WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Valuable points will be on the line this weekend (Aug. 30-Sept. 1) for the Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW four-car team in the SRO Blancpain GT World Challenge America Labor Day weekend sports car road racing spectacular at the historic Watkins Glen International circuit.
With Fast Track Racing competing for the coveted SRO series championships in the GT4 SprintX and Touring Car divisions this year, the Watkins Glen International doubleheader races set for Saturday and Sunday could prove to be an important part of the CLASSIC BMW-sponsored squad’s 2019 campaign.
Just two points separate GT4 SprintX East Pro-Am point leader Karl Wittmer and the team of Justin Raphael and Stevan McAleer in the #29 Raphael & Associates/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 sports car entering the two 60-minute, two-driver events scheduled to 5:50 p.m. EDT this Saturday and 1:00 p.m. EDT Sunday.
After winning the VIRginia International Raceway SprintX East race, Raphael and McAleer have been very consistent with their No. 29 machine including five additional top-five finishes.
“Stevan and I are very excited to get back into action in our home state of New York at historic Watkins Glen,” said Raphael. “With only two weekends left to the GT4 SprintX East season, we are looking forward to some great competition on a classic road course. Just two points out of the point lead and we know the importance of this weekend. It’s been a long mid-season break, so we are chomping at the bit to get back into the Fast Track Racing BMW M4s now.”
The veteran McAleer has a tremendous amount of experience at Watkins Glen International and believes his CLASSIC BMW M4 GT4 car will be a strong contender when practice rounds begin this Friday.
“Sitting P2 in the standings and entering the penultimate round of the season, this is very important to have a strong weekend,” said McAleer. “We need to finish both races strong and hopefully ahead of our rivals that is the simple goal in mind. I am excited for Watkins Glen and Road America (Sept. 20-22) because I feel the tracks will suit our BMW M4s well. And, with Justin having experience on these tracks, we should be good out the box.”
In addition to the Raphael/McAleer pairing, the Fast Track Racing driving duo of Chris Ohmacht and Toby Grahovec also returns to GT4 SprintX Pro-Am action this weekend in the #92 VETS Indexes/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 mount. Despite running only four of ten GT4 SprintX events this year, the Ohmacht/Grahovec duo are tied for fourth in points after two runner-up finishes at VIR and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).
“We are very excited to be back racing again this weekend after our long summer break,” said Ohmacht. “Watkins Glen is an amazing, historic circuit and our BMWs should be well suited for this track. I am confident Toby and I will have a solid weekend ahead!”
Grahovec, teaming with Ohmacht last year, finished third in the 2018 SprintX Am division with victories at VIR and Utah. Toby has a good record at Watkins Glen throughout his racing career. The Fast Track Racing team manager will also compete in the Touring Car Class this weekend as he sits second in the TC national point standings.
“We also like the big circuit at Watkins Glen,” said Grahovec. “We believe the longer track should benefit our BMW M4 GT4 cars and I think Chris and I have a good background at the Glen. We would like to get a victory this year with the No. 92, and this weekend would be a great place to make the top step of the podium. In the TC class, I have numerous runner-up finishes and fast race laps. But not a race win, yet. We will be trying hard to get the M240iR car in victory lane.”
Grahovec will pilot the familiar #26 CLASSIC BMW BMW M240iR sedan in the two TC events set for Saturday at 1:10 p.m. EDT and Sunday at 8:40 a.m. EDT. Joining Grahovec in the Touring Car category for Fast Track Racing will be local college student Jacob Ruud of Rochester, N.Y., in the #810 Lightspeed Racing/CLASSIC BMW BMW M240iR. Ruud is a junior at Rochester Institute of Technology when he isn’t racing.
“Watkins Glen is one of my favorite tracks in the U.S, the mix of technical sections and high-speed sweepers make for a very enjoyable racing experience,” said Ruud. “I’m very lucky to be able to come back this year and drive with some of the best touring car drivers in the country. Thanks to CLASSIC BMW for getting my car prepped and ready to fight for a top spot this Labor Day weekend!”
All SprintX races will be streamed live on www.gt4-america.com with TC races at www.tc-america.com and via audio simulcast on SiriusXM satellite radio Ch. 385 (980 on the web stream). CBS Sports Network highlights coverage for GT4 SprintX races at Watkins Glen International airs Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. EDT with TC coverage is set for Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. EDT.
About Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW:
Fast Track Racing is located at the Classic BMW headquarters in Plano, Tex., north of Dallas. Fast Track Racing has capturednumerous race events over the past decade and was recently awarded the BMW Sports Trophy award as the Top BMW Racing Team worldwide in 2018. It marked the first time an American racing organization has captured the prestigious award. In addition, the Fast Track Racing also won the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Team championship led by Karl Wittmer, Matt Travis and Jayson Clunie in BMW M235iR cars. Toby Grahovec and Chris Ohmacht won two GTS Am SprintX division races in 2018 and finished third in the SprintX final points in the new BMW M4 GT4 sports car. Classic BMW heads up the BMW customer racing program in North America, with customer-built cars and has already captured a 2016 Touring Car driver’s title with Grahovec and the BMW M235iR car. The BMW M235iR racing sedan also won the Touring Car manufacturer’s championship in 2017 and 2018. Fast Track Racing will campaign BMW M240iR and BMW M4 GT4 machines in 2019.