Spencer Pumpelly scored a dominant flag-to-flag Pro Division Pirelli GT4 America Sprint Race 1 Win at VIRginia International Raceway Friday afternoon. Michael Dinan took the Am Division win.
Pumpelly crossed the line ahead of Jarett Andretti and Drew Staveley, who finished second and third respectively in the Pro class. Jeff Courtney and Sean Quinlan finished second and third respectively behind Dinan in the Am class.
The 50-minute contest was held under sunny and hot 89-degree Fahrenheit conditions. From pole, Pumpelly, in the No.66 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, launched successfully ahead of second-on-the-grid Staveley, in the No.12 Ian Lacy Racing G3 Racing Ford Mustang GT4 and Michael Cooper, who started third in the No.10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4. Andretti who had started fourth in the No.18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S went side-by-side early in the first lap with Cooper executing a pass for position, and then through turn 13 moved into second passing Staveley.
Dinan who had started fifth overall and first in the Am class in the No.210 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 held off Sean Quinlan, in the No.119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 in sixth overall.
By the second lap, Pumpelly had opened up a .858 second lead over Andretti and throughout the contest grew his lead to over three seconds. In the Am class, a hard-charging Jeff Courtney, in the No.99 RecStuff Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 had moved up into 3rd in the class by lap 5 after starting 10th. Dramatics ensued on lap 5 as championship contender and three-time SRO Motorsports America Driver’s Champion Cooper dropped back in the pack, his McLaren encountering a mechanical issue. Cooper would enter the pits, but later rejoin the race.
With Staveley starting to pressure Andretti by lap 12, Pumpelly grew his lead to 3.4 seconds. In the Am division Courtney closed up on Quinlan in the battle for second in class. By the halfway mark of the race, Pumpelly still held a 3.4 second lead over Andretti who had now gapped Staveley. With under 13 minutes remaining in the race and Dinan building his lead to three seconds in the Am class, Courtney continued stalking Quinlan and pounced on his opportunity to move into second as Quinlan ran wide through turn 3.
From there the leaders held their positions and at the checkered, Pumpelly crossed the line 2.3 seconds ahead of Andretti. Dinan finished fourth overall, and first in the Am category ahead of Courtney, who finished fifth overall and second in class, Quinlan finished seventh overall and third in class. With the win, Pumpelly provisionally moves up into a tie for the championship lead at 55 points with Staveley. Dinan grows his lead in the Am class championship, up to 68 points total. Results are provisional until posted final.
“I knew if we could get any clean air, we’d be OK. The car is good when it is cool but when we get hot we tend to really struggle. The key is to keep the radiator clean,” said Pumpelly after the race. “We got a nice little gap there as Andretti and Staveley fought behind me. Towards the middle and end of the race it took me everything to keep it in the lead. Hats off to Jarett for keeping me honest.”