Toby Grahovec

Grahovec: “The BMW M2 CS Racing will be a fantastic touring car for next year.“

What form does the cooperation between Classic BMW and the Fast Track Racing team take? And what is your role in the team?

Toby Grahovec: “Classic BMW is a chain of BMW dealerships and the sponsor of Fast Track Racing. The Fast Track Racing team is owned by the Maas family, to whom Classic BMW also belongs. However, the two projects are independent. I am the team manager, but also race for Fast Track Racing at SRO America events, in the TC America and GT4 America classes. We also want to contest a few GT4 races in the Michelin Pilot Series.”

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How many cars and drivers are in action for the team?

Grahovec: “John Rader is driving for us in the touring cars and GT4 this year. Phil Bloom goes racing for us in a BMW M240i Racing, and I drive a second BMW M240i Racing and a BMW M4 GT4, which I share with John Rader in SprintX races. At the moment, we have one BMW M4 GT4 and three BMW M240i Racing, and we could add another two BMW M4 GT4 later for some of the season.”

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You are both team manager and driver rolled into one. Has that caused any problems?

Grahovec: “It was perhaps a little complicated at first. My main focus is on managing the team. However, when I put the helmet on and climb into the car, I am able to quickly switch to racing driver mode and shut everything else out.”

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You have been very successful as a racing driver. In 2016, you were crowned champion on TC America. What are your goals for 2020?

Grahovec: “The goal for 2020 is to win the TC championship again. I finished runner-up in both races at the season-opener at Circuit of the Americas, which puts me second in the Drivers’ Championship. I hope to finish on the podium in a few more races and win another championship. I was actually in action on three fronts at COTA: I finished fifth in the GT4 in the two sprint races and also raced alongside John Rader in the SprintX races.”

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Six races on one weekend. That sounds like quite a lot of work, and in two different cars too. Do you encounter any problems when you have to switch back and forth between the BMW M240i Racing and the BMW M4 GT4 so quickly?

Grahovec: “It is a bit difficult when you go from the BMW M4 GT4 to the BMW M240i Racing, and have to switch from manual brakes to the brake booster in the BMW M240i Racing. That is the biggest difference. Other than that, the BMW M240i Racing is much smoother and closer to a production car. In contrast, the BMW M4 GT4 is far more of a thoroughbred race car. However, it only takes a few corners to get used to which car you are sat in.”

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There is probably no point asking you which car you prefer, is there?

Grahovec: “The BMW M4 GT4 is a wonderful car to drive. On the other hand, the touring car races are just so intense. You are virtually door to door for 40 minutes and, because the cars have less downforce, you can drive really close to the car in front.”

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Fast Track Racing is one of the teams to have already ordered the new BMW M2 CS Racing. When do you expect to receive the new car?

Grahovec: “We are expecting the new car in July, but must wait and see whether that remains the case, given the current situation. I can imagine there could be a few delays.”

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What were the reasons for ordering this new BMW race car?

Grahovec: “The new car is great. I saw it in Munich in December. To me, it is a bit like the little brother of the GT4 car. It will be a fantastic touring car for next year, and we are already very excited about it.“

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Will the BMW M2 CS replace the BMW M240i Racing in the medium term?

Grahovec: “Yes, that is the plan for the 2021 season. This year, we want to test the new car and perhaps give it a run out in a race – maybe at the end of November in the 24H SERIES race at Circuit of the Americas. That is one option.”

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Interest in sim racing is growing all the time during the current COVID-19 situation. How are you involved in this scene?

Grahovec: “I used to use sim racing mainly as a way of familiarising myself with new circuits in advance, or to get in a bit of practice if I had not been behind the wheel of a race car for a long time. Now, however, with every racing series launching its own virtual racing championship, I am also taking part in GT Rivals Esports races. We have had two races so far, at the Laguna Seca and Misano circuits. Next up is Paul Ricard. However, I need a bit more practice, as it is on a different platform to the one I have used in the past. It is really good though. I am trying to get in as many laps as possible and to improve. It is fun and a good thing to do on weekends, when we are unable to get to the racetracks. I go up against a few of my colleagues, against whom I would also be racing otherwise.”

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