The 2016 racing season is roaring at open throttle and the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway event on March 12 will be no exception. Drawing a crowd that can’t tear themselves away from the rush that club racing brings, the BMW CCA Club Racing event in California is sure to give everyone the good run they’re looking for. Bringing even more buzz to the event is the unleashing of one of the Club’s newest and most talented racers to sign on, Jayson Colavalla.
Nicknamed ‘Rush’ the Miami born driver who got his start street racing is initiating his full time racing schedule here at the Chuckwalla race. When asked what it feels like to be a professional driver Colavalla comments, “I cut my teeth with years of street racing and I loved every minute of it. To be able to work with such world-class teams like BMW and Porsche – I could never imagine this. It’s like a dream come true.”
The race at Chuckwalla, sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of the BMW CCA Club, will give racers a world class track for the event. The infamous Chuckwalla Valley Raceway is 2.68 miles long, sports a 40 foot wide Grand Prix style track with a staggering 17 turns, contains multiple elevation changes, sports famous black and yellow roll curbs, has safe operations both clockwise and counterclockwise, and is known for its beautiful natural backdrops. The track presents a challenge for even the most experienced drivers and scenery sure dazzle spectators. Located just 45 miles east from the Palm Springs area, the race which the Club chose to debut Jayson Colavalla at is sure to draw crowds from Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
The BMW CCA Club is no back bumper driver in the racing industry. They’ve become one of the largest single-marque amateur racing series in the United States. Since it was founded in 1995, BMW CCA Club Racing has grown to nearly 50 annual races, each organized by region, with more than a dozen classes for different levels of modification and models. The club is always scouting for upcoming drivers who possess dedication to the sport, control and speed. That means you’ll want to watch your inside corner when they roll out a new driver like Colavalla who in his earlier years was referred to as “the Kobe Bryant of motorcycle racing.”
Just seven days after Chuckwalla and on the other side of the country, Colavalla will continue his full time racing schedule with BMW in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Races at the 12 Hours of Sebring. These are the races which BMW Motorsports themselves describe as “Fantastic cars, legendary race tracks, top-class drivers and passionate fans.”
When asked how the Cuban-Italian driver feels about participating in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Race he says, “I was racing cars and motorcycles before I had a drivers license,” after a short pause and a look of satisfaction he goes on to say, “To have the opportunity to be able to race with BMW, Porsche, and Ferrari is a dream come true. They are the best of the best world class teams.”
The excitement and satisfaction expressed by Colavalla is to be expected. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is North America’s top racing series for sports cars. For years it has attracted a huge number of both drivers and fans alike. This past January’s 24 Hours of Daytona race launched the 46th season of the Championship organized by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). Even after nearly half a century the championship doesn’t show any signs losing its place as being one of the premier places to see the sport’s best drivers competing against each other offering spectators the rush they they want.
Jayson Colavalla’s participation in the 12 Hours of Sebring race on March 19th marks the second classic at the start of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The 12-hour, 17 corner, 3.7 mile circuit race has been held at the Sebring International Raceway since 1952. BMW has always played a major role in the the race at Sebring and fans are excited to see the raw skill the new racer is bringing to the track.
Racing is a sport beloved by all and available to all. It transcends our imaginary boundaries of income, gender, color, religion and politics. There are no prerequisites of being rich, famous, or having a PhD to chase the checkers. Anyone who has the drive to perfect their talent, who is willing to put in long hours, and keep looking for the right opportunities can have their shot on the track.
The relatable story of Colavalla’s racing career success has become an inspiration to many enthusiasts in a time when the American dream seems harder and harder to attain. With the right amount of talent, hard work, performance (and maybe a little luck) a boy who warmed his engines street racing in Miami is now warming them up trackside with BMW. It’s a reminder that anyone who works hard can still fight for their dreams even if they do get a few bruised bumpers along the way.
As we watch Jayson Colavalla debut at Chuckwalla let’s stand up and shout the four words that gets every racer’s adrenaline pumping – “Drivers, start your engines!”
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