Gar Robinson and his No. 74 Robinson Racing Camaro led the field to the green flag on a cool Sunday morning, but it was Jarrett Andretti and the No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4 that slipped through to grab the lead at the Bus Stop on Lap 1. Andretti would never look back and go on to claim his first career overall Pirelli GT4 America Sprint victory as a pro.
“We were good on new tires, so I knew I had to get Gar early in the race. It was a really good run, but I spent the last three laps defending for my life! It feels great to win here at The Glen. This team and everything it’s about is great. These guys did not go to the hotel last night, they stayed at the track all night, and I appreciate everything they’ve done. It’s awesome, it means a lot,” said Andretti.
With 39 minutes remaining in the race, Shane Lewis in the No. 72 Robinson Racing Camaro attempted a pass on Michael Cooper and the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren at the Bus Stop, resulting in contact. Lewis dropped to 19th, with Cooper’s car also suffering damage and slowly drop through the field. Spencer Pumpelly and the No. 66 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR inherit thirded position with championship leader Ian James and his No. 50 Panoz Avezzano moving into fourth.
For the next 15 minutes, the top three overall leaders would run nose to tail with fourth-placed James slowly reeling the trio in. With 20 minutes remaining, a safety car was called for a heavy incident involving Jeff Burton’s No. 91 Rearden Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4, grouping the field back together for a long caution period.
The race got back under green with just over 7 minutes remaining with Andretti leading, Robinson second, Pumpelly third, James fourth and Jeff Courtney in the No. 99 JCR Maserati, fifth overall, leading the Am category. Behind Courtney, Alan Brynjolfsson took his No. 7 Park Place Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR to third in the Am class and closed on the second-place No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Drew Staveley.
On the last lap, Ian James would make a run at Spencer Pumpelly for the final podium position, but bump him slightly at turn 9 and allow both Jeff Courtney and Drew Staveley through to finish 1-2 in the Am class, third and fourth overall. James let Pumpelly back through to take third in the Pro class, fifth overall, while James ended up seventh overall and fourth in class.
Courtney took the Am-class win with Staveley second and Brynjolfsson third. Aristotle Balogh brought the No. 190 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 home fourth in class with Sean Quinlan in the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 fifth.
Murillo Racing Wins Shortened Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Race 2 From Watkins Glen
The final Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race from Watkins Glen saw Karl Wittmer and the No. 24 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang lead the field to the green flag under cool and cloudy skies at Watkins Glen International.
At Turn 1 Trent Hindman in the No. 77 Park Place Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR swung around the outside of the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes AMG of Christian Szymczak to go from fourth to third and would begin his pursuit of the No. 37 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 CS-MR of Jan Heylen. At the same time, Heylen began reeling in the Wittmer-driven Mustang and closed to within 0.2s of the leader.
With 40 minutes left on the clock, Heylen powered past Wittmer for the lead on the inside of Turn 11 and pulled a gap of 2.2 seconds over his rivals. Hindman then closed on Wittmer as the clock ticked down closer to the pit window opening for driver changes.
As the pit window opened, Wittmer had an issue with his car and fall from second to sixth overall in just a few turns. While that was happening Steven McAleer in the No. 29 Classic BMW M4 GT4 got past Hindman for second.
With 27 minutes remaining, the leading No. 37 RS1 Porsche of Heylen went wide at Turn 6 and hit the tire barriers, ending his race. Nearly the entire field dived for the pits expecting a safety car to be called with the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes, now with Matthew Fassnacht driving, coming out in first position.
A safety car would be called for a separate incident with 23 minutes remaining as the No. 46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR of Patrick Byrne and No. 3 Epic Motorsports BMW M4 GT4 of Randy Mueller had a big incident at Turn 10 with both cars getting into the guardrail. The No. 24 Ian Lacy Racing Mustang would face more issues during the safety car period and pull into the pits, ending its day.
Due to guardrail repairs needed, race officials called the race with eight minutes remaining with the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 (East Am) taking the win.
“The end result was obviously good, but I would have liked more time in the car! I want to thank Murillo Racing for a great car this weekend and Christian [Szymczak] for driving a good, clean race,” said Fassnacht.
The No. 77 Park Place Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR (East Pro-Am) came home second with the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 (Pro-Am) taking the final podium position.
The No. 29 Classic BMW M4 GT4 (East Pro-Am) was fourth, No. 592 Ramsey Racing/EXR-Team by Premat Mercedes AMG GT4 (Pro-Am) fifth, and No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR (Pro-Am) sixth. The No. 63 Dexter Racing Ginetta G55 (Pro-Am), No. 190 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 (Pro-Am), No. 51 Panoz Avezanno (Am), and No. 92 Classic BMW M4 GT4 (Pro-Am) rounded out the top 10.
The Pirelli GT4 America SprintX series will next be in action September 20-22 at Road America.