The all-new Fast Track Racing sponsored by CLASSIC BMW GTS racing team makes its GTSA class debut this weekend (March 9-11) at the Pirelli World Challenge season opener in the streets of St. Petersburg when Toby Grahovec, Justin Raphael and Chris Ohmacht compete in the 50-minute doubleheader sprint events.
The Fast Track Racing sponsored by CLASSIC BMW racing organization expanded its road racing effort this winter after scoring a PWC Touring Car series championship in 2016 with Grahovec taking the Dallas area-based BMW M235iR sports sedan to the team’s first national racing title.
The Pirelli World Challenge GTS events at St Petersburg will see the newest of BMW’s customer racing cars, the BMW M4 GT4. The BMW customer racing program, with customer-built cars, has found huge success in PWC with the BMW M235iRacing. Coming straight from the factory in Munich to the podium in its inaugural race in the 2016 season, the BMW M235iR went on to win a driver’s championship in 2016 and the manufacturer’s championship in 2017.
In addition, CLASSIC BMW of Plano Texas, one of Pirelli Tires’ leading sellers in the U.S., is once again the lead sponsor of these impressive racing machines.
Now, the veteran Grahovec, a former college hockey star from Celina, Tex., leads the Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW trio into the GTS division in 2018 with Toby, Raphael and Ohmacht all driving the new BMW M4 GT4 sports car in this week’s Rounds 1 and 2 at the tight, tricky 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit situated around the St. Petersburg harbor.
“It’s exciting to have Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW enter the GTS ranks with the new BMW M4 GT4 car,” said Grahovec, who runs the successful multi-car team for the large Plano, Tex., BMW dealership. “We will continue to field several BMW M235iR sedans in the Touring Car in the Pirelli World Challenge this year. Our team has grown in 2018 with the move into GTS. And everyone at CLASSIC BMW is thrilled for the season. BMW and Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW believe that the M4 GT4 will be equally ready.”
Grahovec believes the new BMW M4 GT4 cars will be competitive in the GTSA division of the GTS class this year after several testing sessions in Texas and Florida.
“After driving the M235iR for several years, the jump to the M4 GT4 is unique for Justin, Chris and myself,” continued Grahovec. “It’s just more of a race car with better braking and handling, more aero and, of course, more horsepower. And we know the move to GTS will be challenging as a ‘rookie’ team in the category. But we are optimistic our team can compete for the GTSA championship in 2018.”
And the Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW squad comes to the tight St. Petersburg streets circuit for the first time. In fact, Raphael and Ohmacht compete in the first street races of their careers.
“It’s been 10 years since I raced in the streets and that was at Trois-Rivieres in Quebec,” said Grahovec. “Obviously, that circuit is much different than St. Pete but I understand the street racing concept. The tricky street surfaces and very little if no runoff areas. Just walls right next to the track. As a driver, you must have total concentration to not make a mistake.”
Ohmacht, also a former TC competitor from Franklin Lakes, N.J., has already enjoyed his time in the new Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 sports car.
“Actually, I felt this car is a bit easier to drive than the TC BMW machine due to the excellent performance of the car,” Chris explained. “The car’s braking is outstanding, the handling is great and the power is there coming off the corners. Now, I will admit I’m a novice coming to a street race. So, I have to learn a bit on those city streets in that first practice session. But the GTSA class will be fun and challenging this year.”
Raphael, owner of an insurance claims adjusting company when he isn’t racing, started late in his racing career but has moved up the ranks over the recent years and was impressive with the Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW M235iR TC car in 2017.
“I’m very excited for the move to the new BMW M4 GT4 this year,” said Raphael, also of Franklin Lakes, N.J. “I’ve been huge BMW fan for many years and it was great to drive the TC BMW last year. Now, I wanted to make the move the GTS division. Working with Toby and Chris with the new BMW is a great experience for me. This new car is so cool to drive. I can’t wait for the first race at St. Petersburg.”
The Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW GTSA trio will hit the streets of St. Pete for the first time this Friday (March 9) at 12:20 p.m. ET for practice runs. The two GTS 50-minute sprint events are set for Saturday at 5:05 p.m. ET and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET.