The Pirelli GT4 America field treated Sebring to a daring and bewildering opening race on Friday evening, with battles for the lead taking place across all classes as teams fought tooth and nail to assert themselves at one of the most challenging tracks in North America. There was action at every turn, with green flag racing taking place for the entirety of the 60-minute event.
Hanley Motorsports took the lead early into the race and never looked back, walking away victorious in the Silver class, while Flying Lizard Motorsports showed their rapid performance to take the win in the PRO-AM class. BimmerWorld put their dominance on full display, once again standing on the top step of the podium in the AM class.
The Silver class saw a plethora of action from the moment the green flag waved, as Kenton Koch went to battle in his No. 92 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 and doing whatever he could to fend off the incoming threats from Parker Thompson in the No. 999 Hanley Motorsports Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO. As the two fought for the lead, Michai Stephens had some additional hurdles to overcome as he attempted to muscle his way past traffic in his No. 34 Conquest Racing / JMF Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Thompson saw a small opening and took the opportunity to lunge down the inside to pull off an overtake on Koch with 47 minutes to go. In the same breath, Stephens managed to move past Kay van Berlo in the PRO-AM class, but JCD Dubets was also on the hunt in the No. 51 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4.
The running order remained unchanged following the mandatory driver changes near the halfway mark, but the intensity only ramped up from there. Zac Anderson was managing a defensive battle against Jesse Webb, while also attempting to close the gap to Kevin Boehm just down the road.
The battle was closer than ever in the final laps, but it was Dan Hanley who crossed the finish first to claim the win for Hanley Motorsports. Behind him, it was a drag race to the line, with Anderson managing to squeeze past into second place through the final straightaway, relegating Boehm to third. Webb finished in fourth place, just 0.008 seconds off the podium.
Kay van Berlo was leading the PRO-AM class in his No. 7 ACI Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, but Andy Lee was flying through the field in the No. 8 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 and charged his way past for the class lead within the first 10 minutes of the race.
As Elias Sabo took over from Lee, he immediately found himself engulfed in a battle with two Silver class cars, but kept it clean and focused on the remainder of the race. Meanwhile, Matt Travis moved up into second in class in his No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport as he jumped ahead of Curt Swearingin.
Travis then began inching closer and closer to Sabo in an attempt to challenge for the lead, but ultimately ran out of time. Sabo and Flying Lizard Motorsports took the win, with Travis following suit in second place in his NOLASPORT beast. The podium was completed by James Walker Jr. and Tyler McQuarrie in the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4.
The No. 20 Carrus Callas Raceteam Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO of Terry Borcheller had a comfortable lead over the remaining cars in the AM class, with a buffer of four cars separating himself and the next closest competitor. He held his own within the Top 10 overall, but the driver changes saw the team come under some additional pressure as the No. 98 Random Vandals Racing of Paul Sparta began to close in gradually.
However, the ever-competitive Charlie Postins would not back down without a fight, setting his sights on Sparta as he charged forward in the No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4. It wasn’t long before the two were side by side, and the pendulum swung in Postins’ favor as he moved past into second place with just under 15 minutes remaining.
As the final minutes on the clock ticked away, Postins was eager to do one better as he had Nicholas Shanny within his sights. Using class traffic to his advantage, he pulled off a sweeping move to launch himself past Shanny and into the lead with just a few laps remaining. This left Shanny vulnerable, which enabled both Sparta and Roland Krainz in the No. 18 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport to gain an additional position.
Postins went on to secure another impressive win for BimmerWorld, accompanied on the podium by RS1 in second position, with Random Vandals Racing standing on the final step.
The series will be back on track tomorrow for Qualifying at 10:20 a.m ET. Fans can follow progression with Griiip Live, live timing. The studio makes it easy to follow class battles, lap times, and pit strategy for the five SRO America series. Stream the races live on the YouTube page, GT World or join the conversation on Twitch.