Lawson Aschenbach won his fourth straight 2018 GTS Sprint 50-minute race Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Round 4 action in the Castrol presents Victoria Day Speedfest.
Defending GTS series champion Aschenbach jumped to the lead from his pole position on the first lap of the 32-lap feature race at the famed 2.459-mile, 10-turn road circuit northeast of Toronto. The 34-year-old driver of the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R drove to the front on the track’s Andretti Straight and led to the checkered flag.
Ian James, in his No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT sports car, took second at the checkered flag, but was later disqualified due to a technical infraction after the event.
The victory for Aschenbach was his 28th Pirelli World Challenge career victory, fourth all-time in the 29-year history of the series. In addition, the Camaro triumph was the model’s 53rd win in PWC history, tying the Corvette brand for the most in the series’ 29 years.
“We had some legs in the straightaway,” said Aschenbach. “The car always seems to be great in the first couple of laps, so you can work hard, keep pushing and build a gap. But the goal is to try to keep all those things. We’re always tweaking things at Blackdog Speed Shop. We made a few changes overnight expecting the track to be a little better today. After watching what was happening behind me yesterday, I knew that I had to make some changes. We are constantly trying to make changes to make things go a little bit quicker, and fortunately we were able to come away with the win today.”
Completing the GTS podium Sunday at CTMP was young Gar Robinson in the No. 74 Ranch 74 Robinson Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 with second place in a duel with veteran Jade Buford in the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4. Robinson bested Buford by 0.254 seconds at the finish line.
Rounding out the top five Sunday in the GTS class was current GTS Overall point leader James Sofronas in the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 sports car and veteran Shane Lewis in the No. 72 Ranch 74 Robinson Racing Mercedes-AMG. Eighteen-year-old Harry Gottsacker in the No. 69 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 placed sixth Sunday.
Scoring the victory in the GTSA division was Drew Staveley of Salt Lake City, Utah, with a come-from-behind win in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 over veterans Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee, Wis., in the No. 99 JCR Motorsports Maserati Grand Turismo GT4, and local favorite Fred Roberts of Toronto in the No. 89 JCR Motorsports Maserati Grand Turismo GT4.
Rounding out the top-five in the GTSA category at CTMP Sunday was Preston Calvert of Potomac, Md., in the No. 51 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT, and Tony Gaples in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
“The leading GTSA cars (Courtney and Roberts) were kind of falling off with their tires and our cars were coming together a little bit,” said Staveley. “I just had an opportunity to pass both of them in separate laps at the same spot. After that, I was able to lay down a few quick laps which was good. In turns 1 through 5, our cars do really well and in the last section, turns 8 to 10 our car does really well. Unfortunately, there’s a long straight that we need to make up. As drivers, we can still race and finding the area where we can be the most competitive.
The Pirelli World Challenge now heads to the Lime Rock Park road course next weekend (May 25-28) in the annual Memorial Weekend Classic featuring all eight PWC classes.
Rounds 5 and 6 of the GTS Sprint series are scheduled for June 23-25 at the historic Road America four-time circuit in Wisconsin. All Pirelli World Challenge races can be seen live on www.world-challenge.com and heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel 383 (app channel 983).