Drew Staveley was victorious in his Pirelli GT4 America Sprint Pro division debut Saturday afternoon at Circuit of The Americas. Spencer Pumpelly crossed the line second, while three-time Driver’s Champion Michael Cooper was third.
From pole, Staveley in his No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 took the green flag to begin the 50-minute race. Third-on-the-grid, Cooper in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4 gained a position on Pumpelly in the No. 66 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. Cooper then set his sights on Staveley and passed for the lead through Turn 12 on the opening lap. Behind them, Jarett Andretti, in his No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4 moved up from his sixth starting position slotting into fourth.
In the Am division, Paul Terry, in No. 59 Rearden Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 began a race long battle with fellow class competitor Michael Dinan in the No. 210 Flying Lizard Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
On Lap 2, Staveley regained the race lead passing Cooper through Turn 1 and then by lap 3 the Mustang pilot set the fast lap of the race to pull a 1.6-second lead over Cooper. Through Lap 7, Staveley had extended his lead to 2.5 seconds over Cooper, and Pumpelly, with Andretti, Terry and Dinan battling for fourth, fifth and sixth. Staveley maintained his 2.5-second advantage for the duration of the race, but by Lap 20, Pumpelly began to pressure Cooper for second and then on the white flag lap Pumpelly went side by side with Cooper through Turn 11 and the two drag raced for position down the back straight. The two dueled through Turns 12, 13, 14 and 15 with the TRG pilot moving for good into second through 16 and 17.
Staveley took the checkered flag 2.2 seconds ahead of Pumpelly, with Cooper 0.5 seconds off second place. Dinan crossed the line in 4th ahead on Terry.
“Winning one of these races is really tough to do and this is just really special,” said Staveley. “I feel relaxed and the Ian Lacy crew gave me a great car, so thanks to them.”
“I had to take care of the tires for pretty much the whole race but was able to grab the lead at the end there,” said Dinan. “The Flying Lizard Aston Martin really checks all the boxes and fits my driving style really well.”
Teams and drivers now look ahead to Round 2 scheduled for a green flag start Sunday at 3:10 pm Central. Watch live streaming of the race at https://www.gt4-america.com/live.