A great come-from-behind drive by Stevan McAleer gave the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW driving combination with Justin Raphael in recording the team’s first Pirelli GT4 America SprintX overall Saturday in the Blancpain GT World Challenge weekend at Virginia International Raceway.
The veteran McAleer came from eighth after a caution period in the middle of the 50-minute GT4 event with the No. 29 Raphael & Associates/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 and passed leader Jason Hart on Lap 20 of the 26-lap contest at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road circuit. The win for McAleer and Raphael was their first overall SprintX victory. In addition, the pair won the SprintX East Pro-Am honors Saturday with the 2.223-second victory.
“Greg Liefooghe was giving me a run for my money early in the race. I was trying to conserve the tires and I notice one of the Caymans was coming back to us,” related McAleer. “So, I just put my foot down and this is the best the BMW M4 has been all weekend. The Classic BMW crew did an incredible job with the job and Justin ran well. You have to have two good drivers in this GT4 class to win it.”
On Friday, Raphael experience an off-track excursion into the tire barrier in the practice rounds and the Fast Track Racing team had to make some repairs overnight. But the No. 29 machine was quick in qualifying and during the race.
Pole winner Kris Wilson drove the No. 16 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 sports car to the lead early over Randy Mueller in the No. 3 Epic Motorsports BMW M4 GT4, Hart’s teammate, Matt Travis in the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport MR and Jarett Andretti in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4.
A long caution period of five laps kept everyone in place after a collision with Michael Dinan in the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport MR and Rich Golinello in the No. 55 Kohr Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 in Turn 5. Wilson held his margin until the mid-point of the race when pit stops and driver changes occurred.
McAleer was able to track down the leading cars and used the BMW’s straight line speed to slide by Hart for the lead. Hart was able to continue to apply the pressure but had to settle for the runner-up spot in the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR machine.
Third overall and second in the Pro-Am class went to the team of Greg Liefooghe and Sean Quinlan in the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 followed by Mueller and James Clay in the No. 3 Epic Motorsports BMW M4 GT4 (first in the SprintX E Am class) and the Classic BMW team car to McAleer/Raphael with Toby Grahovec and Chris Ohmacht in the No. 92 VETS Indexes/Classic BMW BMW M4 GT4 (third in SprintX Pro-Am).
Rounding out the top 10 overall in Round 3 of the GT4 SprintX tour was Marko Radisic/Karl Wittmer in the No. 22 Precision Racing Tech BMW M4 GT4, Jeff Burton/Vesko Kozarov in the No. 91 Rearden Racing Audi R8 LMS, Anthony Geraci/Elivan Goulart in the No. 27 KRUGSPEED Ginetta G55, Jarett Andretti/Karl Thomson in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4 and CJ Moses/James Sofronas in the GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS.
In addition, the Burton/Kozarov pair took top honors in the GT4 SprintX Am category Saturday over Andretti/Thomson and Moses/Sofronas.