Big BMW Weekend for Burton Racing at Circuit of the Americas
Source: Burton Racing. Austin, Texas (18 September 2015) – With a strong contingent of BMW fans looking on, Burton Racing was pleased to again return to a healthy two-car effort at Circuit of the Americas as they fought through the brutal midday heat to cross the finish line in the penultimate round of IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition. Terry Borcheller brought the No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/303 Products BMW 128i shared with Mike LaMarra home to a solid sixth place finishing position while the No. 21 Trim-Tex Drywall Products BMW 128i of Josh Bilicki and Joe Koenig took the checkers in 21st.
As the sun hit its peak, LaMarra started the hot 2.5-hour race in his No. 23 BMW machine from 10th on the grid while Koenig rolled off in 22nd. Both drivers found themselves caught up in the packed field at the wave of the green flag, as they sacrificed positions but fought to keep pace and race cleanly. As the stint wore on, both drivers settled into the race pace as they picked off positions and worked their way up the field.
Koenig made a pit stop just past the 35-minute mark to take a full service of fuel and tires and to hand the car over to Bilicki in 24th position. After cycling back into the pack just two spots back thanks to a flawless pit stop by the crew, Bilicki put his head down and showed himself fully capable of handling the powerful Bimmer around a new track as he kept pace with his competitors, consistently setting lap times equal to cars positions ahead of him.
With the help of two caution periods, Bilicki was able to finish out the rest of the race with just one more splash for fuel and impressively maintained pace with his competitors despite having tires that were many laps older than the cars around him in the final minutes of the race to bring the No. 21 home to a finish equal with its entrant number.
In the No. 23, full-season Burton Racing driver Borcheller matched Bilicki’s intensity as he took over controls with a fresh tank of fuel and four new Continental Tires just past the one-hour mark in eighth position, thanks to LaMarra’s fearless drive. The seasoned Burton BMW driver immediately set to work, gaining positions to eventually run as high as fourth. Borcheller fought hard to the finish to take the checkers in sixth place.
“We are pleased with our performance today,” said Team Manager Keith Burton. “We knew what to expect going into the race with both of our cars, and this track is absolutely brutal in this heat on the cars and the drivers. So I am really proud of all four drivers today and the whole team. We just keep making improvements and chipping away at things and we will just keep doing that. I am especially proud of Josh (Bilicki) today, it’s great having him with us, he did a great job, and this was a great experience for him. I’m also proud of Terry (Borcheller), he is a great driver and really knows what he is doing out there. He is a smart driver and refuses to race dirty, so I’m proud of him for that. We were also really pleased to get to have so many BMW supporters on hand this weekend, so it was a good one for us and now we are looking forward to Road Atlanta.”
The 2.5-hour race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 on September 27 at 1:30 PM(ET). Burton Racing will be back in action in just two week’s time in the season finale at Road Atlanta as part of the Petit Le Mans event weekend on October 1-3.
Burton Racing Driver Quoteboard:
Joe Koenig, No. 21 Trim-Tex Drywall Products BMW 128i – “My stint was largely uneventful. It is hard to find a spot on this track to really gain on someone else and I just didn’t quite have the time or speed today. I’m really proud of Josh (Bilicki) today though, he was in the car for a really long time in some intense heat and he did a great job of managing everything and driving well. It was a lot of fun out there today. It was fun giving him that shot and I hope that someone out there notices him, he has got talent. Having a lot of BMW fans and customers out here and having two cars out on track it was good fun, so I am pleased overall and pleased with all the hard work the whole Burton Racing team put in the whole weekend.”
Josh Bilicki, No. 21 Trim-Tex Drywall Products BMW 128i – “That was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I was in the car longer than anyone else because we were the first to stop. I have been in the car for 4-hours at Thunderdome, but it’s also 40 degrees there and you aren’t working quite as hard as in the crazy heat of the midday here. The last 20 minutes of the race were brutal because the track really just took it out of both me and the car. I’m so glad we finished, I would have liked to have finished a bit higher. But overall we brought the car home safe. I am so thankful to Burton Racing for this opportunity and am so pleased with everybody, Trim-Tex Drywall Supplies, and a big thank you to Mike Grady from Fall-Line and also to Joe (Koenig) for giving me this opportunity and just everyone else on the team for doing such a great job.”