A last lap pass by Michael Lewis has given Calvert Dynamics a debut victory in Saturday’s attrition-filled Pirelli World Challenge SprintX round at Utah Motorsports Campus.
Lewis got around the No. 46 Mills Racing BMW Z4 GT3 of Kuno Wittmer for the lead in dramatic fashion, closing a 24-second deficit in the final 20 minutes of the race after a handling issue for the BMW.
The Californian edged out Wittmer by 2.031 seconds at the line for the team’s first PWC GT class victory, sharing driving duties with owner/driver Preston Calvert.
It came only 24 hours after the team’s primary No. 77 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Andrew Davis nearly burned to the ground in a fire in practice, which sent the Phoenix Performance-run team into utilizing Lewis’ No. 98 Porsche for the SprintX rounds this weekend.
Calvert made a bold start, nearly taking the lead but faded to fifth after Turn 1. He recovered to third, passing both the No. 23 M1 GT Racing Audi R8 LMS of Walt Bowlin and Brent Holden’s No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche for position.
The turning point of the race came during the mandatory mid-race pit stops, when the race-leading No. 63 DXDT Audi of David Askew failed to re-fire with a gearbox issue.
It handed the lead to the Mills BMW of Wittmer, following a strong opening stint by Michael Mills, who kept pole-sitter James Burke within one-second prior to the stop. A handling issue resulted in second for Mills and Wittmer.
The No. 14 GMG Porsche of Holden and James Sofronas completed the GT class podium in third, followed by Bowlin and David Ostella in the No. 23 M1 GT Audi in fourth.
TRG-AMR scored its third consecutive SprintX GTS victory, but this time it was the No. 09 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Derek DeBoer and Jason Alexandridis, following issues for its sister car.
The No. 07 Aston of Kris Wilson made two unscheduled stops, with a suspected brake issue at the left-front of the car, relegating he and Max Riddle to a third place class finish.
The No. 54 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 also made an unscheduled stop for issues but managed to finish second in class, one lap behind the winning Aston Martin.
The second SprintX round of the weekend gets underway Sunday at 4 p.m. local time.
RESULTS: Race 1