Heylen/Belluardo Take RS1 To The Top In Exciting Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Race 1 at IMS

1 October 2020 SprintX

Indianapolis, Ind. - The penultimate round of the 2020 Pirelli GT4 America SprintX season got off to a hectic start as the leading #47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Matt Travis was hit by the Jarrett Andretti-driven #36 Andretti Autosport Window World of Michigan McLaren 570S GT4 at turn 1, spinning the Porsche to the back of the grid, allowing Nick Wittmer and the #28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 to inherit the overall and Silver lead. Andretti would serve a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

At the end of the opening lap Chandler Hull’s #26 Classic BMW M4 GT4 would be struck by Joe Dalton’s #33 NOTLAD Racing by RS1 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 going into turn 12, forcing the BMW to pull off the side of the road and the first full course caution of the race to be called to retrieve the stranded vehicle.

The race would get back to green with 47 minutes left on the clock with Wittmer leading ahead of his ST Racing teammate and Silver-class competitor Jon Miller in the #38 BMW M4 GT4.

A second safety car was called at the end of the the lap as the hood of the #71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-bow blew off and needed to be removed from the tarmac.

The race again went back to green with 42 minutes left on the clock with Wittmer continuing to lead overall and in Silver, Charlie Belluardo’s #37 RS1 Porsche Cayman CS MR in Pro-Am, and Todd Clarke and the #111 Motorsport USA McLaren 570S GT4 in Am.

With 36 minutes remaining the #47 NOLASPORT entry would make an excellent recovery drive after being spun on the opening lap. Travis would impressively get himself back into third position in Pro-Am, just one spot behind championship rival Michael Dinan in the #21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4, running second in class, seventh overall just as the pit window opened for the required driver changes.

Most Pro-Am competitors would make a mad dash for the pits, handing their cars over to their Pro counterparts.

After the pit window closed, the #51 Panoz Racing Avezzano GT4 of Roman De Angelis led overall and in Silver, Jan Heylen and the #37 RS1 Porsche Cayman CS MR led Pro-Am, fifth overall, with Russell Walker and the #46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 leading Am sitting sixteenth overall.

Jason Hart, now driving the #47 NOLASPORT entry, would get around Robby Foley in the #21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin for second in class, sixth overall, as Pro-Am leader Heylen would slip past Samantha Tan’s #38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 for fourth overall.

With 20 minutes remaining both Hart and Foley would sneak past Tan with Foley keeping that momentum going and drag past Hart for second in class going into Turn 11. Kenton Koch, driving the #15 Bsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 would stalk from fourth in class.

Pro-Am leader Heylen would continue his charge up the grid and get past Cole Ciraulo in the #25 CCR Racing Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 for third overall with 18 minutes left on the clock. At the same time, Koch would sneak past Hart for third in Pro-Am, sixth overall. 

With 16 minutes remaining, and battling in Pro-Am, Andrew Davis and the #2 GMG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 would tussle with the #50 Panoz Racing Avezzano GT4 of Ian James, spinning the Panoz and forcing the Porsche to pit and Panoz to retire.

The #19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Greg Liefooghe would also face some damage for a separeate incident, breaking the car’s radiator and causing him to stop on track at Turn 11. The third safety car of the day would be called.

The race got back to green with 10 minutes left on the clock with Jan Heylen making a bold move and jumping from third to first overall going into Turn 1 with De Angelis second and Harry Gottsacker in the #28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 third.

On the next lap, the #21 Flying Lizard Motorsports entry would face a drive-through penalty for a pit lane infraction, passing in the transition lane, ending any chances of a Pro-Am top 3 for the championship contenders.

With 6 minutes on the clock Bill Auberlen, driving the #82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4, would pass the #47 for third in Pro-Am at the Turns 11-12-13 complex with a slick outside-inside move.

As the clock ticked past the 3 minute mark, the top 6 overall all ran nose to tail with Heylen leading followed by De Angelis, Gottsacker, Koch, Colin Mullan, now driving the #36, and Auberlen. 

As the checkered flag flew Heylen and the #37 RS1 entry would hold off De Angelis’ Panoz by a mere .138 seconds and grab the overall and Pro-Am win. De Angelis would take the Silver win, his second of the season, with Gottsacker finishing second in Silver, third overall.

“This has been a tough year, but the car really started coming back to us at COTA and here it has been awesome. This was such a fun and competitive race and I couldn’t be happier.” said Heylen.

“It doesn’t get better than this! It’s amazing! Jan made a hell of a pass at the last restart and getting past him is a tough task, so we’re excited!” said Belluardo.

“It was so cool to race with Jan, one of our former Porsche coaches, and it would have been cool to get the overall win, but happy to get the class win!” said De Angelis.

“Roman and I run really well together and the team keeps giving us a great car. We had some great battles and a really fun race, so we’re happy to get another class win!” said Chase. 

Kenton Koch would come home second in Pro-Am, fourth overall with Colin Mullan finishing second in Silver, fifth overall, and Bill Auberlen third in class, sixth overall.

The Am class win would go to Russell Walker and the #46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 with Ty Clarke and the #111 Motorsport USA McLaren 570S GT4 coming home second and John Teccein the #69 BGB Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 third.

“It’s so exciting. This is our first win and for it to come at Indy, it’s really great!” said David Walker.

“The car was great, so I was able to just go out there and drive and get the class win!” said Russell Walker. 

Pirelli GT4 America SprintX competitors return tomorrow morning for their season finale race at 8:00am ET. Stream it live at https://www.gt4-america.com/live.