Young Harry Gottsacker captured his second GTS SprintX Pro-Am feature of the year Sunday at Utah Motorsports Campus with a strong drive in the Round 10 60-minute season finale in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Utah, while the team of Toby Grahovec and Chris Ohmacht scored the GTS SprintX Amateur class victory.
In addition to the final race of the 10-event, the GTS SprintX Pro-Am and Amateur series champions were decided with the duo of James Sofronas and Alex Welch in the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 sports car unofficially taking the Pro-Am class drivers’ championship and Drew Staveley in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 recording the Am title.
The official GTS SprintX series point standings will be announced in the coming week.
Gottsacker, 19, has been on a charge in the past two PWC weekends (Portland and Utah) with two GTS SprintX victories and two runner-up finishes in the potent No. 69 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 sports car. With his win Sunday, he unofficially finished three points out of the GTS SprintX Pro-Am championship. Sofronas and Welch totaled 176 and Gottsacker tallied 173.
Placing second overall to Gottsacker Sunday was the Saturday GTS SprintX Pro-Am pair of Matt Keegan and Ian James in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Avezzano GT4 followed by Scott Maxwell and Jade Buford in the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 and Grahovec and Ohmacht in the No. 92 ETF Global/CAO/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4, the top Am category finishers.
“Off the bat on the restart, I was able to get a jump on the No. 50 Panoz (car) and he got stuck back a little bit in the traffic and then he got by me again,” said Gottsacker. “We had another late restart which gave me an opportunity to get underneath him on turn three. That was a little hairy because I had to go over a curb into turn 4, but all in all it was a great weekend. We made so many improvements even from yesterday (second place) and then had no issues today. So, it was nothing but great racing. I feel like the season could have been a little bit better at the beginning but, all in all, I’m really happy with my pace and how the team has come together to make such a great race car.”
Placing runner-up to the Grahovec/Ohmacht combo in the Amateur division was Saturday Am victor Preston Calvert in the No. 51 Team Panoz Racing Avezzano GT4 followed by Nicolai Elghanayan in the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4, Staveley and the team of Daren Jorgensen and Brett Strom in the No. 113 JET Environmental/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4.
“Chris did a great job in the beginning and gave me a great car,” said Grahovec. “He saved the tires, so the car was awesome at the end. The pit stop was perfect. I think we just barely made it on time in the pits, so I think we passed five or six cars in the pits which was pretty awesome. I just battled my way past as many cars as possible. Then there was an accident in turn three where everyone went right, and I went left. It all worked out for us in the end. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t.”
“We had some challenges with the practice because of some tire issues and older carryover sets,” said Ohmacht. “Getting in the car this morning was the first time I was on fresh tires in the GT4, so it felt great. It was a good, clean stint and we had a lot of luck go our way. We didn’t seem to have any heat-related issues and the drive felt better for me on the new tires. It was a great car and exciting finish.”
Staveley unofficially took the GTS SprintX Am title with 205 points over Aurora Straus, driver of the No. 36 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4, with 178 and Grahovec and Ohmacht at 170.
The final GTS Sprint weekend (Rounds 9 and 10) with 50-minute races will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at Watkins Glen International for the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Watkins Glen presented by TM Performance.