Hart/Travis back on top with Pirelli GT4 America SprintX win

Image by SRO Motorsports America

Hart/Travis back on top with Pirelli GT4 America SprintX win

SRO America

Hart/Travis back on top with Pirelli GT4 America SprintX win

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Jason Hart and Matt Travis returned to form at Virginia International Raceway Sunday morning scoring, the Pro/Am division and overall Pirelli GT4 America SprintX win. The duo of Jarett Andretti and Colin Mullan captured the Silver division win, while the Zac Anderson, Sean Gibbons pairing won in Am.

Sunday morning’s 60-minute race was the make-up for the cancelled Long Beach round. From pole, Silver Division competitor ST Racing’s Nick Wittmer in the No. 28 BMW M4 GT4 led the field to the green and successfully launched to head the field through turn 1. Behind him, Am competitor Kris Wilson in the No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 slotted into second, while Mullan — in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570s GT4 — slotted into third overall.

James Walker Jr., looking for a three-race victory sweep on the weekend with driver partner Auberlen, slotted into fifth overall and first in the Pro/Am class in the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4.

The leaders held position when on Lap 3 race control issued a full-course caution for the safety crew to retrieve the No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 driven by Jason Bell that sat dead-sticked at Turn 5. On the Lap 7 restart, Wittmer again pulled away successfully into the lead. Behind him Wilson was being challenged by Mullan and with the driver of No. 36 McLaren looking for a way by, Tim Barber, in the No. 25 CCR Team TFB BMW M4 GT4, slipped by for third position overall in the race. James Walker Jr. dropped from fifth into 11th after contact with another competitor on the restart, moving Travis in the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 up into fifth overall and first in Pro/Am.

As the pit window opened at halfway point of race, Travis came in immediately for the driver changeover to Hart, while leaders Wittmer and Wilson remained out to maximize track position. Wittmer, however ran wide coming out of the Oak Tree Turn, allowing Wilson to swing by and grab the overall race lead.

With Hart and Andretti now out on track the two began an intense multi-lap battle for 5th overall in the race. Hart eventually passed Andretti through Turn 1 to move up into fourth overall. By Lap 14 and the pit window nearing its close both Wilson and Wittmer entered for the driver changeover. With the window closed and driver changeovers completed, Harry Gottsacker, who took over the reins from Wittmer, returned to the lead and first in the Silver division, while Hart was now up into second overall and first in Pro/Am, with Andretti third and second in the Silver division. Behind them John Allen — who took over for Wilson — sat sixth overall and first in Am lead, while Auberlen, who took over the seat from Walker Jr., slotted into seventh overall, second in Pro/Am.

Am leader Allen went off at Oak Tree Turn after contact with Vesko Kozarov in the No. 91 Rearden Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Anderson, in the No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 took advantage and moved up into first in Am. With Gottsacker up by five seconds over Hart for the overall lead on Lap 19, race control issued a drive-through penalty for a pit lane speed violation on the driver changeover. The penalty moved Hart into the overall lead.

By Lap 21, Hart held a 0.337s advantage over Andretti, with Auberlen continuing his charge up into third overall. While Andretti began a battle with Hart for overall lead on Lap 22, behind them Greg Liefooghe, in the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 had moved up into third in Pro/Am. With Anderson still leading in the Am class and 14th overall, Derek DeBoer, in the No. 17 TRG-La Salle Solutions Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, began hounding John Tecce in the No. 69 BGB Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 for second in Am. DeBoer executed a nice move on the outside of Oak Tree Turn to grab the position in class.

As Andretti pressed for a way around Hart, he dropped wheels coming off the final turn of the track and slipped back into third overall. Auberlen moved up into second. Auberlen closed the gap but at the checkered Hart crossed ahead by 0.776s. Andretti crossed third overall and first in Silver, Liefooghe (with Sean Quinlan) fourth overall and third in Pro/Am. Jon Miller, in the No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4, passed Ciraulo on the last lap to secure second in the Silver division, while Ciraulo/Barber finished third in class. In Am, Anderson crossed ahead of DeBoer, and Tecce.

“I was going as fast as I could go, with a couple of mistakes. I had nothing left — I gave everything for every lap and every corner,” said Hart after the race. “I thank Andretti for racing me clean. We had a good duel. Once I got clear of him the first thing I heard in my radio was the delta ahead of Auberlen, and his pace to my pace. Man, I just rung it for everything I had left.”

Catch the CBS Sports Network premiere of VIR SprintX action on July 18 at 7:00pm ET.

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