/// THE LEAD UP ///
Let’s take you way back to 1998 when Jordan Yost and Mike Bonanni first met at a race track as competitors. This was a different type of race track though, this was a BMX race track. Bonanni and Yost were just 15 years old and through BMX became friends. Meanwhile, Jordan’s dad, Barry Yost was racing in SCCA with Mazda RX-7s for fun, while Jordan helped on the pit crew. After a few years, Jordan left BMX to pursue what would be an impressive amateur baseball career. Bonanni stuck with BMX for a few more years and both lost contact with each other and went separate ways.
Fast forward to 2006 and Bonanni and Yost would reconnect, again at a race track, this time both as race car drivers. Bonanni was just starting his run in amateur time attack competition while Yost was already establishing himself as a major threat in the INEX Thunder Roadster series where Barry also now raced. Both still living in Las Vegas, Bonanni and Yost often ran into each other at race tracks (not literally) and their friendship was reborn. The two started working together on projects more and more and were beginning to be recognized as a team, but both still took very separate paths in racing to get to that point.
Barry, Jordan, and Mike did a lot of driver coaching together and Jordan and Mike continued to work on competition projects and trying to work their way into professional endurance racing. Both were also constantly faced with the age old racing dilema; money. They were getting opportunities to drive in top level series for top level teams, but of course at a price. A price neither could afford. This went on for years.
/// YOST AUTOSPORT IS FORMED ///
Like all great ideas, Yost Autosport started at a bar in Las Vegas. Bonanni and Yost were burnt out on trying to break into the professional ranks of endurance racing by this point. Knowing they may never have the funding to get into professional level racing they worked for years honing all other aspects of being a driver from driving skill to marketability, being comfortable in front of cameras, learning marketing, etc. They came to the realization that they have always been using those skills for other people and nothing was panning out from it. They had never tried applying what they know toward their own team. A quick call to Barry Yost and a few other strategic teammates and Yost Autosport was born; their last attempt at proving to the world just the kind of drivers and teammates they are.
/// THE M3 YEARS ///
After a lengthy discussion on choosing a platform to start this endeavor with, a BMW M3 (E92) was purchased used from a dealership. The pristine condition M3 was promptly torn apart and turned into what would become one of the most recognized M3s in the country, and one of the most competitive in endurance racing. The goal for the team has always been the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the ultimate test of man and machine. The car was built from day one for the most competitive and highest level GT car class in competition, the ES class. These boys weren’t out to have fun, they were out to prove a point and achieve a dream. Everything involved with this race team is done by the smallest team in ES class competition. Jordan, Barry, Mike, and three other dedicated volunteer crew have designed and implimented every part of their M3 program: From conceptualizing the build, to marketing and partnership creation, to web design, to physically turning wrenches and building the car from the ground up, everything about Yost Autosport is done in-house. The Yost Autosport E92 M3 endurance race car is quite literally their blood, sweat, and tears. They have their hearts and souls poured into this and it shows.
The first race for the M3 was the 2014 25 Hours of Thunderhill. With 3 drivers, 3 crew, and an un-tested platform they finished the entire 25 Hour long race, a feat that other teams have tried over 5 years to do. That race was a testament to the team’s drive and attitude. It didn’t go without it’s hiccups, but through each trying moment the team stepped up and completed the task at hand. The team and the M3 would go on to complete every single endurance race they entered with the E92 M3 having built a car first try that has lasted 37 hours of racing and counting. Her maiden voyage with this team will be the 2015 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
/// THE FUTURE ///
Through this process of building and running an endurance racing team from the ground up, the boys at Yost Autosport have learned a ton and have truly turned themselves into a professional level team with just 6 people. While the E92 M3 has been a tremendous hit with fans, the BMW community, and our partners it’s time we really blow people away with what we have planned next. We are currently in the process of building an all-new race car from the ground up using a new BMW M4 Coupe! The evolution from the E92 M3 to the F82 M4 is both natural and beneficial for the growth of our small team and our goal to take home the top prize at the coveted N.A.S.A. 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The new platform benefits from 8+ years of development and technology from BMW over the previous E92 M3 which provides a much more versatile car to take Yost Autosport through the next few years of endurance racing.