George Kurtz and Colin Braun took the overall and Pro/Am win in Sunday’s action-packed GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS Round 4 at Virginia International Raceway. Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli finished second, while Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista finished third. John Megrue and Bill Sweedler finished 4th overall and first in the Am class, while Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock finished seventh overall and first in the Silver Division.
From pole, Hindman, behind the wheel of the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 led the field to the green flag and launched successfully to head the pack through Turn 1. Behind him Braun, in the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 slotted into second, with DXDT teammate Ryan Dalziel in the No. 63 Mercedes-AMG GT3 holding off a challenge from Am division driver Max Root in the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Marcelli, in the No. 80 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3, gained a position up into fifth over TR3 Racing’s Rodrigo Baptista in the No. 1 Ferrari 488 GT3. Hindman would then open a gap of over two seconds on Braun as the top sixth settled in and hit their marks maintaining their track positions.
With the 10-minute pit window open at the 40-minute mark of the race, Marcelli passed Root for fourth, while Hindman was the first driver to enter the pits relinquished the lead to Braun. At the end of the pit window the lead order had shuffled with Kurtz now behind the wheel of the No. 04 machine in the lead, Barkey in the No. 80 machine in second, Blackstock in the No. 93 machine in third, Poordad in the No. 20 machine fourth, Askew in for Dalziel in fifth and Fuentes in for Baptista in sixth.
Race control then issued a drive-through penalty to Blackstock for a pit lane speed violation when Hindman entered for the changeover and the penalty was served on Lap 31. The top four then shuffled to Kurtz, Barkey, Askew, and Poordad. With Barkey, Askew and Poordad in a heated three-way battle, Kurtz grew his lead to 7.4 seconds. Behind them Fuentes was on a charge and by lap 39 joined to make it a four-way battle. A lap later Poordad’s Porsche suffered a mechanical issue at the Oak Tree Turn and Fuentes then began a pursuit of Askew.
Kurtz would stretch his lead to 10 seconds, while a heated battle raged behind him. With Poordad’s machine deadsticked on the edge of the track, race control issued a full-course yellow bringing the field back to Kurtz for the Lap 42 restart. Fuentes would then slide past Askew through Turn 1 and into third.
In the action-packed final laps of the race, Kurtz, Barkey and Fuentes ran nose to tail and at the checkered Kurtz crossed the line by a mere 0.226s over Barkey, 0.713s ahead of Fuentes.
“When I saw the car stopped on the back straight (Poordad’s Porsche), I knew we were going to have a restart and I knew the fight was going to be on. With a couple minutes left I just buckled down and focused on pulling a gap on Barkey. It’s a special win with Colin.”
“It’s a super special win today. Seeing the way the race unfolded. We had a gap there but then when the yellow came out. It fell back on George’s shoulders to really push hard there at the end,” said Braun. “To see George finish off the race like he did; George really had to earn the win today,” said Braun.
With the win, Kurtz and Braun leave Virginia tied for the Pro/Am driver’s championship lead at 73 points with Fuentes and Baptista. Teams and drivers next look to California and Sonoma Raceway for Rounds 5 and 6 of the championship.
Catch the replay of this weekends action on CBS Sports Network on July 12th at 10:00 pm ET. Check your local listings for channel information.
Gates dominates GT Sports Club Race 2
Race 1 winner Ryan Gates and the No. 311 311RS Motorsports Porsche 911 GT2 RS CS led the GT Sports Club field to the green flag for Round 2 of the 2020 season at VIR.
Jason Bell in the No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT2 RS CS slotted into second with Karl Leinsing and the No. 54 ATech Design Porsche 911 GT2 RS CS third. Stu Frederick in the No. 57, the second GMG entry, would start fourth.
With 15 minutes off the clock, Gates stretched his lead to over 12 seconds and never looked back, continuing to grow his lead as the race continued. He crossed the line first followed by Jason Bell in second.
Stu Frederick took the Iron class victory, finishing third overall.
GT Sports Club will next be in action August 7-9 at Sonoma Raceway.