Kurtz, Uretsky take championship-critical GT America wins at Sebring

SRO America

Kurtz, Uretsky take championship-critical GT America wins at Sebring

SRO America

Kurtz, Uretsky take championship-critical GT America wins at Sebring

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Race one of GT America powered by AWS at Sebring International Raceway kicked off on Saturday afternoon with little drama and plenty of action. Late in the race, after some exciting GT4 change-ups in position, drama unfolded that will have immense season points complications—it truly isn’t over until it’s over in this action-packed sprint racing series. This was a flat-out all-green race that clinched one championship and made another one even more wide open.

SRO3

GT3 beasts shook Central Florida’s soil as they rounded the final corner onto Sebring’s front straight, and qualifying positions were generally maintained for the first couple of laps.

Jason Daskalos (No. 27 Daskalos Racing Audi R8 LMS) needed a perfect race if he was to prevent George Kurtz from locking up the championship. Sadly he experienced a mechanical issue, resulting in a pit stop which not only dropped him to the back of the SRO3 field, but also deep into the GT4 field.

Mirco Schultis (No. 70 Mishumotors Callaway Corvette C7.R) and Jeff Burton (No. 191 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3) maintained their qualifying positions when they both crossed the finish line, but it wasn’t without putting in some work during the race’s duration. Between GT4 traffic and reaching some of the fastest cornering speeds of the lot, they battled neck and neck until the end.

At the front, George Kurtz (No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) grabbed onto Jason Harward’s (No. 88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3) bumper and never let go. Harvard did a brilliant job defending, but at the halfway point of the race, amongst thick GT4 traffic, Kurtz was able to just squeeze by. Both racers displayed solid race craft and respect for each others’ carbon fiber body work. It was at this point that it was all over—Kurtz held onto the lead, built up as much as a 17s gap, and clinched the overall win and season championship. There are still three races left on the calendar, but they’ll be a relaxing Sunday drive for Kurtz.

“I was hoping that we’d get an opportunity,” Kurtz said. “You never know. It’s hard to plan out. I thought I had him on the start, then he slipped by me, but I knew GT4 traffic was coming up. I saw an opportunity and went for it.”

In addition to the win, Kurtz also earned the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap with a 2m02.856s. Harward took second, and Schultis earned third, his fourth podium in a row.

GT4

Despite GT4’s large car count and tenacity in the championship points spread, their race started out smoothly, with some great mirror-to-mirror action all over the field.

Moisey Uretsky (No. 55 Accelerating Performance Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4), had what one observer called “a gnarly crash” in practice, but after hard work from his team, stuck it on pole, took off from the field when the green flag waved, and never looked back. He led the GT4 race for the race’s entirety, and even Adam Adelson (No. 120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport) couldn’t quite get up to his bumper.

Behind, big changes in position started to happen, and among those who were able to jump ahead in position were Robb Holland (No. 99 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport) and Anthony Bartone (No. 427 Regal Motorsport/Bartone Bros Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR).

This race also brilliantly demonstrated some battling between Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4s, particularly those driven by Bryan Putt (No. 15 BSport Racing) and Elias Sabo (No. 8 Flying Lizard Motorsports). At times, these two were side-by-side through Sebring’s high-speed corners.

After Andy Pilgrim drove the wheels off a Ferrari at Road America, he was back this time in the No. 3 Regal Motorsport/Bartone Bros Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR. His drive was quite entertaining to watch, as was his teammate Bartone’s who was ready to pounce behind a battle between Holland and Marko Radisic (No. 22 SRQ Motorsports BMW M4 GT4).

Multiple drivers encountered late race drama. The pace of an all-green race resulted in Holland, Radisic, and Ross Chouest all running out of gas on the last lap, making the season points shake-out far more complicated.

Points leader Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4), squeezed past Chouest (No. 40 Chouest Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) in the final five minutes, but contact between the two resulted in a tire being knocked off the bead and a spin into the tire wall.

The race ended with Uretsky atop the podium, followed by Adelson in second and Pilgrim in third. Coupled with the bad fortunes of Bell, Chouest, and Holland, the championship battle is now a five-way fight with just 12 points separating them. Adelson is the new provisional points leader. Making the math complicated is the fact that the GT4 drivers will each drop their worst weekend of the year. This championship will likely go down to the final race at Indianapolis.

“Honestly, it’s not about the race, it’s about the team,” Uretsky said about the source of his success. “I had a serious crash in practice. We only had one car this weekend. They spent the entire day yesterday fixing it. If I didn’t do a good job they would have had me walk home. We put it on pole and led flag to flag.”

Race two will take place on Sunday at 9 AM Eastern.

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