James Clay, owner and driver of BimmerWorld Racing had a great first weekend to kickoff the 2020 season, winning Race 1 and a podium finish in Race 2. Take a deep dive with us into his Driver Download to learn more about his successes and other hobbies!
Team: BimmerWorld Racing
Car: BMW M240iR Cup
Hometown: Blacksburg, VA
Birthday: Aug 14
Favorite Track: Virginia International Raceway and Road America
Daily Driver: BMW M850i
Dream Car: Any fast BMW E36…
Racing Hero: David Wagener
Favorite Food: Mexican
Favorite Hobby: Stand-up jetskiing
Occupation: Owner, BimmerWorld
Favorite Vacation Spot: All of them – enjoy the moment
Pet names: Lyla (dobie mix pup)
First Car: Jeep Wagoneer
Favorite Movie: My Cousin Vinny
Favorite TV Show: Whatever’s on – usually History or Discovery
How was the season opener at COTA?
COTA was good for our team as a start to the season and good for me as a driver. I won the Saturday TC race, which is the best way to start the season! Then another podium on Sunday put me in the lead for the Championship. Lots of racing to go, but the start was a good one.
How did you get into racing?
I bought a BMW E30 M3 after wrecking a street car and realizing I needed to learn how to drive if I was going to drive fast – and I didn’t want to stop that… I took it to the track, and that was the end of me – I’ve been pursuing racing ever since.
What is your favorite racing memory?
My first Touring Car win at Road America in 2008 in one of our BimmerWorld E90 325i Touring Cars – my pass for the lead on the outside of Turn 5 is one I remember every time I’m at that track.
What’s the story behind your helmet design?
Aiden Hughes is an artist that did a lot of propaganda art, including album covers for KMFDM, an industrial band that I’m still a fan of. He did my first featuring the driver character we use, and my painter Brett King has taken that and run with it. Each one is a take on a World War II propaganda poster.
Something interesting about you or a hidden talent?
Before I hopped in a racecar, I was a 300 pound offensive lineman.
If you could invite 3 people to dinner who would it be and why?
The three guys on our BimmerWorld team in grabbing range because I really just love those guys. Racing is a team sport, but with the amount of time on the road with all the series we run, it’s a family also, and I know I’m supposed to say some famous racer, but time with the people I enjoy is hard to beat.
You have been in TC America in it’s various forms off and on for almost two decades. What keeps bringing you back? How hard is it to transition from the GT4 BMW to the TC America BMW?
I had a long stint through 2009 as a full-time driver, then moved in endurance racing. I came back for a weekend in 2019 to help our team out (we ran a full-season TC team), and everything just lined up for a full season this year. The different cars certainly have different characteristics, but I drive a lot of different equipment, so that isn’t a big deal. The hardest part for me, especially on the rare weekends I drive both, is nailing the braking points and corner speed with the precision required to win races in two very different cars.