A Full Shift at Indy
The 8-Hour SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sunday, October 17, 2021
The perfect capstone to a season defined by endurance, the Indianapolis 8-Hour Intercontinental GT Challenge on Sunday, October 17th was a true joy ride for the two participating BimmerWorld teams.
It Takes Six to Qualify
Three drivers per car were set to compete in the rigorous 8-hour race – with charmed line-ups in both BimmerWorld entries.
Behind the wheel of the #36 BimmerWorld/Red Line Oil M4 GT4, a stacked crew looked to repeat last year’s stellar 1st place performance. Teammates James Clay, Chandler Hull and Bill Auberlen know what it takes to win at Indy, and they hit the track with a podium finish in mind.
In the #82 Racing to End Alzheimer’s/OPTIMA Batteries M4 GT4, we had the pleasure of watching Devin Jones return to the driver’s seat along with Nick Galante and James Walker, Jr. Fans will remember Devin’s crash at VIR a year ago, where he sustained injuries that kept him off the track for far too long. The whole organization is so grateful to have Devin in the driver’s seat, and we admire his fortitude in getting back on track.
With the teams set, an altered qualifying format meant that each driver would put in a lap time to be aggregated and averaged to determine starting position. All six teammates showed up, putting the #82 in 4th position and the #36 in the 2nd spot on the grid in a stout field.
Undeterred by the Unexpected
Both teams set out knowing this race posed significant obstacles to success. On top of the logistical challenges of an 8-hour race, faster GT3 cars would almost certainly gum up turns and alter rhythm for GT4 drivers. What was less predictable, however, was the complication that arose in the form of a particularly frustrating pace car.
With no consistent procedure for pass-arounds of the pace car and no clear split of multiple classes during caution periods, all BimmerWorld drivers were forced to work even harder to maintain position in the pack. The #82 car, in particular, found itself on the bottom end of split packs at crucial points in the race. Despite this, veteran drivers Jones, Galante and Walker dug deep to put together a still impressive 4th place finish.
The drivers of the #36 car, on the other hand, were able to execute their race plan almost exactly as they envisioned it. Frustrations associated with the pace car were minimal, and all three teammates put in stellar legs from start to finish. Coming into the checkered flag, Auberlen had a commanding lead on the competition and crossed the line with time to spare.
After last year’s thrilling victory, Clay, Hull and Auberlen solidified their place in Indy history with another dominant performance and first place finish at the 2021 Intercontinental GT Challenge. The team’s well-deserved celebration from atop the podium, along with their thoughts on the race, can be watched here at 9:05:33 through 9:07:19.
Capping off a Long Season
Endurance comes in different forms. It can mean coming out on top of an all-day, challenge-laden race, or getting back on the horse after a long injury recovery. Luckily for the BimmerWorld community, we had the privilege of watching both of these happen this weekend. On top of a particularly satisfying repeat victory, we saw Devin Jones return to the track and race like hell with his teammates Nick Galante and James Walker, Jr. For us, that’s a joy that only racing can bring.
Thanks for tuning in.