ALTON, Virginia - After the leading #28 BMW M4 GT4 of Harry Gottsacker slowed due to low fuel, the #82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 of Bill Auberlen and James Walker Jr took an improbable Race 1 win on the last lap. “It was incredible! I just listened to what the team told me and we got it done! The team never gave up!” said Walker.
“BimmerWorld gave us a great car! I sort of burned up the tires a little to start my stint and had to manage the car a bit, but we made it and got the overall win! Going to come back tomorrow and try it again!” said an excited Auberlen. Auberlen and the #82 will also start Race 2 from pole.
To start the race Nick Wittmer and the #28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 led the field to the green flag with Kris Wilson in the #16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 second overall, first in the Am division. Behind Wilson ran Colin Mullan in the #36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, third overall, second in the Silver class with Tim Barber and the #25 CCR Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 fourth overall, third in Silver.
The field remained calm for the first two laps, but only 5 minutes into the 60 minute race Chandler Hull and the #26 Classic BMW M4 GT4 overtook the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman of Matt Travis for fifth overall at turn 4. Hull would then move ahead Barber a few laps later for fourth position with Travis also getting past Barber on the next lap.
With 13 minutes down, Sean Quinlan and the #19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4, 2019 SprintX Teams Champions, would nab ninth overall after an inside pass going into turn 1 on the #38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Samantha Tan.
Michael Dinan and the #210 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 would also sneak past Tan and begin to stalk Quinlan.
With just under 30 minutes left on the clock Jarett Andretti, who took over driving duties of the #36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S, pulled off track with a mechanical issue after running third overall. The team would finish nineteenth overall.
After the pit window closed for the mandatory driver change, the #28 ST Racing BMW, now with Harry Gottsacker behind the wheel, remained in the lead with Toby Grahovec and the #26 Classic BMW in second. Grahovec would face a pit speed violation and be handed a drive-through penalty, dropping to fifthteenth place.
Jason Hart, driving the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 would slot into third overall, first in the Pro-Am class with Bill Auberlen in the #82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 just behind.
Auberlen wasted no time getting past Hart and with 21 minutes remaining and would move up to second overall, first in Pro-Am.
With 8 minutes on the clock, the Am-leading #16 Mercedes AMG GT4 of John Allen would spin at Oak Tree, handing first place to the #7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Zac Anderson and Sean Gibbons.
Greg Liefooghe in the #19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 would get around the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche for third overall, second in the Pro-Am class with 4 minutes remaining.
On an exciting final lap of the race, the leading #28 BMW would face low fuel issues falling to seventh overall, giving the victory to the #82. The #19 BMW would come home second with Andrew Davis, co-driving with Jason Bell in the #2 GMG Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, third. The #28 would still manage the Silver class win and run the fastest lap of the race with a 1:55.121. “The most important part is that we took the Silver class win. We wanted the overall win for sure, but did not expect what happened. Racing is racing, but we’ll come back tomorrow strong! Harry did an awesome job, just had a little bad luck, but still happy to get the points for the class championship!” said Nick Wittmer.
The #38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Samantha Tan and Jon Miller would finish second in the Silver Division with the #26 Classic BMW of Chandler Hull and Toby Grahovec third.
Also running out of fuel on the last lap was the #7 NOLASPORT entry, handing the Am lead and victory back to the #16 Rearden Racing Mercedes. “We were cheering John on from the pit box and we faced a small problem at the Oak Tree, but never gave up. Rearden gave us a great car and we feel bad what happened to the #7, but happy to take the win!” said Wilson.
“A win's a win! I feel for the NOLASPORT crew, but we never gave up and we earned it!” said Allen.
The #17 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Derek Deboer and James Rappaport would come home second in class with the #7 third.
Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Race 2 will go green on Saturday, July 11th at 3:45pm ET streaming live at https://www.gt4-america.com/live. Listen to the action via SiriusXM channel 383 and app channel 984.
GT4X PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link