Mads Siljehaug and the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 led the field to the green flag for Sunday’s Pirelli GT4 America SprintX weekend finale from Road America, but it was the Jarrett Andretti-driven Andretti Autosport Window World of Michigan No. 36 McLaren 570S GT4 that made the biggest splash, dicing through from fifth on the grid to second going into turn 1.
The No. 71 KTM machine never gave up the pressue from the McLaren and pulled away. As the race went on the No. 71 would increase their lead and go on to take the victory in dominant fashion, finishing 8 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
“The car is where it is now because of the hard work the team has put into the car and it’s really starting to pay off!” said Siljehaug.
“To come here and get the overall victory is amazing. Mads [Siljehaug] did a fantastic job, so I just had to babysit the car today!” said Elghanayan.
On lap one as the field made it through Turn 13, the first safety car was called as Race 2 Am-class winner John Allen and the No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 were tagged by the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Sean Quinlan, sending the Roll Tide liveried-Mercedes into the outside wall.
The race went back to green with 51 minutes remaining with Siljehaug leading Overall and in Silver, Dinan and the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin first in Pro-Am, third overall, with Sean Gibbons and the No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 leading in Am sitting eleventh overall.
As the clock ticked past the 42 minute mark, Michael Dinan pulled to the outside of Andretti at the Billy Mitchell Bend, the two would touch and unsettle both cars, allowing Matt Travis and the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 to slip into second overall, first in Pro-Am, as Dinan and Andretti would run behind. While these four battled, Siljehaug would build a 9-second lead over his rivals.
On the next lap Andretti pulled over to the side of the road just before the Speedville Bridge and was forced to restart his car due to a mechanical issue and fall to 14th overall, fifth Silver. This handed Harry Gottsacker and the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 second in Silver, fourth overall, and give Cole Ciraulo and the No. 25 CCR Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 third in Silver, fifth overall.
As the pit window closed for required driver changes Nicolai Elghanayan, now driving the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 kept the Overall and Silver lead, Jason Hart in the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 sat first in Pro-Am, second overall, with Zac Anderson, driving the No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 leading Am, 12th overall.
With 23 minutes on the clock, the Pro-Am battle for the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions raged on with three Aston Martin Vantage GT4s running nose to tail. Vesko Kozarov sat fourth in the No. 91 from Rearden Racing, Kenton Koch in the No. 15 from BSport Racing machine fifth, with Patrick Gallagher in the No. 33 RS1 car sixth.
Coming out of Turn 13, Koch dived into the inside of Kozarov at Turn 14 and stole the fourth position in Pro-Am, seventh overall. While the three Aston Martins battled, Andrew Davis in the No. 2 GMG Porsche 718 Cayman caught up to the pack.
With 19 minutes remaining, Gallagher gave a slight bump to Kozarov going into Turn 5 and grabbed fifth position in Pro-Am. Davis would follow Gallagher through, dropping the No. 91 of Kozarov three positions in just two laps.
Up at the lead for the Pro-Am class, Robby Foley caught up to Jason Hart, sticking to within one-tenth of a second with 16 minutes remaining.
With only 14 minutes left on the clock Koch caught Bill Auberlen, now driving the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4, and passed the American racing legend for third in the Pro-Am class on the outside of the Billy Mitchell Bend.
As the clock ticked below the 10-minute mark, Foley got past Hart for the Pro-Am lead, second overall as further back Andrew Davis got by Gallagher for fifth in class, eighth overall.
Both Davis and Gallagher passed Auberlen for fourth and fifth in Pro-Am as the BimmerWorld driver seemed to struggle with his tires as the race came to a close.
As the checkered flag flew Nicolai Elghanayan would take the overall and Silver victory with Nick Wittmer and the #28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 finishing second in class, fourth overall, and the #25 CCR Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 of Tim Barber taking third in class, seventh overall.
The Pro-Am win went to Foley and the No. 21 Flying Lizard Aston Martin, their second straight, with Hart coming home second ahead of Koch.
“It was a great battle with NOLASPORT today, Jason [Hart] did a great job putting his car where he needed to, but luckily I was able to get him at 6, and get clean air to manage the gap. Michael [Dinan] did a great job before he gave me the car and it was great to watch!” said Foley.
“To get two wins here keeps us in the fight for the championship and it’s a great feeling!” said Dinan.
The Am victory would again go to the NOLASPORT No. 7 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Zac Anderson followed by Jon Tecce and the No. 69 BGB Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 with the No. 17 TRG LaSalle Solutions Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Derek DeBoer third.
“It was a fun, clean battle today! It was a little risky going against a car not in our class, but it sure was fun!” said Anderson.
“This season has been a challenge but the team has really rallied and gotten us to where we are now. We can’t wait for COTA our home track!” said Gibbons.
Pirelli GT4 America SprintX teams will return to action September 17-20 with a return trip to Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Tune in to every session at https://www.gt4-america.com/live.