TOOELE, Utah — 16-year-old Zac Lebwohl made sure all of his homework was done as a junior at Park City High School before his podium performances over the weekend at the Utah Motorsports Campus, winning second and third overall in his first car race. It was a National Auto Sports Association (NASA) Lightning race group in his German Touring Series (GTS2) BMW.
While he’s only been street legal with his driver’s license for less than a year, drivers are allowed to train on closed-circuit auto tracks before that milestone. Besides Utah, he’s driven at venues in New Jersey, Nevada, and California, but this was his first sprint race which was made much more special because it took place at Park City residents’ home track.
Endurance races in those other states, on Team Zoom Zoom Kaboom based out of Las Vegas, have allowed him to share driving times with his proud dad, Jason. Dad puts it self-deprecatingly as Zac’s “occasional much slower co-driver.” However, his dad is not his driver’s-coach; that honor goes to Scott Mann.
Zac hit a proverbial speed bump while testing the car the day before practice. The hood pins broke, causing the hood to flip back into the windshield while he was behind the wheel. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but he was out of glass and a functioning hood. He had a generous donor of a backup hood from a car owner not driving during the weekend. Unfortunately, it took a while to get a replacement piece of glass, so he missed a lot of practice time and his ability to adjust and prepare the car for the races.
“I think I was nervous before the start sitting in the car, but thankfully that went away pretty quickly once I was able to get going, and it was replaced with excitement,” Zac said to TownLift. “It felt different than the previous endurance races where it was a team effort. This was just me, and I was really proud of my performance, and I thought it was great that I could duel with the regional NASA director out on track.”
He drove a blue 1995 BMW M3 to the podium placement in Tooele this weekend. The motor is still stock (unmodified) and running with almost 250,000 miles on it. It’s been stripped of all the normal automobile accoutrement with a full cage and safety equipment required for racing.
Lebwohl was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, with ranges up to retirement-age drivers and levels of experience ranging from rookies to drivers that also drive professionally.
Younger brother Alec, and mom, Casey, happily drove the hour from Park City to spectate alongside Jason both Saturday and Sunday.
The next event on the Lebwohl’s schedule is the Lemons Endurance Race with Zoom Zoom Kaboom at Sonoma Raceway in California the first week of December.