Nolasport Sweeps GT4 America SprintX Season Opener
Nolasport scored a sweep of the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX season-opening races at Circuit of The Americas, headlining a dominant weekend for New Orleans-based Porsche squad in both the Pro-Am and Am classes.
Matt Travis and Jason Hart led a Porsche 1-2-3 sweep in Race 1, while took their No. 47 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport to another dominant victory on Sunday.
Hart got around pole-sitter Andrew Davis for the lead on Lap 3 and stretched out into a commanding lead in Race 2. Travis scored a nine-second victory over the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Michael Dinan, who finished second alongside co-driver Robby Foley.
An electrical issue during the race’s only full course caution for Davis saw his No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche drop to sixth and was compounded by a spin by co-driver Jason Bell that took the car out of contention.
Jarett Andretti and Colin Mullan picked up GT4 Silver Cup honors in Race 1 in their Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, with the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Nick Wittmer and Harry Gottsacker winning Race 2 in a third place result overall.
Nolasport also swept the GT4 Am class with its No. 7 Porsche of Zac Anderson and Sean Gibbons, who held off a hard-charging GMG Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Alex Welch to claim a dramatic Race 2 win on home soil.
Staveley, Cooper Claim GT4 Sprint Victories
Drew Staveley and Michael Cooper recorded overall victories in the pair of GT4 Sprint races at COTA.
Staveley, in his first weekend classified in the Pro class, dominated Saturday’s 50-minute race, taking his No. 12 Ford Mustang GT4 to a 2.296-second win over Spencer Pumpelly.
The No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4 of Cooper briefly took the lead at the start although lost it to Staveley on Lap 3 and faded to third at the checkered flag, getting passed on the final lap by Pumpelly in the No. 66 TRG Porsche.
Cooper retaliated in Race 2, passing Staveley for the lead on Lap 12 in a hard-fought battle just moments prior to the race’s first of two full-course cautions.
The McLaren Automotive factory driver finished 1.743 seconds ahead of Jarett Andretti, in a 1-2 for the British manufacturer following a fierce three-way battle for the runner-up position on the final restart.
Staveley managed to finish third overall after edging out Pumpelly by 0.071 seconds at the line.
Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Michael Dinan, meanwhile scored his first career GT4 America victory in Race 1 in GT4 Am, although missed out on a sweep of the weekend to Paul Terry in a photo finish on Sunday.
Dinan came home fourth overall in his Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in Race 1 but finished just 0.053 seconds behind Rearden Racing’s Terry on Sunday.
A transponder issue initially gave Dinan the class win but the ruling was reversed by podium ceremonies.
Maxon, Copeland Hyundais Dominate TCR
Tyler Maxon doubled up with a pair of victories in the TC America rounds at COTA, leading a 1-2 sweep for Copeland Motorsports and Hyundai in both 40-minute races.
Maxon, on his TCR debut weekend after winning the 2019 TCA title, took his No. 74 Hyundai Veloster N TCR to a 5.913-second win over teammate Nikko Reger in Sunday’s Race 2.
The No. 72 FCP Euro Volkswagen Golf GTI of Nate Vincent completed the podium in both races in the TCR class, which featured eight entries last weekend.
Winners in the other classes, which ran as combined races, included James Clay (TC Race 1), Joseph Federl (TC Race 2), Tyler Gonzalez (TCA Race 1) and Thomas Mejia (TCA Race 2).
News & Notes
***The Intelligent Money British GT Championship will have its largest GT3 entry since 2014, with 19 cars on the full-season entry list that was revealed on Tuesday during its Media Day at Snetterton. The 19 GT3 cars will be joined by 16 GT4s on the same grid, making up a capacity 35-car field at all seven rounds.
***A number of lineups were announced during or before the Media Day, including British Touring Car Championship veteran Rob Collard partnering Sandy Mitchell in one of Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos.
***A single TBA spot still remains on British GT’s GT3 entry list, but this is expected to be Steller Motorsport, which is working on putting together a program for its Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo alongside its confirmed Audi GT4 entry.
***The Michelin Le Mans Cup has also released its 2020 entry list which features a total of 29 cars. The GT3 field is made up of 11 entries, including eight Ferraris, two Mercedes-AMGs and a Bentley, while LMP3 has 18 cars listed from Ligier (12) and Duqueine Automotive (six).
***Teams joining for the fifth season of MLMC, which runs on European Le Mans Series weekends, include Modena Competizione, Bullitt Racing and Iron Lynx in GT3 plus MV2 Racing and Grainmarket Racing in LMP3. ELMS LMP2 outfit IDEC Sport is also arriving with entries in both classes.
***Wochenspiegel Team Monschau will enter the Kyalami 9 Hour in November after completing a European program split between the 24H Series and Nürburgring 24. The German team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo will compete in the N24 and its qualifying race, along with six European rounds of the 24H Series. It will also compete in two Ultimate Cup Series rounds with a Norma M30 LMP3 car.
***SPS Automotive Performance will expand into the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo at all five Endurance Cup races competing in the Am Cup, and an additional Pro-Am car at selected rounds. Christian Hook, Manuel Lauck and Florian Scholze will share the Am car, while 2016 Blancpain GT champion Dominik Baumann will drive alongside Valentine Pierburg in the Pro-Am car.
***Dinamic Motorsport’s second and third GTWC Europe Endurance entries have been confirmed. A Pro-Am trio of Mauro Calamia, Ivan Jacoma and Roberto Pampanini will drive one car, while Andrea Rizzoli. Mikkel Overgaard Pedersen and one more TBA driver will compete in the Silver Cup with its third Porsche 911 GT3 R. The Italian outfit previously confirmed a Pro entry for Christian Engelhart, Matteo Cairoli and Sven Mueller.
***Team Lazarus tested potential drivers for its International GT Open program at Adria last week. The Italian team will enter a pair of Bentley Continental GT3s in the series, and ran Thomas Biagi, Stefano Coletti, Fabrizio Crestani and Matteo Maria Tullio at the test.
***Porsche is expected to have an increased presence in GT Open this year, with Frikadelli Racing, which confirmed a NLS and Nürburgring 24 return last week, one of the likely teams. Lechner Racing and PZ Oberer Zurichsee by TFT are also set to join the field.
***R-Motorsport will expand into the GT4 European Series with a multi-car Aston Martin Vantage program. Porsche Carrera Cup GB competitors Seb Perez and George Gamble are the first two confirmed drivers.
***Markus Winkelhock will join EFP Car Collection by TECE in the ADAC GT Masters, co-driving one of its Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos with Florian Spengler, while Elia Erhart and Pierre Kaffer remain in the sister car. Winkelhock replaces his fellow Audi works driver Mattia Drudi as Spengler’s teammate.
***Joel Eriksson will remain a BMW factory driver this year despite leaving DTM, and will race for Schubert Motorsport in GT Masters. He’ll join Aidan Read in one of the team’s BMW M6 GT3s, while Erik Johansson and Nick Yelloly will alternate in the other car as co-driver to Henric Skoog.
***Kris Wilson will fill in for Bryce Ward in the next GT World Challenge America powered by AWS round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The car failed to start last weekend’s second race at COTA due to an issue underneath the car from the opening round on Saturday.
***Sandy Stuvik and Shae Davies will rejoin GTWC Asia as part of Audi Sport Asia X Works’ new Silver Cup entry. The pair initially partnered at Craft-Bamboo Racing in 2018, but competed in different series last year. Stuvik will also return to B-Quik Absolute Racing to defend his Thailand Super Series title.
***Weiron Tan and Martin Rump have also re-signed for another season in GTWC Asia, driving one of Absolute Racing’s Audis. They were championship contenders last season picked up two race wins.
***GTWC Europe competitors will head to Circuit Paul Ricard later this week for a two-day pre-season test on Thursday and Friday. Full-season entry lists will also be released during the event.
John Dagys and Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report