DAYTONA BEACH — The action-packed season opener for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series – the 2018 BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway – took place on January 26th in Daytona Beach, Florida. For four hours, competitors in the Street Tuner (ST) class battled for strategic and power advantages on one of the racing world’s most iconic tracks. In the end, it all came down to teamwork.
For the No. 81 Bimmerworld/Legistics/r2endalz.org BMW, the day started well. Driver Devin Jones won a prolonged shoot-out in the final seconds of qualifying to grab the pole and qualify for the race in first position. Taking full advantage of that prime positioning, Jones got a clean start and led the field for the first quarter of the race. After a couple of pit stops, Jones found himself in third, but he soon hunted down the pack and reclaimed the lead.
With an hour and forty minutes left in the race, Jones pulled into the pits for a full stop – fuel, tires and a driver change. The crew executed the stop flawlessly, and co-driver Nick Galante roared back onto the track to take up the charge. Galante went on the defensive, aggressively protecting the lead as the other cars kept up relentless pressure, turning the track into a virtual obstacle course. Never surrendering its dominant position up front, the No. 81 flew across the finish line in first place for the win. A great start to a brand new season with a brand new team!
The next race in the high-stakes IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series will be on March 17th at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
2018 is shaping up to be a landmark year for Legistics, the Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation and veteran racecar driver Nick Galante. Taking on the manifold twists and turns of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series with a new car, new team and new co-driver, Galante is looking to keep the winning streak (which includes the 2016 series title) going. His longtime sponsor, Legistics CEO and Racing to End Alzheimer’s founder Phil Frengs, is committed to providing crucial support every fiercely contested mile of the way.
This season, the Legistics/r2endalz.org livery will be proudly displayed on the No. 81 BMW 328i fielded by BimmerWorld Racing in the ST (Street Tuner) class of the series. For co-drivers Nick Galante and Devin Jones, there were quite a few unknowns entering the new year. How hard would it be to switch from racing the normally-aspirated Porsche Caymans they had been driving to a turbocharged F30 328i in-line four BMW? How quickly could they get a feel for their new car and crew? How would these two drivers, formerly competitors, mesh as collaborators?
In search of answers, the entire BimmerWorld team headed in early January to Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach Florida for the “Roar Before the 24” test days, a prequel to the season opener on the same track later in the month. The outing was a resounding success. The drivers, crew and car (consummate professionals all) turned out to be well matched. The No. 81 consistently posted the fastest times of the weekend. And the team built invaluable rapport and momentum heading into a grueling season. The only question left: How far (and how fast) will this high-performance team go? Stay tuned.
ROAD ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Second in the standings coming into their final race at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, drivers Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly were determined to lay it all on the line in pursuit of the 2017 season championship.
The day started well, with Galante qualifying the #17 Porsche Cayman in 12thposition and working his way steadily up to 9th during the first half of the two-hour race. After another in a season-long string of precision pit stops by the hard-working RS1 crew, Pumpelly exited the pits in 12th position and attacked the track in his signature aggressive style. The #17 was soon back in 9th position and engaged in a pitched battle for advantage in a close-packed field of cars.
Pushing hard in an all-out effort to secure the championship win, Spencer suddenly clipped the exit curbing on turn 5! The unexpected high-speed contact sent the car lurching into the wall, irreparably damaging the front radiator. With a half hour still on the clock, the race was over for the #17.
Even with such a dramatically curtailed finish at Road Atlanta, the Legistics/Racing To End Alzheimer’s/Rickie Fowler/RS1 team still placed a highly respectable 3rd in the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship. In a sport renowned for its unpredictability and sudden turns of fortune, what truly sets the champions apart is not victory or defeat, but dedication and collaboration.
Congratulations to our entire dedicated team for another remarkable season!
LAGUNA SECA, CALIFORNIA — There was a lot riding on the penultimate race of the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge for the Legistics/Rickie Fowler/RS1 team at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The race (on driver Nick Galante’s home track in Monterey, California) would be the culminating event of the first-ever Racing to End Alzheimer’s initiative to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Instead of its usual team and sponsor logos, the #17 Porsche Cayman would be sporting a dramatic new livery emblazoned with the names of individuals whose lives were forever altered by Alzheimer’s disease. With Legistics CEO Phil Frengs covering all expenses associated with the charity, 100% of the proceeds would be donated to the search for a cure. And awareness of the battle to end the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease would be ratcheted up with every turn around the track. The team was excited to be part of such a meaningful and highly anticipated event.
At the same time, the #17 was under enormous pressure in the standings. In second place with just two races remaining in the season, the team knew that their powerful Porsche would be at a disadvantage on this small track with the kind of tight turns and short straights better suited to more nimble cars. The previous three years, Mazdas had dominated the podium. Adding to the tension was the fact that this would be the first time the race would clock in at four hours – a serious test of endurance and strategy at a juncture when drivers, crews and cars were all feeling the wear and tear of their long, roller-coaster season.
Driver Nick Galante qualified the #17 in the 11th spot despite the nimble field. He had a good start and held his position through the first hour of the race. In a tight battle with a BMW and a Mini Cooper, Galante outmaneuvered the challengers and moved up two crucial positions. After a perfectly executed pit stop at the halfway point, co-driver Spencer Pumpelly sprang into action, working his way from 9th position to 7th by the end of the race. With that solid result, the #17 narrowed the gap on the championship leader, the #56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman, which finished in 13th place.
But a 16-point gap remained. And the #17 team would need everything to come together perfectly in their final race to defend their 2016 championship title.