Behind the Scenes with BimmerWorld team owner and driver, James Clay
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Behind the Scenes with BimmerWorld team owner
By-Sahar Hassani

BimmerWorld owner and driver, James Clay, has brought plenty of excitement and action to the SPEED World Challenge Touring Series with his 325i brigade. In 2004, his team shot to fame following the incredible three-car BimmerWorld pile-up during the standing start in Sonoma, CA. The fans and media went wild as teammate and driver, Matt Richmond, jumped on top of his over-turned BMW and raised his hands and fists in the air, as if to claim victory. A loyal fan base quickly developed, supporting their blue and yellow BMWs against the Acuras, Mazdas, and Audis.

For Clay, his passion for BMWs began in 1998 when he ran his first BMW Club race at Pocono. He scored his first championship in 2001 in the ECR Enduro Series. He finished second in driver's points in the 2001 ARRC Enduro and ARRC ITS. James began racing professionally in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Series in 2002 in a BMW 325is, running only a handful of races. The following year, his team ran a full campaign, resulting in several top ten finishes. In 2004, BimmerWorld won Crew of the Year and his crew chief, Jason Marks, won the prestigious Zimmerman Cup. In 2006, Clay introduced the new E90 chassis to the SPEED World Challenge Touring Series where he spent the majority of the year developing the new car. This season, BimmerWorld hopes to recapture the manufacturer's crown for BMW.

The Virginia Tech alumni majored in electrical engineering in undergrad and went to business school for his MBA. Clay lives only a couple miles from campus and was stunned by the recent tragedies. Along with nation, Clay continues to mourn the loss of fellow Virginia Tech students and professors.

SH: Can you tell us about your college experience at Virginia Tech.

JC: I chose to go to Tech because even as a kid growing up, I loved the school. It has such a great campus and really makes an impression when you see it. Both of my parents are alumni there and while that didn't dictate where I went to school, it put me on the road with Tech football games, class reunions, etc when I was growing up. When it was time to pick a school, I already had some good memories and since I was destined to be an engineer & Virginia Tech looked like a good match.
I wish I could say I enjoyed the academia, but really what I like most about the school is the people and the overall culture. It is a fairly large school which just topped 20,000 people when I was there, but it was never really a place that felt big, it has a closeness about it. It reminds me to a degree of the race paddock, you are surrounded by a lot of people with some major things in common.
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