RS1 On the Top Step of the Podium in Silver and Am, ACI Motorsports Wins in Pro-Am

RS1 On the Top Step of the Podium in Silver and Am, ACI Motorsports Wins in Pro-Am
  • TechSport Racing Storms to First Overall 
  • ACI Motorsports Clinches Pro-Am Win
  • RS1 Victorious in Am Class
  • Final Results

The Pirelli GT4 America field closed out Saturday’s action-packed day as they took to the track for Race 1 late in the afternoon. The temperatures may have cooled slightly, but the wheel to wheel battles were exceptionally heated. A yellow flag momentarily emerged early into the race, but the action only continued to escalate as the 60-minute event progressed. 

Eric Filgueiras and John Capestro-Dubets took the overall and Silver class win for RS1. In Pro-Am, it was a late charge from Kay van Berlo and Curt Swearingin that secured the class victory for ACI Motorsports. Austin and Roland Krainz celebrated the Am class win for RS1. 

Silver Class

John Capestro-Dubets started from the pole position in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, but it was Jonathan Neudorf who snatched away the overall lead in the No. 23 TechSport Racing Nissan Z NISMO GT4 in the opening laps. As the race progressed, Neudorf continued to establish a gap. 

When it came time for driver changes, Neudorf elected to run longer, with other Silver class cars jumping into pit lane to perform the swaps. As Michai Stephens took over from Neudorf and returned to the track, he retained class position, with Eric Filgueiras chasing him down in the RS1 machine, followed by Parker Thompson in the No. 999 Hanley Motorsports Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra GT4 EVO. 

Stephens was calm and collected, maintaining a gap in order to go on and collect the victory for TechSport Racing, with the team also earning the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap of the race, with RS1’s Filgueiras crossing the finish line in second place, and Thompson claiming third for Hanley Motorsports. 

However, a post-race penalty applied to the No. 23 TechSport Racing car moved them to the last finishing position in Race 1. As a result, RS1 were awarded the Race 1 win. The Stewards decision can be found here

Pro-Am Class

Pro-Am pole sitter Matt Bell was running third overall in the No. 43 P1 Groupe Mercedes-AMG GT4, with several Silver class competitors serving as a buffer between him and Johan Schwartz running second in class in the No. 635 RySpec Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. Bell opted to run long in his opening stint as part of an alternate strategy, before handing over the reins to teammate Alex Vogel. 

Although Vogel maintained track position following the driver change, he ran wide, which allowed Dan Dyszelski in the RySpec Racing machine and Kay van Berlo in the No. 7 ACI Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport to move past for position, dropping him to third. Vogel then spun shortly thereafter in Turn 6, allowing Max Root to move up into the final podium position in the No. 9 Blackdog Speed Shop Nissan Z NISMO GT4. 

The battle for podium places continued to intensify in the final portion of the race. Kay van Berlo saw an opportunity to strike, overtaking Dyszelski with 11 minutes remaining, making the move stick as he went on to claim the Pro-Am class win and the SUPERFUEL Hard Charger award after gaining 11 positions overall. The ACI Motorsports driver was followed by Dyszelski and RySpec Racing in second, completing his first-ever GT4 race at Sebring, and Root and Blackdog Speed Shop third. 

“We've been here quite a few times and we like this place and enjoy our time here,” stated Curt Swearingin. “It's one of our favorite tracks, so we always want to come here and do well. We didn't qualify as well as we wanted to, but I made up some positions and Kay made up even more positions, and now here we are! The first win.”

When talking about his overtake for the top spot, Kay van Berlo explained; “We were going down the back straights and I tried to stay close and take the inside line because that is usually where you have the biggest chance to pass. Then Dyszelski was able to maintain the outside line through Turn 17. As I approached him heading into Turn 1, I saw him going to the inside line, so I followed him. I jumped off the brakes, went into the corner and got the job done. It wasn't really planned, but I'm very happy with the results. I'm pretty sure everyone on pit lane heard the celebration when it happened.”

Am Class

Roland Krainz had a sizeable lead in the No. 18 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport as the green flag waved, but the advantage soon swung over to Robb Holland in the No. 099 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport as he took over from teammate Jaden Lander following the pit stop sequence. 

With Austin Krainz now behind the wheel for RS1, he got to work to reclaim first place from Holland. With 18 minutes, he got the job done, pulling off the overtake to return to first position in class. Kris Wilson, who was lurking just behind in the No. 98 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 (G82), soon joined in on the action, taking the opportunity to sweep past Holland to move himself up into second place. 

Krainz came under pressure from Wilson, Holland, Hannah Grisham in the No. 26 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, and Matt Million in the No. 53 AutoTechnic Racing BMW M4 GT4, as the group fought tooth and nail together in the final minutes. 

Krainz went on to clinch the win for RS1, followed by Wilson and Random Vandals Racing in second, but the remaining podium position was still up for grabs. As Grisham got caught in traffic, this enabled Million to move past and gain another position. Although Holland crossed the line in third, a post-race time penalty for a short pit stop dropped him down the order, therefore promoting Million onto the podium as a result. 

“It was definitely toasty in there but we made it work,” said Austin Krainz at the podium ceremonies. “It was definitely hard-earned. It wasn't easy. I’m glad we made it out unscathed.”

His father Roland Krainz said; “Being on the top step is just amazing. Last year we had a great race here, we came in second and third. This year, first place with my son. It's the best thing ever. I'm super happy, and the Porsche was fast!” 

He went on to say, “Words can't explain what I’m feeling.” Austin jumped in to add, “I told him last year when we came in second and third that this year we were going to win it. And we did it!” 

Let’s Get Racing

The Pirelli GT4 America field will return for Race 2 on Sunday, May 5th at 3:00 PM EST. 

If you can’t make it to Sebring, be sure to tune-in to SRO’s free livestreams all weekend long on YouTube (GTWorld) and Twitch (SROMotorsports) and follow all the action through our social media channels and the event hashtag #GTSebring.