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GT World Challenge America

Aquilante Sweeps GTS Weekend in St. Pete

Andrew Aquilante takes GTS Race 2 win in St. Pete…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Andrew Aquilante has claimed victory Saturday, sweeping the Pirelli World Challenge GTS season-opening weekend on the streets of St. Pete.

The Phoenix Performance driver took his Ford Mustang Boss 302R to a 1.598-second win, under yellow, over the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R of Lawson Aschenbach, in a near mirror-image to Friday’s results.

Aquilante, who started from pole, lost the lead in the standing start to the debuting Camaro, although managed to get around Aschenbach on the third lap after carrying more momentum into the revised Turn 3.

He bridged out a narrow gap over Aschenbach, who held point through the 50-minute race.

A yellow on the final lap for an accident by the No. 7 Krugspeed McLaren 570S GT4 of Cameron Maugeri froze the field, handing Aquilante his fifth career GTS victory.

Aschenbach nursed his Camaro home in second, dragging the rear bumper after contact by the No. 80 Mantella Autosport KTM X-Bow GT4 of Martin Barkey on the first restart.

A multi-car accident involving Anthony Mantella, George Kurtz in the No. 04 GMG Racing McLaren and Ian James’ Panoz Avezzano GT brought out the second yellow just moments later.

It set up a 20-minute shootout to the finish, which saw the top three bridge out a considerable gap prior to the race-ending yellow.

Parker Chase completed the overall podium in third in the No. 19 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55, also picking up top honors in the new-for-2017 GTS-A class.

Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM and the sister Ginetta of Harry Gottsacker completed the top-five, with Rodrigo Baptista the best of the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs in sixth.

Jade Buford, who finished third in Friday’s Race 1 and was due to start second, failed to make the start after encountering electrical gremlins with his Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 on the pre-grid.


John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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