AUSTIN, Texas – College student Jacob Ruud of Racine, Wis., comes to the popular Circuit of the Americas (COTA) road course this weekend (April 30-May 2) in an attempt to score another TCX class double victory weekend in his No. 81 Light Speed/Classic BMW BMW M2CS Racing Cup sports car in the SRO America road racing competition.
Ruud, the 21-year-old senior at Rochester Institute of Technology, put on a dominant performance last month at the legendary Sonoma Raceway in northern California by winning two pole positions and leading every lap in the two 40-minute sprint races in the all-new TCX division, part of the highly competitive TC America race action.
Ruud will be joined in the Fast Track Racing TCX contingent this weekend by newcomer John Hennessy of Bellevue, Wash., in the No. 50 Classic BMW BMW M2 CS Racing Cup machine, as the two drivers team up in the Saturday (May 1) and Sunday (May 2) TCX feature races at the state-of-the-art 3.426-mile, 20-turn circuit located east of downtown Austin.
Rounding out the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW lineup at COTA is former Touring Car series champion Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., who also serves as the squad’s team manager. Grahovec is no stranger to the COTA racing plant with numerous sports car wins including the annual 24-hour COTA Classic.
The former college hockey star, who finished a close second place in the 2020 TC point standings, just missed out of the TC category victory lane at Sonoma Raceway with a second place in the familiar No. 26 Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW BMW M240iR sedan. Toby fought from fifth on the starting grid to the runner-up position last month.
Now, after a recent test session at COTA, all three Fast Track Racing drivers are excited to return for the TC America doubleheader weekend.
“Our testing was very good at COTA recently,” said Ruud, working on a major degree in computer security at RIT in New York state. “We have worked on the M2 car’s setup since the Sonoma weekend, and it feels better. The new BMW M2 feels much like the M4 GT4 sports car. The TCX field will be growing at COTA and the competition will be tougher. I have also been working on the simulator for the COTA races too. It’s funny, the simulation runs don’t give you the elevation changes at the COTA track, especially in turn one. It’s very dramatic, but I’m anxious to get back to the track for the two events.”
Hennessy, a business executive when he isn’t racing, makes his debut in the TCX division at COTA and was very impressed by the new BMW M2CS Cup sports car.
“I learned a tremendous amount at our team’s COTA testing,” said Hennessy, who previous drove in a Lamborghini Super Trofeo sports car in the LB Cup. “It was impressive to work with the Fast Track Racing team for the first time. They are so professional and guided me through the process of the new M2 race car. The car is fun to drive as well. It took awhile to get the COTA circuit down. It was a momentum thing with the M2, but I’m excited to get to the track and competition in the SRO America series. It’s my debut with the series.”
Grahovec comes back to COTA after many years of winning sports car races at his home state track including in 2020 as well as victories at VIRginia International Raceway and Road America last year.
“We had a good car at Sonoma last month,” said Toby. “We challenged for win in the first TC race and got knocked back in the second race. We have made a few adjustments for COTA which I believe will help battle for the win again. The TC class was very competitive at Sonoma much like the past five years. So, it will be a tough field coming to COTA. We’ll need to be ready to go when practice begins on Friday.”
TC America action gets underway this Friday (April 30) with two practice rounds (9:40 a.m., 2:15 p.m. CDT) with qualifying scheduled at 9:40 a.m. CDT on Saturday (May 1). TC America Race 1 is set for 3:05 p.m. CDT on Saturday (May 1) and 9:00 a.m. CDT on Sunday (May 2).
The TC America highlights will be shown on the CBS Sports Network on Sunday (May 9) at 7 p.m. EDT with an encore showing on Monday (May 10) at 12:30 a.m. EDT.