Coordinating a racing team with seven entries in a weekend is a major task – from preparing the race cars, formulating a crew from across the country, setting up three tractor-trailer rigs, spare parts and extras, logistics of travel and lodging as well as food for the crew and guests. Just ask Toby Grahovec of Classic BMW’s Fast Track Racing.
Grahovec and his staff of 10 map out the Plano, Texas, racing operation from the Classic BMW dealership north of Dallas. It’s one of the largest BMW stores in North America.
But the fielding of seven BMW race cars – three M4 GT4 machines in the GTS SprintX Class and four M235iR sedans in the Touring Car division – can be a massive undertaking before the cars hit the 3.048-mile, 14-turn Utah Motorsports Campus on Friday, Aug. 10.
“Overall, we will bring in 24 crew members from around the country to Utah to help field our race cars in the normal weekend,” said Grahovec, team manager and GTS driver for Fast Track Racing. “We have 10 crew members in Plano and then a lot of guys take time off from their regular jobs to help us out. We have an engineer from GM coming from Detroit, two Honda engineers from Columbus, several guys from the Midwest and even one from the West Coast. They love to race with us and we really appreciate their assistance. We also have run eight cars twice in the same weekend this year.”
For the upcoming Utah doubleheader weekend, Fast Track Racing will bring in three trailers full of race cars, spare parts, a mini workshop as well as pit equipment for the eight racing vehicles.
But Grahovec says the Fast Track squad works well between preparing the race cars for testing as well as the race weekends. From the last PWC weekend in Portland in July, the cars were transported to Utah for last week’s testing session and then two of the semi rigs returned to Plano for additional prep on the BMW racing machines.
“We had the three trailers delivered to Utah right after the Portland race,” Grahovec explained. “We were able to test at Utah and then we needed to bring two rigs back to Texas as we had some more work to do on the race cars. Luckily, we had the room and personnel in Plano to complete all of the preparation and then head back to Utah. It’s always pretty busy at the Classic BMW shop.”
Grahovec, the 2016 PWC Touring Car series champion, handles budgets, logistics (flights and rooming) as well as team planning before he gets his chance to race his No. 92 ETF Global/CAO/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 in the GTS SprintX class with teammate Chris Ohmacht.
Currently, Grahovec and Ohmacht rank third in the GTS SprintX Amateur class and recorded a class victory in April at VIRginia International Raceway.
“Rooming can get a little intense at times as we look to rent houses for the weekends with our crew,” he added. “I’m constantly on the Airbnb websites and other housing outlets looking for houses near the race tracks. Sometimes we’ll stay in hotels, but we do watch the budget as best as possible. Then our drivers come from around the country to the events too.”
For the Utah event in the GTS SprintX, Grahovec and Ohmacht will drive the No. 92 BMW M4GT4 (Am), while Justin Raphael and Stevan McAleer team up in the No. 17 Raphael & Associates BMW M4 GT4 (Pro/Am) with Daren Jorgenson and Brett Strom in the No. 113 JET Environmental/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 (Am),
For the Fast Track Racing Touring Car lineup, it will be 2018 race winner Karl Wittmer in the No. 91 Classic BMW BMW M235iR along with Matt Travis in the No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M235iR, Jayson Clunie in the No. 27 Classic BMW BMW M235iR and Jorgensen in the No. 113 JET Environmental/Classic BMW BMW M235iR.
“We were able to have a good day of testing last week at Utah and I think our Fast Track team is excited about coming back for the races,” Grahovec said. “There are quite a number of moving parts with our team including driving the trucks to the track, flying in drivers and crew to the race weeks and just the regular prep for the race cars. I’d say I do have a lot of balls in the air. But I enjoy it and, of course, love driving the race car. The weekend before the Utah races will feel good to stay home with the family – my wife (Morgan) and two children (Aria and Ronan).”
Action will begin for the PWC Grand Prix of Utah on Friday (Aug. 10) with practice rounds in all eight classes – GT/GTS/GT Cup SprintX, GTS/GTSA SprintX and the three Touring Car categories, TCR, TC and TCA. Four races will take place each day on Saturday (Aug. 11) and Sunday (Aug. 12). All PWC races can be viewed live on www.world-challenge.com and the World Challenge TV YouTube channel, with audio broadcasts on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.