Matt Travis and Jason Hart opened the 2021 Pirelli GT4 America championship at Sonoma Raceway the same way the NOLASPORT Porsche duo kicked last year, scoring a dominant green-to-checkers victory.
“My heart was beating on those last couple of laps working through traffic, but we’re all about excellence here at NOLASPORT, so it’s great to start the season with a victory,” said Hart.
Travis paced the 33-car starting field to the first green flag of 2021 in the No. 47 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, with Derek Deboer (No. 66 LaSalle Solutions TRG Porsche) and James Clay (No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4) behind in second and third.
Clay wasted no time getting ahead of his TRG rival with an inside pass at the Turn 9 chicane, with Silver-class leader Kenny Murillo (No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4) pressuring DeBoer for third overall.
On the next lap, however, DeBoer darted onto pit lane with an apparent flat tire. Murillo inherited third overall, with Ryan Dexter’s No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 fourth overall and second in Silver.
As the clock ticked down to the half-way point of the 60 minute race and the teams prepared for the required pit stops for driver changes, Travis extended his overall and Pro-Am lead to over 12 seconds. Murillo and Dexter continued to battle for the Silver class lead, with the No. 46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman of Patrick Byrne leading in Am.
Driver swaps completed, the No. 47 NOLASPORT machine, now with Jason Hart driving, remained in the lead with the No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin jumping the No. 72 for second overall, first in the Silver division. Christian Szymczak in the No. 72 Mercedes-AMG would also get past the No. 36 BimmerWorld entry with Nick Galante driving for third overall, with the BMW sitting comfortably fourth overall, second in Pro-Am.
The No. 46 NOLASPORT entry held onto the Am lead, running an impressive fifth overall with Russell Walker behind the wheel, his nearest Am competitor back in 12th overall.
With 18 minutes left on the clock, Galante was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release during the pit stop, dropping the car from third to 18th, 10th in the Pro-Am class. The No. 46 Porsche would inherit fourth position overall, with the No. 119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 up to fifth overall, second in Pro-Am, battling with the No. 15 BSport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Kenton Koch who ran sixth overall, third in Pro-Am.
Koch’s pressure would prove too much for the No. 119 BMW, and one lap later, the No. 15 Aston Martin slipped past the No. 46 into fourth overall.
As the checkered flag flew, the No. 47 NOLASPORT entry took the overall and Pro-Am victory with the No. 15 BSport Racing Aston Martin second in class and No. 119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW third.
The No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin Vantage took the Silver class victory with the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 second and No. 22 CCR Racing/Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 third.
The Am category win went to the #46 NOLASPORT Porsche with the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 second and No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota GR Supra GT4 third.
Pirelli GT4 America Round 2 takes place on Sunday, March 7th at 10:55 AM local. Follow all of the action live at www.gt4-america.com/live.