After Race 1 was marred by a lengthy standing yellow yesterday, today’s Race 2 saw far less contact and a lot more racecraft in GT America powered by AWS. The pace was noticeably faster than Race 1, leading to some great battles and the fastest in-race lap of the weekend.
In SRO3, after sitting on pole for setting the fastest lap of the day of a 1m13.964s in Race 1, George Kurtz (No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes) never gave up his position and drove home to his third victory in GT America. “The race went really well, and it’s a testament to the CrowdStrike/Riley team,” Kurtz said when asked how Race 2 went.
“We really pushed in Race 1 to get the pole, and it paid off for us. It’s so hard to pass on St. Pete or any street course, and once we secured the lead we were able to gap a lot of cars and get it done.”
Scott Smithson (No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes) took second place in his third GT America SRO3 race, followed by Justin Wetherill (No. 37 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari) in third. Wetherill set the fastest lap of the day with a 1m13.642s.
“It was just so fun: the fans, the car, the team, it was a dream weekend” Wetherill shared when asked how the day went. “Racing a Ferrari here is a dream come true.”
GT4 saw plenty of action, with many changes in position and some true hard charging once everyone settled in mid-race. The class was joined by Adam Adelson (No. 120 Premier Racing Porsche), whose GT4 Invitational Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport was put out of contention in yesterday’s race. The team worked tirelessly through the night to prepare their spare car, a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 MR, in time for today’s race.
Tampa hometown hero Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin) won GT4 after finishing fifth in Race 1. “It was great! I probably have 100 friends here and I knew the race was going to be hectic” Bell spoke of how his day went.
“I crossed my fingers, got through (drama in Turn 1), and lost some parts off the car. But I learned how to drive the car again, chased down the leader and passed, and it was the best feeling in the world on my home track.”
Chris Gumprecht (No.79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes) followed closely finishing in second, and Moisey Uretsky (No.55 Accelerating Performance Toyota) rounding out the podium in third, following a solid pass at Turn 14 with less than seven minutes until the white flag in his Toyota GR Supra. “Unfortunately, we got a bit too much of a gap to the guys in front” Uretsky said of how his race went. “We had to make up a lot of time throughout the race, but luckily we stayed green until the very end.”
Robb Holland (No. 99 Rotek Racing Porsche) was the lone entry in GT4 Invitational, finishing eighth overall.
“Great race today here in St. Petersburg!” Holland reported. “We had a bit of a hard time yesterday, but kept it clean today, and managed to work our way from the back of the field to the front of the GT4 field.”
GT2 class winner CJ Moses (No. 58 GMG Racing Audi) finished seventh overall.
Turn 1, lap one saw some contact between several cars, including Mirco Shultis (No. 70 Callaway Corvette) and Race 1 winner Jason Daskalos (No.27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi), which took them out of the race. Far less contact than what happened at the beginning of Race 1, though, leading to a sustained green flag.
Later on, with less than five minutes to go, contact between Derek DeBoer (No. 66 TRG Porsche) and Gray Newell (No.25 Heart of Racing Aston Martin) led to a standing yellow that sustained until the end of the race.
GT America heads to Sonoma April 15-17, along with the rest of SRO’s series. Check out the live stream for free on YouTube at GT World. All races are archived for on-demand viewing.
The weekend schedule, live timing and scoring, and session reports are available at gtamerica.us.