ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (March 10, 2018) – Former Touring Car Champion Toby Grahovec was on his way to stellar GTSA class debutP Saturday in the Pirelli World Challenge season opener in the streets of St. Petersburg.
While running seventh overall in GTS and second in the GTSA category, Grahovec had an electrical issue with his No. 26 Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 sports car after his impressive showing late in the 33-lap road racing event at the 14-turn, 1.8-mile street circuit near the St. Petersburg harborside.
The mechanical malfunction dropped Grahovec to 12th overall and fifth in the GTSA division in the first of two 50-minute sprint events during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend. The Pirelli World Challenge is teamed up this weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series as both series kickoff their 2018 campaigns.
Grahovec’s Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW teammates, Justin Raphael and Chris Ohmacht, made their street racing debut as well as their first GTSA starts of their careers. Raphael, driving the No. 17 Raphael and Associates BMW M4 GT4, placed seventh in GTSA and 14th overall in the 28-driver field. Ohmacht recorded a finish of 11th in GTSA and 21st overall.
“We don’t really know what happened in the middle of the race,” said Grahovec. “My car was good and we were comfortably in the top-ten overall. Then the throttle just wouldn’t work properly. Then we set our fastest lap of the race on the last lap. So it’s totally frustrating after running well in the top-ten. The Fast Track Racing team has looked through everything and we believe we have the car repaired for Sunday’s GTS event.”
Grahovec, Fast Track Racing’s team manager, felt good about his three-car team’s performance in the debut of the new BMW M4 GT4 cars.
“We all were making our first GTSA starts today and we had very little problem with the cars,” said Grahovec. “Other than my issue in the race, the cars performed very well in qualifying and the first race. Now, we’re excited for Sunday’s event after gaining experience today.
Sunday’s GTS/GTSA 50-minute sprint race is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
CLASSIC BMW in Plano, Tex., heads up the BMW customer racing program in North America, with customer-built cars and has already captured the 2016 PWC Touring Car title with Gravohec and the BMW M235iRacing. The BMW M235iR racing sedan also won the PWC Touring Car manufacturer’s championship in 2017.