The team of Justin Raphael and Stevan McAleer drove the No. 29 Raphael & Associates/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 sports car to second and fourth finishes last weekend at Watkins Glen International.
The finishes improved their Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Pro-Am East quest for the coveted series championship as part of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America doubleheader road racing events.
Raphael and McAleer, partnering in the two-driver, 60-minute GT4 events in 2019, have been very consistent with their Fast Track Racing-prepared BMW M4 this year, recording one win (VIR), two seconds, one third and four fourth places in the eight rounds of the 10-race GT4 SprintX East Pro-Am division.
In Sunday’s round, the tandem of Raphael and McAleer finished less than four seconds behind the Park Place Motorsports team of Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman to take the SprintX Pro-Am East runner-up spot. In addition, McAleer recorded the fastest race lap of the event with 104.04 miles per hour average (1:56.675).
Entering the final GT4 SprintX Pro-Am East final two events set for Road America on Sept. 20-22, Raphael and McAleer trail current series point leader Karl Wittmer by just five points.
“We were able to collect some very important points this weekend at Watkins Glen with the No. 29 BMW GT4,” Toby Grahovec, team manager of the Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW said in a press release. “Obviously, we would have like a victory at the Glen, but Justin and Stevan did an excellent job running hard and collecting valuable points. In addition, Stevan set the fastest race lap, showing that our M4 does have good speed. We’ll look to improve on the Glen performance at Road America with the title on the line.”
Grahovec, the 2016 Touring Car champion, also had duties in two separate classes at Watkins Glen (GT4 SprintX and Touring Car). Toby teamed with Chris Ohmacht in the No. 92 VETS Indexes/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 to finish sixth and eighth in the national GT4 SprintX races.
Action was hot and heavy in the highly competitive Touring Car category with 20-year-old college student (Rochester Institute of Technology) Jacob Ruud driving the No. 810 Lightspeed Racing/CLASSIC BMW BMW M240iR sedan to a pair of impressive fourth place finishes in his 2019 TC America debut. Competing against a stellar field of seasoned TC racers, Ruud battled to be within three seconds of the winning car in both 40-minute sprint events.
Grahovec, second in the TC America point standings enter the two Watkins Glen races, had his No. 26 CLASSIC BMW BMW M240iR race car struck early in the Saturday TC contest on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road circuit. Grahovec had to pit his machine for repairs to the oil cooler and suspension. He was able to complete seven laps of the 19-lap race.
In the second TC event, Grahovec came from last to finish 12nd. Despite the misfortune for the weekend in TC, Toby still ranks second in the TC America point standings.
CBS Sports Network highlights coverage for GT4 SprintX races at Watkins Glen International airs Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. EDT with TC highlights 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 captured numerous 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.