Memo Gidley (No. 101 TKO Motorsports Bentley Continental GT3) completed a Sebring sweep with a win in the SRO3 class in the second GT America race of the weekend. Masters class competitor Andy Wilzoch (No. 460 Flying Lizard Motorsports) battled in and out of the class to secure his second win of the weekend, while Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) secured the GT4 class top spot with his drive during the weekend.
The race began with a false start that had the field run through the circuit for another formation lap under a full-course yellow. On the second start, a number of drivers took advantage of moves telegraphed in the first start attempt and planned accordingly, allowing Gidley to prepare for the Turn 1 challenges from Rodrigo Sales (No. 77 Compass Racing Acura), Jason Harward (No. 88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini), Andy Wilzoch (No. 460 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche), and Jeff Burton sitting in second through fifth respectively. Further back in the field, Bell executed a pass through Turn 1 that put him in front of track nemesis Quinlan (No. 119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW) early after the restart and then off to the races and attempting to hit all his marks.
By the second lap, the intense battles had taken shape and were underway; in front, Harward and Sales kept Gidley on his toes battling for the prime position to overtake for the lead, while Bell’s contingent set up a four-way battle for the right to chase down Bell’s Aston Martin; Quinlan, Scott Noble (No. 49 NOLASPORT Porsche), Chris Cagnazzi (No. 39 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) and Ross Chouest (No. 50 3R Povoledo Racing Aston Martin) battled intensely for multiple laps.
During a side-by-side excursion in that class battle for second and third, Noble and Quinlan made contact, sending Quinlan’s BMW spinning and sliding, collecting the Chouest and putting him in the wall in the process. The appearance of the full-course yellow closed the gap to front-runner Gidley that Harward had already been working on closing with his consecutive fastest lap times. Behind them, Sales and Jason Daskalos (No. 27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi) engaged in the battle for SRO3 and overall third place positioning.
Meanwhile, the intense battle for class positioning behind GT4 leader Bell resumed after the return to green but also changed the combatants as both Quinlan and Chouest fell out of contention, opening the door for Gray Newell (No. 25 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) and Christopher Gumprecht (No. 79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) to join the fray.
Gidley’s methodical, on-point driving kept him ahead of Harward’s relentless attacks, ultimately letting the two finish the race in that order with only a 0.35s gap between them, with Sales ultimately defending from Daskalos and capturing the last spot on the SRO3 podium.
With Burton and the Rearden Racing car out of the picture, Andy Wilzoch found himself able to mix it up with the entire SRO3 field and still capture the top spot in the Masters class.
In the GT4 pack, Bell’s pace was too much to overcome but the battles for second and third continued throught the last half. Newell, who started the race from near the back of the field and suddenly found himself in the class podium mix after the FCY, found pace and determination and drove himself into increasingly better positions, including a last lap pass that put him on the podium just behind Noble, who had run out of time trying to catch up to Bell.
CBS Sports Network programming for the GT America powered by AWS Invitational weekend at Sebring premieres on Wednesday, October 13 at 6:30 pm ET. Competitors now make their final bids to capture the championship hardware as the series finale heads for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli Indianapolis 8 Hour powered by AWS weekend on October 15-17.