The Volt Racing pair of Alan Brynjolfson and Trent Hindman used great strategy and a strong No. 77 Ford Mustang GT4 Saturday to capture the Round 3 60-minute GTS SprintX event at VIRginia International Raceway in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of VIRginia presented by Audi Sport.
Brynjolfson and Hindman started eighth and took over the lead on lap 15 to secure the team’s first GTS SprintX race over the COTA winning duo of Alex Welch and James Sofronas in the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS by 1.165 seconds. Third went to the reigning GTS series champion Lawson Aschenbach and former series champion Andy Pilgrim in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
Fourth overall and first in the Am division Saturday were Toby Grahovec and Chris Ohmacht in the No. 92 EFT Global/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 followed by Matt Keegan and Ian James in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT.
“All of this is new to me,” said Brynjolfson. “I didn’t have a racing license two years ago and had never been in a race car so I’m new to race car driving. This was first race in the Pirelli World Challenge this year, so to come out with a win in the pro category is a great. With pro driver Trent Hindman backing me up, it’s been quite a journey. That’s what made the win extra special is that it’s a big win with some really big cars. It was very competitive and it made it that much more special.”
“Alan is selling himself short a little bit,” said Hindman. “He did an awesome job qualifying with this field with some of the names mentioned, so without that effort, it would have been a pretty tall effort to do what you ended up doing. We couldn’t have done it without his great qualifying effort. The car that Volt racing gave us, all the guys there did a great job, all throughout testing and into tonight. Fortunately, I have had the chance to go door-to-door with guys like James (Sofronas) and Lawson (Aschenbach) and Jade (Buford) so I had at least a little bit of an idea of what to expect.
“In a field of 38 cars, all being mostly brand new GT4 cars, you really don’t know what exactly you’re going to get. Volt Racing is a relatively new team. We’re all learning at the same time and at the same rate, and I think this is a really good start and helps to carry some momentum into the 2018 season.
“There’s a ton of really strong cars but you can’t count out the Ford Mustang. You look at the history of cars and the Mustang has been there throughout. But still tomorrow is going to be interesting because we now have the proverbial target on our back, so we have to push a little bit harder. Today was a great result but it’s not going to stop us from trying to find more.”
The GTS SprintX action was hotly contested in the opening laps with veteran Scott Maxwell taking the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 to the top spot over pole winner Shane Lewis in the No. 74 74 Ranch Resort/Robinson Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 with the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT of Matthew Fassnacht and Christian Szymczak running a close third.
The leaders’ order changed dramatically after the required pits top between the 25 and 35-minute mark and Grahovec actually leading overall when he handed his BMW M4 to Ohmacht. Ohmacht led for several more laps before Hindman moved to the lead.
The race finished under a caution period when Keith Jensen hit the tire barrier in the VIR esses section. Jensen walked away from the incident, but the checkered flag was shown to the field to conclude the 60-minute race.
“It’s really exciting to be back on the top step,” said Grahovec. “The last time I won races was back in Touring Car in 2016 at Mosport (CTMP), the year I won the championship. So to be back on the top step feels great. We had a good race. I started making my way up to the front, taking on one car at a time, trying to get a nice lead to hand over to Chris (Ohmacht). Chris put his head down and drove amazing today. Chris’ driving today, finished fourth overall – with the competition that he had to deal with on his bumper, that’s pretty awesome.”
“I’m so excited to win this race today,” said Ohmacht. “I love racing at VIR. This is one of my favorite tracks and the Classic BMW M4 GT4 has been a tremendous car to driver this year. Toby drove a great race and gave me the lead overall. I was racing against some of the best driver in the sport and it was fun. To finish fourth overall is a great accomplishment for our Classic BMW team. We are anxious for the Sunday race now.”
Taking sixth through tenth in Saturday’s GTS SprintX contest was Maxwell and Jade Buford in the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4, Henry Schmitt and Greg Liefooghe in the No. 88 Stephan Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4, Randy Mueller and Michael Camus in he No. 3 Epic Motorsports BMW M4 GT4, Lewis and Gar Robinson in the No. 74 Robinson Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 and former GTSA class champion George Kurtz and Colin Braun in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS.
Sunday’s GTS SprintX Round 4 event is set for 1:50 p.m. EDT. The race will be live streamed on www.world-challenge.com and available on SiriusXM Channel 383 and the SiriusXM App Channel 983.