McAleer/Grahovec Win Second Watkins Glen Contest

19 September 2021
  • Classic BMW Silver pair win Overall
  • Heart of Racing Team Win First Pro-Am Contest
  • Smooge Racing Win Am

Watkins Glen, NY - The Classic BMW Silver pair of Stevan McAleer and Toby Grahovec (#11 BMW M4 GT4) won the second contest at Watkins Glen. Gray Newell and Ian James (#24 Heart of Racing Aston Martin AMR GT4) captured the Pro-Am class win, while Smooge Racing's John Geesbreght and Kevin Conway (#68 Toyota GR Supra GT4) took the Am class.

The start of the second Pirelli GT4 America race of the weekend from Watkins Glen International started with a spectacular pack of cars, three and four wide, entering the first of 11 corners at the classic circuit in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The #66 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR of Spencer Pumpelly took the lead early, while the #120 Porsche from Premier Racing drove to second with Elliot Skeer behind the wheel. The #119 BMW M4 of Gregory Liefooghe slipped backwards in the frantic start.

After a penalty in the first race of the weekend dropped the #11 BMW M4 from Classic BMW with Toby Grahovec and Stevan McAleer to the rear of the field for the second race, Grahovec had to claw his way through a busy field, battling the orange #72 Mercedes-AMG from Murillo Racing with Christian Szymczak behind the wheel. Three Aston Martin Vantage AMRs trailed the leading Porsches of Pumpelly and Skeer - the #59 of Owen Trinkler, the #15 of Kenton Koch, and the #50 of Aaron Povoledo. The three Aston Martins raced amongst themselves within the top 5 in the first ten minutes of the race, until Koch slid off course and back several spots with grass covering the nose of his BSport Racing Aston Martin. 

The initial slide rearward of the #119 BMW of Gregory Liefooghe was corrected after fifteen minutes, with Liefooghe climbing up inside the top five, on a mission to reclaim lost positions. Up front, Aaron Povoledo ran down the #66 of Pumpelly in his brand new 3R Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR. A full-course yellow for a stopped car in the bus stop paused the battle until the green flag flew, just minutes prior to the mandatory driver change and pit stop.

While the first group of cars hit pit lane to swap drivers, the #66 TRG Porsche with Pumpelly behind the wheel tried to keep the #50 of Povoledo behind him, but Povoledo passed the #66 in turn 1 with 30 minutes remaining. Christian Szymczak and the #062 Aston Martin Vantage AMR from Dexter Racing made contact exiting the inner loop; the cars were not significantly damaged. After the driver change, the #59 Aston Martin of Paul Terry with WR Racing made contact with the #50 of Ross Chouest, moments after Chouest took over the #50 from the race lead. Both cars spun in turn 8, forcing the #59 to pull off track. 

With 22 minutes remaining, the #79 Mercedes-AMG of Christopher Gumprecht stalled near the inner loop. The race continued with the #11 BMW M4 of Stevan McAleer climbing to the top of the order. With 12 minutes to go, the #66 Porsche of Derek DeBoer and the #120 Porsche of Adam Adelson collided, forcing a full-course yellow that would eventually end the race. The #15 BSport Racing Aston Martin of Bryan Putt led in the Pro-Am class as the caution flew, but had time added due to an infraction that allowed the #24 Heart of Racing Aston Martin driven by Gray Newell and Ian James to win for the first time in the Pro-Am category of Pirelli GT4 America.

CBS Sports Network coverage of the Watkins Glen weekend premieres on September 30th at 10:00 PM EDT with an encore presentation on October 1st at 1:30 AM EDT; check your local listings for channel information. Rounds 11 and 12 for Pirelli GT4 America will take place at Sebring International Raceway, October 1st to 3rd, 2021. After that all series converge upon the Racing Capital of the World as the SRO America season comes to an end at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 15th to 17th, in conjunction with the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli presentation of the Indianapolis 8 Hour.