Former Touring Car series champion Toby Grahovec led the six-car assault of the Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW racing team Friday in Rounds 3 and 4 of the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Virginia at the Virginia International Raceway 3.27-mile, 17-turn permanent road course.
Grahovec, teaming with Chris Ohmacht recorded the fastest lap of practice in the GTS SprintX Am class Friday with a 1m54.645s lap in the No. 92 ETF Global/Classic BMW.com BMW M4 GT4 in the two practice sessions.
“Today (Friday) was awesome for Fast Track Racing,” said Grahovec, seeking another podium (top-three) finish in 2018. “All six of our cars are running well, three in the GTS SprintX class and three in the Touring Car class. We are anxious for Saturday’s qualifying in the morning and then the races in the afternoon. We feel we have a good shot at placing on the podium again.”
The VIR circuit is much different than Circuit of The Americas, which hosted Round 1 and 2 of the Pirelli World Challenge series. Grahovec says there is a different mentally for the two different tracks.
“COTA is a modern track with a lot of runoff area where you can drop off a wheel and not spin out,” he said. “However, if you drop a wheel here at VIR, you are on the grass and, after the rain, you will end up the tire wall or the guardrail. It’s going to do a lot of damage. You have to very tidy on your racing line and you can’t make any mistakes.”
In Friday action, the COTA runner-up team, the No. 17 Raphael & Associates/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 of Justin Raphael and Stevan McAleer, led the team’s GTS SprintX Pro-Am practice runs with the eighth-quickest time of 1m54.246s for an average speed of 103.4 miles per hour with McAleer clocking the best lap, while the No. 27 Vess Energy Group BMW M4 GT4 with drivers Mike Vess and Jason Hart in the tenth position with a 1m54.496s for Hart.
The three Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW BMW M235iR sedans enjoyed improved runs Friday with Matt Travis leading the way for third best in the Touring Car division. Travis, from The Woodlands, Tex., recorded a 2m03.360s in the No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M235iR, while Karl Wittmer, the Montreal racer who recorded a podium finish at COTA, clocked the 10th spot in the No. 91 Classic BMW BMW M235iR at 2m04.963s.
Pirelli World Challenge newcomer C.J. Lett of Wichita, Kan., improved his lap time Friday by more than two seconds in his PWC debut at VIR. Lett drove the No. 28 Bison/Classic BMW BMW M235iR to a best of 2m07.787s.
“I’m pleased with our runs in Touring Car Friday after some tough wet weather in the morning,” said Grahovec, who also serves as the Fast Track Racing team manager. “C.J. did a great job in some tough conditions and he is still learning the track too.”