Porsche has claimed a sweep of the Pirelli GT4 America weekend at Circuit of The Americas, with Nolasport and Park Place Motorsports collecting wins in the pair of SprintX races, highlighted by a dramatic finish in Race 2.
Matt Travis and Jason Hart drove their #47 nolasport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport to a dominant victory in Saturday’s Race 1, converting a pole-winning run into the first-ever win for Porsche’s new-for-2019 GT4 challenger in global sports car competition.
The duo nearly pulled off victory in Race 2, with Travis coming up just 0.155 seconds short of the win after an impressive recovery drive in the closing stages of Sunday’s 60-minute race.
Trent Hindman teamed with Alan Brynjolfsson for the win in their #77 VOLT Lighting Porsche, giving Park Place Motorsports its first victory in the team’s GT4 America debut weekend.
A storming opening stint in damp conditions saw Hindman move from fourth to the lead on the opening lap. However, he was overtaken by pole-sitter Hart on Lap 2, prior to the race’s one-and-only full course caution for an accident from the #91 Rearden Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Jeff Burton.
Hindman retook the lead on Lap 8 following the restart but a quicker pit stop by the Nolasport crew saw Travis rejoin as the leader with 25 minutes to go after the driver changes.
Travis, however, was handed a drive-through penalty for his car’s stop being 0.7 seconds faster than the 81-second minimum pit stop delta for Pirelli GT4 America competitors this weekend, giving the lead back to the Park Place Porsche of Brynjolfsson.
Despite coming under pressure from the #21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Michael Dinan, as well as Matt Fassnacht’s #34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4, Brynjolfsson’s biggest challenge came from Travis, who charged from fourth to second on the final lap in dramatic fashion.
The near-photo finish resulted in another Porsche 1-2 result, with Fassnacht and co-driver Christian Szymczak finishing third overall and winning the GT4 East Am division.
The overall-winning Park Place Porsche also picked up top class honors in GT4 East Pro-Am, while Nolasport’s Travis and Hart won GT4 SprintX Pro-Am for the second consecutive race.
ST Racing’s Jon Miller and Harry Gottsacker claimed victory in GT4 West Pro-Am with a fourth place overall finish in their #28 BMW M4 GT4, with Flying Lizard’s Dinan fading to fifth on the final lap but still enough for second in the GT4 Sprint Pro-Am class.
The Racer’s Group celebrated victory in GT4 West Am with an 8th place overall finish for Chris Bellomo and Kevin Woods in their #67 Porsche, while the #36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4 of Jarett Andretti and Karl Thomson picked up GT4 SprintX Am honors in Race 2.
It came after a technical infraction in Race 1 for Andretti and Thomson that saw the pairing lose their class win and fourth place overall finish on Saturday.
Rounds 3 and 4 for Pirelli GT4 America SprintX take place at Virginia International Raceway on April 26-28, which will include the GT4 East series. GT4 West returns to action later this month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in support of the California 8 Hours Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli round.
Trent Hindman, #77 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (Winner, Overall & GT4 East Pro-Am): “I definitely didn’t want to start in P4. I thought we had a better car than that in qualifying but I knew I had to be relatively aggressive at the start. I saw an opening on the outside, was able to brake quite a bit later and passed two cars on the outside of Turn 1 and later on in the lap get the lead. As I was still dialing in the brake bias and ABS for the conditions I got passed on the second lap but once it went back green, I knew the most important thing was to get the lead and try to pull as much of a gap as possible. We hit our pit stop absolutely perfect and it was up to Alan to maintain what we had and bring it home for the win.”
Alan Brynjolfsson, #Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (Winner, Overall & GT4 East Pro-Am): “Before I even started, I was pretty confident Trent was going to hand the car to me in first place with 25 minutes to go. Sure enough the wonder boy did it! I had some big shoes to fill but I just did my best.”
Matt Fassnacht, #34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (Winner, GT4 East Am): “Wereally needed a start like this for the year. We’ve had a lot of bad luck and a lot of bad execution in terms of pit mistakes by the drivers, so we needed a result like this. Yesterday, we had a bad result because we got hit. We got squeezed. We talked last night and we were very positive, Christian and I, and we decided, ‘look, we’re just going to go have fun and get it done.’ I got in that zone and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 was fantastic. It wasn’t as good as the Porsches, but for this track, it was as good as it could be.”
Dr. Daniel Armbruster, Porsche Motorsport North America President and CEO: “This is a marvelous start to the season. While we are very happy with the performance and results of the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport right off the trailer, the SRO GT4 America field is very close across all the marques. This means that it requires a combination of car, driver and team to find this level of success so early on. All of the teams prepared the cars extremely well with nolasport and Park Place earning the overall victories but all of the teams were in the mix within the overall and their classes. There were no mistakes, no penalties by any of the teams. It was a failure-free race weekend. Everyone contributed with preparation and the 718 Cayman proved its reliability, which Porsche stands for. We are proud to be showing this brand new car in our market first. Being able to present the professionalism of North American racing with our series partners is very gratifying. We are very proud of this start.”