GT America powered by AWS got down to business under threatening skies for race one at Road America. Drama happened on lap one but didn’t impact the race’s 40-minute duration. After a full-course yellow, gaps were closed up and allowed for some big position changes within SRO3, which later led to a nail-biter of a final lap all the way to the final uphill straightaway.
After claiming pole earlier Saturday morning, Jason Harward (No. 88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3) got involved in some drama after George Kurtz (No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) dove in and snatched the lead. This led to Kurtz spinning around, miraculously avoiding making contact with any incoming GT4 cars, and ending up at the far back of the field.
On lap two, Jason Daskalos (No. 27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi R8 LMS) and Harward made contact which resulted in mechanical damage, extinguishing their chances for a win and closing the points gap to Kurtz. Daskalos was done for the day while Harward lost three laps. Andy Pilgrim was able to slip past and grab the lead in his No. 56 SKI Autosports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 before the race went under a full-course yellow. Kurtz took advantage of the yellow as well, and rejoined his SRO3 rivals with hope for a podium finish.
Kurtz worked his way up, eventually slipping past Mirco Schultis (No. 70 Mishumotors Corvette Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R) and Kyle Washington (No. 32 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R) to finish second, extending his points lead. Kurtz set the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap with a 2m08.522s trying to reel in Pilgrim, which was a solid two seconds faster than Pilgrim’s best.
Pilgrim had enough of a gap to grab the victory and bring it home for SKI Autosport’s first win of the season, with Kurtz running him down. Schultis nabbed third. CJ Moses (No. 58 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT2) won the GT2 class, finishing fifth overall.
“George was coming up so hard! That was great—I looked in the mirrors and everything was getting bigger, and bigger, and it was all Mercedes,” Pilgrim said. “I thought traffic might help me, might not, but it was great. The SKI Autosport guys have been so good letting me drive this car sometimes, and we don’t do a full schedule.”
Shortly after seeing the green flag, several racers made contact which led to fourth-in-points Moisey Uretsky (No. 55 Accelerating Performance Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) and season points leader Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) losing many positions. Uretsky was done for the day while Bell recovered to finish seventh, maintaining his points lead.
After some squabbling at the front, Robb Holland (No. 99 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport) was able to sneak past and grab P1 in class and never let it go, at one time holding a 3s lead over the rest of the pack.
Holland couldn’t get too comfortable as he was chased by Adam Adelson (No. 69 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport) and Seth Lucas (No. 016 Hattori Motorsports Toyota Supra GT4) — two very capable racers with some excellent finishes under their belts.
In the race’s final ten minutes, Bryan Putt (No. 15 BSport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4), Ross Chouest (No. 50 Chouest Provoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4), and Elias Sabo (No. 8 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) put on quite a show. Gray Newell (No. 25 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) was in the mix as well before spinning out with a few laps to go and falling to the back of the pack.
Holland managed to claim his third victory in a row since the streets of Nashville.
“This was the track where I got my first professional podium—I held off Randy Pobst for, like, half an hour,” Holland said. “This race, today, was almost as hard. We checked out early, but man these guys were running at such a quick pace—I think I ran a faster lap in the race than I did in qualifying just to hold these guys off!”
Behind Holland was Adelson, followed by Lucas. Holland became the first three-time winner this season in the GT4 class and he narrowed the gap to championship points leader Bell.
Race two will take place on Sunday at 9:00 AM CST.