Spencer Pumpelly and Matt Fassnacht secured pole positions Saturday morning in Pirelli GT4 America Sprint qualifying in the Pro and Am classes Friday at the Virginia International Raceway in Blancpain GT World Challenge weekend.
The veteran Pumpelly won his third pole of the year in the GT4 Sprint division with a time of one minute, 53.058 seconds in the No. 66 TRG-Racers Group Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport MR sports car and will start on the pole for Saturday’s 50-minute Sprint event set for 1:05 p.m. EDT.
“That pole lap was an outstanding run here at VIR. The TRG crew gave me a superb car this morning and I actually got a little lucky with a couple of big drafts on the quickest lap,” said Pumpelly. “The new Porsche Cayman is just a great racing car. And here at VIR, one of best tracks in the country, the car seems fit this place so well. After the win at Long Beach, we want to continue that success today in the GT4 Sprint race.”
With Pumpelly winning the Pro class pole Saturday, Fassnacht piloted his No. 53 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 machine to second overall in the 24-car field Saturday and the fastest Am driver in qualifying with a 1:53.710 clocking. Fassnacht, the 2017 TCA series champion, has won races at VIR throughout his racing career and figures to be a contender in Saturday’s 50-minute sprint opener.
“We are really satisfied with the Mercedes-AMG this weekend,” said Fassnacht. “We have been fast with both cars (Sprint and SprintX). And the second car for SprintX is set up much different than the Sprint car. It was very challenging to get used to each car. That was the biggest challenge for me today. We are just trying to do different things with the cars right. We’ll see which one works out better. I’m sure we will make some tweaks with each car before the races. We are still learning with the cars here. I feel much more comfortable this year after being new to the GT4 cars last year. With more track time, you just get better and faster with the cars. I get more comfortable inside the cars with the settings and how things work. We hope to have a good car for both Sprint and SprintX this weekend.”
It took Pumpelly just four laps to record his quickest time in qualifying with a superb run over the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road circuit. And Spencer saw no need to improve his time with a six-tenths advantage over Fassnacht. The New Jersey veteran racer captured his pole run on his fifth timed lap Saturday.
Third overall in GT4 Sprint qualifying Saturday was another veteran and multi-time GT4 Sprint race winner Ian James in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezanno GT with a 1:54.009 time. James will compete in the Pro division this weekend. Rounding out the top five overall were the Robinson Racing 74 Ranch teammates of Gar Robinson, in theNo. 74 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, at 1:54.209 and Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, at 1:54.309.
Completing the top-five in the Pro division qualifying was former GT4 series champion Michael Cooper in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4 car with a 1:54.338.
Following Fassnacht in the Am category in Saturday’s GT4 time trials was 2018 GT4 SprintX Am series champion Drew Staveley in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 at 1:54.629. Finishing out the top-five Am qualifiers were Alan Bryanjolfsson in the No. 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport MR at 1:54.664, Jarett Andretti in the No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4 at 1:54.754 and Michael Dinan in the No. 210 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport MR at 1:55.248.