast, the level of drivers in the series has taken a big step up, and our BimmerWorld team is as good as it gets. The friendship dynamic on this team is amazing, and I know this will be great platform to make real strides in the fight against Alzheimer’s. I’m just really looking forward to seeing what we can do together.”
The #80 Racing to End Alzheimer’s M4 GT4 BMW took to the track at Daytona with its eye-catching purple livery emblazoned with a record-breaking 61 names of individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease. It was an inspiring way to start the new decade for the non-profit founded by Legistics CEO Phil Frengs to help fund the care and fund the cure. (Visit r2endalz.org for more information.)Next up for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s team is the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday, March 19. Live coverage will be provided by TrackPass at 3:50 p.m. EDT, with the race airing on Thursday, March 26, from 3-5 p.m. EDT on NBCSN.