BMW racers scored two wins on Saturday and another on Sunday in the Pirelli World Challenge races at Virginia International Raceway; BMW racers occupied eight podium positions over the course of the weekend.
On Saturday, Toby Grahovec and Chris Ohmacht in the #92 Classic BMW M4 GT4 won the GTS SprintX Am class. Grahovec quickly moved up from his sixth-place starting position in the one-hour race, moving into the overall lead before he pitted and handed off to Ohmacht. Ohmacht held on to the class lead the rest of the way, finishing first in Am and fourth overall behind the leading Pro/Am cars.
Henry Schmitt and Greg Liefooghe finished second in the Am class and seventh overall in the #88 Stephen Cameron Racing M4 GT4, just ahead of Randy Mueller and Michael Camus in the #3 Epic Motorsports M4 GT4, scoring a podium finish on the team’s second race weekend in the series. The overall win went to Trent Hindman and Alan Brynjolfson in the #77 Volt Racing Ford Mustang GT4; the race ended under a yellow flag brought out when Porsche racer Keith Jensen hit a tire barrier.
Tan and Wittmer appeared to be headed for redemption in the Pro/Am class in the Sunday race; Wittmer handed the car to Tan with a strong lead. She took to the track and ran in front, but unfortunately, she had to come in to serve a stop-and-go penalty; the rules say that the minimum pit stop time is 75 seconds, and Car #38 came up a scant 0.2 seconds short. In the end they finished twelfth in class, just behind the eleventh-place Classic BMW M4 GT4 driven by Stevan McAleer and Justin Raphael. The overall and Pro/Am wins went to James Sofronas and Alex Welch in the GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4.
Johan Schwartz in the #80 Rooster Hall Racing M235i Racing led from flag to flag to win the Saturday Touring Car race. Schwartz qualified second on the grid, but started first when pole-sitter Vesko Kozarov’s Nissan 370Z was sent to the back of the pack due to a technical infraction.
Schwartz motored away from the pack, pulling out a convincing lead. But there was drama at the end of the race when Nissan Z racer Paul Terry went off course and brought out a full-course caution. The car was removed in time to allow a one-lap shootout to the finish. Schwartz was able to hold off the hard-charging Steve Streimer in a Nissan 370Z. Karl Wittmer finished third in the #91 Classic BMW M235iR. Z-car racer Kozarov, who had motored through the pack, finished fourth. Next up among the eight M235iR racers in the fourteen-car pack was Matt Travis in the #26 Classic BMW car.
Schwartz moved up quickly from his fifth starting position in the Sunday race, running just behind the Nissan Zs of Streimer and Kozarov. As he battled with Kozarov, the cars made contact; Streimer motored away, Kozarov went off course and dropped back in the pack, and Schwartz continued. But soon his car slowed; he continued to run, but finished fourteenth. Streimer won, followed across the line by Genesis racer Jeff Ricca and Karl Wittmer in the #91 Classic BMW M235iR, scoring his second podium finish of the weekend. Matt Travis finished fourth and Kozarov finished fifth.
The GTS SprintX and TC class cars run again at Lime Rock on Memorial Day weekend.—Brian Morgan