Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy were handed victory in Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Virginia International Raceway after the on-the-road winner picked up a penalty.
The KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 pair won despite Marcelli taking the checkered flag behind Trent Hindman in the No. 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Hindman swept around the outside of Marcelli at Turn 1 on the final lap, moments after the field was released from a caution period for a dramatic dash to the line.
Hindman carried his momentum into the next few corners before lunging underneath and hitting the race-leading Motorsport in Action McLaren 570S GT4 of Jesse Lazare, who spun into the grass.
The Park Place car continued through to take the checkered flag, but was handed a drive-through penalty for knocking the McLaren off the road.
This handed Marcelli and Stacy their first win of the season, while CarBahn with Peregrine Racing’s Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Jeff Westphal and Tyler McQuarrie finished second having started on pole.
The podium was completed by the No. 80 Bimmerworld BMW M4 GT4 of Ari Balogh and Mike Skeen, ahead of Hugh Plumb and Owen Trinkler in the No. 46 Team TGM Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Saturday’s two-hour race boiled down to a series of Full Course Caution periods which closed up the gaps that had been developed throughout the contest.
The main on-track battle was between Lazare and Corey Fergus’ McLaren, and the winning Kohr Mustang.
Stacy was all over the back of Fergus heading into the third and final round of green-flag pit stops with 45 minutes to go, but no gains or losses were made when each crew switched drivers.
Lazare came out with a minor advantage to Marcelli, with Kuno Wittmer a further nine seconds down the road in the No. 75 Compass Racing McLaren.
With half an hour remaining, a caution period was called for debris, bringing the leaders together and enabling Marcelli to sweep past Lazare at the restart.
The pair swapped places again at another restart after the race descended into another quick caution with a quarter of an hour left on the clock, setting Lazare in front for the final lap sprint.
Lazare and Fergus were ultimately classified down in 13th place, four positions ahead of Hindman and Alan Brynjolfsson after the Park Place Porsche’s penalty was applied.
Wittmer’s Compass McLaren faded in the latter stages to 10th, while Greg Liefooghe and Henry Schmitt finished a season-high sixth in their Stephen Cameron Racing BMW.
In seventh was the No. 09 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Ross Gunn and Akhil Rabindra, ahead of Indy Dontje and Russel Ward’s Winward/HTP Mercedes.
Last-Lap Drama Decides TCR Contest
Nick Galante and James Vance claimed TCR category honors in their No. 23 FastMD Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR after a tense final lap battle saw the race-leading car crash out.
Jonathan Morley had controlled the second half of the race in the No. 61 Roadshagger Racing by eEuroparts Audi but slid off into the tire barriers in the final sequence of corners.
This promoted Vance to the lead, which he held on to the end from the Mason Filippi/Harry Gottsacker driven N0. 21 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCR.
Morley and his co-driver Gavin Ernstone featured near the front throughout the race and at one point engaged in an entertaining fight for the lead with the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai.
The Hyundai, which was driven by Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis, dropped several positions after an off-track moment in the final hour, but recovered through the string of late cautions to finish fourth.
Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson separated the two Bryan Herta machines by taking a podium in their JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi.