GT America powered by AWS got down to business with race 1 on Saturday at Nashville’s Music City Grand Prix. The field only saw one brief full-course yellow flag due to a GT4 car making light contact with the wall, otherwise it was an action-packed 40 minutes under a gorgeous Tennessee sunset.
After leading both practice sessions and earning the pole position, Onofrio Triarsi took off in his No. 23 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 and never looked back, leading flag to flag. Triarsi quickly carved out a five-second lead over the rest of the field which, even after a brief yellow flag halfway through, only dropped to 3.5s before the checkered flag. Not bad for his debut weekend with the series.
“I definitely didn’t stop pushing out there,” Triarsi said. “It was exciting from the start to have a one-two lockout on the front row, and the team did an amazing job. My teammate did a fantastic job keeping up with the pace and setting new laps for himself, and it was great just managing the traffic and staying safe out there — we got a great result.”
Though, the rest of the field had a bit of a harder time through Nashville’s technical tarmac.
Triarsi’s teammate Justin Wetherill (No. 37 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3) spent the race’s entire duration battling closely with Jason Daskalos (No. 27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi R8 LMS). Wetherill had the top-end speed in the straights, but Daskalos had the brakes and handling to quickly close in on him. The two traded positions multiple times throughout the race, including an expert move in traffic by Daskalos to quickly grab second, but ultimately Wetherill was able to hang on and take P2.
Further back, the battle was on for fourth place as George Kurtz (No. 04 CrowdStrike with Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3), Scott Smithson (No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3), and Jason Harward (No. 88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3) engaged in some fierce door-to-door action.
Having started in sixth, this might be the first time in the season that Kurtz has been outside of the top three. Though, after four wins in a row, plus a class win in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa last weekend, the Mercedes-AMG driver is no stranger to the podium, and he’s still very much on top with a comfortable lead in season points.
When the checkered waved, it was Triarsi, Wetherill, Daskalos, Kurtz, Smithson, and Askew across the line. Harward had a minor off at the end but was able to scramble back into line before Mirco Shultis (No. 70 Mishumotors Corvette Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R) and Kyle Washington (No. 032 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R (991.i) put him at the back of the field.
In addition to his SRO3 win, Onofrio Triarsi grabbed the CrowdStrike fastest lap with a 1m29.057s, making for a perfect score for the weekend so far. Will anyone be able to challenge him on Sunday?
The GT4 field was much closer than SRO3 making for some truly nail-biting moments. Polesitter and 2021 Nashville podium finisher Robb Holland led the pack across the starting line in his No. 99 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport and maintained his P1 spot for the entire race.
“We got this car right before St. Pete without any real time to develop and test the car,” Holland said. “The guys have been working hard at Rotek Racing, we’ve had our partners Hella, Pagid, and Motul with us the whole way, and it’s really been a whole team effort. We got two cars on the podium — two different manufacturers, two cars on the podium from Rotek Racing — I’m over the moon!”
His teammate Edgar Lau (No. 124 ARG/Rotek Racing Ford Mustang GT4) had a tougher time, as he had his hands full all race long battling with Ross Chouest (No. 50 Chouest Provoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4). Unfortunately, Chris Cagnazzi wasn’t able to utilize his qualifying position and instead started from the pits in his No. 39 Cameron Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4.
When the checkered flag dropped, It was Holland across the line first, followed by Chouest and Lau. The second place finish by Chouest moved him ahead of Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) for the GT4 points lead.
Right behind Lau and Chouest was an excellent Aston Martin vs. Porsche scrap in the form of Jason Bell and Adam Adelson (No. 120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport). The two showed the many spectators in attendance what a textbook front-engine V8 vs. mid-engine flat-six street fight looks like. Bell’s no stranger to throwing down, leading the points chase into Nashville after his win at St. Petersburg and multiple podium finishes. Ultimately Adelson finished in fourth with Bell in fifth.
St. Pete race 1 winner Marko Radisic (No. 22 SRQ Motorsports BMW M4 GT4) made his way to fourth place after starting in sixth. A late race mechanical issue unfortunately got in the way and prevented his potential podium finish.
Race 2 will take place on Sunday at 10:55am Central.
The weekend schedule, live timing and scoring, and session reports are available at gtamerica.us. Check out race live streams for free on YouTube at GT World.