Race One was an action-packed, tumultuous, and dramatic event for the entirety of the Pirelli GT4 America field, with four full course cautions throughout the race causing a plethora of changes up and down the grid. Although the race ultimately ended under yellows, there was no shortage of excitement, with drivers utilizing every minute of green flag racing to capitalize on opportunities.
After some early setbacks, Random Vandals Racing pulled off a phenomenal comeback drive to claim the win in the Silver class, while NOLASPORT completed a perfect drive to take the victory in the PRO-AM class, and ACI Motorsports made their mark and pulled off a very strong drive to claim the top spot on the podium in the AM class.
It was a fairytale ending for Silver class winners Kenton Koch and Kevin Boehm, who overcame significant obstacles in order to secure the win in an incredibly charged race. The race saw numerous different leaders over the course of the 60-minute event, but it was ultimately the Random Vandals Racing duo who walked away with the largest haul of points.
Pole sitter Jesse Webb maintained the lead on the opening lap as he pulled away in the No. 34 Conquest Racing / JMF Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 right before the first caution emerged, with Harry Gottsacker on the attack and applying pressure in the No. 88 STR38 Motorsports BMW M4 GT4. Meanwhile, an intense battle was taking place for third position in class between Kevin Boehm in the No. 92 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 and JCD Dubets in the No. 51 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4. The two got their elbows out, but it ultimately ended with contact between the two, which sent Boehm tumbling down the running order.
A second full course caution emerged with 35 minutes remaining, which further delayed the pit window opening. As the race returned to green, Webb was overtaken by both Gottsacker and Dubets on the second restart, and opted to come in on the following lap to perform the mandatory driver change with teammate Michai Stephens.
A drive-through penalty for the No. 88 STR38 Motorsports car for a race start violation drastically impacted the running order, promoting Zac Anderson to first place, with Stephens slotted directly behind just as a third full course caution came out with 16 minutes to go.
However, there were still more changes to come as the race briefly returned to green with just 7 minutes to go. Chaos ensued, with dramatic overtakes changing the outcome of the podium in a matter of a couple of corners. Kenton Koch gained two positions in one sweeping move to re-emerge up into the lead right before returning to yellows again. As they crossed the finish line, Anderson and Dubets finished in second place with an incident still awaiting review, and Parker Thompson pulled off a crucial overtake in the No. 999 Hanley Motorsports Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO to snatch away third place in the final minutes.
The No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport was the leader of the PRO-AM class and never faltered over the course of the race, maintaining first place from start to finish in dominant fashion. Matt Travis held a healthy buffer between himself and the next closest class competitor as the green flag waved to kick off Race One. Travis, who started third overall, was fighting with all his might to keep two Silver class drivers behind so Ross Chouest could be given extra hurdles to get past in order to raise a challenge in his No. 50 Chouest Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4.
Chouest came under threat from a charging Eric Powell in the No. 22 TechSport Racing Nissan Z GT4, who completed the overtake for second in class shortly before the second full course caution emerged, and now set his sights on inching closer and closer to Travis in the overall running.
As teams came in to perform their drive changes, the NOLASPORT crew retained the class lead, with Hart now taking over the reins for the second half of the race. A masterclass strategy from Flying Lizard Motorsports saw Michael Cooper now sitting directly behind in the No. 2 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Meanwhile, Tyler McQuarrie had also quietly but efficiently moved himself into third in the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4. As full course cautions came and went, the frontrunners ultimately held their positions as the minutes elapsed.
In the AM class, it was the No. 58 ACI Motorsports Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO who emerged victorious after a lot of movement took place up and down the field. Richard Edge was challenged early on by Charlie Postins in the No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 as the battled for class lead, with Nick Longhi not far behind in the No. 80 Crucial Motorsports McLaren Artura GT4.
Postins quickly got to work and moved up into the lead, with Rob Walker also taking the opportunity to move up into podium position in third in the No. 253 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 just before the halfway mark of the race.
As teammates swapped in and out during driver changes, ACI Motorsports returned to their original spot in the lead with Matt Halcome now jumping in the car. Comparatively, STR38 Motorsports pulled off major moves executed on excellent strategy, slotting themselves into second place in the No. 438 BMW M4 GT4 with the likes of Chris Allen in the final stages of the race, with Satakal Khalsa taking over from Walker and laying their claim over third position.
The series will be back on track tomorrow for Race Two on Sunday at 10:50 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.