Austin, Texas - The pair of ST Racing BMW M4 GT4s led the field to the green flag to start Friday afternoon's Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Race 1. Nick Wittmer, driving the #28, would take the lead going into turn 1 with teammate Jon Miller settling into second in the #38 machine.
As the field flew into the tight turn 11 hairpin, the #51 Panoz Esperante Avezzano of Parker Chase would attack the #38 for second overall, but would fall to fourth as the #36 Andretti Autosport Window World of Michigan McLaren 570S GT4 would slip past on the long back straight and claim third overall.
At the end of lap 1 however, the first safety car would be called as the #19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Sean Quinlan would come to halt at turn 12, ending the car’s day. At the same time, the #71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 of Nicolai Elghanayan would be forced to pit to fix damage at the rear end of the car after being bumped at the start.
The race would go back to green with 48 minutes left on the clock with Wittmer leading overall, Jeff Burton and the #91 Rearden Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 leading the Pro-Am class sitting fifth overall, and the #3 Motorsport USA McLaren 570S GT4 of Michael McAleenan first in Am, ninth overall.
As the field headed to turn 12, Andretti would get into the slip-stream of Miller and pull alongside the second-place BMW and grab the position on the outside of the corner. Parker Chase would follow Andretti through and take third position overall and start attacking Andretti for second.
On the next lap Chase would pass Andretti for second overall and start to stalk Wittmer for the lead.
With 39 minutes remaining, the three leaders in the Pro-Am would battle going into turn 11 with Michael Dinan in the #21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 going from third in class to first in class as the #63 Dexter Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 of Ben Anderson and the #91 Rearden Racing Aston Martin of Jeff Burton would tussle all the way through turn 12. The right front tire of Burton’s car would be cut down and damage the corner of the car, forcing Burton pullover and the second safety car of the race to be called.
The race would go back to green with 25 minutes remaining with the pit window for required driver changes opening on the following lap. Coming out of turn 11, the Andretti-driven McLaren would slip past Chase for second overall with Jon Miller being attacked by Tim Barber in the #25 CCR Racing Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 for third overall. Barber would make the pass for third at turn 1 as a flurry of action took part in the pit lane.
After the drivers changes were complete, the #28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4, now with Harry Gottsacker behind the wheel, would maintain the overall lead with Roman De Angelis, now driving the #51 Panoz second overall.
Zac Anderson in the #7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 would take over the lead in Am.
Robby Foley, who took over driving the #21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 would jump into third overall, first in the Pro-Am class, just ahead of Colin Mullan, now driving the #36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, fourth overall, third in the Silver class.
Ian James, in the #50 Panoz Esperante Avezzano GT4, would close on the back of the #36, sitting fifth overall, second in Pro-Am.
With 7 minutes left on the clock, the leading #28 ST Racing BMW would be called in for a drive-through penalty for a pit-lane minimum time infringement, handing the lead to De Angelis. The #25 CCR Racing Team TFB, running sixth overall at the time, would face the same penalty.
Bill Auberlen, driving the #82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4, would get past the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Jason Hart for third in the Pro-Am division, fifth overall with five minutes on the lock, closing to within 2 seconds of the James-driven Panoz, who was fourth overall, second in Pro-Am.
On the next lap, the #2 GMG Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Andrew Davis would also get past Hart for seventh overall, fourth in Pro-Am on the inside of the tricky turn 19.
Jan Heylen would also slip past Hart to claim fifth in Pro-Am with a daring move on the inside of turn 20, as Hart would spin, but quickly recover.
As the checkered flag flew, the #51 Panoz of Roman De Angelis would claim the overall and Silver-class victory, ahead of Colin Mullan and the #36 Andretti Autosport McLaren, who was third overall, second in class, and the #26 Classic BMW M4 GT4 of Toby Grahovec, who would finish fourteenth overall, third in Silver.
“I found out Monday evening that I would be driving with the team, and we had some issues in practice, so qualifying was really my first time in the car, but the team gave us a great car today to get us to the win!” said Parker Chase.
“This is an awesome car and I have to thank Parker and the team for giving me a great car to bring it home and take the win!” said De Angelis.
Robby Foley and the #21 Flying Lizard Aston Martin would take the Pro-Am victory and finish second overall with Ian James and the #50 Panoz second in class, fourth overall, and Bill Auberlen in the #82 BimmerWorld BMW third in class, fifth overall.
“We needed to maximize our result today since we’ll be missing tomorrow’s race, so we’ll have to make up the points at Indy next month. The Flying Lizard team gave us a great car today, so it feels great to get the win!” said Foley.
“Yeah it’s not ideal to miss tomorrow’s race, but we did what we had to do today to maximize our points and get the win!” said Dinan.
The #7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Zac Anderson and Sean Gibbons would take the Am-class victory, their eighth of the season, unofficially claiming the class championship at the same time. The #46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman of Russell Walker would finish second in Am, sixteenth overall, with the #17 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Derek DeBoer coming home third in class.
“It’s so amazing, I can’t believe how this season has gone. All of the support we’ve gotten today and to claim the championship at COTA, at home, is special,” said Sean Gibbons.
“I have so much confidence in Porsche and NOLASPORT, and everyone involved here is fantastic. It’s so cool to be here and to win the title. A huge thanks to Jason Hart, my mentor and coach, we’re champions!” said Zac Anderson.
Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Race 2 will go green on Saturday, September 19th at 10:15am CT. Follow the action live at https://www.gt4-america.com/live.
PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link