GT4 Am driver Matt Fassnacht, the former TCA series champion who moved into the Pirelli GT4 America division last year, recorded his first GT4 overall victory Saturday in the 50-minute GT4 Sprint race in the Blancpain GT World Challenge weekend at Virginia International Raceway.
Driving the No. 53 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4, Fassnacht started the 22-driver field from the second position overall after securing the fastest Am class time in qualifying and run second to overall pole winner Spencer Pumpelly early in the 26-lap contest over the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road circuit. However, Pumpelly, in the No. 66 TRG-Racer’s Group Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport MR car, was forced to the pit area after leading the event until Lap 11 due to a punctured left-rear tire.
From that point, Fassnacht held a comfortable advantage and slowed to the finish with a 1.08-second margin over for former GTS series champion Michael Cooper in the new Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4. Cooper scored the victory in the Pro division with his second-place overall finish. Third overall and second in Pro in the GT4 Sprint event went to veteran Gar Robinson in the No. 74 Robinson Racing 74 Ranch Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
In addition to Pumpelly’s misfortune Saturday, another top contender, Ian James in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT, was running in the top-three when his mount also suffered a tire puncture.
Completing the top five overall were Robinson’s teammate, Shane Lewis in the No. 72 74 Robinson Racing 74 Ranch Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. and Jarett Andretti in the No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4. Lewis was third in the Pro class while Andretti placed runner-up to Fassnacht in the Am category.
Other top finishers Saturday at VIR in GT4 Sprint were Drew Staveley in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 (third in Am), Marko Radisic in the No. 22 Precision Driving Tech BMW M4 GT4 (fourth in Am), Nicolai Elghanayan in the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 (fourth in Pro), Jeff Burton in the No. 91 Burton Lumber/Rearden Racing Audi R8 LMS (five in Am) and Sean Quinlan in the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 (sixth in Am).
In addition to his overall and Am class triumph Saturday, Fassnacht also set the overall fastest race lap Saturday in his No. 53 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 with a time of 1:54.725, just bettering Andretti’s top lap of 1:54.746.
Sunday’s GT4 Sprint starting line-up was determined by the quickest race laps in Saturday’s race with Fassnacht and Andretti scheduled to start on the front row. Both drivers are in the Am division and going against the Pro class as well in the 50-minute event. The event will be live streamed at GT4-America.com and audio simulcast on SiriusXM satellite radio channel 383 (983 app). Check your local listings for CBS Network premiere and encore information for the GT4 Sprint races from the weekend.