Michael Cooper and his No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S started only fourth, but soon made up for lost time in the second race for the Pirelli GT4 America series at Virginia International Raceway.
While Race 1 winner Spencer Pumpelly grabbed the lead with his No. 66 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 at the green flag, Cooper got around Drew Staveley’s No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 to take third position and then went on the attack for second, which was held by Jarett Andretti in the No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4.
With 43 minutes remaining, Cooper made a late-braking pass on the inside of Turn 4 to take over second and then went in pursuit of Pumpelly, who had by then pulled a 5-second lead over his rivals.
In the Am category, Jeff Courtney and the No. 99 Recstuff Racing sat fifth overall, first in class, and was able to manage a 4-second lead over the rest of the field, and began closing on Staveley for fourth overall. Behind Courtney, Christopher Gumprecht in the No. 79 C.G. Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 and Michael Dinan in the No. 210 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 battled for second in class, sixth overall.
However, with 31 minutes remaining Courtney spun on his own at Turn 3, falling to eighth in class, giving the Am lead to Gumprecht with Dinan hot in pursuit.
Three minutes later, Dinan got past Gumprecht at Turn 4 to take over first in Am, fifth overall. Sean Quinlan and the No. 119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 ran third in class, seventh overall.
Cooper had closed to within 3.5 seconds of Pumpelly when a full-course caution was called for Mark Klenin’s No. 62 KPR SIN R1 GT4 which sat stranded on track.
The race went back to green with just under 14 minutes remaining and as the field entered Turn 5, Cooper went to the outside of Pumpelly to grab the lead, with Andretti close behind. Cooper never looked back and went on to take the victory, his second of the season.
“I figured it would be a short yellow so I started just scrubbing my tires like crazy. Spencer slid wide at 4, so I was able to get up next to him and make the pass on the next turn. It feels great for Blackdog and McLaren to get the win. We had multiple issues yesterday, so to come back and get the win gives us momentum for tomorrow and the rest of the year,” said Cooper.
Andretti got past Pumpelly for second position at Turn 15, with Pumpelly regaining the position at Turn 1 on the next lap. Pumpelly went on to finish second followed by Andretti and Staveley. Pumpelly would also set the race fastest lap of 1m54.424s, giving him pole for Sunday’s Race 3.
While the Pro battle raged on, Dinan stretched the Am lead to 2.5 seconds with Courtney working his way back up to second in class and also pass Pro James Pesek’s No. 40 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 for sixth overall.
As the checkers flew, Dinan took the Am victory, his third in four races, with Courtney and Christopher Gumprecht rounding out the podium.
“I knew I didn’t have the fastest car, but just needed to be consistent, so I just kept putting in laps and got the win!” said Dinan.
Pirelli GT4 America Sprint Race 3, the St. Petersberg make-up event, will take place on Sunday at 3:45pm ET. Follow along live at gt4-america.com/live.