Pirelli GT4 America took to Sebring International Raceway for the final race before the series heads to the 2022 season’s conclusion at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in just two short weeks. BimmerWorld has clinched the Am championship, and RS1 now has a massive lead in Silver, but the battle is still on to see how the rest of the championship podiums shake out. Pro-Am is still very much a nail-biter, too.
After some heartbreak peppered throughout race one yesterday, race two had a much more cheery 60-minute duration that was devoid of yellow flags.
On Saturday afternoon, the RS1 team saw a sure win evaporate within walking distance to the checkered flag. Looking to make up for that disappointment, the No. 18 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport took off at the start with Stevan McAleer at the helm and never glanced back, building up a comfortable lead before his stint was up. Once Eric Figueiras took over, he pumped up the overall lead to the tune of 23s and earned yet another easy win—the team’s ninth of the season. RS1 is now headed to Indy with a nicely padded 255 points, 47 ahead of the closest rival.
Behind them, the battle between the No. 34 Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 (Michai Stephens/Gavin Sanders) and No. 51 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 (Austen Smith/Zack Anderson) was on and never let up in the second stint finishing second and third among the silver class.
The No. 34 Mercedes-AMG started from the back of the field due to a mechanical issue in the second qualifying session. A dust-up on the first lap helped Sanders gain 10 positions early on. Their only chance at the championship is if RS1 doesn’t finish in the top-ten in either race at Indy—as the saying goes, it’s not over until it’s over.
Behind the wheel of Smooge Racing’s No. 68 Toyota GR Supra GT4, Kevin Conway battled with both Silver and Prp-Am teams to end up fourth in Silver and ninth overall.
When the checkered flag flew, it was RS1 across the line first, followed by Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports and Auto Technic Racing. RS1’s Eric Fligueiras also earned the CrowStrike Fastest Lap by setting a blistering 2m12.321s.
“What a weekend,” Filgueiras said. “I think we’ve certainly had a target since the beginning of the year; it’s been a lot of pressure. As we saw yesterday, anything can happen, and when I got in the car, Stevan gave me a fantastic position. The RS1 guys gave me a fantastic car, and it’s just about managing it—not taking extra risks, managing the pace, and bringing it home. That’s what we needed to do today, and we did it.”
The heat was on high for the top cars in Pro-Am — the closest championship class with Pirelli GT4. By the race’s end, the No. 47 Nolasport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR (Scott Noble/Jason Hart) maintained its top position all the way to the checkered, but further back things weren’t as easy.
The No. 8 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (Elias Sabo/Andy Lee) had its hands full fending off attack-after-attack, across both stints, from the No. 15 BSPort Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 of Bryan Putt and Kenton Koch. Then, they had plenty to worry about on their six, as the No. 120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport (Adam Adelson/Elliott Skeer) never let up, either.
Deeper in the field, a great battle unfolded in the first stint between the No. 50 Chouest Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 of Aaron Povoledo and Saturday race winning No. 55 Accelerating Performance Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 of Justin Piscitell. Chouest Povoledo ultimately finished seventh in class while Accelerating Performance experienced problems dropping out of the top-ten.
In the end it was NOLASPORT’s Noble across the line first, followed by Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Lee and Premier Racing’s Skeer.
“It’s gonna be big,” Noble said of how Indy will shake out for his team. “You could see Adam charging from behind back there—luckily my Pro driver gapped us a little bit, we stayed out front, and it was an exciting day. We felt like we had a chance today and that we could pull through.”
After this race-long scrap, Nolasport emerged 10 points ahead of Premier Racing, with both Flying Lizard and Auto Technic within striking distance if the leaders falter. It will take until Sunday afternoon at Indy to figure out who’s holding their trophy the highest.
It was a dramatic start for the Am class as contact was made between the No. 53 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 (Rob Walker/Alex Filsinger) and the No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 (Charlie Postins/James Clay), taking both cars out of the race in Turn 1 of the opening lap. Thanks to seven race wins, including yesterday afternoon, BimmerWorld already locked up the Am championship yesterday, but this puts a major damper on the No. 53, as they were in solid contention to see a championship podium spot.
Elsewhere in the class, the No. 98 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 (Paul Sparta/Al Carter) pulled off a textbook finish after gaining a solid 6s lead over the rest of the field. This was the first win of the year for the team, and they became the seventh different winner this year. The win boosted the team to sixth in class points.
The No. 35 Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (Custodio Toledo/Paul Carcasci) faced tough competition during the race’s entire duration from the No. 420 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR (Thomas Collingwood/John Tecce) and the No. 80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M4 GT4 (Johan Schwarz/Todd Brown).
At race two’s conclusion it was Sparta across the line first, followed by Toledo and Collingwood.
“It’s incredibly sweet,” Sparta said of how the win felt. “The team worked so hard, we’ve had great pace all year yet the results didn’t show it. Today was what everybody needed. It was just a fantastic day, we didn’t put a wheel wrong, and we were there at the end—got a little help—but I’ll take it!”
The SRO Motorsports America season will conclude at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 7-9.