4/28/19 - Ohmacht/Gravohec Pairing Take 2nd in GT4 SprintX Pro-Am, 3rd Overall For Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW Team Sunday at VIR
10/14/19 - Fast Track Racing's Justin Raphael & Stevan McAleer Capture 2019 Pirelli GT4 America SprintX East Pro-Am Championship
MCALEER BREAKS THROUGH FOR IMSA PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE WIN AT ‘FAVORITE TRACK IN THE WORLD’
SEBRING, Fl. - One a hot and muggy day at Sebring International Raceway – one of the most physically demanding road courses in the world – it was one of the few cars in the IMSA Prototype Challenge field with only one driver that came away with the checkered flag Thursday.
Stevan McAleer battled the heat and Sebring’s notorious bumps to score the victory in the No. 43 Robillard Racing Norma M30 by 11.355 seconds over the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 of Austin McCusker and Rodrigo Pflucker.
It was an adjustment on a speedy pit stop that helped propel McAleer to the win. Pitting from the second position during a series of green flag pit stops with 48 minutes remaining, the Robillard Racing crew made quick work in the pits and by the time the sequence of stops cycled through with 39 minutes remaining, McAleer found himself in the lead over McCusker, whose co-driver Pflucker led all but one lap in the race’s opening hour.
“We made a tire pressure adjustment for the second one and I said the kid in first in the 47 car [Pflucker], I really didn't have much for him at the start,” said McAleer. “Once we put the new tires on, we did a pressure change and it really, really, really helped balance the car. I'll be honest with you, I had a blast. The Muehlner guys for sure killed the pit stop. I'm super happy for the team.
“A really cute story, Sebring was my first ever race in America back in 2006 and ever since then I fell in love with it. It is my favorite track in the world.”
The runner-up finish for McCusker and Pflucker was the duo’s second consecutive to start the season and moved the Forty7 Motorsports team to the top of the series standings. It continues an impressive stretch for the No. 47 entry dating back to 2018 when McCusker and then-co-driver TJ Fischer scored four podium finishes and two wins in six races, finishing second in the series standings. Pflucker started the Sebring event from the pole after earning the top spot in qualifying earlier Thursday morning.
“I think we got jumped in the pits,” said McCusker. “I don't know if it was my out lap or if we were slow in the pits. From there on he started to inch a little bit on us, a second or two after the gap in the pits. But I'm happy with where we're at. Second on the podium. Points lead. Can't complain.”
The No. 23 Alianza/Gilbert Motorsports Norma M30 and Anthony Simone seemed poised to score its first podium of the season late in the race, but slowed on track with 11 minutes remaining. The No. 26 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of James McGuire and Matthew Bell capitalized on the No. 23’s misfortune to round out the podium. Bell set the fastest lap of the race with a lap of one minute, 58.352 seconds.
Five different teams took the top five positions in the race with the No. 4 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of Blake Mount and Max Hanratty and the father-son duo of David and Dylan Murry in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3 rounding out the top five.
Finishing 11th, but winning the Bronze Cup as the highest-running Bronze-only driver lineup was Jonatan Jorge, and his P1 Motorsports co-driver Joel Janco. It was the second consecutive race the “JJ” duo stood on the top step of the podium after also winning the Bronze Cup at Daytona in January, but this one was a bit more challenging with Jorge battling food poisoning coming into the event.
“The champagne is helping,” joked Jorge after the race. “It was a bit of a long night for sure. I’m just happy for Joel and the team to be up on top, the car was very good today. The track kind of got away from us a bit at the middle there so we had to adapt, but I’ll tell you what, it feels good to be here.”
All IMSA Prototype Challenge races are shown on NBCSN throughout the season with the Sebring broadcast scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m. ET.
Ohmacht/Gravohec Pairing Take 2nd in GT4 SprintX Pro-Am, 3rd Overall
For Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW Team Sunday at VIR
ALTON, Va. (April 28, 2019) – The Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW racing squad made regular trips to the winner’s podium this weekend in the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX sports car action at VIRginia International Raceway in the annual Blancpain GT World Challenge weekend.
After a great Saturday overall victory by Justin Raphael and Stevan McAleer in the No. 29 Raphael & Associates/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4, the Fast Track Racing operation returned on Sunday for a shot at a double race-winning weekend at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road circuit.
And the Raphael/McAleer duo were close to that dramatic “double” in the Sunday’s 60-minute, two-driver event against a tough GT4 SprintX field. Unfortunately, less than a half a second cost the pair a second Overall triumph.
Meanwhile, the combination of Chris Ohmacht and Tony Grahovec drove their 92 VETS Indexes/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 machine to an impressive third-place overall Sunday and a second-place finish in the GT4 SprintX Pro-Am category in a talented 20-driver field.
At the start of the 26-lap GT4 SprintX feature, McAleer jumped to the overall lead on lap five and drove a strong race to hold a several second advantage when he pitted on lap 18 for the driver change to Raphael. With a solid pit stop and driver change, the No. 29 team looked in prime position to score its second overall win of the weekend.
Unfortunately, timing is everything in racing and this time it was a mere three-tenths of a second which caused a late-race penalty. Raphael left the pit lane three-tenths too quickly for the mandatory pit time and was accessed a 30-second penalty after taking the checkered flag.
The Raphael/McAleer team ended up in 11th position overall, but still took home the third-place trophies in the GT4 SprintX East Pro-Am division.
The VIR weekend in GT4 SprintX action proved to be a big trophy haul for the two Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW as they move on to the next rounds in the Pirelli GT4 America competition.
“Overall, it was a good weekend for the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW team,” said Grahovec, also the team manager. “We came close to a spectacular event at VIR had we recorded two overall wins. But the two cars ran well in both SprintX races and Chris was smooth in the Sprint events too. I had some tough luck with the Touring Car today. But that’s racing sometime. We’ll get the cars prepared now for our next World Challenge weekend.”
In the GT4 Sprint races, Ohmacht piloted his No. 92 VETS Indexes/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 sports car to eighth Sunday in the Am class after placing ninth in Saturday’s 50-minute feature race.
Over in the Touring Car division, Grahovec was seeking the top step of the podium Sunday after a runner-up finish in Saturday’s 40-minute sprint race. But Toby’s No. 26 Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW BMW M240iR was hit by another car on the opening lap and he forced to the pit area for repairs. A quick stop by the Fast Track Racing crew got Grahovec back on track to finish 11th at the checkered flag.
Marko Radisic drove the No. 28 Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW BMW M240iR to sixth place in Sunday’s TC main event at VIR after taking another sixth in Saturday’s race.
Stevan McAleer Recovers From Spin Behind Safety Car to Win at VIR
Even Stevan McAleer didn’t think he could do it.
When he spun out of the lead in slippery conditions behind the safety car with 32 minutes remaining in the one-hour, 45-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge race at VIRginia International Raceway, McAleer didn’t think there was any way he’d be standing atop the victory podium spraying champagne. But his No. 43 Robillard Racing Norma M30 was fast.
That was proven earlier Saturday when the Scot put the car on the pole position. And while he surrendered the lead to Mike Skeen on the first green-flag lap in the race, McAleer remained in contention.
The spin handed the lead to Kyle Masson in the No. 19 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3, but McAleer managed to get going again, losing only two spots. When the green flag came back out with under 13 minutes remaining, McAleer quickly got past Nikko Reger in the No. 55 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 and into second place, and then out-dragged Masson down the back straight to retake the lead.
A final full-course caution period bunched up the field behind McAleer, but he pulled away at the drop of the green flag to win by 1.439 seconds over Skeen. It was McAleer’s second IMSA Prototype Challenge victory of the season and his first since Sebring International Raceway in March.
“I knew we were fast,” McAleer said. “There was a couple of cars in front, but that was the quickest 360 I’ve ever done in my life. I was trying everything not to go around again because that would have been it. I came on the radio and said, ‘Just tell me Mike and Austin (McCusker) are not in front of me,’ and they said, ‘They’re behind.’ I said, ‘OK. Let’s put a little bit of a crazy last 10 minutes in and see what we can do.’
Pirelli GT4 SprintX Title on the Line for Fast Track Racing at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 18, 2019) – The Pirelli GT4 America sports car action will be hot and heavy this weekend (Sept. 20-22) at the legendary Road America four-mile circuit as road racing championships are on the line and Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW’s SprintX team of Justin Raphael and Stevan McAleer are in the thick of the title chase.
Driving the No. 29 Raphael & Associates/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 sports car in the GT4 SprintX East Pro-Am category, the Raphael/McAleer pairing have been in the championship fight since the series’ opening weekend at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in March and now trail current series point leader Karl Wittmer by just five points entering this weekend’s (Saturday, 5:00 p.m. MDT and Sunday, 12:10 p.m. MDT) GT4 SprintX doubleheader at Road America.
Raphael and McAleer have recorded one race victory at VIR in April in 2019 along with two runner-up finishes, a third place and four fourth places in the first eight races of the ten-event SprintX East Pro-Am campaign.
“We are just five points out of the Pro-Am point lead and there are three cars fighting for the title in the final weekend at Road America,” said veteran McAleer. “We are going all out for this Championship with our No. 29 CLASSIC BMW M4. I expect some wild racing in both events at the popular Road America circuit. Justin and I will be ready to go.”
“I know we are excited for the Road America weekend and a run for the SprintX Pro-Am title,” said Raphael. “Road America is such a classic road course and so thrilling to drive. We are set for quite a battle for the point championship. It should be a great weekend.”
Raphael will handle double duties at Road America with an entry in the two 50-minute GT4 Sprint races (Saturday, 1:10 p.m. MDT and Sunday, 10:05 a.m. MDT) this weekend in the No. 26 Raphael & Associates/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 car in addition to the SprintX action.
Fast Track Racing's Justin Raphael & Stevan McAleer Capture 2019 Pirelli GT4 America SprintX East Pro-Am Championship
PLANO, Texas. (Oct. 14, 2019) – In a highly-fought GT4 SprintX racing campaign in 2019, the Fast Track Racing driving duo of Justin Raphael and Stevan McAleer drove their No. 29 Raphael & Associates/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 sports car to the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX East Pro-Am class championship this year in the ten-event road racing series.
Recording victories at VIRginia International Raceway and Road America, the pairing of Raphael (Am) and McAleer (Pro) collected five additional podium (Top-3) finishes as well as three fourth places in capturing the coveted series title for Fast Track Racing, the 2018 BMW Sports Trophy winning team worldwide.
Coming down to the final weekend at Road America, the Raphael/McAleer combo were down two points to Karl Wittmer in the points hunt. But a win and a third-place finish in the two 60-minute, two-driver races proven to be the clincher for the pair in taking the division crown.
The 2019 Pirelli GT4 America tour was the second year for Raphael and McAleer together in the SprintX format. They scored a second at COTA to highlight their 2018 season.
But this year, the sophomore campaign with the BMW M4 GT4 machine and as teammates, the Raphael/McAleer pairing became a contender and worked hard to challenge for series championship.
“I know we learned a lot about the new BMW M4 race car and driving together in 2018,” said Raphael, the businessman from Franklin Lakes, N.J. “Stevan has been a tremendous teammate and mentor for me in these types of sports cars. The professional classes are extremely competitive and to just win a race is a great accomplishment. But to capture a season championship is an honor and a thrill. I want to thank Stevan for his guidance and great driving, as well as the whole Fast Track Racing/CLASSIC BMW team for giving us the resources and race car to take us to the top of the podium in the points hunt. It was a superb season.”
“Talk about a sway in emotions this season,” said McAleer, the Scotland native now residing in Cold Spring, N.Y., “Early on, we looked down and out. Then mid- season, we proved we were back with strong results at VIR. In the penultimate race at Watkins Glen, we struggled all weekend and again felt like luck wasn’t on our side. We weren’t sure how the points would finish after Road America. Then received a call saying there had been a points error in the last race and that we were champions. It’s the craziest season of racing that I’ve ever been a part of. But it’s official! Justin and I are Pirelli GT4 America Sprint X East Champions.
“I want to thank Justin for giving me the opportunity to drive with him for the last two years. It shows that hard work from him at the track pays off. He had tons of speed towards the halfway point of the season. Also, a big shout out to Chris Ohmacht, who I have been coaching alongside Justin for the past two years. He has made leaps and bounds and heads into his final race at Vegas fighting for third place in his championship (SprintX Pro-Am national series). It’s been a truly great year with the Classic BMW crew, engineers Marc Manning and Alex Perry, and BMW driving their M4 GT4 car. I can’t wait to defend the title in 2020.”
For Fast Track Racing team manager Toby Grahovec, the organization’s hard work paid off with another series championship for CLASSIC BMW and BMW Motorsport.
“That was a wild series in the GT4 classes, and we are very excited for Justin, Stevan and the whole crew to capture the SprintX East Pro-Am title,” said Grahovec, the 2016 TC America series champion for CLASSIC BMW. “The competition was very tight this year in all of the GT4 categories, and our Fast Track guys worked their rear-ends off supporting several race cars in the GT4 SprintX and Touring Car classes. We are very happy to bring another championship to BMW Motorsport too. They are a spectacular group to work with each year.”
Grahovec and Ohmacht will now compete this weekend (Oct. 18-20) in the No. 92 VETS Indexes/CLASSIC BMW BMW M4 GT4 car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Pro-Am class doubleheader race weekend.