Kurtz takes 10th overall win, Chouest claims GT4 title with sweep at Indianapolis

Kurtz takes 10th overall win, Chouest claims GT4 title with sweep at Indianapolis

SRO America

Kurtz takes 10th overall win, Chouest claims GT4 title with sweep at Indianapolis

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The GT America powered by AWS field headed out for the final time in 2022 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Like in Race 1, massive change-ups in positions in the yard of bricks went down and the battles never stopped. Most notably, the battles in the top five positions of GT4 never let up, and with clear skies and no yellow flags in sight, nothing was guaranteed until the final moments. SRO3 saw its own share of drama, too.

SRO3

With the championship already decided this would simply be a race to finish the year on a high note. Would George Kurtz score his 10th win? Who might score a season best finish?

When the racers took to Indy’s tarmac, Kurtz (No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) sat in P1, followed by Jeff Burton (No. 191 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3), Mirco Schultis (No. 70 Mishumotors Callaway Corvette C7.R), and Kyle Washington (No. 32 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R (991.ii)).

Early on, everyone settled into a reasonably chill rhythm to let their tires and brakes come up to temperature against the chilly Midwestern ambient temperatures. Jason Daskalos (No. 27 Daskalos Racing Audi R8 LMS) and Andy Pilgrim (No. 56 SKI Autosports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) had their own battle for position. Once Pilgrim got past, he laid down several fast laps to move closer to the front of the pack, recording the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap with a 1m25.229s.

With 18 minutes to go, Washington and Daskalos dropped back, Burton experienced issues that dropped him back to P4, and Pilgrim found his way up to Schultis’ bumper, contending for a P2 finish. If he were to get past, he’d still have a solid seven second gap to get up to Kurtz in P1.

Pilgrim got past Schultis, but not for long — a wise move by Schultis into T1 in the final moments of the race got him back to P2, and with a little help from GT4 traffic, he held a strong defense to the checkers. Schultis and Pilgrim got up to within two seconds of Kurtz, too, which could’ve made things extra interesting if the field had just one more lap.

In the end, it was Kurtz, then Schultis and Pilgrim across the line. It was a season best for Schultis after a string of third-place finishes.

“It was certainly a great year,” Kurtz said. “CrowdStrike with Riley gave me a great car all season, we did really well here, and we showcased our talents and team efforts. It was a breakout season.”

While Kurtz clinched the season title at Sebring, Daskalos, having scored two early season wins, was able to hold steady in second place with Schultis in third.

Mercedes-AMG won the manufacturers’ championship over Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche.

GT4

Three drivers entered the race with a championship in their sights. Jason Bell held a slim lead over Ross Chouest with Adam Adelson still optimistic. Making the math a little more complicated was the “points drop” where their worst weekend would be dropped. Adelson’s mission was simple — go for the win and not worry about the competition. Bell and Chouest needed to think about points and positions.

Within a few laps it was Adam Adelson (No. 120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport) at the front after starting in P22, followed by Gray Newell (No. 25 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) and Ross Chouest (No. 50 Chouest Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) close in tow. The three were out for blood, and championship leader Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) had his hands full two positions away with Custodio Toledo (No. 35 Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4).

Bell made a skillful, smooth pass on Toledo, but still had a five-second gap to make up against the top three. Further up the running order, if Chouest could move up to P2 or better, the championship would be his.

To throw a massive wrench in Bell’s hopes, if a very nearby Seth Lucas (No. 016 Hattori Motorsport Toyota GR Supra GT4) were to get past him, it’d extinguish Bell’s hopes at a repeat championship. Lucas eventually made his way past, then later on to P3 at the finish line.

At various times during the race, the championship could have been as close as a single point between Bell, Chouest, and Adelson. Each position change could have altered the outcome.

In the final laps, an incident between Adelson and Chouest gave Adelson a punctured radiator and killed any hopes at a podium spot. Still, his noble efforts in 2022, including two race wins, earned him a third spot on the championship podium.

Then, just a few corners before the checkered flag, Newell slowed — presumably due to running out of gas — resulting in Chouest claiming the weekend sweep and championship.

Across the finish line it was Chouest, Lucas, and Bell.

“It was a lot to take in,” Chouest said. “I came into the day hopeful, but knew it’d take a strong try from me and a lot of luck. I got both, and I couldn’t be happier. It was a bit of a roller coaster of a season, and to have it end this way is just amazing.”

The GT4 class provided amazing depth of field with ten different race winners from 16 races.  Only Robb Holland (No. 99 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport) managed more than two wins. Aston Martin won the manufacturers championship followed by Porsche, Toyota, Mercedes-AMG, and BMW.

In GT2, CJ Moses (No. 58 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT2) finished eighth overall, splitting P1 and P2 in GT4.

Check out the race recap for free on YouTube at GT World.

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