After a long delay for an early-race red flag, it was the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche duo of Matt Travis and Jason Hart that came away victorious in Round 3 of the 2021 Pirelli GT4 America season from Circuit of The Americas.
“I’ve never been more nervous in my life,” said Jason Hart, “We’re expecting a new baby at any time, so we’re happy for the win and for the new baby to come!”
As the green flag flew 38 cars from 8 different manufacturers made it cleanly through the up-hill left Turn 1 known as Big Red. As the field reached turn 2, the Silver-classed No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes of Kenny Murillo slipped by the pole-sitting No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche of Matt Travis to grab the lead. Two turns later the No. 11 Classic BMW of Steven McAleer powered past both the No. 68 Toyota and No. 47 for second overall and in class.
On the very next lap, however, the first and only full-course caution was called as the No. 00 Notlad Racing by RS1 Aston Martin suffered a heavy rollover crash near the Turns 3-4-5 complex. At the same time overall leader Kenny Murillo was forced to retire with to an apparent gearbox issue, handing the lead to McAleer and the No. 11.
After parading behind the safety car for multiple laps, the race was red flagged with 37 minutes remaining to fix a barrier from the previously mentioned incident.
The race finally went back to green with 33 minutes left on the clock with the No. 11 BMW leading overall and in Silver, the No. 47 Porsche second overall, first in Pro-Am, and the No. 68 Toyota third overall, first in Am. .
After the pit window closed with 21 minutes left on the click, Jason Hart and the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche led overall and in Pro-Am after pitting early within the window, undercutting his rivals. Toby Grahovec, now driving the No. 11 Classic BMW would lead in Silver, sitting second overall, and Kevin Conway in the No. 68 Toyota leading in Am.
Second through fourth positions in Pro-Am, the No. 15 BSport Aston Martin of Kenton Koch, No. 54 Blackswan Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen, and No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW of Nick Galante would fight nose to tail with Bleekemolen slipping past both the No. 36 and No. 15 to claim second in class, fourth overall with 12 minutes remaining.
On the next lap Bleekemolen would dive on the inside of the No. 11 to take third overall and then keep his momentum going and get past the No. 94 for second overall, attempting to chase down the No. 47, who was nine seconds up the road.
As the clock ticked below the 10-minute mark, the No. 89 RENNtech Mercedes of Aaron Povoledo would pounce on Grahovec’s BMW taking over the fourth overall position, third in Pro-Am. A few minutes later Koch would see an issue with the No. 15 Aston Martin and fall deep into the field, handing third overall and in class to the No. 89 Mercedes.
As the checkered flag flew the Pro-Am class took the top five overall positions with the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche winning, No. 54 Blackswan Porsche second, No. 89 RENNtech Mercedes third, No. 34 BimmerWorld BMW, who started 28th, fourth, with the No. 52 Auto Technic BMW rounding out the top five.
The No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW of Chandler Hull and Jon Miller took the Silver win, seventh overall with the No. 888 Rearden Racing Audi finishing second in class, ninth overall with the No. 11 BMW third.
The Am division win went to the No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota of John Geesbreght and Kevin Conway, with Kris Wilson and John Allen bringing the No. 16 Capstone Mercedes-AMG GT4 second in class, 14th overall.
The No. 98 Random Vandals Racing BMW of Paul Sparta and Al Carter finished third in class, 21st overall.
Pirelli GT4 America Round 4 goes green on Sunday, May 2 at 11:00am CT, streaming live on the GT World Youtube page. Follow along via the GT4 America social channels.